Matthew 4:12-17 Jesus Christ is Our Preacher

Trying to answer the question, "How is Jesus Christ our All-in-all?

The Text

Matthew 4:12–17 (CSB)
12 When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.

13 He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.

14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

15 Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, along the road by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

16 The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.

17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

The Devotion

Christ is Our Preached Word: We Now Seen A Great Light

When I have heard and read and understood, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near," I thought, 'This is a command to unbelievers because God is real, and he is here in his Son, Jesus Christ. Just do it!"

But look at the text one more time. "Repent." Why? "Because the kingdom of heaven has come near." Okay, who has the kingdom of heaven come near to? The people once living in darkness and it is just not people living in darkness but those who lived in darkness that have now seen a great light.

Why is that distinction so important?

John 1:4-13 (CSB) In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

We know these things? What are you driving at?

John 3:3 (CSB) Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

So tell me, dear Christian. The command to repent is given by God. But who can see the light and who can see the kingdom of God? Only those who are born again. So who among us has the capacity to repent of their sins? Only those who are born again.

This command to repent is given to those who have been given the gift and ability to repent--which is every person who has been born again.

Don't believe me about the gift of repentance? Look at the word:

Acts 11:18 (CSB) When they heard this they became silent. And they glorified God, saying, “So then, God has given repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles.”

2 Timothy 2:25 (CSB) instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.

Hebrews 12:17 (CSB) For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance, though he sought it with tears.

Revelation 2:21 (CSB) I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality.

For any of us to do the supernatural good work of repentance and turning to Jesus Christ as our only means of salvation, we must be born again. No amount of works, no good amount of effort, no good feelings. no good things--prayer, fasting, giving, serving, reading Bible, attending church regularly--and make no mistake, all of those are good things. But none of those things can make us born again. Only God can do that.

Brother and sister in Christ, have you sinned? We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! If you have been given faith in Christ, that means that the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now dwells in you. At the exact same time, you have a new heart from the Father, and in turn, desires for God. Because all of that is true and you can't separate the work of God into little bits--it is a complete, perfect package deal--then my friend, you have the gift of repentance. You have the ability to repent of your sins and turn to Christ.

Is this a command of God? Yes! And also, is this a cause to celebrate because God gives us both the ability and the desire to repent? Yes! Look at what God has done in our lives. When we sin, we have fallen, we find ourselves in the trappings of grief and despair because we struggle sin, and we cry out, "WHO CAN WASH AWAY MY SIN? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

But... but... how do we know if we have repented of our sins perfectly? I feel like I have but sin keeps crouching for me--seeking to devour me? My beloved, you cannot do anything perfect? God gives gifts and we fumble with them like a two old trying to put together the massive over 7500 piece Millennium Falcon Lego Set. How do you think we are going to use God's gifts? Not perfectly. That is more of the reason why God sent us his only begotten Son to live, to die, to conquer death by his resurrection and to ascend to the right hand of the Father--for us.

John 1:14–18 (CSB) The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ ”) Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.

My precious loves--we have the Christ! We have the Christ! Now his perfect obedience is ours. We get to rejoice and be glad in him!