If you’re like most people, you aren’t going to follow just anyone. There has to be a reason. That person has to demonstrate reliability and relevance.
If you’re like most people, you’ve heard at least something about Jesus. Maybe you like him or respect him, or maybe you wonder what the big deal is all about.
We challenge you not to take our word for it, but to read what his earliest followers—many of whom gave their lives for his sake—had to say about him. Pick one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and read the whole thing.
But then what?
It’s important to pay attention to what Jesus said to his first followers and the curious crowds around him. Jesus begins his public ministry by saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In other words, the kingdom, the places where what God wants to get done gets done, where God is King, is here and available to anyone. Anyone.
Jesus says our response to his announcement of the kingdom is to repent.
Repentance can mean two things.
Start thinking differently about whether or not you can be a part of God’s kingdom. Many of us think God doesn’t want us, that we’ve got to clean up our act first, or that God couldn’t forgive us for what we’ve done. Jesus’ command to repent is to believe that the kingdom is available to even you.
Turn from living outside the kingdom. In other words, living as if the best way was the Kingdom of You, where what you want to get done gets done, where you are King, is the way we all live before entering God’s kingdom. Repentance means deciding you’re no longer King and that living as if you are King is sin. That sin may show up in things like pride, anger, envy, lust, and the like. Repentance isn’t cleaning up your act; it’s rejecting your act.
And in these kinds of repentance, we turn to Jesus in faith, trusting that His words and kingdom are life. We place our faith in him rather than ourselves. We trust that his death and resurrection are enough to bring us to God and forgive us of our sins.
How do we do this? We talk to God, expressing our own repentance and faith. We tell him that we see the truth about the dead end our sins and our kingdoms have led us to. We say that we no longer desire to be King and accept him as King. And as we do, God welcomes us as his child and begins working in our hearts so that we become people who can live in the kingdom, who begin to work out our faith in ways expressed in the Bible.
So we challenge you to begin following Jesus today. If you do, we'd love it if you tell us so we can celebrate with you!