The book of Mark opens with these words: “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ the Son of God.” Why does he call it “the beginning?” Surely it means more than “this is the start of my book.” And what precisely is this “good news” (which is what ‘gospel’ means) that concerns Jesus Christ?
The next time we meet the word “gospel,” Mark says it is this: “The Kingdom of God is near.”
The good news then is that the rule of God has come into our world in a new way: through the person of Jesus. For the next eight chapters, Mark demonstrates his thesis: Nothing can stand in the way of the rule of God in Christ: Not illness, disease, misfortune, want – not even the powers of the spirit world. If you want to be a part of this kingdom of God, Mark says, you must turn from your past life, and live a life entrusted to the rule and power of God.
But why is Mark’s presentation the “beginning”of the good news?
Because the Kingdom of God is not just a “here and now” Kingdom. It is a waiting kingdom; one that looks forward to the return of Jesus in his Father’s glory (8:38), to his gathering the elect from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens (13:27), and to joining Jesus himself in a banquet of celebration (14:25). It is a kingdom whose fulfillment is as sure as its beginning for all those who repent and believe.