Is it not interesting that the devil's first temptation was to question what God says, "Did God actually say?" Revelation 12:9 describes the devil as the one who deceives the whole world. Some translations describe him as the one who leads the whole world astray. In John 8:44, Jesus says that when the devil speaks he lies. Jesus calls him the "father of lies". Why do I question God's word? How do I question His word?
It is interesting in John the Baptist's first statements he gave two commands. In Matthew 3:2, the command is "Repent". In Matthew 3:8, the command is "Bear fruit". True repentance always bears fruit as the evidence of repentance. In Matthew 21:28-32 Jesus uses a parable of two sons that gives a great picture of true repentance. The first son originally refused to obey his father. The second son said he would obey the father but did not. In Matthew 21:29, Jesus tells what happened after the first son refused to do what his father asked. Jesus says, "he changed his mind and went". In the Greek, "he changed his mind" is one word that means to think differently, regret and repent. This is always the first step in true repentance. True repentance requires rethinking and agreeing with the Father. The second step in this parable, after agreeing with his father, the first son "went". This action is equivalent to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance". True repentance has the faith to do what the father asked. Faith always produces action. Notice in Matthew 21:32, Jesus charges the chief priest and elders (Matt 21:23) with failing to truly repent.
"They set the alter in place" because they feared the people who lived in the land. The Jews who returned (less than 50,000) from Babylon did what God had instructed them to do even though they were surrounded by opposition. Father, may my desire to do as you instruct override all my concerns about what others might do or think. May I worship You in the face of opposition.
I find it of great interest that Peter preached the same thing in his first sermon that John the Baptist did in Matthew 3:2. To add to the significance of this command to repent by both John the Baptist and Peter, look at Matthew 4:17. When Jesus began to preach, he commanded the same thing, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". It would seem repentance is of great importance.
Holy Spirit, thank you for convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment. Jesus, thank you for accomplishing everything necessary so I can repent. Father, I desire to be quick to repent, please strengthen my desire.