John the Baptist is a figure we encounter twice in the Christian calendar. Once during Advent, the other during Lent. John came to Prepare the Way for Christ, to prepare the way for new life. John’s message seems a little harsh — Repent! Change! Stop going that way! But in fact that is precisely what is needed if we are going to take hold of the gift of new life. We have to change directions. In this sermon, Rev. Brady talks about repentance, and asks us to consider what old ways we are being called to leave behind. If we want new life (do you?), we can’t hold on to the old one.
Gospel Message | Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 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. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!Listen to The Sermon Podcast