From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Repent!! A strong word – a challenging command. It can come off as judgmental and condescending. Who are you to tell me to repent, not like you are any better than me!? When we hear that – repent – it conjures up many different responses and feelings in all of us. But, that was part of the main message Jesus preached – repent!
I want you to read it and hear it in light of the rest of Jesus’ ministry and message. He didn’t walk around shouting at sinners to repent all the time. He didn’t stand in judgment over “those” people. In fact most of what Jesus did was simply invite people to get to know Him, to be with Him, and to follow Him. Jesus did way more inviting than judging. So, when you read that verse above read it as invitation to live the Kingdom Way.
In accepting the invitation to live in the Kingdom you will have to repent. Choosing to live this way means you have to repent – to leave some things behind. You’ll have to leave sin behind. You’ll have to leave yourself behind – you can’t be in charge in the Kingdom. In the Kingdom God is King and life is lived His way. But, what you leave behind will pale in comparison to what lies ahead.
Jesus used parables to describe what the Kingdom is like and once taught an entire lesson on what Kingdom life looks like (The Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5-7). He describes it as the greatest treasure you will ever find, a place where you will find safety and refuge, a place of forgiveness, a place of compassion, a place of love, and most importantly a place of redemption.
To accept this invitation to enter into Kingdom living doesn’t mean you have to wait to experience it. It is an invitation to begin living this life today. He wants you to follow Him and He will help you learn to live the Kingdom Way in every aspect of your life. Through the power of Holy Spirit you will begin to be transformed into a Kingdom Citizen. Which means all the Kingdom has to offer can be yours.
Are you ready to repent and live in the Kingdom? Ready to follow Jesus into this new way of life? Just say yes, and follow Him.
Follow Him With You,
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.