Sunday 18 February 2018

Bible Book:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (v.15)

Mark 1:9-15 Sunday 18 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 25


Mark’s Gospel opens with an emphatic statement: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” The original language and style of this sentence particularly emphasise that a moment in history has arrived: there is something significant, final, once and for all about the coming of Jesus.

The society to which Jesus came was one that longed for justice. The words of Psalm 25 would have found resonance for those who were part of it. The writer pleads for God’s deliverance, describing their situation with words like “lonely”, “afflicted”, “troubled of heart” and distressed (Psalm 25:16, 17). As we read the Psalm, we might consider who in today’s world could describe their circumstances in such terms.

Psalms like this can also be difficult to read. They often speak of God coming to the rescue of those in trouble, leaving us with questions about why some peoples’ suffering seems to continue unabated. Are there situations like that which you struggle with?

Mark’s Gospel announces Jesus as God’s response to the hopes and longings of our world – bringing near the possibilities of God’s kingdom with all its righteousness and justice. For those who are followers of Jesus, this presents an unavoidable challenge. We too are called to be God’s response; to bring near God’s kingdom; to fight for justice and stand against what we recognise to be wrong. If God appears silent in the face of injustice, is that because God’s people are failing to respond?

Jesus invites those who hear the message of God’s kingdom to repent. This means more than simply saying sorry (although the Psalm reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and restoration). To repent is to turn around and live differently – to deliberately choose to walk in the ways of God’s kingdom, a kingdom of justice and righteousness.

To Ponder

  • How would you respond to someone who asks why God rescues some people and leaves others to suffer?
  • What does God’s kingdom mean to you?
  • What part does repentance play in your understanding and living out of God’s kingdom?
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