Jesus’ First Word!

Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

It is significant that when God becomes man, His first word to us is not, “Keep it up!” or “What do you think?” but “Repent!”  Many people are put off by that, as they would be by a total stranger walking up and saying, “Stop it!”  But then, Jesus is not a total stranger.  He knows us better than anybody, which is why His first word is “Repent!”  Not one of us can hear that word with an ounce of reflection and not immediately recognize those things of which we need to repent.  That’s why we reflect so rarely.  The good news is that Jesus did not come merely to depress us with the fact that there’s plenty wrong with us.  He came to deliver us from the sins He called us to see and repent of.  Today, hear the voice of Jesus and repent.  He will surely forgive and deliver you from all sin.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • Grandpa Tom

    Jesus’ First words in Matt. 4:17, “Repent for the kindom of heaven is at hand,” correlates perfectly with Jesus’ First recorded words as a prodigious 12 year old in the Gospel of Luke 2:9, where Jesus asks: “Why were you looking for me?” Like the woman with the blood issues who fought through the crowd to seek out and touch the garment of Jesus (Matt. 9:18-22), we too must know our motive as to why we seek him. What will our answer be? His second question to His earthly parents was: “Did you not know I would be in my Fathers house?” The Catholic Study bible translates house to mean “work, or business.” The Child Jesus knew His Father’s (God) business would be to spread the message and doctrine of Christology. That message is recorded in the New Testiment.

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  • neil

    Well put brother.

    This is confirmed again in Acts 17:30  ‘In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.’

    ‘Commands all people everywhere to repent; is so very different from the picture we usually get of God pleading with us to turn and follow Him and He wants to bless us with a wonderful life…..’

    Thank you,