January 21

Matthew 4:12-17

“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee…From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” vss. 12, 17

After John had been arrested Jesus returned to the area where he had grown up to begin his active ministry. At first his message of repentance seems to be an extension of what John had been saying, and that’s not surprising. In any age those who wish to catch a glimpse of what God is doing in the world must begin by changing what they are doing. Otherwise there can be no transformation! So whenever we’re dissatisfied with the way things are or fed up with the symptoms of sin that so often make us blind to the joy of living, the first thing to consider is change, or in Jesus’ words, repentance. That shouldn’t be a strange notion to us–most people make some sort of attempt at self-improvement many times in the course of a lifetime. Of course what Jesus proclaimed was more than a primitive self-help program. We have a part in repentance to be sure, but as the people of AA have discovered, real change only comes with an infusion of Holy Spirit cleansing and power. It’s as we submit to our Higher Power that we begin the process of transformation, and can actually experience heavenly living! And as change becomes a reality, joy is restored.

Thought for the Day: What has repentance looked like in my life?

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