“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
How did Jesus encourage people in his day to respond to this good news? How should we respond to it today?
When we hear the call of Jesus to repent, he isn’t telling us simply to feel sorry for our sins. Rather, he is inviting us to turn our life around, to live with a King, and therefore to live with new purpose, new vitality, new meaning, and new joy.
In a simple but powerful imperative, Jesus spells out how people should respond to the good news of the Kingdom of God: “Repent and believe the good news!” The second part of this imperative is the easiest for us to understand. Jesus was calling people to trust that he was telling the truth. The long-awaited reign of God was at hand in him and his ministry. His proclamation was true and worthy of full acceptance.
Yet it was not something that deserved mere intellectual assent. It wouldn’t have been enough if those who heard the good news of the Kingdom had merely said, “That’s great. How true! Amen. Preach it, brother!” Rather, Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom called for a response. It demanded repentance.
The NIV uses the English word “repent” to translate the Greek imperative metanoeite. Repentance involves leaving behind our evil deeds and attitudes. But it also includes a new way of thinking and living. To repent is to turn your life around and pursue God and his path. The gospel of the Kingdom of God calls forth a whole new way of thinking, living, and being under the righteous, gracious reign of God.
Thus, when we hear the call of Jesus to repent, he isn’t telling us simply to feel sorry for our sins. Rather, he is inviting us to turn our life around, to live with a King, and therefore with new purpose, new vitality, new meaning, and new joy.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have there been times in your life when you have repented? When? Why?
Do you have behaviors or beliefs from which you should turn away?
How might your life be different if your whole life was “pointed” in God’s direction?
Gracious God, as I hear the good news of your reign, may I respond with all that I am. May I believe this good news. May I trust you as my King. May I leave behind everything in my life that opposes you. May I embrace a new way of living, one that honors you both in word and deed.
Help me, Lord, to live a life of repentance. Every time sin begins to take hold of me, may I turn away and turn toward you. May I seek you with all that I am, living in the newness and joy of your Kingdom. Amen.