14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15
The abruptness that Mark hits us with is remarkable. Just like that, John was in prison! No details though we know from the other Gospels that he preached against Herod Antipas.
But Jesus continued preaching the saving message John started. He would obviously get into more detail as time went on, but the simple but powerful message was the same, Repent and believe.
Through history we would needlessly complicate the Repent and Believe message because, well, it just couldn’t be that easy, could it? We all know it is that easy but even those two verbs come with their own set of difficulties. No one wants to repent of wrongdoing because they don’t believe they’re all that bad. They may even tell you that compared to certain other evil people, they’re practically angels. And there are so many religions and belief systems out there, which is the right one?
Of course when we compare ourselves with the Perfect One, we all fall short.
And believing? Jesus did it all the sacrificing for us. We just need to believe that He did it as we repent.
It requires all who believe to examine their lives, and that’s probably the hardest part of believing.