It was actually the first sermon Jesus proclaimed to the people. It was His first priority. Repent. Now, we understand that repentance is more than just sheepishly saying, "sorry." It is more than feeling bad about being caught with our hand in the proverbial cookie jar. It is so much more than being guilty and wanting to change so we no longer deal with the weight of an over active conscious. However, in truth, repentance does encompass all of the above: we do have to say we are sorry to God; we do have to agree with Him that our actions have been sinful and unholy, we do need to feel bad and remorseful for having offended the God of Creations that so lovingly and patiently calls us His Children; we do feel guilt and want free from the burdensome weight of our misdeeds. Romans 3: 23 states: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Our sins have separated us from God. We have fallen short of His glory. When Adam and Eve chose sin over obedience in the Garden of Eden, we all became sons and daughters enslaved to our own desires; which necessarily included exclusion from the constant presence of Holy Almighty God. When the light dawns upon our darkened soul and sin is seen as a blight too odious to endure, repentance becomes our best friend. The purging of our inner man through repentance and forgiveness purifies our purposes and pursuits. It is a life-changing experience that actually re-connects us to the riches of God's grace. Think of the word "penthouse." The person that lives in a penthouse occupies an apartment on the highest floor of the tallest building in the neighborhood. The view from this elevation is breathtaking. Re-"penting" is like that. We return to the elevated place of eternal esteem that the Lord intended for all His children. We are returned to the place of constant communion with Father God; the communion that was broken at the fall of mankind. The state of living in "glory" is given back by His sacrifice of the same: " Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ( Phil 2: 5-11)
The pattern the Lord portrayed is a picture of our own journey. We must first humble ourselves and become obedient to death. Repentance is death to self, death to sin. Jesus had nothing to repent of; he was sinless and perfect. Yet, his humility honored the Father. Our humility, in repentance, places us in a position to receive the grace offered by the sacrifice of the finished works of Calvary. We must, as the Apostle Paul states in I Corinthian 15:31," I die daily." For if we participate in His death, we will also participate in His resurrection. After the resurrection of the Lord, He ascended back to the glory that he willing abandoned in order to redeem all mankind. After we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life through the new-birth, we too, become partakers of that same glory. Acts 3:19-21..."Repent therefore , and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago." Amen.