Matthew’s Gospel: Repent
40 Blogs of Lent: 7
Jesus having been baptised by John in the Jordan, and having spent time in the wilderness confronting the devil now starts his ministry:
Matthew always provides a link to what has gone before, here the link is that Jesus’ ministry started like that of John, preaching repentance. The wording for Jesus’ message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” is the same wording used at the beginning of Chapter 3 the ministry of John. The preaching of Jesus starts with him preaching the same message as John. In a few verses time comes what we call the Sermon on the mount, Jesus message is to move on from that of John, but it is a continuation of John’s ministry in the same way that the ministry of John was a continuation of the Old Testament prophets.
The notes in my ESV study Bible say that Jesus ministry was three years: a year of obscurity, a year of popularity and a year of rejection. This is all we have about the obscure year in Matthew’s Gospel, the first four chapters of John’s Gospel give more details. This was what Jesus preached for a year, that we should repent.
Repentance is not being sorry. Sorrow may accompany repentance, but it is not necessary. Sorrow is about feelings, repentance is about action. It means turn. Turn away from the bad things you do to other people – turn towards them and do good for them. That is not only the meaning of repentance, it is also the sign that you have repented.
Have you repented?
For those who want to follow the reading:
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 4 ESVUK (quote is from Isaiah 9:1-2)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.