After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.
Mark 1:15, “The Message”
Virtually none of the English translations of this passage say the kingdom is ‘here!’ Most say it is ‘at hand’ or ‘come near’ or ‘is near.’ “The Message” is one of the few which gets it right in my opinion. What do you think Jesus meant?
Here is what I think: Jesus is God, therefore, if Jesus is on Earth, through the Spirit, then the kingdom IS here! C.S. Lewis speculated that if you get to heaven, you will realize that you have always been there!* What a remarkable gift we have! We have heaven on Earth. We must recognize it and rejoice in it! Are there things wrong here on Earth? Absolutely. Do we need to work to fix them? Yes, absolutely. Does this mean that God is not with us? Wait! God with us!? Emmanuel, which means God with us, is one of the names we give to Jesus. So, if God is with us, as Jesus promised thru the Holy Spirit, then the Kingdom of God is not just near, it is here now!
This means to me that we CAN rejoice in God’s presence even when we don’t immediately see the presence of God. We have almost the entire Advent season ahead of us to anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Didn’t you find, as a child, that the anticipation was more fun than the actual Christmas day? That was certainly true for me. In fact, it was so much so, that I wanted to save a present or two to open the next day. (Yes, it drove my parents crazy.) So spend the next few weeks in great anticipation, but also in great joy in the everlasting presence of God.
* C.S. Lewis, “The Great Divorce”, 1945, Geoffrey Bles (UK)
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