The beginning gives an indication of character. So we have the saying, “The tree born crooked, late or never will straighten.” What the saying hints at from a negative perspective, Matthew declares, positively, about Jesus.
From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Matthew 4:17 NET
When the time arrived for Jesus to begin his ministry, he, after moving to the metropolis, began to preach. The main characteristic of his work, besides his death at the end of his ministry, was a message.
In his message is contained all God’s activity on behalf of the people. Its imperative calls for a movement of the hearer in response to the prior movement of God.
Today, Jesus continues to preach through his followers. (His next step was to call the first disciples.) The message is the same. God in Christ has come near. God opened a way back to his presence. The gospel is, above all, an imperative, for change, for movement, for action, a response to the God who offers love, salvation, hope, and a future.