After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jeff Reed, Senior Pastor
Hillside Covenant Church (Walnut Creek)
Introductions are important. First words always shape the flavor of everything that follows. To this point, the first words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark lay a foundation for all that will follow. There are four central ideas in these seminal words.
“The time is fulfilled.” Hear in this that God is in control of all of history and that His timing is perfect. He knows where things stand, and He knows what He will do. Paul will later echo the same idea: “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4). “The kingdom of God is at hand.” Hear in this the good news that God’s actual active rule had broken into the broken world in the person of Jesus, and the beginning of the great reclamation project was on. Jesus was serious when He taught us to pray, “on earth as it is in heaven”! “Repent.” Hear in this the compelling call to all humankind: think differently than you ever have before. Leave off your attempts to earn heaven! See yourself as God sees you—precious, but in desperate need of an absolute and entire saving. “Believe in the good news.” Hear in this the free offer of such a salvation. See in this the merciful hand of rescue. Reach out and grab on to that hand, which is none other than Jesus’ hand, extended to you, a hand that in three years from this pronouncement would be pierced by a nail, holding Him to a cross so that He could extend the offer to hold you forever. These then are the first words of Jesus. Hear them again today for the first time.
Your timing and Your control are perfect. Your rule continues to take hold of the world. I turn from confidence in myself to confidence in You, Jesus, banking on Your rescue, and living to love You and others out of gratitude.