14 day plan

Transformation through the Word

Day 1 of 14

Matthew 3:1-2

The Herald of the Messiah

1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Reflections: Before recalling the words of the Prophet Isaiah, Matthew employs this word ‘repent.’ Typically, modern readers associate this word with feelings of shame, sorrow or even regret. However, we would do well to remember that our Bibles are translations. Reliable translations of ancient languages, spoken by ancient people, within an ancient context. Digging a little deeper into that context we happen across a more useful and exposing word in the Greek: ‘metanoia’. This word means to undergo a transformation so powerful, that a return to old ways is almost impossible. This possibility, of irrevocable transformation, sits firmly at the beginning of the New Testament and gives the reader a clue as the true purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It anticipates the work of the Holy Spirit to come and reveals the Father’s divine plan for the restoration and renewal for humanity. We’ll be spending the next couple of weeks exploring God’s divine Word and discovering just what it might mean to undergo and embrace the transformation of God. So that we may never be the same!

Question:  What difference might this call to repentance make in your life if you understood it as something that transforms you so radically, that your life would never look the same again?

Prayer: God, thank you for your Word, and for the hands that brought it through time and history into my own language. I am so grateful that I’m able to take time to understand a little more of what kingdom transformation looks like and how it can change my life and the lives of others. Amen.

Matthew 3:1-17

The Herald of the Messiah

1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” 3For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said:

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

Prepare the way for the Lord;

make his paths straight!

4Now John had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were going out to him, 6and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

7When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. 9And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.”

The Baptism of Jesus

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14But John tried to stop him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?”

15Jesus answered him, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John allowed him to be baptized.

16When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”