From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus preached a transforming message. He called people to repentance. He called them to a better kingdom than the one they were currently pursuing. Jesus called people to change, and that is exactly what He came to do... change the world, deliver us from sin, and make His kingdom our new home as repentance is obeyed one person at a time.
It began in Jesus' own preaching of repentance. There can be no change until we first know our need to change. We are on a headlong rush to a fiery hell because of our sin. We must recognize sin, confess it as wrong, want to turn from sin to our Savior, and then turn toward the forgiveness and righteousness only Jesus offers us. We have to turn away from sin and turn to our loving Savior.
And we must be serious about turning to Jesus. The gospel of Matthew deliberately takes us from Jesus preaching repentance to Jesus making disciples. The next words we hear from Jesus after "repent" are "follow me" (Matthew 4:19). And the ministry of Jesus began an explosive launch forward once His first disciples immediately left all they had and followed the Master (Matthew 4:22).
Jesus then took His disciples with Him and did three things everywhere they went: teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing diseases. Great crowds of people then amassed around them as Jesus modeled gospel ministry to His disciples. Jesus changed the world by creating this kingdom marked by repentant people who follow Him and who, like Jesus, began teaching, telling the good news, and caring for the afflicted in this world. His saving death and resurrection continue this kingdom work in believers still today.