According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus began his public ministry with these words, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” This is the core of Christ’s teachings all summed up. He would spend the next three years trying to convince Israel. Only a handful got it. The first two sentences are simple statements of fact. This is it, this is what you’ve been waiting for. This is what the prophets have been talking about all these years. The kingdom of God is here. I will talk at length on the kingdom of God later. It’s the last line that I want to focus on today. It is there that He tells us what to do. We must repent and believe in the gospel. Remember this is the core of His teachings. Repent, and believe the gospel. These are very important actions we must take. What is sad to me is that those of us today in the modern world have such a very poor understanding of what the words repent and gospel mean. We will start with repent. It is sad that we use this word. The weight of history drags it down. It carries so much baggage. It brings to mind depressing images of black robed and joyless people obediently suffering through life. Maybe that’s just me, but anyway it does have a very negative feel. We must stop sinning and be sad that we offended God. Sometimes we must punish ourselves as well. That is not the original meaning. This is being addressed more now, but the word in the original Greek is metanoia, and means to turn around or turn away from. Basically Jesus is telling us to turn our lives around. Like his disciples we must stop wherever we are and what we are doing and follow Him. Simple. Not necessarily easy, (such as it is with most spiritual teachings) but simple to understand. There really isn’t anything about sin in it at all. Jesus hasn’t mentioned sin has He? Why did we write it in? But there is another way of looking at metanoia. A literal translation breaks the word down like this: meta, beyond; and noia, mind or will. So Jesus is telling us we must go beyond our mind and beyond our will. We have to break out of our small selfish mind and take on the mind of Christ. How do we do this? Prayer. We must spend time with Him and let Him take us over. We must decrease so that He will increase within us. And we must follow where He leads. Also, we must believe the gospel. We know gospel means good news, but it is more than that. It is a strange but telling word that Christ picked. In a world dominated by war and conquering empires, a “gospel” was a returning message of victory announcing a new era to the victors. The gospel of Christ is much more than just good news, but a message of glorious victory that will begin a new age in a new kingdom, the kingdom of God. So do you see how we have downsized the meanings of these two powerful words? This is it, the core of all the teachings of the Christ and we have miss understood it, misused it, and utterly missed the mark. It isn’t to late though. Stop, turn around your life and follow Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. And believe in the good news of the victory, that will bring about a glorious new age, the kingdom of God.