No one likes going back to square one and having to start over. For me the thought brings back childhood memories of playing Snakes and Ladders or Ludo…and losing. But starting over is exactly what Jesus invites us to do. His message was “Repent!” It means to rethink your plans for living or to urgently change your direction.
But actually there was more to Jesus’ message than this. In full, His announcement to the world was “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).” It is a call to think again, in light of new information. Something has changed. The Kingdom of Heaven, or Kingdom of God (they are one and the same thing) has moved. Once upon a time it was far away, but now it is close…close enough to touch.
So Jesus’ call to “Repent” is actually a very positive thing. He is alerting us to a major development in world history. Jesus’ arrival on planet earth signalled the arrival of a new government on the planet. This government is one that transcends race, geography, language, culture, history and time. It is a Kingdom and its King is Jesus. He is only and always good, and for a time, His government is open to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Every government offers benefits to its citizens and God’s Kingdom is no exception to this. This is why we need to repent. The arrival of the Kingdom of God means there are new opportunities and possibilities and outcomes available to us in life. These may be worth rethinking everything for, they may be worth urgently changing our direction for. This is exciting, it is life changing, and it is unprecedented!