Jesus’ First Message

We continue our 40-day journey deeeep into the of Jesus.

Here we discussed Jesus’ first words. Here we talked about Jesus’ first miracle.

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.

Ashes to Ashes

Dust you are and to dust you will return.
(Genesis 3:19)

Repent and believe the good news!
(Mark 1:15)

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.

Jesus on Repentance

repentnewWe continue our journey into every word spoken by Jesus in the Gospels to help us all KNOW JESUS MORE NOW.

We’re in the midst of a series entitled JESUS ON EVERYTHING, where we’re looking at what Jesus said on a wide variety of subjects with a minimum of commentary from me.

Today’s topic? REPENTANCE. Below is a greatest hits collection of Jesus’ words on that subject.

Jesus kicked off his ministry with this message:


“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17)

John the Baptist started his ministry with the above words. So did Jesus. In my book, that means we should probably pay attention.

What exactly does “repent” mean? Basically, it’s turning away from our sins and back toward God.

Here’s how it works in my life. God gives me pretty clear directions on where He’d like me to go. But sometimes when His way gets a bit narrow or rough I toss His directions aside and take a detour.

Usually, the road starts off nice and wide and inviting. So, I step on the gas. God posts warning signs approximately every fifteen feet, but I ignore ’em. Red lights start flashing all over the dashboard and the car starts wheezing and shaking and smoking, but that just makes me stomp on the gas harder.

Suddenly, I realize that what once looked like a fabulous destination is actually the edge of a steep cliff. But just as I’m about to plunge into the abyss, God jams my foot onto the brake and we skid to a stop.

He then asks one simple question: “Ready to turn around?”

I take one last look into the pit, gulp and say “yes.” He places His hands next to mine on the steering wheel and together we execute a perfect U-turn and head back toward His narrow path.

Unfortunately, I find that I have to repeat that little lesson waaaaaay too often. But each time I learn that if I truly confess and turn away from my sins, God’s always there to forgive me and steer me back in the right direction.

Are you following God’s road map for your life? If not, repent NOW. Confess your sins, turn around and head back down God’s narrow path. His Kingdom’s a whole lot better than any other destination.