From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The world needs a true king. The whole Bible proclaims and points to this fact. Many stories, plays, epic poems, mythologies, and fairy tales echo some version of the theme too. This world is messed up; it has lost its true ruler; it has tremendous potential but falls terribly short. We are all waiting for the world’s true King to be revealed, to pull together all the diverse and tangled strands of hope and longing, promise and potential.
In the New Testament we come to the arrival of Jesus on the scene. He comes “preaching,” a term that means “to herald, to make a royal proclamation.” The Bible’s core message is a royal proclamation and announcement of truly good news. This is the news that in Jesus, the kingdom of heaven has come near.
What is the kingdom of heaven? It is, most simply, wherever God is King—where God is in charge, shaping people’s lives and ruling the world. Jesus comes to embody and announce that kingdom. He is not a politician seeking someone’s vote or generous donations. He is the King calling us to true allegiance: “Come, follow me.” He makes us participants in his kingdom’s advance: “I will send you out to fish for people.”
He continues calling today: “Repent. Come. Follow me. The kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Lord God, may the thrilling hope of your kingdom’s coming win our hearts and rule our lives so that the world may know Christ as King. Amen.
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