17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Jesus comes out of the wilderness 40 days after his time of testing and temptation. Note, he was led by the Spirt, who prepared him by overcoming the devil's temptations by relying on God's Word he learned as a boy in the temple. As he begins his public ministry our text today says, “He began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Jesus begins by proclaiming in essence, “Turn around look what God is doing. I am here to show you a new way to REALLY live.” In this sense, repentance is not so much focused on our sin, but things in our lives that keep us from participating in God’s kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven. Martin Luther taught in his Small Catechism on the Lord’s Prayer, “God’s kingdom will surely come, but we pray that it will come through us.” Lent is a time to look at those things that distract us from being open to God’s kingdom coming through us. Jesus opens up the greatest opportunity of a lifetime, to make a difference in the world which will last for all of eternity. Spend time in Lent asking God how he might want to use you to advance His kingdom in your “sphere of influence”.
Jesus, thank you for the opportunity to bring heaven to earth by following you in the power of the Holy Spirit. Make us aware each day how we might seize the moment with the people and situations you put into our lives. In Your Name