John the baptizer had his time, but with his arrest it was at an end. Now it is Jesus’ time. John was Advent, Jesus is Christmas. John was pregnancy, Jesus is birth. John prepared hearts for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus is the Messiah.
A man’s singleness ends with his wedding. His hope for a life with a partner is fulfilled on his wedding day. His waiting is complete and a new season of life begins. Jesus’ arrival is the wedding. His coming is the fulfillment of time, the waiting for God’s messiah is completed. Jesus, the Messiah, is come and with him good news.
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.’
With these few words Jesus declares his definition of the good news.
The good news he proclaims is that the Kingdom of God has come near. Notice this subtle, but very important aspect of Jesus’ gospel, the Kingdom has come near. God’s promise spoken through Moses is realized in Jesus’ arrival.
Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. – Deuteronomy 30:11-14
You don’t need to go anywhere or do anything special or religious to access it. God is the one who moves close, you just need to stand still. God’s Kingdom will come near to you. This is truly good news!
Yet, the good news Jesus preaches calls for a response on our part. The Kingdom has come near, therefore, we must repent and believe. John also preached about the need for repentance, but his was for forgiveness of sins; backwards thinking, erasing our past. Jesus’ call to repentance is forward thinking, it is an invitation to act differently because we believe God’s Kingdom is here, now. The good news is not just about the forgiveness of our sins; it is believing and living from the reality that God is among us, God has drawn near.
The rest of Mark’s Gospel explains how to repent and believe.