I have begun reading again the story of Jesus. Matthew records significant details of His background, birth, baptism and the battle with the devil. Then He began to preach.
His first word is “repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” - Turn to God
He was qualified to preach ‘repent’, as He was truly one with God and preaching for God. His eyes saw two things:
1. A people astray from God
2. A people ignorant of their own condition as sinners condemned by God.
So from the standpoint of God, and with the compassion of understanding, He preaches “Repent!”
Repent, means a change of mind. It is implied , as John the Baptist preached, that repentance would evidence itself by a change of behaviour. But now that the King had arrived, the emphasis changes from better behaviour, to a change of mind regarding Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the King, Jesus the Saviour. Over and over, the message of the Kingdom drawing near is a direct reference to the presence of the king Himself. This is the real meaning of the expression “The kingdom of God is within you” being better translated “among you”.
It is true the Kingdom of God is not what we eat and drink, rather it is righteousness, love and joy in the Holy Spirit, but primarily the Kingdom is connected to the King. This is why Peter looks into the future for his entrance into the eternal kingdom, when the King returns.
And so the King calls people to become His subjects in His Kingdom - He can heal their diseases (Matthew 4.2-25) , He gives a superior law (Matthew 5-7), . At the end of Matthews gospel we hear the most important question “What should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” (Matthew 27.22)
Turn around from straying ways, look closely on Jesus and be not faithless but believing. He is the true King who saves us from our sins to forgiveness, from being lost to being accepted, from hell to heaven. “ Repent and believe the Good News" today.