Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Ripe Repentance

Repentance means you change your mind so deeply that it changes you. ~Bruce Wilkinson

John’s preaching was often direct and harsh. He called his audience a “brood of vipers.” He chastised Herod for sleeping with his brother’s wife. And he warned the people they were going to be cut down like a barren tree.

Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:8-9 ESV

In fear the people asked what they should do. They didn’t want to be cut down and thrown into a fire.

John responded:Share your food; share your clothes. Don’t cheat people. Don’t threaten and accuse people. Be content with your pay.

He says that that is the fruit of repentance.

Repentance is a big word we don’t hear very often. It means actually change to show that you’re sorry for what you’ve done.

We often force little children to apologize to their friends, but the behavior that follows shows whether they apologized or repented. If another toy is taken, another smack given upside the head, another hateful word spewed- then they only apologized.

What about you?

Do you eat lunch with your coworkers but think about feeding them crow?

Do you wish your brother well on his promotion, but view him in a new shade of jealous green?

Do you buy the cheapest canned vegetables for the food pantry while you purchase organic produce for your own family?

Is there an axe at the root of your tree?

Ripen some repentance before it’s too late.

 “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:5-9 ESV

Thwarted Expectations

In spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser and happier as a result. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin

Great expectations swirled around John for as long as he could remember. He was educated as a priest, admired by his community, an up and coming man.

He was sent by God for a special purpose. His cousin, Jesus, had also been set apart; his mother had told him.

Now John was hearing other stories. Unbelievable stories.

Healing diseases. Driving out demons. And now . . . Raising the dead.

So in Luke 7 John sends his disciples  to Jesus to ask if he is the one or if there is another to come.


You’re Jesus’s cousin. You know the stories. You hear about the miracles. And you ask if there is another?

How can you be sent from God and not know that it is God walking through your countryside, healing your people, destroying your enemy?

Maybe it’s because those who are supposed to know God best are against you.

God tells you to feed the homeless, and no one at church wants to help. The Father tells you to parent someone else’s children, and all your friends remind you of your advanced age.

God whispers, “Follow me to a distant land.” And your family shuns your ministry. God writes on your heart to teach your children at home, but you are met with disbelief and anger.

Jesus tells John’s disciples to return with a message: Remember what you have seen and heard, and do not stumble on account of me.

You, too, remember what you have seen and heard. Recall the message you received, and do not stumble.

No matter what the naysayers shout, snicker, or proclaim.

Then he replied to John’s disciples, “Go, report to John what you have seen and heard. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled now walk. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. And good news is preached to the poor. Happy is anyone who doesn’t stumble along the way because of me.” Luke 7:22-23 CEB