Matthew 4:17 (NKJV) captures a pivotal moment in Jesus' ministry:

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Devotions, Repentance

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” 

The first words ever spoken in the ministry of John The Baptist was “Repent – The Kingdom of God is at hand.” So it was for Jesus at the start of His ministry as we see in the verse above.

We can take it then that the word repent must be pivotal in the journey you and I are on. John the Baptist was a major influencer who lived and worked in the time of Jesus. His sole purpose was to pave the way for Jesus and baptise Him. When John baptised Jesus he was prepared to give up his following and was beheaded by King Herod in the process. Jesus said there was none greater than John the Baptist.

To repent means to ‘turn away from’ or change behaviour. It’s an inner cleansing; a way of taking the heavy burden of your past and giving it to God. You may need to make amends to people you have wronged and in so doing you take the burden off them too.

My back pack was full of rocks and was so heavy that suicide was my only option to rid myself of the weight. Jesus got to me at the eleventh hour and I handed it all over to Him.

I surrendered and discovered real freedom for the first time in my life.

Freedom is the word for our age and yet real freedom alludes many of us because we don’t understand the real meaning of repentance.

In this simple yet profound statement, Jesus sets the tone for His earthly ministry, calling people to repentance and announcing the arrival of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus’ message of repentance is timeless and universal. It’s a call to turn away from sin and selfishness and to turn toward God and His kingdom. Repentance isn’t just about feeling sorry for our sins; it’s about making a conscious decision to change our hearts and minds, aligning them with God’s will.

Reflection Questions:

  • How does Jesus’ call to repentance challenge your understanding of sin and righteousness?
  • In what areas of your life do you need to heed Jesus’ call to repentance and realign your priorities with the kingdom of heaven?
  • What practical steps can you take today to cultivate a lifestyle of repentance and surrender to God’s will?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Papa God, thank You for the gift of repentance and the opportunity to turn back to You. Help us to heed Jesus’ call to repentance and to live our lives in alignment with Your kingdom. Give us the strength and courage to turn away from sin and to walk in Your ways. May Your Holy Spirit guide us each step of the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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