The Time of God Has Come!

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

Mark 1:15

After Jesus’ baptism, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan. Mark does not supply the details about this temptation that are found in Matthew and Luke. Yet the entrance of Satan sets the scene for the spiritual battle that’s soon to come. Following his temptation, Jesus began his ministry by preaching “God’s Good News” (1:14). Mark provides a succinct summary of that Good News: “The time promised by God has come at last! . . . The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (1:15).

For those of us who are used to thinking of the Gospel as a message about salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the actual preaching of Jesus can be confusing. What did he mean by saying that the time promised by God has come? What is the Kingdom of God? And why does this news call for repentance? In today’s reflection, I’ll address the first of these questions.

The original Greek of Mark 1:15 reads, literally, “The time has been fulfilled.” The NLT adds a few words to flesh out the meaning, “The time promised by God has come at last!” Rightly, this translation harkens back to the Hebrew prophets, who spoke of a time in the future when God would do a new thing. He would judge injustice, set free the oppressed, and establish a new order on earth. On that day, God’s people would be forgiven and their life under God’s righteous rule restored (see, for example, Jeremiah 31:33-34). Jews in the time of Jesus prayed regularly for the time in which God would restore their nation and rule over them once again. They yearn for the day of God’s salvation.

Thus you can imagine the excitement and perhaps also the confusion that accompanied Jesus’ announcement that God’s time had come. Was he telling the truth? Was God finally going to make things right on earth? Or was Jesus one more messianic pretender with good news based on wishful thinking?

We Christians continue to wait for God to complete the work he has begun in Jesus. Yet because we live on this side of Easter, we can experience God’s salvation today. As the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). In Christ, God’s time has come!

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How would you like to experience God’s presence and power today? How might God want to use you for the work of his kingdom today?

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, how wonderful and yet confusing it must have been for the people of Galilee to hear your proclamation that God’s time had come. I praise you for being the one who came to fulfill the promises of God, and, indeed, the longings of every heart.

O Lord, may I experience your power today! May your kingdom power be present in my life today. Fill me afresh with your Spirit. Use me for your purposes. May I live today in the joy of knowing that your time had come in Jesus. And may I pass on that Good News to others. Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.