2 saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven has come near.”
The word ‘repent’ may be filled with religious overtones, and it may be that many people do not like the word, and the meaning that it has. This is true both within the Church and within the world.
Therefore, it would be good for us to take a close look at the meaning of repentance. It comes from a Greek word, which is ‘metanoeo’, which itself is two Greek words put together ‘meta’ (with, changed after) & ‘noieo’ (think).
These two words combined have the meaning to have a change of mind, and particularly to change the mind to accept God’s will.
Therefore, there is a sense in which we are always needing to repent, because we always need to change our minds to bring them into line with God’s way of doing things.
Perhaps one of the reasons that people do not like the idea of repentance is that it automatically implies that we have been thinking the wrong things, and if we have been thinking the wrong things we will have been doing the wrong things.
Paul wrote to the Philippians and said:
Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had – Philippians 2.4(NLT). This is an important aspect of repentance. I need to daily change my mind to have the same attitude as Jesus.
When John told the Jews that they needed to repent, he was telling them that they needed to get their thinking, their attitudes in line with God. He was telling them that their spiritual thinking was not in line with God’s way, and that they needed to change. We can imagine that this would not have been a popular message to proclaim, and maybe it was not easy for John to proclaim repentance. Yet it was necessary, because the whole nation was out of line with Gods’ ways.
Repentance is still a message that is relevant to the world today. The attitudes and thinking of the world is very different to the ways of God. For righteousness to succeed within a nation there must be repentance.
Let the words of Isaiah inspire us to repent:
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts – Isaiah 55.9 (NLT).