From that time Jesus began to preach his message: ‘Turn away from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is near!’ (verse 17)
Read Matthew 4:12-17
John the Baptist had heralded the coming Messiah, the Saviour sent by God to set people free. John’s message was that people should turn away from their sins, because the kingdom of heaven was near.
Now the time had come. Jesus was beginning his work on earth, and he preached the same message as John: ‘Turn away from your sins’. He wanted people to stir themselves into action, to repent of their sinful lives, ‘because the Kingdom of heaven is near!’
Those who heard this message were actually being given a glimpse of the kingdom right then and there, because Jesus himself was heaven’s king. His coming was about to have a greater impact on the world than anything that had come before or would come afterwards. His purpose, through his life, death and resurrection, was to rescue people and bring them safely into his kingdom.
Jesus came to save you too. Now you also have the right to be a citizen of heaven.
Thank you, Jesus, king of heaven, for saving me and making me a citizen of your kingdom. I want to stay with you for ever. Amen.
By Grace Bock, in “Refreshment for each day” (LCA, Openbook Publishers (2003)
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