Broadcasting Repentance

Once Jesus settled into a base of operations in Capernaum, he began to do what he came to do: broadcast the news. And the news that he came to broadcast was not the evening news. (Thank goodness. Have you ever noticed how relentlessly bad the evening news can be?)

The news Jesus came to announce was very good news. The news was that he is the Light of the world and Life to those living under the shadow of death (Matthew 4:16).

As the light and life of the world, Jesus had wisdom that needed to be heard. But to be received this wisdom would require a change of mind on the part of people.

By nature, people’s minds are not on a receptive track, as Moses clearly indicates in the book of Genesis: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5, NIV).  

Jesus wants to get people back on track, receptive to God and to God’s loving plans for them. And he knows that getting on track begins with the fear of the Lord: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV).

So what’s the best characterization of Jesus’ teaching? Matthew tells us what it is: Changed minds. Changed hearts. Changed lives.

Repentance, in other words. Receptiveness. Because when Jesus comes near, his kingdom comes near, too. That’s why wise people tune in when Jesus is broadcasting.

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near'” (Matthew 4:17, NIV). 

Lord, change my mind and heart. Make me receptive to you and your wisdom. Get me back on track by shining the great light of your salvation into every corner of my mind and heart. May listening to you give me a repentant mind and heart. You are my Savior. You are my Lord. You are my light and my life.

Our reading for Sunday, January 4, is Genesis 7:1 – 9:17, Matthew 4:1-22 and Proverbs 1:1-7.

Header image based on "Radio" by Godber, CC by-SA 2.0

How to Be a Wise Man (or Woman) in 3 Easy Steps

What in the world are “magi”? Strong’s Concordance defines the word this way: a magus; the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.

It’s a pretty broad job description, isn’t it?

Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, writes about the wise men: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him'” (Matthew 2:1-2, NIV).

Something in their education and experience told the wise men that this particular star was unusual, and the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy about the birth of a king.

Whatever it was that told them this, they dropped everything—their schedules, their jobs, their families, their friends, their familiar places of living—and went together to find Jesus.

Why? Because they knew the most important thing they could do in this moment of their lives was just that. Find Jesus, the king, and then worship him. But they also knew that their destination was far. And as the old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Wise men, indeed!

What if you grabbed another person or two this year and did the same? You’re just three steps away!

Step 1: Commit to someone. Ask your spouse to pray and read the Bible together with you in 2015. In my humble opinion, way too few marriages feature spouses that pray and read the Bible together daily. Just saying. Alternatively, you could do the same with your children, or a buddy from church or your growth group. If you’re feeling particularly outreach-minded in 2015, you could even select someone from work, or school, or your neighborhood.

Step 2: Commit verbally. Say to the person(s) you have selected “Let’s do this! Let’s go search for Jesus, the King, together. We’ll pray with each other each day, share our SOAP journals, and go together to worship Jesus every day this year.”

Step 3: Commit the time. Put it on your calendar. Block out a daily opportunity with your fellow “wise man” when you can meet (even over the phone or via text) and share your thoughts about the King. Don’t forget to clear a space for prayer together daily, too.

Lord, help me to find you daily in the gospel. Help me to find someone with whom I can share this daily journey. And then, put your Spirit in my heart so that we may respond—mind, body, heart and soul—with worship.

Our reading for Friday, January 2, is Genesis 2:18 – 4:16, Matthew 2:1-18 and Psalm 2:1-12.

Header image based on "Orion Nebula" by Familiar, CC by 2.0