• Jesus’ initial message – “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”
  • Jesus showed that a sinful nature lies deep in our hearts
  • He came to provide the way out of eternal punishment

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)

It is easy for us to look around and condemn what we see as evil in the world. But Jesus makes it personal. His initial message was to everyone. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

When people thought only an outward crime was sin, Jesus pointed out that even thinking lustful thoughts was already viewed by God as the evil of adultery; even hating someone in your heart was also like the evil of murder. He showed that love wasn’t just for those who loved you too, but was a commitment to do good even toward those who act as enemies. Jesus showed he values everyone and was comfortable eating and drinking with those whom the elite considered “sinners.”

Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of people who tried to make themselves look spiritual and righteous in public when they themselves were far from perfect. He exposed people’s pride that caused them to overlook their faults and reject a need for a Savior. He told them that if you don’t forgive others when they sin against you, what are you expecting from God when you ask him for forgiveness? “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eyes,” Jesus said, “and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

He addressed leaders who did not practice what they preached. He called them poisonous snakes. He described them as whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead man’s bones.

The Bible says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill your soul. Fear him who has power to throw you into hell.” Be ready, Jesus tells us, because the Son of Man will come when we least expect it and return to judge the world. Jesus came to draw sinful humanity back to God. He talked about how he longed to gather the people of Jerusalem together, as a hen gathers her chick under her wings, but many were not willing. He told them, whoever is not with me is against me. He grieved over those who rejected him.

This is why he came – to replace our sinful life with his holy life. He came to carry the burden and punishment of our sins as he hung on a cross to die. He did it so we could avoid eternal punishment and instead share the glory of heaven with him.