First Words

Jesus was more than just a preacher. He was a friend. He was a companion. He was a teacher. He was a leader. He was a lot of things to the many people that He encountered in His ministry.

So, the Bible tells us that Jesus was more than just a preacher. But, part of what He did was preach. He would come into a town, go to the synagogue, read from the scroll, and preach to the people that were there.

Today in Matthew, we see His first words. We see His first sermon. We see the thing that He wants to start off with. And I can tell you, as a preacher, the sermon you are most nervous about and that you want to “hit” the best is that first sermon. It’s when you establish what you are about, what you want to focus on, and what’s most important.

So, today, we see Jesus’ first sermon. It was short, and sweet. It was this – repent.

Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 4:17:

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

Wow, didn’t really see that one coming. We would think that Jesus might not preach so strong a word. Repenting sounds and feels bad. It sounds and feels harsh. It sounds and feels mean.

And we all know that Jesus isn’t mean. So, why did He start here? And what is He saying?

To repent is to turn from. To leave behind. To stop. Jesus first sermon was to tell folks – hey, those things you are doing that are hurting you, that are causing you pain, that you think are life giving? Stop them. They are going to hurt you in the end. They aren’t giving you life.

Jesus calls us to look at our lives and find the things and the areas that are hurting us and to stop them. Because they hurt us.

Repentance is more than just feeling bad about things. Its stopping them. And turning from them. Today, Jesus really does want us to repent of the things causing of us harm. Stop them. And turn away from them.

Why? Because the kingdom of God is at hand. When we turn from the things that harm us and turn to God, we find life. When we turn to the things of God, we find so much more life than we would ever think possible. We find life abundant, life forever, life amazing.

Life.

So, Jesus first words were these – turn away from the things that cause you harm and pain, and turn towards me. And in this you will find life.

Today, may we turn towards Jesus with all that we are. And may we find His life in every moment of our lives!

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