“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:1-6)
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. He was called by God to prepare the way for Christ to come. He did so by “preaching the baptism of repentance.” It was the people’s repentance that made (1) the crooked “paths straight” (2) “filled” the “valleys” (3) “brought” down “every mountain” (4) made “the rough ways…smooth,” and (5) prepared the way for Jesus to come.
According to Stephen Olford, “Revival is that strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people—restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.” Indeed, revival has been simply defined as a “divine visitation.” But what is it that prepares the way for Christ to visit us in revival. It is repentance!
Contrary to popular opinion, repentance is not something that we can work up within ourselves. Instead, it is something that God must give us (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25-26). As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden.”
What we need in the church today only God can grant us. We need a “godly sorrow” over our sins that leads to a repentance “not to be repented of” (2 Corinthians 7:10). We need, as Oswald Chambers put it, “the panging pains of repentance,” those “agonies” of heart that “the Holy Spirit [alone] produces.” Until the church is this heartbroken over our sin, we need not expect revival to breakout in our country.
Pray that God will break our hearts over our sins with a godly sorrow that will lead us to a repentance not to be repented of.