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 has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
After announcing that God’s time had finally come, Jesus focused the “good news of God” in a few words: “The kingdom of God has come near” (1:15). What did this mean? How can this be good news for us today?
When we hear the word “kingdom,” we tend to think of a place over which a king rules. But, in Aramaic, the primary language of Jesus, the word malku pointed not so much to the place of royal rule as to that rule itself. Where we read “kingdom” in Mark, we might substitute “rule” or “reign” or “sovereign authority.” This means when Jesus said, “The malku of God has come near,” he was pointing to the coming of God’s authority and power. He was fulfilling the role of the messenger of Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
Years ago, I used to think that Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom being near meant something like, “You can go to heaven after you die.” Now I realize that I had missed Jesus’ primary meaning when we spoke of the kingdom of God. Though his good news did relate to what happens after death, it also had everything to do with this life and this world. In Jesus, God was beginning to reign on earth in a new way, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Under God’s sovereign authority, righteousness would triumph over injustice and multifaceted peace would fill the earth.
Through Christ, you and I can live today under the reign of God, however incompletely. When we seek God’s agenda for our lives, when we work for his purposes and glory, when we bow before him in worship and offer our daily work to him as worship, we are experiencing the kingdom of God. God is reigning over us and making his kingdom present on earth through us.
Something to Think About:
In what ways do you experience God’s reign in your life?
If you were intentionally living under God’s reign today at work, how might this make a difference? What might you do that you wouldn’t have done otherwise?
Gracious God, what fantastic news: The kingdom of God is near! Thank you, Messiah Jesus, for being the one who not only announced the coming of God’s reign, but also inaugurated that reign through your ministry. Thank you, most of all, for opening up to me the possibility of living under God’s rule because of your life, death, and resurrection.
Help me, Lord, to live each moment as a subject of the King of kings. Guide me, empower me, and use me for your purposes. May the reality of your kingdom be real in my life each and every day. Amen.