The Kingdom Has Come Near
“Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:14–15).
From the very first moment of Jesus’ ministry on earth, He proclaimed the message of the Kingdom of God. It was here. It was breaking into this world. It had real-life ramifications. It meant the old era had passed and a new era had been inaugurated. The coming of the Kingdom changed everything.
Those around Jesus could see that something had fundamentally changed. Something was different about this man Jesus and this Kingdom He announced. And yet, not all was right in the world, either.
John the Baptist knew this more than anyone. At the outset of Jesus’ ministry, John had boldly been the first to proclaim about Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ESV).
John knew that the King and Kingdom had come, and he knew that Jesus was the Messiah sent to save the world—until John found himself in prison and began questioning everything and asking himself, Is He the one?
In the shadowy darkness of a prison cell, John the Baptist was alone with his darkening thoughts. Hope is hard to find in prison. His hope had been in Jesus. But if Jesus was really the Messiah, why was John in prison?
When was Jesus going to save Israel and establish the Kingdom? Was John mistaken when he said this was the Lamb of God? What if it was all just overexcitement and misplaced hope?
Matthew 11:2–6 tells us what happened next: When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
In other words, signs and wonders authenticate the Kingdom. We know that the Kingdom has come and the Gospel has power because of something we can see, not just something we know to be true by faith.
We can see healings, deliverances, and other signs and wonders, and those things authenticate Jesus and His message. Signs and wonders are not just a miracle for their recipient; they are a comfort to us all in our time of doubt and struggle.
His Kingdom message is for all of us locked inside a prison of doubt, fear and hopelessness, like John, where we question everything we thought we knew about Jesus.
His Kingdom has come and is coming, and it is expressed in His love and power. His Kingdom comes near to the brokenhearted and to those trapped in sin and sickness through the stretched out hands of Jesus through His church.
He has chosen His church to be the vehicle in which His Kingdom comes near. His will is being expressed when His church lives out His mission, message, and ministry.
May His Kingdom come near through you today.