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Lenten Devotional February 14, 2024

“After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”” (Mark 1:14–15, CSB)

Jesus from the beginning of His public ministry proclaimed that God’s kingdom had come near, that the time had been fulfilled. And He asked those who heard Him to respond: Repent and believe the good news!”

Repentance is our response to Jesus. But what is repentance? It means to “turn” or to “return.” Repentance is returning to the Sovereign reign of God.  This is gloriously demonstrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He recognized the futility of the life he lived apart from his father. He had nothing to offer but came empty-handed to discover grace. Not just forgiveness but restoration as his father’s son.

Repentance rejects sin. For Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24, CSB). We cannot serve God and sin. This is the infidelity which the prophets declared that Israel was continually engaged. Return to the Lord and leave the false gods forever behind!

Repentance results in holiness because our Lord acts. And we are given the promise that He acts: “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28, CSB) The good news is that He so acts for anyone who will believe and repent, no matter their past. Jesus tells of the response of those who heard John the Baptizer: John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.” (Matthew 21:32, CSB).

And so, we begin this Lent. Remember you cannot serve God and anything else as master. In this season of penitence identify those things which you have wrongfully followed. Return to God with full fidelity. The way back is through Christ Jesus alone.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,Look full in His wonderful face,And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,In the light of His glory and grace.

— Helen H. Lemmel


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