Admitting guilt is the worst. Genuine admission of guilt is literally, the worst. That ego-shattering moment when I look into my victim’s eyes and confess, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me.” That point in time I am completely vulnerable. The offended party can lay siege on my character, actions, opinions and personality. A sheep lead to slaughter – my arms laid down – waiting for a verdict.
Following the victory over temptation in the wilderness Jesus begins his public ministry. 30 years previously He was named Yeshua (God saves) and born to a young virgin bride and adoptive carpenter father. Though we know very little about Jesus’ life, we can draw some conclusions from what is listed and unlisted in the Gospels.
- He learned carpentry from his father, Joseph. This was his trade before becoming a Rabbi (more on this in next blog).
- Joseph is most likely dead, as he is not referred to again throughout the Gospels.
- Jesus has siblings, who all think he is crazy; one of which becomes a follower of Jesus and is the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
Our only information about Jesus between birth and the beginning of his earthly ministry is one story of a trip to Jerusalem, when he was 12 years old. Jesus’ family would take the annual family vacation to celebrate Passover in the Capital city. In this brief text Jesus makes it clear that His place is in the presence of God. The next eighteen years of His life are silent throughout Scripture. We can guess about what he experienced, because we have seen, and felt, and tasted what most adolescent’s have. I feel safe in assuming Jesus had a crush at some point, that he laughed with the other boys while ‘passing wind’, and from time to time tension’s rose in the Immaculate household as sibling rivalry took over.
While we can make guesstimates of what the Messiah went through, we really have no clue.
From out of the silence, Jesus speaks…
A Common Dictionary
I believe that having a common vocabulary helps to communicate an idea. So that we might all be on the same page, let’s use this definition for the word “Repent.”
This is taken from Google: Define Repent
Rarely does a modern pastor or church grow in popularity due to their call for people to repent. There may be ‘altar’ calls or an occasional prayer to ‘accept Jesus into your heart,’ but few and far between are actual declarations from the church for people to repent. Repentance is out of vogue.
Jesus pulls no punches. Jesus gets straight to the point.
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus’ call for repentance, for people to admit their guilt, is a command not an encouragement. I can encourage my friends to be healthy, or to set goals for the new year. This is not what Jesus is doing, He has made a commanding declaration that people repent.
Repentance is a bi-directional movement. It immediately looks to God at admits guilt, and simultaneously finds the victim and repents to that party as well. With each sin we are trespassing boundaries on God and on man. That is why the greatest law is to love God with all of your ability, and to love your neighbor as yourself. We are called to love bi-directionally. Vertically toward God, and perpendicularly toward mankind.
When it comes to following Jesus, the first step is repentance. A declaration of sorrow regarding sin caused against God and man. The first step towards right living is the admittance that wrong living was the normal way of living. The new life that Jesus calls humanity to is one of repentance for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The exact second that we realize that God, and His Kingdom, are operating in our world in a very real way, we repent for being out of step AND immediately get instep.
Driving an Illustration
Imagine a driver going the wrong direction. Imagine you wanted to go on vacation to Mexico from your home in Minnesota, but you began driving North on Interstate 35. After about two or three minutes your spouse may question your ability to navigate to Mexico. After about 30 minutes they might begin to verbalize some dismay about time lost driving the wrong direction. An hour later they might pull over the car and call an Uber to the airport.
The moment we stop the car and turn around is my moment of repentance. I’ve acknowledge that I was going the wrong way, stopped, and began driving the correct direction. The same needs to happen in our hearts regarding our spiritual direction. We all begin driving the wrong direction, and outside of a nudge (sometimes a SHOVE) to turn around, we will die having missed out on the kingdom of heaven.
If you ever want to talk about repentance, and what it means to begin following Jesus please let me know. Until the day I die I will be pursuing the kingdom of heaven, repenting all along the way.
If Jesus did it, we should do it. If Jesus said it, we should believe it. If Jesus commanded it, we should obey it.
Not blindly like a dumb sheep, but boldly like a dumb sheep with a Good Shepherd.
Have questions or comments please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
I’d love to share a conversation with you about anything. I’ve got lots of room in my heart for lots of friends.