and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."Mark 1:15(NASB)
Along with many holy men of God, Isaiah prophesised of Christ, the Servant of God, Jesus Christ the righteous, Who was sent to save His people.. Israel, from their sins. He also prophesised of John the Baptist, God's final Old Testament messenger, who was set aside from his mother's womb to prepare the way of the Lord.
After laying this prophetic foundation and a brief reference to Christ's baptism in the Jordan, His temptation in the wilderness and John's disgraceful imprisonment, Mark plunges straight into Christ's extended Galilean ministry, which it the main focus of his short gospel - until that final week of Christ's astonishing life on earth.
Like all the gospel writers Mark wrote of the fulfilment of the time foretold by so many Old Testament prophets.. the long-awaited King of Israel had arrived and the promised kingdom, for which the nation had been anticipating for so long.. was a hand. The time had arrived - prophecies were finally being fulfilled! It was time for the nation to repent.
Four hundred years of silence from God was broken with the arrival of Jesus. The time was fulfilled. The seed of the woman Who would crush the serpent's head had arrived. The Seed of Abraham and Son of David was present in their midst. The Shepherd of Israel had come to gather the lost seep of the house of Israel into the sheep-pen of their Messiah. The One Who had healing in His wings had finally arrived.
They knew that He had come to heal the broken hearted, to set captives free, to heal the sick, to cleanse lepers, to raise the dead, to rescue the perishing, to bring liberty to those that were in bondage.. and to establish the prophesised time of peace and prosperity in the land.. a time that had been promised to their forefather Abraham, as an everlasting covenant.
But from their conception in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses.. Israel broke their conditional covenant with the Lord and rebelled against their God, Who likened their apostasy as to an adulterous wife.. And along with the arrival of their Messiah-King the nation was once again called to repentance.. so that as God's chosen nation they would be eligible to enter His millennial rule.
The prophesised time had finally arrived and the kingdom of God was at hand.. and so... as through their history, the rebellious nation of Israel was once again called to repent. They were challenged to repent of their sin, to renounce their wickedness, to turn from their apostasy - to have a change of mind and to turn away from their past offence against God.
They were admonished to repent and change their attitude and their conduct - their motive and their minds, so that they could produce the fruit of repentance. This had been the clarion call of so many holy men of God in the past and now that the time was fulfilled and the kingdom of God was at hand - Israel was once again called unto repentance.
Repentance for sin and faith in the gospel of God, are two sides of the same coin. Turning from sin and turning to Christ was the message that was being proclaimed to the nation of Israel. Godly sorrow for their sin combined with a wholehearted commitment to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ as the object of faith was the single message. The only possible way to turn away from sin is to turn to Christ. And the only way to turn to Christ is to turn from sin. Repentance from sin and faith in the gospel by necessity have to happen as a simultaneous act of will. To believe on Christ by necessity requires a turning from sin. - Repent and Believe.
And for three years Jesus sought fruit from His people Israel - but as a nation they rejected Him. Israel did not understand that before He could set-up the promised kingdom on earth.. that long anticipated kingdom of God, their Messiah must become their Kinsman-Redeemer. Before He could set up His promised millennial rule, Jesus must first be offered as the one and only sacrificial Lamb of God - to take away the sin of the world.
Before Israel could inherit kingdom of God Christ must die for their national sin and their personal sin and the sin of the world.. so that whosoever BELIEVES on Him would not perish but have everlasting life. And that is why Israel, as a nation was called to repent for the kingdom of God was at hand - repent and believe.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gospel of Christ and that in Him I have forgiveness of sins. Thank You for the Word of truth that explains the gospel of God.. that it is only as we turn from sin, and believe in Christ as the promised Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world that we can be reconciled back to You. Thank You that Jesus is the power of God and the wisdom of God for all who believe in Him and thank You that Your promises to Israel and those to the Church will all be fulfilled at the appointed time. Thank You in Jesus name, AMEN.