Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Most of us have heard so many sermons and talks on repentance, we probably tune out the moment we hear the word “repent", so I deliberately avoided that title for this reflection, hoping to get people to watch it, because it is important that we do. Besides, “Let’s Fix It” is not really misleading because repentance is fixing it; it is fixing us, and it is fixing our relationship with God. And we need to do both, or we’ll be miserable, as most of us living in sin are.
Let me explain this in a slightly different way. I like puzzles. All kinds. I especially like the ones you have to work out with your hands, like Rubik’s Cube. I recently bought a puzzle called a Snake Puzzle Cube. Here it is (those of you who only read this reflection, watch the video: XXX). It’s like the Rubik’s cube, except it unravels. Now, this cube is like a life that is perfect, but when you start to sin, it starts to come apart. And the more you sin, the more you come apart, until you are totally unraveled.
Now, you might think it is easy to put it all back together, but it isn’t. I drove myself crazy trying to get it back to being a cube again. When our lives unravel because of sin, it’s like that. We can’t put ourselves back together, and life is just a constant struggle where we have no joy, no peace, no hope; there’s mostly only despair and desolation. To put us together, we need God, and the only way he can do that is if we go to him, and say, sorry Lord, I messed it all up. Please put me together again. And he does.
Now, once I am put together again, it would be foolish to allow myself to unravel again, right? But in order to stay whole, I need to remain in the hands of God, and not only does he keep me together, he also keeps me safe and secure. He also molds me, like clay in the hands of a potter, to make me the person he had created me to be. But for him to do this effectively, I need to be supple and pliant, and this involves a total surrender of my life to him.
It involves taking every aspect of my life, even the smallest, most insignificant aspect of it, and bringing it under the Lordship of God. If we can learn to do this with our thoughts, everything becomes very simple. The trick is to be aware at all times of what we are thinking of. The moment a thought is ungodly, we give it to God. Paul said, we need to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:5b). Then our lives become obedient to Christ too.
This is true repentance. So, let’s fix it, ok? Go and make a good confession.