Thursday, February 7, 2019
Hey Fletch … Thank you for all you are doing in the will of God. Matthew 4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Will you explain what that is really saying? I need a clear understanding of that Scripture, so I can be a blessing to others. Thank you for your time in this matter.
DRF—I’ve been deep into writing my next book, ‘Predators in the Church,’ so sorry about the slight delay in getting back to you.
We see the phrase “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” in Matthew 4:17. There it is said by Jesus. Yet, a chapter earlier, John the Baptist says the same thing in Matthew 3:2.
Those are good words for any season in ministry. According to Bauer’s “Greek Lexicon” (BDAG), the word “repent” means to “change one’s mind, feel remorse, repent, be converted.” When you change your mind about something, it will change your actions. John and Jesus are calling their listeners to align their lives with God’s kingdom. I like to think of this like doing a 180 in your car. You are driving down the highway. Suddenly you see a signpost that says, “road construction ahead, make a u-turn.” You can keep going down the road and crash or follow the sign.
There is no better time to have said this phrase than while Jesus was on earth. The kingdom was certainly near. The phrase can be used today because the spiritual kingdom is near. The phrase is not necessary in preaching the gospel, but the idea in it certainly is.