Mark 1:14-15Amplified Bible
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
14 Now after John [the Baptist] was arrested and [a]taken into custody, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of [the kingdom of] God, 15 and saying, “The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life] and believe [with a deep, abiding trust] in the good news [regarding salvation].“
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
John’s message of repentance was over; he was in Herod’s prison and soon his life would come to an end and then; time had come for Jesus’ message to begin.
Jesus’ message is not identical to John’s.
John preached about a time to come; Jesus preached that the time had come.
John preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; Jesus preached that the kingdom itself was at hand, so believe the gospel.
John did not preach the gospel; he preached that the gospel bearer was coming.
Jesus was the greatest preacher who ever lived.
Do you know the main topic of his sermons?
Jesus’ most important theme: announce the good news of the kingdom of God.
This captured the core of his teaching.
He immediately grabbed the people’s attention – Turn to Him and Him Alone!
By his Baptism, his completed temptation experiences, He boldly announced God had broken into human history and through Jesus himself God’s rightful reign over creation, and human history, and every human being had arrived.
Mark 1:14-15Common English Bible
14 After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, 15 saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”
All of Jesus’ sermons, talks, healings revolved around this good news of God’s kingdom coming – “change your hearts and lives, fully trust this good news.”
Mark 1:14-15Authorized (King James) Version
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Repentance and faith
Jesus preached the gospel, the good news that God had fulfilled his promises to Israel by sending the Messiah, or the Anointed One, to save the people.
As a whole, however, the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah, because he did not fit the commonly accepted profile of what the Messiah should do.
The Messiah was expected to militarily lead the Jews to victory over the Roman occupation forces and restore the nation to a place of dominance in the world.
Jesus showed no signs of becoming such a military minded genius Messiah.
From his prison cell, even John the Baptist finally began to wonder whether Jesus was really the one sent by God or was another to come (Matthew 11:3).
The Messiah God sent was different from the one the people expected, because God’s purpose in the world was different from what the people expected.
The people expected God to vanquish their enemies by mighty armies of heavily armed followers – utterly crushing all oppressors and make their nation great.
But God’s sole purpose for His Messiah was to make a new covenant with the people, to write his laws in their hearts – to visualize final fulfillment of the law.
In the very midst of their rejection of God’s Messiah, a rejection in which every human shares, God chose to bring all sin to a head, destroy it once and for all.
In that one singular and utterly radical act of turning the pinnacle of all human rebellion and opposition to himself into the means of human salvation, God not only fulfilled all his promises to Israel for their redemption (Acts 13:32-33), but also his word of promise for all the world (Genesis 22:18).
In other words, we are saved by God’s act of salvation on our behalf, not by our repentance and faith.
Were it not for the righteousness and the faith of the Son of God, we would not have repentance and faith.
Our repentance and our faith have meaning only because they are taken up into Jesus’ righteousness and faith on our behalf and given meaning in him, for they neither have even minimal meaning or any identifiable substance on their own.
Not a transaction
It is a popular notion that repentance and faith are two different things.
The idea is that all any person has to do is repent of all his sins, then ask Jesus to come into his life, and then, on the basis of this repentance and commitment to Jesus, God will forgive the person’s sins and grant him eternal salvation.
That is not the gospel.
The gospel is not a transaction.
It is not a deal.
It is not a tit for tat, nor any I’ll-do-this-if-you-do-that arrangement.
When we believe the gospel we are not causing God to save us.
We are not satisfying some prerequisite.
What we are doing when we believe the gospel is trusting God’s word that he has already saved us through what he has already done for us in Jesus Christ.
Our faith enables us to finally and fully and completely and utterly realize, enjoy and 100% embrace the gift we already have; it doesn’t cause God to give it to us.
The gospel is good news.
It is the good news that God loved everybody so much that he did something so completely unexpected to save them from the destruction and alienation of sin.
What God did — send his Son — he did purely and simply because he wanted to, not because we expected something of that nature to happen, did something, or said something, or thought something in our hearts to actually bring it about.
We are saved because God already, in Christ, did everything necessary to make our salvation the reality that it is.
Jesus said, “God so loved the world,” not “God so loved several carefully picked ones.”
For us to repent and believe the gospel is to turn from our empty lives, ignorant of God’s love and grace, and turn to belief in God’s word about who he is for us and what he has done for us in Christ. It is a matter of believing a thing that is already true. And it is a matter of believing it because God tells us that it is true.
From the very beginning (Genesis 1:1) the message of God is always been there!
From the very early days of God’s Prophet Isaiah – we learn of God’s desire for a restoration of our relationship with Him – God’s expressed desire to reconnect:
Isaiah 1:18-20Authorized (King James) Version
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient,
ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 but if ye refuse and rebel,
ye shall be devoured with the sword:
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
That is not a transaction.
It is not a matter of the gospel not applying to us unless or until we do the right thing.
Salvation is not remuneration for repentance.
It is not remuneration for faith.
It is not remuneration for anything.
It is a FREE gift, a FREE gift given to the world is ours, whether we like it or not.
It is a matter of our coming to the senses lost to our sin in the Garden of Eden.
It is a matter of activating our God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit awareness.
Role of faith
To believe that God has given you a gift is not a pathway to receive the gift.
It’s a gift, and it is given by grace, not by saying the magic words. But believing is the path to taking up, using and enjoying the gift. If you do not believe you have a gift, you’ll never take it up and use it, and you’ll never enjoy its benefits.
So it is with the gospel.
The gospel is true for us because God made it true for us.
It does not suddenly become true when we repent and believe.
It does, however, suddenly become plain to us what God has given us when we repent and believe.
And in belief, or faith, or trust, we can walk in the light of our Savior Christ, where we once walked in mindless empty darkness because of our unbelief.
Our unbelief did not mean the gospel was not so for us; it only meant we could not sense it. We were imprisoned in the dark about it, did not know beyond our sin born prison bars, God redeemed us in Christ long before we were ever born.
The gospel was fulfilled when the Son of God became one of us for our sakes.
He was the undeniable fulfillment of all the prophecies promised unto Israel (Acts13:32-33), and the very means by which Israel became a blessing to all other nations (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:8).
He transformed the meaning of human life, human history and human time.
All times, from the creation to the end of the world, are redeemed in him.
All of human history — past, present and future — including your personal history, are redeemed in him. Human life itself, including your human life, is redeemed in him, made new, saved (see Colossians 1:19-20; Ephesians 1:9-10).
This is not something we are waiting for — it is fulfilled already, though we do not yet experience its fullness.
We still wait for the redemption of our bodies, as Paul said, when “this mortal shall put on immortality.”
We still wait for the revealing of the new, clean and righteous us, which is hidden with Christ in God and will be revealed with him in glory when he is revealed (Colossians 3:3-4).
But please permit the Holy Spirit to remind you of this: we already walk by faith in the light of the knowledge of the Son of God, tasting and drawing upon today the 100% fulfillment of the reality that awaits us with Christ in the age to come.
Christ has wrought a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), which we do not, and indeed cannot, yet see in full, but we are definitely part of it. In Christian believers, the age to come has already begun to manifest itself.
It is this light, the light of the gospel, that we seek to share with all those who still walk in the darkness of unbelief.
When we share the gospel, we are not saying,
“You are hanging by a thread over the fires of hell; say these words and God will change his mind about you.”
Instead we are saying, as Scottish Theologian Rev. Thomas F. Torrance put it,
“Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him…. He has believed for you, fulfilled your human response to God, even made your personal decision for you, so that he acknowledges you before God as one who has already responded to God in him, who has already believed in God through him…in all of which he has been fully and completely accepted by the Father, so that in Jesus Christ you are already accepted by him. Therefore, renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus as your Lord and Saviour” (The Mediation of Christ, page 94).
When we understand the gospel of the unconditional grace of God, we no longer rely upon our faith or our commitment, but upon what Christ has done for us.
Indeed, as Mark’s narrative immediately, succinctly informs and teaches us:
Jesus said in Mark 1:1-14-15, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, change your hearts, and change your life and believe the gospel.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus himself spoke these words immediately before he fully and completely and utterly gave his life for us and died upon Calvary:
John 19:28-30Amplified Bible
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said in fulfillment of the Scripture, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of [a]sour wine was placed there; so they put a sponge soaked in the sour wine on [a branch of] hyssop and held it to His mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] [b]gave up His spirit.
We just need re-ignite our awareness: reason this Gospel truth out with God!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God of all truth and wisdom, sometimes I not sure if I’m actually hearing your voice, or if it’s just my own thoughts or even another spirit. Sharpen my spiritual hearing, Lord, so I can recognize your words when you are speaking to me. Help me know it’s really you, with no doubt or second-guessing. When I’m asking for your guidance in important decisions, grant me your peace that surpasses understanding with your answer alone. Help me remember your words to me will never go against your living written Word in the Bible. Give me a clear mind, push out all of my confusion. Amen.