“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” (Mark 1:9-15)
Jesus’ message as He goes forth to minister is that it is time to repent and believe the good news. The good news is that the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus of course means that the Kingdom of God is about to act in a mighty way that will transform the world. Upon the cross of Calvary He will reconcile the world to God. The preparation for this great event is repentance which means that sinners acknowledge their sinfulness and turn to God for mercy. Unless sinners realize their need for God and His mercy the greatest event in all of human history will of no avail to them.
Rightly do we read this as our gospel for the First Sunday in Lent. The time of the year reminds us that we are sinners in need of mercy and grace in need or repentance and faith. As Jesus endured temptation so do we all. As He overcame temptation and sin, so can we. We may feel so attracted and overwhelmed by the allures of the world, the flesh and the devil that we feel we cannot resist. And indeed, we cannot unless we call out for help. We need God’s strength to resist all temptations. We need His Spirit and His Word to give us His wisdom so we may be able to discern truth from lies, righteous from sin, love from selfishness. We need His Church to guide us. So in Lent let us reach out for these resources that the Lord has given us so we may turn from the ways of the world to the ways of His Kingdom.