Evangelii = The Gospel in Latin
PART TWO OF SIX
What Jesus said about the Gospel (Part One) – The Kingdom of God is at hand.
No, not that kingdom (see picture), although many think it is pretty magical. THE Kingdom.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).
Before dealing with what Jesus meant when he said, “The kingdom of God is at hand,” we must first answer what “the time is fulfilled” means.
The word “time,” or kairos, is translated to mean a favorable, opportune, or significant time as opposed to a chronological time. God appointed this time for the fulfillment of His promises. The period of preparation, that of Israel and John the Baptist, was complete. The divinely appointed time was here and the prophecies of old were being fulfilled in Jesus.
Then, what did Jesus mean when he talked about the Kingdom of God? It is central to the message of Jesus, so what is this Kingdom?
Here is an illustration for you:
“When the Roman Empire was in its heyday, it was a huge kingdom that kept getting bigger. The Caesars continually sent out their armies to take new territory. When a new territory came under Roman control, the Romans would use force to make the new territory as much like Rome as possible. They would build Roman temples and institute the Roman religion, which involved the worship of Caesar. They would institute Roman education, arts, and culture. They built Roman baths. They would do everything they could to make the new territory just like Rome. Why? They did it so that if the Caesar ever came there, he would feel right at home because the territory was just like his own home.”
“That is what the Kingdom of God is. The Kingdom of God is when everything in Heaven is instituted on the earth, so that God’s government, teaching, worship, glory, and power are manifested here on earth, and the earth looks just like Heaven. After all, the King is coming back here one day. When He does, we want Him to feel right at home….just like if He were still in Heaven” (Bill Johnson, https://www.fromhispresence.com/best-kingdom-of-god-illustration/).
Obviously, we have a long way to go.
The gospel is the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. This means that God’s rule over people’s hearts and lives is being established. This, again, is the good news of the fulfillment of God’s promises. The good news is not just proclaimed by Jesus, the good news is a report about Jesus. Mark reports Jesus clearly to be the Son of God in chapter 1, verse 1, and chapter 15, verse 39.
Jesus was a preacher and here He begins preaching the message of God’s rule on earth. What we have to realize, though, is this was not the kingdom the people wanted; they wanted a political kingdom that would replace the oppressive Roman rule. But Jesus brought a kingdom of love, grace, and humility for all to be received voluntarily, not by force.
We see Jesus’s work and miracles throughout the remainder of Mark, but in verse 15 (Ch.1), Mark reminds us that the focus of the ministry of Jesus was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Jesus was a preacher who did miracles, not a miracle worker who sometimes preached.
The Kingdom of God can also be thought of as the “reign of God.” The reign of God began to take place in the life and ministry of Jesus, but was not fully manifested then and will not until Jesus returns.
The whole Old Testament had looked forward to this moment that God’s reign on earth would begin. God’s reign was and still is the quiet rule over the hearts of men, not the grand event many expected.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” Therefore, if we deem this true, we must adopt a Kingdom mindset. This means we think of things that matter eternally and have value to God’s Kingdom; an eternal mindset. It is so very easy to adhere to worldly thinking. After all, it comes natural to us. That is where the Father of Lies wants us; believing the lies the world tells us. Instead, we must think of things and make decisions through a Kingdom lens. Only God can give us the power to do that. It is His will-we need to pray and ask.
The Kingdom of God is at hand and we must adopt a Kingdom mindset.
Just for today, meditate on this truth.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Three…