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“There’s good news, and there’s bad news”. A whole body of jokes begin this way, and we laugh ruefully because that statement is generally true. The news is hardly ever good or bad, but rather a blend of results better for some than others. One ball team beats another; is this good news, or bad? John the Baptist preaches repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Good news or bad? It’s great news for sinners who repent. It’s good news for people who yearn to be forgiven and know they have reason to be. It’s not good news for people who have no intention of leaving their sin behind. And its positively bad news for the self-righteous, convinced of their innocence and resentful that sinful types are getting off the hook. The message of John the Baptist is comfort with a catch. The catch is baptism, a drowning to the old way and a resurrection into grasping new life. We can’t find comfort in religion – not this religion! – if we intend to remain just as we are. John’s baptism is with water, bracing and cold. The Mighty One is coming along soon with fire and spirit. Things are going to change. (GPBS eNews)


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