Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
As Mark opens his book, the gospel (good news) begins with an announcement that the kingdom of God is “near.” Some would hear that as God establishing a new order, rival to worldly governments and rulers. And they ‘d be right – to a point. But there was a twist. God’s kingdom did not come to compete with political realms. It would subsume them.
But not by force.
The kingdom of God would be a special realm where citizens of all nationalities could enter willingly, swear allegiance to God alone, and become partakers of a better life, one guided, protected and provisioned by God.
The allegiance was signaled not by some one time formal ceremony, but by a changed life – a life no longer guided by the values of any nation, society or ethnicity, but by values determined by God alone. That step was called “repentance.”
Why was this “good news?” Because it meant God had begun to work in a way He had not done before, blessing His people and giving them a present and a future available to no one else at no other time.
To folks tired of the world’s empty promises, this was indeed good news, and they flocked to Jesus to become a part of it. Those however who found their world good enough, a comfortable and pleasing home . . . didn’t. It’s still true. The “good news” isn’t “good news” for everybody.
How is it for you?