Mark 1:14-15 Common 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!”
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
Your Kingdom Come
Mark 1:15 Amplified Bible
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].”
Jesus was the greatest preacher who ever lived.
Do we know the main topic of his sermons?
Jesus’ most important theme, undoubtedly His most important message, was to announce the good news of the kingdom of God.
This declaration captured the core of his teaching.
He boldly announced God had broken into the affairs of human history, that through Jesus himself God’s rightful reign over creation, human history, and every human being had arrived – and was now ready to be personally engaged.
All of Jesus’ sermons, talks, and healings revolved around this good news of God’s kingdom coming.
When we pray the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10), we long for God’s rule to be more fully realized in our world.
As Jesus Himself taught us – we pray, we plead, we cry out, we ask, God to show everyone who He is through his Word and through his Holy Spirit.
We ask that the Body of Christ, His church in the World, His children spread throughout the world, may prosper and grow.
We ask God to push away and protect against any power that works against his good and perfect will.
Jesus announced that the kingdom has come, but we are still waiting for the kingdom to come fully.
How do we know that will happen?
We know because Jesus has risen from the dead, has ascended to rule in heaven, and will come again to bring his kingdom fully on the earth (Revelation 21-22).
In all our work and prayer today, the longing for God’s kingdom should be in our hearts and on our lips as we pray, “Your kingdom come.”
Can We Give Any Timely Answer to the Question: What About the Kingdom of God?
What is the Kingdom of God really?
Where will it be established?
When will it come?
How can we prepare for the Kingdom of God and enter into it?
Is the Kingdom of God a literal place?
The Kingdom of God is an actual Kingdom that will be established on the earth after Christ’s second coming.
What is the Kingdom of God in the Bible?
In short, the Kingdom of God is the central theme of Jesus’ teaching and the fundamental message of the Church founded by Him through His disciples.
As Mark explains in his Gospel account,
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God
Matthew and Luke likewise record that Jesus’ message was the “gospel,” or “glad tidings,” of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23; Luke 8:1).
Even though Matthew referred to it as “the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 4:17; Matthew 5:3, 10, 19-20) and Paul once called it “the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5), the predominant name in Scripture is “the kingdom of God.”
Jesus consistently taught this same message of hope—“gospel” means good news—of the Kingdom throughout His ministry.
His parables—stories with spiritual lessons—often dealt with this Kingdom, which God the Father and His Son had prepared prior to the existence of man at “the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 25:34).
Preaching the Kingdom of God
After training His 12 disciples, Jesus sent them out “to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2).
After His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared before His disciples and continued “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
Later, the apostle Paul likewise many times described his ministry as preaching “the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22; Acts 19:8; Acts 20:25; Acts 28:31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:24) and referred to his fellow ministers as “workers for the kingdom of God” (Colossians 4:11).
Kingdom of God a Literal or a Figurative Kingdom?
What is the real meaning of the Kingdom of God?
Is it a literal or a figurative kingdom?
Since Jesus came preaching the Kingdom was “at hand” (Mark 1:15), some think it is literally here on earth through the Church or figuratively in our hearts.
Others, recognizing that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50), say it is not yet here.
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
The Kingdom of God will thus replace the governments of this earth. Jesus himself termed it a “mystery.”
Mark 4:11-12 Amplified Bible
11 He said to them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you [who have teachable hearts], but those who are outside [the unbelievers, the spiritually blind] get everything in parables, 12 so that they will continually look but not see, and they will continually hear but not understand, otherwise they might turn [from their rejection of the truth] and be forgiven.”
So what did the disciples understand?
What did Jesus and the prophets foretell?
The Bible answers the question, What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is a literal kingdom.
God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a dream of an image of a man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
God revealed the meaning of the dream through Daniel, showing that there would be four world-ruling empires (Daniel 2:31-43).
History has shown these to be the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman empires.
Concluding this explanation, Daniel wrote: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (verse 44).
The Kingdom of God is a real government that will thus replace the governments of this earth.
The Kingdom of God will be established on earth when Jesus returns.
The time that the Kingdom is established will be after Christ’s return to earth. Revelation 11:15 states: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”
Jesus told His disciples that when the Kingdom is established, they will
“sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28, also compare Luke 22:30).
We prepare for the Kingdom by living according to the rules of the Kingdom now.
Explaining how one might enter the Kingdom of God, Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be “born again” (John 3:1-8).
This process begins with baptism, which signifies the death of the former sinful man and the beginning of a new life dedicated to Christ (Romans 6:1-4).
It culminates in a change from mortal flesh and blood to immortal spirit at Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Once we embark on this process, we are symbolically “conveyed” into the Kingdom (Colossians 1:13), and our “citizenship” is now described as being in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
At the completion of the process of being born again, we will be changed into immortal beings and become kings and priests serving in God’s Kingdom on earth (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).
What is the Kingdom of God like?
An insightful overview of Christ’s rule in the coming Kingdom of God is found in Isaiah 2:2-4:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
This prophecy—also repeated in Micah 4:1-3—describes a time when God’s laws will be the standard of conduct for all peoples.
People will want to learn God’s ways because they will see the many benefits of doing so.
The world will truly be at peace; human sicknesses and ailments will be healed (Isaiah 35:5-6); and the ground will become abundantly productive (Isaiah 35:1-2; Amos 9:13).
More importantly, Christ’s rule on earth will offer all humans the opportunity to receive God’s Spirit and have a relationship with Him leading to eternal life (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Worship of God in the Kingdom of God
Worship of God during this 1,000-year period will include the same basic practices God expects of people today.
God states the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath will be the weekly day of worship.
Speaking of this time, God says, “And it shall come to pass … from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me” (Isaiah 66:23).
God’s annual holy days, the ones given to ancient Israel and the ones observed by Jesus and His apostles, will also be observed.
As Zechariah notes, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).
How To Enter The Kingdom of God
In the Kingdom parables of the Bible (ones that often begin, “The kingdom of heaven is like …”), Jesus explained what the Kingdom will be like and what we must do to enter the Kingdom.
Some of the lessons include understanding the universal rule of God’s coming Kingdom (Matthew 13:33) and the importance of valuing one’s invitation to be in that Kingdom (verses 44-46).
Believing and following Jesus’ instructions about how to live is our pathway to eternal life (John 3:15-16; 14:15; Matthew 19:17).
Our understanding this point is critically important in terms of entering the Kingdom of God because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50).
Even though Jesus will establish the Kingdom of God on earth and rule over physical human beings, only those who have been changed into spirit will be able to actually inherit His Kingdom.
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Now that we prayerfully have an expanded knowledge of what the Kingdom of God is, we need to come to understand how to follow Jesus’ command to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Your task is to learn what God’s laws are and then to begin living in accordance with the rules of His Kingdom.
Faith—How We Look At Things
In the atrium of our church one Sunday, I noticed one of our senior members standing quietly just off to the side, all alone and obviously, deep in thought.
His face wasn’t happy, but it was welcoming.
I understood the look of tiredness and concern he showed.
His wife was now permanent resident in a long term memory-care center.
He had taken care of her for several years, but now, he no longer could.
His own health was not robust having had at least two heart attacks.
And yet he was there, at church fellowshipping among the worshipers.
I reached out to shake his hand and asked, “How are you doing?”
His less-than-enthusiastic response: “Okay, I guess.”
After a pause he stated bluntly,
“I don’t really believe I care about anything anymore as much as I did my wife.”
Surprised, I asked, “Nothing?”
He shifted a bit and then said,
“There was a time when we liked boats, sailing and cars and randomly traveling anywhere a tank of gas would take us and lots and lots of things. We got excited about them. But right now, they do not mean anything to me or her anymore.”
I began to understand.
Material things no longer grabbed his attention.
Desire for stuff no longer preoccupied him.
As his wife of 65 years lost her ability to relate to others, and as she increasingly depended on others to care for her most basic needs, he realized he had grown used to her memory loss, feeling the wearing, wearying effects of caring for her.
His perspective on life had changed.
Outside of caring for her, things decreased in importance, and relationships—with God, with family, with church—slowly, achingly became his new priority.
This brother in Christ was learning more deeply the meaning of seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Even in his obvious weariness, His quiet strength was felt, was a heartwarming testimony to those of us who had grown to know him and his wife’s zest for life.
Then he bowed his head and quietly broke into song,
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
Mark wanted us to see that Jesus’ baptism by John, Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, John’s arrest immediately led to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus went to Galilee, the place of ministry in Mark’s Gospel.
He began to preach “God’s Good News” about the nearness of God’s Kingdom.
This nearness of the Kingdom and this presentation of Good News means that people must respond by their repenting, and the turning away from their sins.
God’s will must reign in our hearts if we are to receive this Kingdom.
God’s Good News must call us from our sin if we are to experience the power of this Kingdom in our own lives.
So the question comes to you and to me: Have I welcomed Jesus and the Good News of eternal salvation and turned from my sins?
Perhaps it is time we each considered our own search for the Kingdom of God.
For the Kingdom of God has come near to us.
For the Kingdom of God is always very near to us.
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus …”
“Turn Your Ears Upon Jesus …”
“Turn Your Hearts Upon Jesus …”
“Release Your Souls Upon Jesus …”
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Holy and righteous Father, God of mercy and grace, I believe that your Son has brought to my ears the message of your Good News. I believe you want to have the power of your Kingdom reign in my heart and be seen in the fruit of righteousness produced in my life. I gladly offer you my heart, soul, strength, and mind to show you my love for you and for others and show you my desire to honor you. In Jesus’ name.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.