How does Jesus call us to respond to the Gospel?

The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Luke 15:17-21

Question: How does Jesus call us to respond to the Gospel?

Answer: Jesus calls us to follow him by turning away from our sin, trusting in him as our Savior, and living to obey him as our Lord.

Repent! Most people are familiar with the word. We’ve all heard it at one point or another. 

Maybe we heard a pastor say it at the end of a sermon: “All you have to do is repent and believe in Jesus.”

But what does it actually mean? What did Jesus mean when he said to repent and believe?

If you want to understand Jesus’ meaning, then you have to understand what the word repent meant in Jesus’ day. Yes, it meant to stop sinning and turn to God, but it specifically meant to turn around and come home. 

But why would Jesus say that? What did he mean? You see, Israel had broken God’s covenant by disobeying his commands, had been cast out of the promised land, and had gone into Babylonian exile (enemy territory). The Jews Jesus addressed were under Roman rule, but even more important than their political bondage was their separation from God. So Jesus was inviting people to turn around and come home: to come back to God.

So, for Jesus, repent meant something like this: You’ve been separated from God. It’s time to come home.

And that is exactly what Jesus is calling us to do today. He’s calling everyone, everywhere to repent and to come back to him. And he’s calling us to follow him everyday and for the rest of our lives.

Spend some time today thinking about the ways in which you are far from God and how you can come home to him. And ask God to reveal someone who you can talk to about Jesus this week.

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