Repent and Believe

Repent and Believe

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you,the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead ofyou. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did notbelieve him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after yousaw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
Matthew 21:31,32

It was a shocking thing to say. Jesuswas talking to some religious leaders and told them that tax collectors andprostitutes were entering the kingdom of heaven ahead of them. At that time,prostitutes and tax collectors were considered the worst of sinners.

So, how could Jesus say this? Becausethose sinners believed what John the Baptist preached. He had told them torepent and trust in Jesus. That was the best thing they ever heard. So, the taxcollectors and the prostitutes repented, but the religious leaders to whomJesus was speaking did not. They didn’t understand that they needed to repentjust as much as everyone else.

And this is where we need to watchourselves. It is easy to think we are better than other people–that they needto repent more than we do. But repentance is recognizing that no matter howgood you may look outwardly, you’re no better than anyone else, and your onlyhope is in Christ alone. That’s why tax collectors and prostitutes were gettingin ahead of the religious leaders. Not because they were better than them butbecause they turned from their sin and trusted their Savior.

It was a shocking thing for Jesus tosay. But he said it out of love. He wanted to warn the religious leaders sothat they would recognize their sin, repent, and trust in their Savior.

And do you know what? He is doing thesame thing for you now in this devotion. Repent and believe the good news!

Lord, show me my sins and forgive me for them. Help me to trust in your perfectlife and innocent death and give me your righteousness. Amen.