December 7

Matthew 3:1-6

“Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” vss. 6-7

We know little about John the baptist, just a few verses in the gospels, and a brief mention in the works of Josephus, an ancient chronicler of Jewish history. Some believe he was an Essene and a part of the community at Qumran, a remote settlement not far from the Dead Sea. As such his intention as a preacher would have been to call the people back to holy living–and it seems he was having some success. Large numbers were traveling to hear his words and were submitting to a washing with water as a demonstration of their intention to change. It’s not an unusual thing for people to desire! Many of us, at one time or another, become discontent with the way we’re living and are determined to make a change. With us that intention can take many forms–some join a gym and submit their bodies to vigorous exercise in hopes of regaining or establishing physical fitness. It’s more difficult when our issues are spiritual–lifting weights and running on treadmills just isn’t enough. What we can do is revisit our baptisms, confess our sin, and claim again the forgiveness that is ours by grace. For many this is a weekly ritual, not because we’re such terrible people, but because we crave the peace that God gives so freely. And sometimes the change we desire actually happens! Praise God!

Thought for the Day: What change do I desire in my life?

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