When a man is called and sent to preach repentance in the Name of the Lord, he must first be called and brought to repentance, himself. He must be drowned and die in the waters, then rise and emerge to the newness of life in Christ. For it is really the Cross and Resurrection of Christ that are preached in the preaching of repentance. The Cross and Resurrection of Christ are justification and repentance, forgiveness and life.
So the preacher of repentance must be swallowed up and spit out, before he can preach the death and life which are in Christ Jesus, our Lord. The preacher must be humbled and exalted by the Word that he is called and sent to preach. For his preaching and baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins point to the flesh and blood of the Crucified One, who bears the sins of the world in His own Body from the waters of the Jordan to the Cross. It is when the preacher suffers the Cross and dies that the Kingdom of God is at hand in the preaching of Christ Jesus.
When the preacher is thus humbled and exalted, killed and made alive, buried and raised by the One who sent him, by the One who humbled Himself and died and rose again, then he knows the mercies of God which are the point and purpose of his preaching of repentance. He shall not prevent the Cross, but bear it and preach it as the power of God unto salvation. He does not flee from his hard office, nor regret the reconciliation of sinners unto God in Christ, but rather delights in the patient loving-kindness and long-suffering compassion of the Lord.
From Joppa to Nineveh, from Caesarea to Rome, and even to the ends of the earth, what God has cleansed by the blood of the Christ and by His Word of forgiveness shall not be called unclean, but shall be clean indeed. For the Lord our God is merciful to all who call upon Him. To that end, He calls and sends His Prophets and Apostles, and the sons of the Prophets in the footsteps of the Apostles, to bear the Sign of Jonah in their bodies and preaching, at the font and from the altar, in their lives and from their mouths. That man should not die forever, but live, to the glory of God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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