Summary: A sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Advent Series B Repentance
2nd Sunday in Advent
1 ¶ The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--"
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Do you remember the old Johnny Carson show?Johnny Carson had a side-kick who opened each show with a phrase that never varies. Ed McMahon bursts forth the introduction, "Here’s Johnny!!" Then the talk man comes forth from the wings to entertain his audience and TV viewers. As the herald of the show, Ed McMahon plays an important role in getting the show off the ground with gusto.
Jesus was coming to stage the greatest drama the world would ever witness. It would unfold the mighty act of redemption. While he was in the wings there was a man out front preparing the people for his entrance. His name was John. He was a big man. He had gusto !! And his remark as Jesus was stepping forward to assume his major role on the stage of history was simply, "Here comes Jesus!!!"
John’s job was to make people ready for the coming of Jesus. John made the people ready by preaching a baptism of repentance. He wanted the people’s hearts to be ready to receive the grace of God that was coming in the form of a person name Jesus. He wanted the people to know, to believe that they were sinners in the eyes of God, that they needed the redemption that was coming in the form of this peasant carpenter.
John was asking the people to look that their own lives, to see their need for the one who was coming.
John the Baptist asked the people to repent, to look at their lives of sin, and then repent, to make a U -turn, to turn away from their sins.
U-turns in our spiritual lives are permitted unlike on the highways of our state.
With Jesus we are permitted even encouraged to make U-turns. We are to repent, to turn away from, to turn around from those sins that hinder the work of Jesus in our lives.
We do this not to make ourselves worthy of Jesus, but because of his love and forgiveness for us, our repentance comes forth. Repentance does not bring forgiveness, but forgiveness brings repentance.... It was a turning point of the whole life of man toward... not done in the hope that God might respond but was itself a response to the news that God has acted first.
We repent, we make u-turns in life because of the great love God has for us, we accept his forgiveness, then we change, then we turn around, then we repent.
This concept of repentance or metanoia only occurs in this chapter and verse in the whole of Mark’s gospel. Mark wants to make the point that repentance is very important. It marks the stage for the coming of Jesus in our lives.
In repentance; we are turning back to the ideal, the way God created us to be. Our repentance is accepting and acknowledging that we are sinners, who need the forgiveness of almighty God.
In our act of repentance, we are turning to God, asking him in a sense to recreate a new person, one who is more like what God intended us to be in the first place. In the act of repentance we are taking the I, that personal pronoun out of the picture, and replacing it with a three-letter word, G O D , God.
In our act of repentance, we are declaring that we are no longer relying on ourselves, but we are surrendering to God, so that he may, through the waters of our baptism, recreate a new me, a me who is closer to the image that God created me to be at the beginning of time.