Jesus preached a simple message: repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15). In Matthew’s gospel, the public ministry of Jesus is described following His temptation in the wilderness. This ministry involved proclamation, and the message was one of repentance. Matthew wrote, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'” (Matthew 4:17). It would probably surprise many contemporary people (including Some professed Christians) that Jesus’ preaching was characterized by repentance. Turn from your sin (a taboo word these days) and trust God was His essential message.
Let me draw out two points from this. First, we must allow Scripture to shape our view of Jesus. Too often we allow other people and other sources to shape or influence of view of Jesus. Because of this, we often think of Jesus as a kind and loving speaker who simply affirmed people, but this is not the biblical picture of Jesus’ preaching. Instead, He called people to turn from their sins and believe God. Second, true gospel preaching involves repentance. People must be told to place their faith in Jesus Christ, but they must also be told to turn from their sin to Jesus Christ. A failure to preach repentance is ultimately a failure to preach the gospel.
So, read your Bible. Believe in Jesus, but believe in the Jesus of the Bible. Also, emphasize repentance in your personal life (we should be regular repenters), and if you are a preacher, emphasize it in your messages. As Jesus Himself said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Believe this. Practice this. And share this!