From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 NABRE
Jesus has returned from the wilderness to the land of his upbringing in Galilee. Hearing the news of John the Baptist arrest, taken into to custody by hostile authorities (cf. Matthew 4:12) Jesus is propelled into a new phase of activity. Jesus returns to Nazareth seemingly to say good bye. Afterwards, Jesus settles in Capernaum, a town on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee. Marking this transition Matthew begins the quoted verse, “From that time on” which introduces the public ministry of Jesus. Jesus preaching is summarized in the one sentence, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the same message that John the Baptist had been proclaiming (cf. Matthew 3:2) and it is the same message Jesus will send out with his twelve apostles. It urges people to listen and make a change of direction in their lives, adopt a new way of thinking and action. Repenting is what we try to do when we want to turn away from what is a sinful and selfish behavior to a life of responsibility, of living the standards of God.
Additionally Jesus proclaims the kingdom of heaven is at hand. As an initial proclamation from Jesus we can understand that God is establishing His Kingship over the world though His Messiah, who was with God in heaven. Heaven is an indirect reference to God, other gospel writers use the words kingdom of God (cf. Mark 4:11, Luke 18:16.) The kingdom is making its entrance through the words and actions of Jesus. Heaven is sown into the world as a hidden power that grows and exercises influence over time. It won’t receive full splendor until Jesus comes again as promised. We don’t know when that will be.
Do you need to make changes? Are you willing to seek help from Jesus?God's kingdom is making its entrance through the words and actions of Jesus. Heaven is sown into the world as a hidden power that grows and exercises influence over time. It won't receive full splendor until Jesus comes again as promised. Click To Tweet
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