This past Sunday in the sermon, I briefly commented on the gospel Jesus was proclaiming in our Gospel passage (Mark 1:14-20). We aim to keep our sermons around fifteen minutes at The Table so I didn’t want to spend too much time drawing comparisons to what we may have come to think of when we hear the word “gospel.” Instead of expounding, I made a couple tongue-in-cheek comments, so while it remains to be seen whether or not those comments were ill-advised, I wanted to further engage the good news that Jesus was proclaiming in our gospel text in my letter to you this week.
Near the beginning of the passage, the text says, “Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news [gospel], saying, ‘Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!’”
Growing up I was always taught that the gospel was simply that Jesus died for our sins so that we could go to heaven. As I aged my way into youth group, I learned how to present the gospel in four points:
- God loves you.
- Sin separates you from God.
- Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection creates a bridge back to God.
- You cross that bridge and accept God’s love by repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus into your heart.
This, friends, is good news and it is very succinct, but this is not the good news we find Jesus proclaiming in Mark 1! Don’t get me wrong, it is a part of the Gospel with a capital ‘G,’ but it is not the fullness of the good news of the Gospel. The good news Jesus proclaimed was, “the kingdom of God has come to you today” and this is still the gospel his Spirit is proclaiming to us today.
The beauty of the cross is a crucial part of our faith, but you don’t have to understand the complete mechanics of what is happening on Christ’s cross to receive the good news that God’s kingdom has come to you today just as it came to those fishermen in Mark 1. As they were casting their nets and living their normal lives, Jesus proclaimed, “here comes the kingdom” and that is the good news we proclaim to you today, as you are in the middle of your week, in the dreary dead of winter, amidst Covidtide – Church, here comes the kingdom!