August 09, 2021
From that time, Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)
A great leader is known for what he believes and teaches. When Christ burst on the scene in human flesh, his first sermon indicated what He believed in and what He was opening for mankind.
... was the theme. To repent means "a change of mind." It means that a person was thinking and living in one direction, and something altered their thinking so profoundly that they began to think and move in an entirely different way.
People had been thinking merely about the kingdom of this world. But along came the Messiah. His message was that they needed to think differently because something entirely different had come.
Jesus opened their eyes to see that an entirely new kingdom (to them) was now here. And the way was open for them to be a part of this kingdom. Everything in Jesus' life began to illustrate what this kingdom was like and why it was so important.
It was a kingdom governed by God Himself where we live in glad submission to this perfect Ruler.
It was a kingdom filled with the virtues of Christ. It was a kingdom of such activity that the wrongs of this kingdom would be corrected. And Christ illustrated it as he went about "proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease" (vs. 23).
It was a kingdom of such good news that it needed to be proclaimed everywhere, to all people. That was His job in coming, and now, it is ours.
If we find ourselves living for this world, it's time for repentance. This order is passing away, and all it contains and represents. The Kingdom of God is eternal, and the way into this new kingdom is to follow the One who called us to this repentance.
Father, thank You for sending Your only Son to open Your kingdom to us. Thank You for His sacrificial death that gave us entrance, if we believe. Give us eyes to see the kingdom of this world and to resist its vain temptations and empty promises. Help us have a change of mind so that every hour of the day is lived for Your kingdom!
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