After being tempted by the devil, then ministered to by angels, Jesus went to Capernaum to stay, and from that time, He began to preach this message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The Greek word for Repent is metanoeo, pronounced met-an-o-eh-o, which means to think differently or afterwards, i.e. – reconsider (feel compunction). So when Jesus is telling us to repent, He’s commanding us to change our mind… That’s why Paul wrote: Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2 NASB).
The Lord is telling us that we must have a new mindset. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Instead of relying on my own thoughts and opinions, I must be open to the knowledge of God, because, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 NASB).
You see, the kingdom of heaven is near, so we must become kingdom people rather than conforming to the ways of the world. Jesus commands us to change our ways. You see, my old way of thinking and behaving was okay when I belonged to the world, but when I came to the kingdom of God, I had to alter my thoughts and my behavior to a better way.
This is a crude illustration of this concept… When I am at home, I can walk around in my ratty old tee-shirt and sweat pants. Because I am in my own “world,” I can walk around without bathing or brushing my teeth if I don’t feel like it. I can even belch and fart out loud if I choose to do so – and who cares if I never clean my house?
However, if I receive an invitation from the President to come and live in the White House, I’m going to have to change my ways. I’m going to have to wear the garments fitting for a member of that household. No longer will I be allowed to live in filth, because as a member of that elite household, I must keep myself and my surroundings clean and pure – above reproach, so as not to shame the President or myself. And when I come into the presence of the President, I will need to make sure I’m clean and well-dressed. I will also change my behavior, because the things that I once thought were acceptable (like belching and farting out loud) are unacceptable in the presence of the President. You see, I will change because I’ve come into the presence of the President and his domain.
This is why Jesus commanded, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17 NKJV). You see, in the same way I needed to repent to come into the President’s presence and his domain, I need to repent and turn away from my former thoughts and ways, because I’ve come close to the King of kings and now I’ve entered into His kingdom. Won’t you join me and repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close to us?
Cheryl A. Showers