- John 4:1-45
- Matthew 4:12-22
- Mark 1:14-20
- Luke 4:14-30
“Now when [Jesus] heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee…From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” –Matthew 4:12, 17, ESV
John’s call to repentance stated that the kingdom of heaven was near. Interesting that once John was arrested, then Jesus preached. Jesus brought a message of repentance as well. But His rationale was different. Jesus’ reason for repentance centered on the kingdom of heaven already being present. I find it interesting that the message changed when John was jailed. The cry of the heart of God remains for people to come to repentance. It has been present since the first bite of the forbidden fruit. But to see so starkly the messaging changing upon the imprisonment of one of the great preachers fascinates me. Almost as if Jesus remained content with John’s preaching and had no reason to interrupt what was being taught. But with John no longer on the scene, a vacuum of truth emerged, and Jesus filled the vacuum. Jesus brought the same truth as John, just in the expanded unabridged version.
Maybe you’re John in this story, imprisoned in some circumstance that seems unfair. But maybe, just maybe, your imprisonment opens the door so that a mightier message is proclaimed. Maybe you needed to be no longer on the scene that the focus could be on Another. It could be just another step in the radical redemption story written by our Heavenly Father ages ago.