It’s Jesus’ final week on this planet. Even though the religious leaders were plotting to kill him, Jesus went to the temple courts and started teaching the people. That didn’t exactly sit well with the leaders:
Some religious people of Jesus’ day believed that calamities were the result of God’s disfavor. Jesus addressed that notion head-on by discussing two major events: (1) the massacre by the Romans of Galileans who had come to Jerusalem to worship and (2) the collapse of a tower in Siloam that killed eighteen people:
Here’s today’s rather sobering selection:
Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Yesterday, we started discussing Jesus’ first recorded sermon: “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
We began by discussing the first 11 words. Today, we’ll focus on the 12th: REPENT.
Today’s topic? Jesus’ first message.
It was only eight words. Here it is:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. (Matthew 4:17)
Interestingly, Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist started his ministry with those exact same words. (Matthew 3:2)
So, what exactly did Jesus and John mean? Today, we’ll look at the first word. Tomorrow we’ll look at the other seven.
Repent and believe the good news!
Today Christians all over the world are observing Ash Wednesday.
What Exactly Is Ash Wednesday?
Traditionally, Ash Wednesday is a day of intense repentance and reflection that kicks off the Lent Season. Many gather in churches to receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads in ashes (typically from palm leaves burned after the prior year’s Palm Sunday service).
Ashes represent sorrow for sinning — or “missing the mark” on how God wants His people to live.