People need hope, and people need confidence for their moments. People need peace and a place of mental ease. These are things which must grow on the inside.
These needful things were lost with the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God went and uncertainty came. Disobedience caused the freedom that only godliness gives to evaporate, and long it was gone.
Mark 1:14-15: The message of Good News from Jesus
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”(Mark 1:14-15–ESV)
A good time
When Jesus went into Galilee he proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled.” In the New International Version it is stated, “The time has come.” Long it was in the mind of God to restore what was lost. The prophets had for centuries given hints of a restoration. The people would misconstrue it, but God would unravel it. With Jesus’ arrival the unraveling took on a new proportion.
In Christianity good news and gospel are considered synonyms. The first part of the good news was that something which had been long looked for was now at hand.
It was a good time for man, and because of the message man’s time on earth could be good.
The kingdom of God
About three years after Jesus came into Galilee he stood before the Roman Pilate. Pilate said, “You are a king then?” Jesus indicated that he was, but that his kingdom was not of this world. When Jesus came preaching in Galilee he said the kingdom of God was near.
The unraveling of this is that God’s kingdom is in our hearts. The earth is to be the eternal home of humanity. It will be rebuilt, but on earth will eventually be the kingdom of God. The kingdom, though, is less about the structures that humanity builds and more about the style that humanity will live.
The style that will exist will be the style of godliness, not pride and selfishness. There will be no co-existence of good and bad there like we now see, but only life in God’s proper context.
So when Jesus said that the kingdom of God was near he meant that the inklings of eternity, of propriety, of excellence were dawning.
What was the message?
Repent was part one of the message. This was just the thing that John preached. For the most part people know what is to be done and not done. All too frequently people do the thing that they should not be doing and they know it. So Jesus says, “put it aside.” He says to turn 180 degrees away from those poor styles, those man-styles.
The people, and us too, are to turn to God-styles.
Belief was the second part of the message. The people were to believe the good news that the kingdom of God was near. Living a godly life is the beginning of the kingdom of heaven. It was dawning then and after Jesus died, rose again and then ascended to heaven the Holy Spirit was sent. This event rocked Jerusalem. With the installation of the Holy Spirit into the heart of a person the kingdom of God becomes even nearer.
This is a big deal; it is good news
Christianity differs from the religions of the world in the strength God delivers for being godly. It is child’s play for a religion to tell you what you are doing wrong and demand that you stop it. The key features of doing good are mostly understood intuitively anyway. It is another thing entirely for a religion to be able to help you do right. What is needed is not so much religion but one who comes alongside and helps. What is needed is one who understands temptation and having been victorious over it is both sympathetic to help and capable to help. That is what Christianity teaches.
The good news of God was that now (soon when Jesus said it) through the power of God we can be good. We are given strength to do right even when we do not want to, and for the times in the past and the times in the future when we will slip up in our obedience the penalty of death has already been paid. That is good news. That is the gospel. There is life anew. That is the kingdom of God.