The Two Point Sermon
John the Baptist comes to life in Matthew chapter 3. He graces the pages of Scripture with a short two point sermon. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;” and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” John was the prophet who prepared the way for the Lord Jesus to enter humanity. John’s two main points were the nearness of the kingdom, and repentance.
Repentance was a part of John’s ministry. He demanded that those coming to him for baptism showed “fruit” that bore evidence of true repentance. The Pharisees and Sadducees come strolling onto the scene to see what all the hubba-ballu was down at the river Jordan. John shames them and wants no part in their baptism because they showed no evidence of true repentance.
Then Jesus comes walking down to the river. John sees him and wants no part in baptizing the Lord either. John wouldn’t baptize the religious elites because they lacked repentance. Now he won’t baptize Jesus because he has no need of repentance. Jesus tells John that it is fitting for him to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus is the Old Testament’s promised suffering servant who must identify with sinful humanity in every way.
The baptism of Jesus inaugurates the Messianic Age. During this age we are to prepare ourselves for the kingdom. This kingdom began in part by the coming of the King in his incarnation. It will be consummated by the coming of the King in judgement. As we prepare ourselves for this future coming, we are to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. In our day to day dealings in this life, it can become easy to let the fruit of repentance mold and rot. We must continually look to our hope seated at the right hand of God, and press on in our fruit bearing.
Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand! Keep bearing fruit in repentance! Our King has come, and our King is coming!