"In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”Matt 4:17 (NIV)
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”Mark 1:15 (NIV)
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”What is the meaning of these verses? What does the announcement of a kingdom have to do with repentance? Was Jesus preaching to "say sorry for your sins so you can go to heaven?"
Helps Word Study gives:
Repent - μετανοεῖτε - metanoeite
3340 metanoéō (from 3326 /metá, "changed after being with" and 3539 /noiéō, "think") – properly, "think differently after," "after a change of mind"; to repent (literally, "think differently afterwards").
I'm not sure if I've used the word repent very often outside of the context of saying sorry for something. But I think it really could be used like this:
- Repent! Come over to my place for dinner tonight!
- Repent! Coke (cola) is it!
- Have you seen the new GMC Acadia? Change your way of thinking. (repent!) Buy domestic!
- Waiter: Are you sure you don't want desert? Look at this picture, change your mind (repent), it is tasty.
I also want to highlight the context of Matt 4:17. Here are the verses that lead up to the "From that time on...":
Matt 4:14-16 (NIV)
to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:Another example of the contrast between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. Think differently. God's kingdom of light is near! This is good news!
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”