The Gospel of Mark, and Jesus’ mission on earth for that matter, can be summarized in one verse: “‘The time has come,’ Jesus said. ‘The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15)
The foreman yells to the workers, “Time for lunch!” In a similar way Jesus came and announced that a time had come. However, Jesus did not announce a general span of time, such as lunch time. Mark uses the Greek word “kairos.” Kairos means a special, definitive time. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a coming time of comfort, a time of sins being paid for, a time of God’s glory being revealed, a time of God’s promises being fulfilled, a time of God’s coming reign, a time when God would give strength to the weary, a time when all those who put their hope in the Lord would be restored. (See Isaiah 40) Jesus was saying that this special time is here!
Jesus also said that the Kingdom of God is coming near. When you think of a Kingdom, you might picture a castle or King Friday from Mr. Rodger’s. However, Jesus was not proclaiming a kingdom you could look up on a map and say, “there it is!”
This kingdom is neither past, present, nor future. This kingdom has always existed and will forevermore. Jesus was saying that this eternal kingdom was breaking into the world. If you ever had one of those stretchy balloons that allows you to penetrate it with your fist without breaking it, you get the picture. This Kingdom, Jesus says, is so close you can taste it in the air.
What ought our response be to this time being here and this kingdom being near? “Repent and believe,” says Jesus. To repent here means to switch allegiances. No longer do you live according to the values and ways of the kingdom of the world but those of the Kingdom of God. Belief means you truly trust in this kingdom and its king, Jesus Christ.
Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Mark gives examples, both positive and negative, of how people respond to Jesus’ good news message. Some people, even seemingly good people, refuse this kingdom, like the rich man in Mark chapter 10. Others, like the seed that falls in good soil in Mark chapter 4, produce an abundant crop for the Kingdom.
How will you respond to this good news? Read the Gospel of Mark. Listen to Jesus’ message. Take note of people’s responses. Then, decide for yourself how you will respond.