From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [emph. added] (Mat 4:17 KJV)
Jesus has just completed His 40 day fast in the desert and been tempted by Satan. Jesus has also just learned that His cousin John is in jail for preaching in the desert. It is in this frame of mind that Matthew tells us that Christ begins His earthly ministry.
The disciples (followers) of Christ today are still being enlisted to spread this message today. Unfortunately, we all too often lose sight of the need for repentance and deal solely with the last part. Modern followers do not want to offend others. When they do mention it, it is usually in passing with no definition to aid the new believer.
The Greek word used here is metanoeoÌ„. Thayer’s Greek dictionary defines it as “to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins” Someone making a decision to follow Christ should see their past sins as totally repugnant, horrid, and disgusting. In this light, they choose to turn from and follow Christ’s example and way.
I want to make one thing perfectly clear. It is not the disciple’s action of turning from sin that gains their entrance into heaven. That is solely the act of Jesus’ redemptive work. Their turning is the result of their new view of sin.
Filed under: Christian Living