A sermon idea based on Mark 1:1-8 about how to prepare the way for Jesus to do his mightiest works in, around, and through us.
Mark 1:1-8 NRSV
 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;  the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'”  John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
THE BIG IDEA: Repentance for the forgiveness of sins prepares the way for us to understand and receive the best news of all – that Jesus Christ has ushered in a new kind of kingdom and we’re all invited!
Sometimes we think of “repentance” as a heavy requirement – an expectation communicated from the heart of God with a frown and forcefulness.
In other words, we don’t naturally see repentance as a call to peace, but rather as a call to disturbance.
But what if the pathway to peace is through repentance?
What if, instead, we saw repentance as a grand invitation? Repentance is the opportunity of a lifetime, and we’re all invited to go through the process, both individually and as a community, to make room for King Jesus to show up and do his greatest work in, around, and through us.
Repentance is an opportunity for change.
And it’s the kind of change we all know that we want and need. Repentance is a matter of changing our thinking from seeing ourselves and our sin from our perspective to seeing from God’s perspective.
God’s responds to our repentance with grace and peace.
John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus, but asked people to prepare for his ministry with their repentance. John knew that in order to receive the work of God, our hearts needed to be cleared and prepared.
Baptism is an illustration of repentance and its fruit.
Baptism – the act of being buried like Jesus and resurrected like Jesus – is an incredible illustration of the inner change that takes place when we transfer our faith from our own goodness to the goodness of God.
If you want the kind of peace Jesus offers (and if we, collectively, want peace in our world), it begins with a decision to change the way we think and to agree with God.
The photo above can be used freely. Just give credit to Max Beck who shared it on Unsplash.