August 2, 2019 • Life for Leaders
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
After Jesus’ baptism, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan. Following his temptation, Jesus began his ministry by preaching “the good news of God” (1:14). Mark provides a succinct summary of that good news: “The time has come. . . . The kingdom of God has come near. Repent 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 surprising, even confusing. What did he mean by saying that the time has come? What is the kingdom of God? How has it come near? And why does this news call for repentance and belief? In today’s Life for Leaders devotion, I’ll address the first of these questions.
The original Greek of Mark 1:15 literally reads, “The time has been fulfilled.” This short sentence 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 yearned for the day of God’s salvation.
Thus, you can imagine the excitement and perhaps also the curiosity that followed 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?
Christians recognize that God was indeed at work in Jesus, fulfilling his prophetic promises of the kingdom. The time was indeed fulfilled in Jesus. We also look forward with hope to the time when God will complete the work begun in Jesus, when his kingdom will cover the earth with justice and peace. Yet, as we look back to the unique time of Jesus and forward to the fullness of time of the future, we rejoice that we can begin to experience God’s salvation today. As the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). In Christ, God’s right time has come, even for us.
Something to Think About:
How would you like to experience God’s presence and power in your work today?
How might God want to use you for the work of his kingdom today?
Gracious God, how wonderful and yet confusing it must have been for the people of Galilee to hear Jesus’ proclamation that your time had come. I praise you, Lord Jesus, 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 presence and power today! May your kingdom power pervade my life today. Fill me afresh with your Spirit. Use me for your purposes. Amen.
Explore Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: The Beginning of the Gospel: Mark 1:1-13.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.