Matthew 3:2 - Repent, What Is That?
Mat.3:2: Repent, What Is That?
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Mat 3:2 (KJV) And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand.
Mat 3:2 (NLT) "Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the
Kingdom of Heaven is near."
Mat 3:2 (TLB) "Turn from your sins. . . turn to God. . . for
the Kingdom of Heaven is coming soon."
"Repentance" (metanoia, Gk.) means "to turn" from sin to God
(cf. 2 Cor. 7:10, note). [Believer's SB]
To repent means to change the mind, to turn from sin and toward
God. [Disciple SB]
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
John predicted Messiah's appearance, and preached baptism as a
sign of repentance (3:1-12). Christ was baptized to identify Himself
with John's righteous message (vv. 13-17). The Spirit then led Jesus
into the wilderness, where He overcame temptation and demonstrated
His commitment to God (4:1-11). Thus prepared, Jesus began to preach
(vv. 12-17), called His first disciples (vv. 18-22), and demonstrated
His God-given authority by miracles of healing (vv. 23-25). [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus (3:1-12)
John Prepares the Way -- Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-28
The Preaching of John the Baptist
The proclamation of John the Baptist (3:1-12)
Thunder in the Desert! (3:1-17)
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Matthew 4:17 (KJV) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to
say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 5:3 (KJV) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 6:33 (KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and
his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 18:3 (KJV) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye
be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the kingdom of heaven.
John 3:3 (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God.
John 3:5 (KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God.
Acts 2:38 (KJV) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 3:19 (KJV) Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that
your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come
from the presence of the Lord;
Acts 20:21 (KJV) Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the
Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 26:20 (KJV) But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at
Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the
Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise,
as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
John the Baptist's message of repentance was the same as that of
God's earlier prophets (Jer 35:15). John announced the nearness of
God's kingdom, called for ethical fruit in keeping with repentance,
and baptized in water as a sign of repentance. [Disciple SB]
Repentance means doing an about-face--a 180-degree turn--from the
kind of self-centeredness that leads to wrong actions such as lying,
cheating, stealing, gossiping, taking revenge, abusing, and indulging in
sexual immorality. A person who repents stops rebelling and begins
following God's way of living prescribed in his Word. The first step in
turning to God is to admit your sin, as John urged. Then God will
receive you and help you live the way he wants. Remember that only God
can get rid of sin. He doesn't expect us to clean up our lives
before we come to him. [Life Application SB]
Repentance has always been a part of the Christian Gospel. Not
"repentance" as being sorry for sin, or an effort at self-reform. In
Scripture repentance is a change of heart and mind about God that bears
fruit in a holy life. Without repentance there is no salvation, simply
because whenever Jesus enters a life by faith, He does just such a
transforming work in the human heart. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
When you wash dirty hands, the results are immediately visible.
But repentance happens inside with a cleansing that isn't seen right
away. So John used a symbolic action that people could see: baptism.
The Jews used baptism to initiate converts, so John's audience was
familiar with the rite. Here, baptism was used as a sign of repentance
and forgiveness. Repent means "to turn," implying a change in
behavior. It is turning from sin toward God. Have you repented of sin in
your life? Can others see the difference it makes in you? A changed
life with new and different behavior makes your repentance real and
visible. [Life Application SB]
He who is truly penitent does not forget his past sins, and grow
careless about them as soon as he has obtained forgiveness.... astonished
that he should have continued in rebellion so long. He renews his
repentance toward God, while he grasps more decidedly the hand of Jesus
Christ, and finds that repentance is a daily, continued exercise,
lasting until mortality is swallowed up of life. ST11-26-94
Walking in newness of life, which is daily repentance toward
God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. RH02-23-97
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
"The kingdom of heaven" is a Semitic idiom in which "heaven" is
substituted for the divine name (see "against heaven" in Luke 15:18). This
form of expression would appeal to Matthew's Jewish readers more than
"kingdom of God," a phrase found in Matthew only four times. For the
development of this concept, see 4:17; 11:11-13; 12:28; 19:23-25.
Matthew preferred the phrase "kingdom of heaven'' because of his
Jewish audience. At the time of the Exile (after 587 BC), Jews
refrained from speaking the name of God, fearing blasphemy or taking the
name of the Lord in vain. [Disciple SB]
Kingdom of heaven: A phrase found only in Matthew, where it
occurs 33 times. Mark and Luke refer to "the kingdom of God," a term
Matthew uses only four times (see note on Mk 11:30). The kingdom of
heaven is the rule of God and is both a present reality and a future
hope. The idea of God's kingdom is central to Jesus' teaching and is
mentioned 50 times in Matthew alone. NIV SB
Kingdom of heaven. Christ made it clear that the kingdom He
established at His first advent was not the kingdom of glory. That would
only be, He said, "when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and
all the holy angels with him" (Matt. 25:31). Nevertheless, Jesus
admitted before Pilate that He was indeed a "king" (John 18:33-37); in
fact, this was His purpose in coming into this world (John 18:37). But
He explained further that this "kingdom" was "not of this world"
(John 18:36). The kingdom He came to establish "cometh not with
observation," but is a reality within the hearts of those who believe in Him
and become the sons of God. [SDA Commentary]
The kingdom of God is God's rule in the human heart. When we
allow the Lord to be master of our lives, we enter the kingdom of God
and look forward in faith to its final establishment. [Disciple SB]
"At hand" means that God is about to act to bring both judgment
("baptize with fire") and salvation ("baptize with the Holy Spirit").
Those who want to relate to God and experience the immediacy of
the reign of God in and through Christ need a radical change in
their lives. John the Baptist made that clear. His call for repentance
still needs to be heard today. No one is ready to come under the
sovereign rule of God until there is a change of attitude and action with
regard to sin and service. There must be a willingness to give up
everything to experience the reality of the kingdom of God through the
immediacy of Christ's ruling authority. [Disciple SB]