Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching 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
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We are in our second week of a series on “The Life of Christ” from the Gospel of Mark that will conclude around Easter time. Last week we looked at Mark 1:1-13 and this week we will consider Mark 1:14-34. We were introduced to John the Baptist last week and were told that he would “Make ready the way of the Lord.” One of the things included in John’s ministry of preparation was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. We were told that that in his preaching he said, “After me one is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.” These words also occur in each of the other three Gospels. However, the Gospel of John includes words that John the Baptist spoke that express a similar thought, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
In a way these words are rather prophetic in regard to how the baton is passed from John the Baptist to Jesus. Today’s passage tells us that after John was taken into custody Jesus began preaching the gospel of God in Galilee. With this development for John comes a set of things that happen to him that very graphically depict his decrease. The Gospel of Luke tells us that Herod the tetrarch locked John up in prison for reprimanding him for all his wickedness. This is looked at in much greater detail in Mark 6. The significant thing that happens to John the Baptist is that he is eventually put to death by Herod. It is not likely that John knew ahead of time that things would go south for him in the way that they did nor that he would be so thoroughly out of the picture so soon after Jesus began his earthly ministry.
Today’s passage gives us the start of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus preaches the gospel of God and calls people to repentance and faith. Our passage says that he invites people to believe in the gospel, but what is the gospel at this juncture? The gospel is “good news.” For us the good news focuses on the cross where Jesus died for our sins and his resurrection from the dead. We are not told the details of the good news Jesus preached at this point but he certainly was not talking about his death and resurrection yet. Notice the words in today’s passage that Jesus spoke to begin his ministry: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” What is it that is going on with the messages of John and Jesus? It is as simple as this: John’s message was about the one who was coming right after him, Jesus, the Christ (Messiah) and the message of Jesus was, “Here I am.” So, the good news is: the person of Jesus. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” because Jesus has arrived on the scene and has begun to make himself available to the world.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for coming to earth and making yourself available to the world. What good news it was to the people who stood before you at that glorious moment when you told them “The time is fulfilled” and that you and your kingdom had arrived. For them to behold you, God in the flesh, while being given the opportunity to respond to you in repentance and faith and then to join you in the unfolding of your glorious spiritual kingdom, Wow! And now today the fullness of good news is mine. I am redeemed and you dwell in me through the Holy Spirit. You are available right now for me to behold and respond to in the sanctuary of personal prayer. I bow before you, Lord, in worship and surrender. Amen!
Be sure to check out the special posts from this past Saturday and Sunday.
Posted on Mon, January 15, 2018
by Ken Hart