Mark 1:14-15: Jesus and the Kingdom
” Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming 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, ESV) 
The Church in giving its allegiance to Jesus can often become focused on Jesus alone. All preaching and worship focus around Him. This high view of Jesus is certainly correct and I would want to question the validity of a church which did not keep coming back to Jesus again and again. However, and this may be controversial to some, our sole focus should not be Jesus. Or if our sole focus is Jesus it should be a broad understanding of him. We should not be reductionist in our teaching, worship and prayer life. This passage from Marks gospel shows that Jesus did not simply preach himself. He pointed to two other realities, realities which indeed are bound up with the identity of Jesus, but realities which are more than Jesus. These two elements presented in this passage are
1) Jesus points in his life and preaches in his message the ‘good news of God’. Jesus message is not a new philosophy or a lifestyle choice but has do with the the life and promises of YHWH. The Christian message, if it is a reflection of Jesus’ message, must point people to the God who has revealed himself as the covenantal God of the OT. This message of God, as previously mentioned in a post, is good news (εὐαγγέλιον) which offers a challenge to the ‘gods’ of this world (read Caeser + Imperial Cult) and offers a fulfillment to the promises of ‘return from exile’ and restoration which are present in Isaiah 40-66.
2) Marks describes Jesus as proclaimed the good news of God but on the lips of Jesus (maybe a summary statement of Jesus message, or the actual voice of Yeshua translated from Aramaic) this becomes a message of the kingdom/reign of God. What is the kingdom? In popular theological banter the kingdom is often reduced to being a) the church or b) heaven. It would be wrong to try and pull an understanding of the kingdom away from either of these options BUT we must not allow the kingdom to be reduced to either of these aspects. Any kingdom involves 3 aspects. A King, Subjects, Sphere of Reign. Jesus proclaimed that at last YHWH was becoming King, a King who normally reign in Heaven is bringing hid Lordship to bear in created reality (sphere) by means of his community (subjects). This hope of the Kingdom was active amongst 2nd temple Judaism, some of whom would take up arms to bring in this kingdom.
God’s rule over the people of God and the entire created order. During the second temple period, Jewish thought regarding the kingdom focused on God becoming King and vindicating the Jewish nation by vanquishing their enemies and ushering in a period of peace. The kingdom (reign) of God was a major focus in Jesus’ teaching (Mt 6:33; Mk 1:5; Lk 6:20) where the kingdom is present in the person and teaching of Jesus (Lk 10:9; 17:21) even though it awaits a future consummation (Lk 13:29; 22:18).
Jesus in contrast proclaims that this good news is taking place within the midst of Empire. To join this movement is not to take up armed resistance but involves repentance. That is changing ones own mind and attitude.
As we enter the new year we need to confident that God has and is acting within history to bring about his kingdom. The fullness of this kingdom has not arrived, there is still rebellion to the King present on earth. (Just watch the news, read the newspapers, or think of ones own life). Yet the Kingdom is here, it is growing like a mustard seed. We need to examine ourselves to see if need to change our attitudes and join in the kingdom work.