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Repent as used at Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Repent: Strong's Greek #3340
1) to change one's mind, i.e. to repent
2) to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins
"Repentance (metanoia, 'change of mind') involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness." (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)
From μετά (G3326) and νοέω (G3539) or "with mindfulness" (understanding)
1) with, after, behind
1) to perceive with the mind, to understand, to have understanding
2) to think upon, heed, ponder, consider
Except Jesus never preached in Greek.
The actual word used is probably: Teshuvah - it is not something unique to Christianity at all, and thus the Greek meaning is utterly irrelevant... just displaying the flaw in translations. I say Jesus and John intended it literally, but the whole Jewish context has been brought in. Jesus has died for your sin - committed and not-yet-committed - he goes beyond the simply law.
The law was perfectly good in creating the society, but now there is deliverance, now the burdens and punishments are taken away. Now it is simply to live in love, that is his whole law now, to grow your love, to be bursting with love to the extent you cannot help sharing it. Now what will the priest do though? No, there has to be a way to keep you coming, you are paying his bills, keeping him fed and roofed, his trade is at stake - same root as tradition, he is in the business of delusion, he needs you to depend on him, so he finds a way.
Jesus goes on cursing the priests, yet now the priests simply switched teams because there are more people willing to line his coffers if he discusses Jesus. The best way is to serve for confession, you tell them they have to confess to you and so they must come.