Jesus’ first words of ministry were, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus called those who followed Him to repent. You only repent if something you had been doing was wrong. Jesus directly attacked the works-focused legalism of Judaism. Good works are not enough. Jesus called His followers to be like Him. They were to be holy, which is something only God can accomplish in people.
Beyond wordly religion consisting of rules and regulations, Jesus pointed to a better way. Jesus modeled out what it meant to leave the kingdom way. He walked each day in step with the Holy Spirit.
More than almost any other topic, Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. He never talked about this reality as something that could only be experienced after this life. Quite the opposite. Jesus wanted His followers to realize God’s kingdom on earth. It begins now because Jesus’ life created a new reality. God’s kingdom is at work in the world around us.
God originally called the Jews to be a light to other nations. But they looked inward and not upward and outward. Jesus came to put everything back on point. God’s temple and the unique position of the Jews was to be for something more than themselves. The focus was always supposed to be God’s glory revealed through a diverse people from many nations.
From what do you need to repent? Do you experience the kingdom of God in your daily life? This is Jesus’s first call to those who would follow Him.