“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Does it really sink into your thinking that Jesus preached? He didn’t just walk around doing miracles and telling good stories. What did He preach? The gospel of the kingdom of God. By biblical definition, what is the message of the kingdom of God? As I looked at scriptures, I found two things: Kingdom, being the reign of God, both right now and yet to come. When someone reigns, they have power. 1 John 5:1-5 gives us an example of this power when Jesus came: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” So when the Kingdom of God was brought down by Jesus, with it was reigning power for those who believe to overcome the world, which is ruled by satan. Romans 8 also points out the immediate kingdom that God has given to us, and the second thing of how it will, in the end, put an end to the other reign that creation is longing for (8:12-23). This is a long quote, but worth putting here in its entirety:
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God [my note, we are made partakers in the kingdom of God by being adopted through Christ into the reigning lineage].For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered [my note, this is the future kingdom of God] from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
I do want to mention a quick side note here – the next verses in Romans talk about prayer. Jesus did the same thing when the pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come in Luke 17:20-18:1
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.’ [my note, this is the now of the kingdom of God] Then He said to His disciples, ‘The days will come [my note, now Jesus is speaking of the future kingdom] when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed, the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two will be grinding together; the one will be taken and the other left. Two will be in the field; the one will be taken and the other left.’
And they answered and said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ So He said to them, ‘Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.’
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lost heart,…”
There is so much that could be said about this passage: but I’m going to just stick to how it relates to the verses here in Mark. It repeats the 2 aspects of the kingdom of God I pointed out, and it ties in prayer with the coming kingdom. Why are we supposed to pray? So that we don’t lose heart. Because in our weakness, our hope can dim – but the Spirit also helps in our weakness.
The preaching that the kingdom of God is at hand is the substance of the gospel message. Jesus brought with Him God’s power, He gave it to us if we will believe in Him. Jesus’ message is simple:
1) The time is fulfilled
2) The kingdom of God is at hand
4) Believe in the gospel
Jesus preached this message: simple, imminent, straight-forward. Have you listened? This is what He had to say throughout His entire ministry. And if you’ve put your faith in this, you are called to preach the same (Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”)