Summary: The Good News of the kingdom of God is the central focus of Jesus teaching, the kingdom of God. You can’t really understand Jesus without understanding the kingdom of God. Our Scripture today is the summation of the sermons he preached. “The time is fulfi
Jesus and His Message
Mark 1:16-20, 2:14-15
The Gospel of Mark is the shortest Gospel and is often referred to as the action Gospel because it’s always on the move. Today, we’re continuing our series in the Gospel of Mark asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” and “What does his life mean for us today?” Last week, we looked at Jesus’ baptism and saw in that act Jesus’ true identity revealed and confirmed as the Son of God. After his baptism, Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and then returned to the region of Galilee where he traveled from town to town preaching the Good News of the kingdom of God. This is the central focus of Jesus teaching, the kingdom of God. You can’t really understand Jesus without understanding the kingdom of God. Our Scripture today is the summation of the sermons he preached. “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the Good News.” That was Jesus’ message. Everything else in the Gospel is a way of illustrating what that means, teaching what life in the kingdom looks like and how you can enter and participate in the kingdom of God. So everything that Jesus does and says illustrates that the kingdom of God has come near.
So what is the kingdom of God? Biblical scholars and theologians have spent entire lifetimes trying to understand the kingdom of God and what it looks like. The kingdom of God is harder for us to understand than the people in Jesus’ time because we do not have a monarchy for of government with a king. A king was the ultimate authority who ruled completely and sovereignly over his kingdom. The king was responsible for everything in the boundaries of his kingdom, like the safety and protection of his subjects. Everything within the bounds of his kingdom belonged to the king. His subjects were to do whatever the king asked and if they refused, they could be killed. And so when Jesus looks for an analogy of who God is and what authority he exercises over us, he chose a king, saying that God is over all his subjects, and even kings too. For he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and his rule extends over all creation, from the ends of the earth to the farthest reaches of the universe. And part of that creation is you and I who were created in his image with the ability to love and with a mind who has been given the free will to choose for ourselves who or what we will worship, even if it means we turn our back on God. God gave us the free will to choose but make no mistake of it, God is king whether you choose to be His subject or not. If you choose not to follow God, it just means you choose to live in rebellion to the King.
The story of humanity is the story of our rebellion against the King. You see it in the very first story of the Bible with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Egeneration to generation….prophetsden. After that comes the story of Noah when God chooses to flood the earth and start over because he grieved over making mankind. Why? Because they were nothing but self-centered, violent people living in rebellion to the King. And so God saves only one family, the eternal optimist, hoping to start over. But that didn’t stop it there because from generation to generation, we have the story of people choosing to live as they desire and thus rebel against the king. So God sends prophets to call the people back to him and still they rebel and stone the prophets as they refuse to listen to them. This is what happens throughout history as people live in rebellion to the King of Kings.
The King we have over us chooses not to force us to worship Him but rather woo us, lead us and guide us as a shepherd back to Him and His ways for our life. We find this story of rebellion culminating in God choosing to enter this world by giving his only Son, all so that we might know how much he loves and cares for us and that his heart’s only desire is to be in relationship with us. How amazing is that? That the God of the universe will come among us to show us what it mans to choose Him and live for Him. And this one who came named Jesus announces for all to hear that God reigns and rules over everything and we called to live under His rule. He reached out to the lost, he embraced the excluded and he performed miracles in an attempt to show the kingdom of God was at hand and what it looks like. This is what you have the opportunity to embrace. But what does humanity do with Him? We crowned him with a crown of thorns, mocked him, beat him and then nailed him to the cross, mocking him to free himself. But even this God knew it was a part of His plan so that once and for all we might see the extent of our rebellion and the depth of His love and forgiveness for us. And in his death and his resurrection, our hearts might be changed and we might live as a part of His kingdom.