11/10 Matthew 4:17

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

After Jesus' baptism and temptation, He returned to His home in Nazareth. His message was rejected and His life threatened (Luke 4:29), so He moved to Capernaum. There He stayed in the home of one of His disciples, Peter. The remains of the house have been identified. It was only a block from the synagogue and a couple of blocks from the lake the Bible calls the Sea of Galilee. The main road from Rome to Egypt, the Way of the Sea, passed by their door (Isaiah 9:1-2).

Then Jesus began by preaching the same message that John was preaching (Matthew 3:2). To repent means to have a radical reversal in one's thinking and behavior. It means to turn around and go the opposite direction. The Jews were focused on daily necessities and hoped to rid themselves of Roman rule. Religious and political leaders were corrupt. Fighting among the various religious sects was part of daily life. The deliverer they hoped for was a military hero whose victory would usher in prosperity. That kind of thinking had to be turned around to prepare them for the arrival of the kingdom of God.

The kingdom was not a physical one that ruled over other nations, but the rule of God in the hearts of men of every nation. Jesus was rejected in His hometown because He declared the message would go to the nations (Luke 4:24-28). A few did repent and shift their thinking and expectations. By receiving Jesus, they entered the kingdom. It is just as necessary today for us to repent and let our thoughts and goals be directed by the Holy Spirit if we would enter the kingdom of God.

Consider: Will you allow a radical reversal in your thinking and behavior and go in a new direction? Will you let go of the hope of an earthly hero and serve the greatest hero, Christ Jesus?