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 is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15
Right now. The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. One scholar said that the best translation of this proclamation is “the kingdom of God is within your reach.” John’s message of repentance prepares the heart, and believing in Jesus opens the door to a new Kingdom. An eternal kingdom. Not just far into the future, but right now. In this moment. The time has come… will you believe?
It is an interesting thing to consider the gap between time and eternity. We are so completely locked in the progression of time, we have no real understanding what it will be to step out of time. We think, today we live and later, when we die, we step into eternity… sequentially, first this, then that. But eternity is outside of time. So, it is happening while time is happening… bear with me. So eternity is happening at the same time as life, or time, is happening. And the place that these two worlds come together is now. In the exact moment we are in. Not in the past, or the future, but right now in this eternal moment. I know, crazy right. But why does that matter? Why does it matter in my life? In yours?
The Kingdom of God is eternal, outside of time. So, when Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God is within your reach, he was talking not only about a future, eternal kingdom, but a right now in the present kingdom. A kingdom that is a close as your breath. A kingdom accessible to ordinary people by faith. John’s message of repentance prepares my heart and believing ushers me into the kingdom, in this very moment. We usually think of this in terms of salvation, but I think it is also a living message. What does it mean for me to live today, believing that the Kingdom is near? I am challenged by this in my heart. Do the thoughts, attitudes, and intentions of my heart align with the Kingdom? Do I believe? Not in the largest sense, but in the little every day moments of today. Do I believe the Good News as evidenced by my words? My interactions with others? Am I living in this moment as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Too often, we spend time focused on the ways we fall short in this everyday living. But, I am challenged to consider that maybe the problem isn’t just my attitudes and actions, but my focus.
Do I recognize and honor God in this moment?
Do I submit to His sovereignty?
Do I look for His direction?
Do I thank Him for His active participation in this (and every) situation?
If I don’t, then who will? If I don’t look for Him in my minutes and hours, if I only expect Him to show up for Sunday services… maybe I’m not living as though the Kingdom is near. Right here. Reflect– What made you think as you read this? Receive– What touched your heart? Respond– What will you do because you read this?