Change Your Direction

According to Matthew, Jesus appeared publicly in his new role first to be baptized and then to seek solitude in the wilderness where he was tempted (OK, that wasn’t public). Then, Matthew says (4:17), “From that time Jesus began to proclaim ‘Repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.’ ”

To American, and probably British ears, the word “repent” may conjure images that are really far from the actual meaning of the word. I picture the hate-filled preacher with the black suit and hat and black beard in the movie version of “Paint Your Wagon”. You may have a similar image come to mind of an accuser pointing a finger and shouting “repent or go to hell.” And you get the idea that they’d rather see you roast.

I’m sorry the word has been so misused.

It really just means to change direction. Jesus was inviting people into a new way of doing life. Just like his cousin John (the Baptist).

Think about Jesus’ entire ministry. He made pointed comments to those who thought they were right with God but who were deluding themselves. John (the Evangelist) loves to point those out.

Jesus really used the word as an invitation. There was no accusation. No condemning to Hell.

He was saying, follow me and walk into a new life. Now. And forever. And we still can.

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