Once Jesus settled into a base of operations in Capernaum, he began to do what he came to do: broadcast the news. And the news that he came to broadcast was not the evening news. (Thank goodness. Have you ever noticed how relentlessly bad the evening news can be?)
The news Jesus came to announce was very good news. The news was that he is the Light of the world and Life to those living under the shadow of death (Matthew 4:16).
As the light and life of the world, Jesus had wisdom that needed to be heard. But to be received this wisdom would require a change of mind on the part of people.
By nature, people’s minds are not on a receptive track, as Moses clearly indicates in the book of Genesis: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5, NIV).
Jesus wants to get people back on track, receptive to God and to God’s loving plans for them. And he knows that getting on track begins with the fear of the Lord: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV).
So what’s the best characterization of Jesus’ teaching? Matthew tells us what it is: Changed minds. Changed hearts. Changed lives.
Repentance, in other words. Receptiveness. Because when Jesus comes near, his kingdom comes near, too. That’s why wise people tune in when Jesus is broadcasting.
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near'” (Matthew 4:17, NIV).
Lord, change my mind and heart. Make me receptive to you and your wisdom. Get me back on track by shining the great light of your salvation into every corner of my mind and heart. May listening to you give me a repentant mind and heart. You are my Savior. You are my Lord. You are my light and my life.
Our reading for Sunday, January 4, is Genesis 7:1 – 9:17, Matthew 4:1-22 and Proverbs 1:1-7.
Header image based on "Radio" by Godber, CC by-SA 2.0