Today we preach about Jesus Christ – crucified, risen, returning. But that was not the message Jesus took from town to town in Galilee.

Jesus preached a simple, powerful message: “The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.”

The time has come – For hundreds of years, the Israelites had been waiting for a special king, the Messiah. They believed God would send the Messiah to deliver them from their enemies and establish God’s kingdom over the entire world. It was their most cherished hope. Jesus came with the good news: The moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived!

The kingdom of God is near – In fact, Jesus said, the kingdom is right under your nose, and you don’t even know it. It’s always been there, but you’ve been looking for an earthly king. Now open your eyes. What you want more than anything in the world is right before you!

Repent – Jesus wasn’t just calling people to be sorry for rebelling against God. Repentance does involve a personal action. It means understanding just how much you have hurt God. It means turning your back on rebellion. But it also involves an action by God: a complete transformation of your innermost being. A radical change in who you are. God creates a whole new you. Made in his likeness. In harmony with his heart. Capable of an intimate relationship with him. Capable of living a life that pleases God.

Believe the good news – This happens in the heart, not the head. It’s more than accepting the facts about a loving God, more than agreeing that Jesus is his only Son. It means trusting God to make this good news a reality in your heart and life. Staking your life, your reputation, your possessions, your family, your career on God’s ability to make good on his promises. Making a commitment to stand apart and be different from the world. To be God’s light in the darkness. To give yourself – body and soul – to God’s revolution.

Jesus’ message was not good news for everyone, however. He told Israel that they had badly misunderstood the nature of God’s kingdom. He told a people waiting for deliverance that it had been right under their noses all the time. He told a devoutly religious people that they needed to be completely transformed. He told them that their religious ritual was inadequate. God wanted sons and daughters, not casual acquaintances. God wanted revolutionaries, not functionaries.

Jesus knew the enormity – and the danger – of what he said. He phrased the message deliberately. Not everyone was glad to hear it. It was not to be taken lightly.

The stakes were immense. A day of reckoning was coming. Every soul would stand before God and account for rebellion. The faithless ones, who had made themselves God’s enemies, would spend eternity separated from God.

God was going to hold mankind accountable. He saw to it that one final, unmistakable word came to mankind. The word was Jesus, God’s own Son. Dispatched on a mission from God.

Read it for yourself!
Mark 1.14-15

Think about it!
Why do people need to be radically changed to have a relationship with God?

Have you really been radically changed? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

Next installment
07 – Jesus’ mission

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