Read Matthew 3:1-12
Good morning Family!
You’ve probably been involved in staring contests before. Haven’t you? It’s 1-2-3——-GO! and then you stare the other guy in the eyes until one of you blinks. Whoever blinks, laughs, or turns away first loses. Simple. Fun.
John the Baptist is setting things up here for a staring contest. The contest is between Jesus and sinners. His preaching calls all people to repentance. In other words, turn to God. But not just any god. There’s a specific person the Baptist turns people toward, and that person is his relative–Jesus. When he says, “the kingdom of heaven is near!”, he’s not talking about a place or geographical location. John is saying that the rule and reign of God is right here among you and He’s staring you right in the face.
At Christmas time the Christian remembers that God needed to have a showdown with Satan, Sin and Death. He needed to have a stare down with them in order to save you! But the stakes were a lot higher than claiming a victory in a game. This was no game. Eternities were on the line–your eternity!
On the cross, the Babe born in Bethlehem’s manger had a knockout, drag-down staring contest with the unholy trinity. Jesus stared the power of Sin in the face. He stared Death and damnation in the face. And He stared Satan himself in the face. Whoever blinked first lost.
Jesus never blinked. He continued through the suffering, beatings, crucifixion and ultimately death. In His death, the Christ-child demonstrated His victory. It’s weird to think of it like that–that death is victory. But in God’s plan of salvation, that’s what it is and that’s how it works. Through the Christ-child’s death you now have life. That’s God’s GIFT to you!
The Kingdom of God is staring you in the face right now. He calls you, and all people, to repentance. In other words, turning to Jesus and follow Him. This is a staring contest that God WANTS us to lose! He wants us to blink and turn to Him because in doing so, we really win! In repentance, God opens our hearts to let Jesus the King enter into your lives. There He rules with love and mercy, not fire and judgment. And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you are. He’s stared down your pasts, presents and futures for you–AND WON!
I love you! Dad