John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:4-15)

John did not eat grasshoppers because he liked them or because they were low in fat. He ate them because that was the only kosher meat he could find in the middle of nowhere. He proclaimed a message of repentance and he proclaimed that a man would soon come to baptize people with the Holy Spirit. That someone was the Messiah, the promised savior of Israel. When the Messiah, Jesus, arrived, he took John’s message of the Gospel and brought it back from the wilderness.

“Gospel” is an old English translation of the Greek word that just means “good news.” So what was the good news Jesus taught? First, the kingdom of God was near. Second, repent of your sins. And third, believe it!

Repentance is not just about feeling bad for your sins. Repentance is all about changing your mind. It means that you realize you’re going the wrong way, so you turn around, and take a different path.

Jesus’ Good News is that the kingdom is here, you’ve been going away from it, but he wants to show you how to go toward it.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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