….and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15 (NASB)
When I was a kid we opened up our gifts on Christmas Eve. It was awesome. While all of my friends had to go to bed early…I got to stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing with my new toys! I love Christmas Eve. My cousin’s, brother and sister would wait anxiously all day until the time when the adults would say “It’s time”! We would hurry past all of our new underwear and socks and go straight for the toys. Pure. Awesomeness.
In this passage, in Mark, Jesus said that “The time is fulfilled”. Jesus was announcing that the Kingdom of God was here. Specifically, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God “is at hand”. The Kingdom of God is not off in the future in some far away place. The Kingdom of God is for the here & the now! That is so refreshing in so many ways. I don’t have to wait for the future for this to happen. I don’t have to wait until I die. Jesus invites you and I to live in this world and enjoy the Kingdom…now. You see…Jesus came to radically bring change. He not only to came to change me..he came to change the world. This is my Father’s world.
Jesus also said that in order to embrace this Kingdom we must repent. Repentance is defined as a “change of mind which leads to a change of life”. What do we need to repent from? What do we need to think differently about? What exactly was Jesus referring to? Yes….we obviously need to change our attitude about our sin and relationship with God. That is a given. However, I believe that God wants us to change our attitude about everything.
We need to repent because our ideas for the world are the complete opposite of God’s. Jesus wants us to repent from our sin and turn towards the Gospel. Specifically Jesus said to “believe in the gospel”. The gospel is “good news”. Jesus wants to save us from our indifference to the suffering of the world. Jesus wants to save us from our pious political views. Jesus wants to save us from the way we take care of creation. Jesus wants to save us from the way we treat each other. Jesus wants to save us from what we think about God. Jesus wants to save us from our sin.
The Gospel is an invitation to a new life. An invitation that involves the redemptive work that God does with Creation. The Gospel is how God chooses to restore Creation. The Kingdom is here. The Kingdom is now. This was God’s world, it is God’s world and this will always be God’s world!