This Meaning of Repent May Surprise You
You’ve seen the image in movies and on street corners – A disheveled person with wild, hair, holding a cardboard sign with the scribbled words in bold, black print – Repent! The End is Near! – Or Repent! The Kingdom of God is Near! Sometimes they’re shouting and sometimes they have a look of quiet madness.
The most famous person for declaring this word, repent, was John the Baptist. The third chapter of Matthew describes Jesus beginning his ministry. This is when we meet John the Baptist, a wild, crazy, preacher who eats locusts with wild honey as his meal of choice. He went around the Desert of Judea preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
The English dictionary translation of repent means to feel sorry for a past action and to feel such remorse for that action as to change your ways. Interpreting this raving lunatic preacher shouting, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” we hear the message as – “You better confess before it’s too late!” But that’s not what he was saying at all.
New Testament Repent
The word, repent, that John the Baptist was using comes from the Greek word – “metanoia”. This word means to change the way you think and believe.
After John the Baptist was put into prison, Jesus took up the message. This is mentioned in Mark 1:15 NIV Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The Message version says, “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”
Old Testament Repent
The Hebrew that is translated into repent or repentance means to turn or to return. To repent was to embark on a journey to return to God. Isaiah 55:7 “And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him.” Joel 2:12 “Return to the Lord, your God, for his is gracious and merciful.”
Combining the Old and the New
Jesus came to show us the way and to tell us the good news. The good news is that God loves us, forgives us, and accepts us.
If we are to transcend our thinking, to change the way we think, we need to let go of our conditioning, how we have been shaped by culture, society and thoughts that are not true. That means letting go of thoughts about God that are not true.
Jesus was in the transformation business. Adding to this changing your mind, he changed one word in the greatest commandment.
In the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 6:5, it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
In the New Testament in Matthew 22:37, Jesus says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Jesus understood the power in the mind and how the mind needed transformation. The Apostle Paul went onto say in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
So, repent! Change the way you think. Return to God. The Kingdom of God is near. Not such a crazy thought after all.
A powerful way to change the way you think and let go of disempowering or judgmental thoughts is through guided meditations. These two resources can help you.
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