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’.
Sometimes I get excited about the most ridiculous things. Over the last few years, I’ve got into the Harry Potter novels. I have to get the latest volume as soon as it comes out, and will then sit there and read it from cover to cover. When I’ve finished one, I’m desperate to get my hands on the next one to find out what happens next to Harry, Ron and Hermione. By the time the next volume is published, however, I’ve usually forgotten what happened in the previous book, and can’t remember why I was getting so excited!
The Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah for generations. I’m sure that many of them had forgotten what precisely they were waiting for, and why they were getting so excited.
Here, though, we see Jesus entering Galilee to begin his ministry, and hear him speak for the first time. The waiting is over, and people will finally now see God’s plan fulfilled.
So with what words does Jesus begin his ministry? He proclaims the gospel of God – the good news of God’s plan to save everyone who repents. He tells people that the time is now, the waiting is over, the Messiah who is to save God’s people has arrived. He says that the kingdom of God is upon us – the restoration of God’s heavenly order. And since the kingdom of God has arrived, he calls on people to turn away from their sins, all the things they have done wrong, so that they may be a part of this kingdom. In this way, the kingdom will grow, and grow and grow. When people have repented, he urges people to believe in the gospel – the good news that Jesus has come to save people from eternal damnation and enable them to have eternal life.
The same plea goes out to you. The kingdom of God is at hand. Will you repent and believe in the gospel?