Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Christian Participation in Nation Building – A Call to Repentance
St. Luke 3:7-14
v8 Bear fruits worthy of repentance.
In St. Luke chapter 3, we read about the ministry of John the Baptizer, the prophesied forerunner of the Messiah. John is called to prepare the way for the arrival of Jesus Christ by proclaiming a message of repentance. Repentance literally means a “change of mind,” but Scripture indicates a broader meaning. In the Old Testament, repentance was a call to turn away from sin and to turn toward God (Ezekiel 18:21,30).
In Luke 3:8, John instructs the people to bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and in return, the crowds asked John what they needed to do in order to do so (Luke 3:10). John provides the answer in verses 11-14. Here John does not speak about social separation or the offering of more sacrifices. Instead, John’s answer is to look out and care for the needs of others, which is the same message that Jesus Himself proclaimed. The ideal that John is teaching involves an unselfish approach to life that is compassionate towards others. Ultimately, a life turned to God is an unselfish life. Addressing the tax collectors and soldiers, John also called for honesty. John says that a life turned to God does not cheat others but is a life that reflects honesty in our practices and interactions with others. Further, a life turned to God demonstrates contentment with what God has provided. In summary, a repentant heart does good to others because God’s love has been so great towards us. A life that has turned to God is one in which we joyfully share what we have been given.
God is not glorified by our begrudging submission to rules but in our joy in submitting to Him. God desires that our lives be changed and transformed by the mercy and grace that we have received in Jesus Christ. When we acknowledge how merciful and gracious God has been to us, we should turn to Him with humble gratitude and complete submission to His will. Let us examine our lives and seek repentance and live as people who have truly turned to God. Let us be selfless, honest, giving, and willing to serve. With true repentance, let us be a reflection of God’s love so that our Christian witness can positively impact and bless the lives of others, our nation, and the world.
Heavenly Father, in Your grace and mercy, lead us from the paths of sin to true repentance and humility. O Lord, enable us to lovingly and joyfully serve You and others with selflessness, honesty, compassion, and generosity. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“What does repentance mean? It means to change – to change your mind, change the way that you’re living – and to determine that with God’s help you will live for Christ.” – Billy Graham
Rev. Christopher Phil Daniel
Midwest Youth Chaplain and Vicar of Bethel MTC (Frankfort), St. John’s MTC (Michigan), Kansas MTC, and Mar Thoma Congregation of Minneapolis
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church