Here is the message from Jesus: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15, ESV)
I like the Common English Bible on this one: Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!
Now, some analysis as to what that means:
If you were to walk down the street of any town or village with any Christian background and were to call out ‘Repent and believe the gospel’, people would think they knew what you meant: ‘Give up your sins and become a Christian.’ Of course, Jesus wanted people to stop sinning, but ‘repentance’ for him meant two rather different things as well. First, it meant turning away from the social and political agendas which were driving Israel into a crazy, ruinous war. We can imagine someone saying that today in a country where ideologies are driving half the population into violent behaviour. Second, it meant calling Israel to turn back to a true loyalty to YHWH, their God. And, as anyone with a smattering of knowledge of the Bible would recognize, this was what had to happen before God would redeem Israel at last. The call to repent is part of the announcement that this is the time for the great moment of freedom, of God’s rescue. N.T. Wright (2004). Mark for Everyone (p. 9). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Our agendas will be our ruin. We need to turn back before we walk ourselves into our self-made destruction.