Mark 1:14-15, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
In Mark’s gospel, before we read of any of what Jesus did or the miracles He performed, we are told that he went out preaching. Specifically, he went out “proclaiming the gospel of God” (Mark 1:14). We read also, in the context, of how his teaching was unique and how others were astonished in hearing him, because “he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22).
What’s the significance of this? Its possible for us, especially in this day, to lose sight of the importance of the authoritative preaching/teaching of the Word. But as with the prophets of old, and what would be the case in the church following Jesus’ ascension into heaven, preaching has always had a significant role in God’s plan. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy, “Preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), and the admonition to the pastor/teacher stands in effect to this day.
The one major difference in Jesus’ preaching was that he was not only the messenger, the message was all about him. He was proclaiming the gospel (the good news) of God. His message was “The time is fulfilled; the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). He represented and embodied the good news that he himself was preaching.
Jesus is good news. Remember the message of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). What was the good news? It was the good news of the birth of a Savior. Good News indeed. The shepherds saw the truth of it and went and shared the good news with a bunch of other folks.
Here the good news has to do with a kingdom? According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the word translated “kingdom” here refers to “the sphere of God’s rule.” Vine’s goes on to explain, “The fundamental principle of the Kingdom is declared in the words of the Lord spoken in the midst of a company of Pharisees, ‘The kingdom of God is in the midst of you,’ (Luke 17:21)…that is, where the King is, there is the kingdom.” Vine’s goes onto explain that there is also a future aspect to the expression “kingdom of God,” so in one sense the kingdom “is at hand” inasmuch as Jesus was “at hand,” in another sense the fulfillment of all that would transpire and accompany the reign of Christ was yet in the future.
We should make note of something else here in this account. Jesus spoke of a kingdom, but where was the palace? Not only was there no palace, there was no throne, no royal robe, no royal entourage, no royal crown, no royal feast or anything, in the earthly sense, that would lead one to believe that Jesus, the one who was speaking, was in any way associated with the rule of which he was speaking. The kingdom of God, the reign of God, was fully founded and invested in His person, not lesser things. Though the full majesty of his divine glory was “veiled in flesh,” by divine disclosure the truth was apprehended by some (Cf. Matthew 11:25-26; 16:17). It will be apprehended by all in a future day (Cf. Philippians 2:9-11).
Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom. We’ve a message of good news, a matter of first importance, that centers around the person of Jesus Christ, to proclaim in this day (Cf.1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Salvation is by grace through faith in Him (Cf. Ephesians 2:8-9), the One who died once for all for sins (Cf. 1 Peter 3:18), and then rose from the dead, defeating sin, and death, and the devil himself. He saves those who come to Him by faith, and then reigns in their hearts forevermore.