Jesus has fled Egypt as God’s true Israelite Son, undergone baptism as God’s beloved Son, and resisted Satan as God’s obedient Son. Now it’s time for Jesus to announce a message, and here it is: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2).
We live a culture dominated by our version of tolerance, which basically means everyone has to agree and celebrate everyone else’s beliefs and practices with the same level of virtue as their own. Of course that is not at all what tolerance means, but that is what we are sold as tolerance.
Somehow in our tolerant culture, we have made Jesus to be the prince of tolerance. Jesus is the guy who says, “I love you no matter what you think or do. Whether you’re gay or straight, promiscuous or chaste, whether you follow Mohammed or me, kill kittens or give to the poor, I just want you to know I love you, I don’t judge you, and just keep on doing whatever makes you happy.”
If this Jesus sounds nice to you, you might need to buckle up as we continue through Matthew. Because here in chapter four, the first word out of Jesus’ mouth is “repent”. How about that for tolerant Jesus? He walks up to a crowd of people and basically says, “You’re wrong. You’re all wrong. And you all need to repent of being wrong because the Kingdom of Heaven is here.”
The basic message of the gospel is directly opposed to our new version of tolerance. Instead of everyone is right in their own way, Jesus says everyone is wrong and needs to repent, for He is the right way. But what are we supposed to turn to? Well the next red letters are these, “Follow Me”.
And now we have summarized the gospel, the good news of Jesus. It begins with a call to repent, a call to turn away from your beliefs, actions, lifestyle, and well…your sin. And it’s a call to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. The gospel is a leaving and a coming event. You leave your sin and come to the Savior. You leave your life and come to Him who is Life. You leave your treasures and come to Him, theTreasure.
So if you’re looking for Jesus this Christmas, you might want to start by turning around.