The very first thing that Jesus says about the kingdom in the New Testament is found in Matthew 4:17.
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
“From that time,” refers to Jesus settling in Capernaum after hearing that John the Baptist had been taken into custody. Before that, John the Baptist had already been preaching repentance and forgiveness, preparing the way for Jesus.
Remember how yesterday I was seeking God’s kingdom like a kid on a treasure hunt? How I would do anything to get that treasure like Jesus did everything for me? Well, it’s a good thing I’m in that frame of mind, because that’s exactly where I need to be to be motivated to say, “I’m sorry, God. There are some things I need to change.” It’s hard to admit fault! I’ve been following Jesus for a long time, but I still do and say things that I need to ask forgiveness for, find habits that I didn’t realize required repentance when I first believed. I may never steal or lie, but I am often guilty of complacency or judging others. The more I find out about God and His kingdom, the more I want it (we’re going to read some amazing things about the kingdom in the coming weeks) and the easier it is to say, “I repent!”
God, help us to see what we need to change, to ask forgiveness, and to change our ways. Help us to find Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As you consider what your statement will be to replace your worry today, think about why this might have been the first thing Jesus said about the kingdom. My sentence for the day is just going to be the whole verse. As I’m seeking His kingdom today, I’ll remember that His kingdom’s being at hand means repentance for me.
*New American Standard Bible translation originally used by permission from the Lockman Foundation in the paperback version of this book.