December 30, 2014

A Big Gospel

Mark 1:9-15

“The time has come,” [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
—Mark 1:15


Peter the Great led the Russian Empire from 1682 until his death in 1725. While he reigned, he expanded the empire into eastern Europe, initiated a cultural revolution, and built the Russian military into a formidable force.

Napoleon Bonaparte was the emperor of France from 1804 to 1814. Through a series of military victories and key alliances, he expanded the influence of France throughout Europe. He changed the political structure of France and influenced the development of legal codes around the world.

Jesus Christ was born in a small town in Judea, a nation that lived under Roman occupation throughout his lifetime. He never commanded an army. He did not travel outside of a small region stretching from Judea to Galilee. His followers were an unrefined group who lacked the courage to stay with him when he was arrested. When he died, it looked as if his influence had ended.

Today, the Russian and French empires have long ago fallen from their peak of influence, but the kingdom of Jesus continues to expand. Millions gather every week to worship him. Organizations bearing his name provide relief, food, medical help, and education. His good news is proclaimed on every continent in countless languages.

Are you part of this kingdom? Are you sharing its good news?

Lord Jesus, with your Spirit stir my heart so that I too will participate in spreading your kingdom vision and renewing your world. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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