What is the good news Jesus proclaims?
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:14-20
For Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012: Epiphany 3
I have spent a lot of time with Mark.
Its absence of a birth narrative, its ambiguous ending, the breakneck speed with which its author moves through the story, are all intriguing to me.
Mark leaves a lot of questions, which, I obviously like a lot. But in all the study of the book I have never noticed the most obvious question before—what is the good news of God?
I have just assumed that the good news was Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to save humanity from its sins and reconcile creation to the Creator. But when I read this pericope this time through I got hung up on verses 14 and 15.
Jesus comes to Galilee proclaiming the good news. If he is proclaiming the good news, it is obviously not his death and resurrection. It seems like it must be something that is available or accessible at that point in the narrative.
Fulfillment and Coming
Jesus goes on to say, the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news. Is the good news the coming near of the kingdom of God?
What exactly is the kingdom of God? The implication is that it is something that has been far away, not present or accessible, but now is coming nearer. Is it nearer now because Jesus is bringing it nearer or is he just pointing out its nearness?
Near or Far?
Maybe the good news changes. Jesus is proclaiming a good news that is different than we proclaim. I proclaim the definitive work of Jesus in the resurrection.
Clearly Jesus wasn’t proclaiming that. Maybe I should be preaching every Sunday about the nearness of the kingdom of God, I am just not that sure what that is.
The Hardest Question
What is the good news Jesus proclaims? Is the good news not dependent on the resurrection?