In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
John came baptizing with water for repentance. At that time he knew that the kingdom of heaven had drawn near because Jesus had finally come. He was at the start of his public ministry. Jesus has now come and gone, so we know the unfulfilled aspects of the kingdom are nearer to us than they were for John. And Father, we therefore desire to turn from our sins.
Help us to turn from sin in all its forms, first in those obvious ways in which we know we offend you, but also in those ways that are less obvious. Reveal to us those ways in which we sin against you and defile ourselves. Show us those actions, behaviors or attitudes in which our motives are impure. Like the people of Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan who were going out to John to be baptized we confess our sins to you.
Let our lives be characterized by repentance. Let our hearts and our minds be pure. In every way, let us experience that change of mind that leads to a change in direction. Let our only desire be to more fully follow you. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again, and it is high time that we, his bride, made ourselves ready.
The New Commentary on the Whole Bible, editors J.D. Douglas, Philip W. Comfort, brings up the interesting possibility that Simeon called Niger who appears in Acts 13:1 is the same person as Simon of Cyrene mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels as the man who helped Jesus carry His cross. I believe this is true, though I’ve yet to see anything beyond a couple of quick cross-references as to how we can come to that conclusion. Probably no one has written much about it because it doesn’t really matter.
Anyway, here goes:
First of all, to explain the difference in the names, Simeon and Simon are alternate spellings of the same name.
Everything we know about Simon who carried the cross is summed up in this verse from Mark:
Mark 15:21 (NKJV) Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of…
Would like to share this. It is taking place November 9-12 at Horizon Central. Karen Kornelsen, a Horizon/Servant Senders missionary with Wycliffe is bringing this to us. It’s a program they have used successfully in a variety of settings.