Have you heard any good news lately? What was it?
In the Bible there are four books that tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth. These books are called the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four authors either knew Jesus or they knew someone who knew Jesus and so they were able to tell the story of Jesus to us.
Together we’ve looked at how John started his gospel talking about Jesus in heaven before he came to earth. Next we saw how Matthew started his gospel by showing us Jesus being baptized and then tempted in the desert. And now we want to look at how Mark starts his gospel. Here’s a couple of the first verses in Mark’s gospel:
Mark 1:14-15. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Many people think that Christianity is just like every other religion where you need to figure out how to be good enough to go to heaven. They think that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds then God will give them a place in his kingdom forever.
But that’s not what Jesus said at all. Mark tells us the exact words of Jesus – “The kingdom of God is here, repent and believe the gospel.”
Jesus is telling us that if we want to get into God’s kingdom (heaven), then we don’t have to try to perform, or do good, or obey a list of rules, he’s telling us we have to do two things: repent and believe.
Do you know what repent means? It means to turn away from something. Jesus is telling us to turn away from trusting in our own goodness and our own ability to earn our way to God.
And instead of trusting in ourselves we need to do the second thing – “believe the gospel.” Do you know what the word gospel means? It means good news. Jesus is telling us to trust in the good news that he has come to be good FOR us. That he has come to take our punishment on the cross. And that he has come to offer us the kingdom of God for free. No earning it, no paying for it, no figuring it out, no having to be good to deserve it. Nope. Just repent and believe in Jesus.
Because of Jesus we can go to heaven for free.
With Jesus we can tell others about his free gift just like he did.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Talk to your children about the difference between simply saying “I’m sorry,” and truly repenting (turning from) of sin. To feel bad or to apologize doesn’t mean that you want to stop and change course. Act out turning around and walking in a whole new direction.
Here’s what repentance looks like:
You did everything for us so that all we would have to do is stop trusting ourselves and start trusting you. Thank you!
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