Some time passes between Mark 1.13 and verse 14. Perhaps Jesus was returning from a journey to Judea (see John 3.22-36; 4.1-3). After John was handed over, Jesus comes to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1.14-15)
The Kingdom of God is at hand. One cannot enter this kingdom yet to come in his own strength. He must receive its King. The new birth will be required for entrance. We reign by receiving.
The mystery of the kingdom of God is revealed to those who believe (Mark 4.11). It is present with power during the transfiguration of Christ. It is revealed to few who really understand it during Christ’s earthly ministry. It will manifest itself in the future. Those who will reign with Christ the King are ever-increasing as the Gospel is sounded and people receive Jesus Christ as Savior and as King.
- It is the Kingdom of God not man. It consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14.17). As co-heirs of this kingdom, we have our King dwelling within us at present. This kingdom is the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God.
- It is the Kingdom yet to be established at the time of Christ and a Kingdom yet to come in a literal fashion. The Jews were waiting for it. It was near them and they were unaware of it. It is the Millennial Kingdom of Messiah.
- It is the Kingdom appointed to those who repent and believe the Gospel.
- Repentance is changing one’s mind. It is turning from one’s self-righteousness and self-dependence to the righteousness of Christ our King. This is the One with whom we shall reign.
- Repentance includes an element of turning from our sinfulness generally …of seeing the end of ourselves. But turning from sin patterns in our lives follows the great turning from self-dependence.
- Belief is a trust in Christ alone for eternal life. Belief and repentance are tightly intertwined concepts.
Preparation is over, and the earthly ministry of Christ begins in earnest. Mark 1.1-14 teaches us that repentance gives way to identification through baptism. Temptation follows us, but our lives proclaim the very dedication and consecration that drives us toward the Kingdom of God. We will reign in this kingdom by receiving.