What is the "Gospel of God" that Jesus Taught?

Now after John [the Baptist] had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel 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

This is the very first teaching of Jesus' public ministry that we have recorded in the book of Mark. Yet, this teaching is often overlooked. We typically skim over it and don't really think deeply about what it truly means. 

This teaching is so profound – so simple and so  life changing – yet, I personally have not heard these verses preached or taught often. 

This is the very first recorded spoken message of Jesus, and it lays the foundation for all the rest that He taught in His ministry!

The time is fulfilled; and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.”

The message is very clear....or is it? The message is short and sweet. It is direct. It states one of the most important characteristics of the spiritual world.

What characteristic is it?
Its location.

Then it states a compound command.
Repent and believe.

The message should be clear; but it isn't crystal clear – because the full meaning encompassed by the rich Greek language is difficult to translate with simplicity into English. 

Let's look at the four verbs in the teaching.

Fulfilled. - The verb used here, in the Greek, was written in the past perfect tense. This means that it has already happened. Greek scholars have written that this phrase, in its original language, suggests that something very significant has already happened – an event so significant that it might only occur once in an eon. The time that has been fulfilled is the kairos – a very special time indeed. 

At Hand. - The verb used here, enzigo, is also written in Greek in the past perfect tense. So once again, Jesus has stated that “the Kingdom of God” and it's “at handedness” has already happened. . The message was this: the Kingdom of God is already present and near. I also like the translation of "the Kingdom of God is at hand." When something is "at hand" in the past perfect tense,  it means that it has already come close enough that it is within reach.
Repent. - The Greek word metanoia is used for repent. Interestingly, metanoia does not translate to “stop sinning.” Metanoia means to change one's mind or to change one's way of thinking
Believe. - Finally, the word used here is pisteuete. Many scholars report that this word could be translated believe, or even better as to trust. So Jesus wasn't just making a suggestion. He wasn't saying “Believe what I'm telling you, if you like.” Instead, Jesus emphatically gave this proclamation: the Kingdom of God is near, and all people can trust in this good news!

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Next, lets consider Jesus' audience for this message.  This wasn't a special message given to his special disciples and for them only. He hadn't even called nor assembled his disciple group yet. This message was for everyone. He was proclaiming it to everyone who would listen. This message was for the people then. But even better, as Jesus proceeds throughout his ministry, he will later explain that this message is also for all future generations too.   He gave this message to the people on the streets in approximately 30 A.D., and he later will explain that this message is intended to give truth and hope for all generations up until "the end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20; John 20:29)

Let's now look at the message one more time, with an attempt to capture the richness of the original language:  

A special and defining event of time has already occurred.
The Kingdom of God has drawn near. It is at hand! It is present! It is within reach!
Change your way of thinking, and trust this good news.

This is the gospel of God that Jesus taught.  It is different from the gospel of salvation that we usually focus on in church. Both gospels were given to us in the New Testament. Let's now not forget the first gospel, the gospel of God, that Jesus taught us! When you study the teachings of Jesus, you recognize that much of what he taught was about how God's kingdom operates, how the spiritual world operates, and how God's spiritual kingdom interacts with the physical earth and its people. It is beyond fascinating what was revealed through the teachings of Jesus!

The gospel of God:
Change your mind about where you think God is.
Change your mind about whatever you think about the availability of God.
God is already reigning, and He is reigning near. His Kingdom is operating now, and it is operating closely. It is operating within our reach.

Never forget this message! It is the basic foundation for a life lived in love with God!

I want to wake up each morning with a remembrance of this message.

I want to write this message on a board or a plaque and place it in the living room of my home. 

Wait, I want to write it seven times on seven different plaques and place it in every room in my home, and also in my office at work, and also in my car.

I do not want to forget – day by day – hour by hour – and even minute by minute – that I can trust that the kingdom of God is near. Know that it is near, and trust that the spiritual world of God's kingdom does indeed interact with our physical world on this earth.

Do you take time in the day to simply recognize the truth that the “Kingdom of God is near?”

God, thank you for being near. Thank you that your spirit is available to us. Thank you for being within reach.  


(Here is a preview of next week's post, which expands on this week's post. Next week we will see how  even though God is near; he isn't like an automatic guardian angel for all people, everywhere regardless of whether they are living close to Him or not. The Bible teaches us in the Old Testament, that the spirit of God searches the earth, looking for those whose hearts are turned toward Him. (2 Chronicles  16:9).  The spirit of God is available and  searches to support those who are seeking Him and desiring to be close to Him. For those readers who prefer to focus on New Testament teachings, this same Biblical truth is told there too. Here, we are told to "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8)  It is that verse in James that profoundly changed my spiritual journey about four years ago. It is an exchange....you do this, and God does this. You seek to be near to Him; and He will be near to you.  I'll save the rest for next week's post. - Sherry)