From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:12-17
Here we go! Jesus begins His public ministry and surprisingly, His message is the same as John the Baptist’s was. Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is coming. I like the wording of this scripture in the NJKV because it says the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus was telling the people of His day that the kingdom of God was within their reach. When Jesus finished His ministry here in the world, he passed the torch to the disciples who also preached the kingdom of heaven.
So, what exactly is the kingdom of heaven that John, Jesus and those after them were talking about? Were they talking about the place where God lives in Heaven beyond this world and universe? Where they talking about when Jesus will set up His kingdom here on the earth? No, the kingdom of heaven that they were talking about is kingdom principals that govern the life of a person submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit. This is why they taught the people that kingdom living was available right here in this world. Sure, sin is still here and will continue, but within the body of Christ, the people of God, there is a different kingdom. The kingdom of light. So now we have the light right in the middle of the darkness. We live in the dark world, but the kingdom of heaven, the Light, lives in us. When we live our lives the way Jesus lived His life, we are the light that this dark world is desperately needing.
We are the light by loving the lost and hurting people of the world, but we also have the same message that Jesus had. We tell others about the life of repentance and walking in the kingdom of light so that when we are gone, they can continue the work that Jesus started thousands of years ago.
Today I want to encourage you to be the light wherever you go. Don’t gossip and complain like those without a Savior do. Instead, be kind, loving and generous to all who are outside so that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) Then teach them how to share the message of repentance and to love others the kingdom of heaven way, so that they will continue this work long after you are gone from this world.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 4:12-17
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”