Get your Daily Encouragement with the 180
After Jesus was baptized by John, faced and successfully resisted the Evil one in the wilderness, Jesus was ready to begin his public ministry. His first words were: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Jesus could have started with any subject, yet he chose to introduce the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is not out there somewhere other than here; it’s here! Jesus says it’s near, here, and within your reach!
An exceptional teacher of the Scriptures, David Guzik, observes: Repent was thefirst word of John the Baptist’s message (Matthew 3:1-2). Repent was the first word of Jesus’ message (Matthew 4:14 and Mark 1:14-15). Repent was the first word in the preaching ministry of the twelve disciples (Mark 6:12). Repent was thefirst word in the preaching instructions Jesus gave to his disciples after his resurrection (Luke 24:46-47). Repent was the first word of exhortation in Peter’s sermon (Acts 2:38). Repent was the first word in the mouth of Paul through his ministry (Acts 26:19-20).
So, Jesus says: “Repent or change your mind about what you’re doing-wake up-for the Kingdom of heaven has come near, is here, and is within your reach.” His first word is “Repent”, which is so misunderstood! Repentance isn’t a word of feelings, to feel sorry about your sins. No! Repentance is about action-the action of changing your mind about the direction of your life. It has the added benefit of being a “wake-up call”! It’s too easy to be rocking along on planet earth, going along with the herd, embracing the earthly, physical, self-centered values that may be lofty, but temporary. WAKE UP! The Kingdom of God is now here among you and requires a drastic change of mind-a change of direction-in order to experience it! The Kingdom has a revolutionary, spiritual, set of principles and values that will make a positive difference in you and those you touch!
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4) Jesus’ primary activity to demonstrate this “good news” of the Kingdom was to meet the various needs of the people.Jesus’ message of the good news of the Kingdom was so attractive. They weren’t looking for a new Rabbi to come along and plant new synagogues in their villages. It’s still true today!
Why is it that our “gospel” (good news) message usually doesn’t include the Kingdom at all? If we want to walk, talk, think and love like Jesus, then we must pay attention to Jesus-his message and his methodology. How could we ever think that our ways might be better and more effective than his? So, let’s carefully and meaningfully respond to Jesus’ first word: REPENT! Change your mind, the direction and purpose of your life to embrace the Kingdom.