*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Matthew 4:17 meaning

King Jesus begins His earthly ministry by announcing His Kingdom.


The parallel accounts of this event are found in Mark 1:14-15 and Luke 4:14-15.

From that time is Matthew’s way of proclaiming the advent of Jesus’ public ministry. It was at this moment Jesus began to preach, and His public ministry began (v 17). He began to publicly preach and say the same message John (the Baptizer) proclaimed: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).

Repent means to change your mind. A change of mind is demonstrated by a change of behavior. The reason people need to repent was because a radically new political order, the kingdom of heaven, was about to be installed (v 17). Its values were going to be very different than the values of earthly kingdoms such as Rome or the politics of Jewish factions. When asked if He was King of the Jews, Jesus replied to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36).

The Kingdom of heaven was at hand because the King (Jesus) had arrived (v 17).

Biblical Text

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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