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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
March 8, 2003

     After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and told the good news that comes from God. He said, "The time has come! God's kingdom will soon be here. Turn back to God and believe the good news!"
Mark 1:14-15 (CEV*)

This is how Mark's gospel records the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. This brief passage continues themes from the ministry of John the Baptist, and sets the stage for the rest of Jesus' ministry.

John the Baptist has been proclaiming that the time was coming, and exhorts people to get ready for the Lord's arrival. Jesus now announces that the time has come. As in a number of other passages, some translations have God's kingdom soon coming and other translations have it as now having come. At any rate, the long awaited (by the Hebrew people) arrival of the Messiah has finally come.

The announcement of the coming of the time is followed by a brief summary of the response needed. The first element of repentance, turning to God, has been the focus of the ministry of John the Baptist, and echoes the prophets. The first thing we need to do is turn away from all those things which distract us from God, and focus ourselves on God. We need to be pointed in the right direction.

The second element is to believe the good news. The good news (which is what gospel means) is the message of hope delivered by Jesus through his teaching and through his life. Jesus makes some awesome promises which, if believed, change our lives. We must believe in these promises, turning aside from the doubts raised by others and our limited, rational minds.

As we reflect on this, we need to ask ourselves a couple of questions. Have I turned away from all the distractions of the world and focused my whole self on God? Have I fully embraced the Good News of Jesus Christ, and do I live this faith out in my daily life?

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2003 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 12:02:20 EST