Friday, January 11, 2013

Jesus’ First Public Words

Throughout schools and colleges, teachers offer advice to public speakers about how to grab the attention of their listeners. According to popular logic, if a speaker wants others to listen to a message that might not be well received, he must first speak kindly and praise his listeners in order to coax their attention a bit longer. The last thing a public speaker is “supposed” to do according to popular logic is challenge his listeners’ way of life and moral standing.

But that is exactly what Jesus Christ did as He began His public ministry. We hear in the Gospel, “Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 4.17) Jesus was not known for breaking with custom as He was a devout follower of the Law even condescending to be circumcised and live as a human being. But when it came to waking the people from their sleep so they might be saved, He wasted no time calling them to repent and return to a Godly life.

The same words are important for us today. Our contemporary society is living in spiritual darkness where shootings and other forms of violence fill news reports and blogs. Maybe it’s time for Jesus’ first public words to make their appearance again. Maybe it’s time we look at ourselves and seek the kingdom of heaven rather than the kingdom of the flesh. Maybe it’s time we return to a Godly life rather than a life dedicated to meeting our selfish desires. Maybe it’s time for us to repent…Jesus thought so.

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