Summary: Repentance is a term that isn’t used outside the church. However, many within the church do not understand it’s meaning either.
14Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (New King James Version)
Lillian Pearsall of Moravia, N.Y. tells this story of when she was a telephone operator.
A customer talked overtime on a long-distance call from a pay telephone booth. Even with my friendly reminders, he refused to deposit his overtime coins. Instead he slammed down the phone, irate and verbally abusive.
A few seconds later, he was back on my line--somewhat calmer.
"Operator, please let me out of the phone booth--I’ll pay, I’ll pay, just let me out!"
The customer mistakenly thought I had control of the phone booth’s doors and had locked him in!
He gladly paid the overtime charge and with my advice gave the booth door a hefty kick to free himself.
-- Lillian Pearsall, Moravia, N.Y. "Lite Fare," Christian Reader. (Copied from Bible Illustrator)
Have you ever felt locked into a sinful habit and couldn’t get out? We continue to ignore the warnings. Then we find ourselves locked in not knowing how to get out.
Jesus began his public ministry by calling people to repentance. Repentance is a term we do not hear much. In fact, outside the church, you’ll probably never hear the word. So, what did Jesus mean when he called people to repent?
Definition of Repentance
3 Greek Words for Repentance:
Metamellomia - regret
3When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and other leaders. 4“I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”
Recognition of sin
This is when we begin to realize that we are sinners. We feel the guilt of sin, but do nothing about it. We feel regret, but continue to live in sin.
Metanoeo - think differently
Confession of sin
We begin to change our thinking about ourselves and about our sinful life. We begin to understand that we are not as good as we thought we were. We begin to want to change our behavior.
This is a stress-filled way to live. Because our actions do not match our beliefs.
Metanoia - reversal
This is true repentance.
7Here is a sample of John’s preaching to the crowds that came for baptism: “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming judgment? 8Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God [metanoia]. Don’t just say, ‘We’re safe—we’re the descendants of Abraham.’ That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. 9Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
10The crowd asked, “What should we do?”
11John replied, “If you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
12Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”