IN JESUS’ FIRST SERMON in Mark 1:14-20 he says to the disciples, “I’ve got good news for you: the kingdom of God is at hand.” He seems to say most simply that God is accessible and available to everyone. We are able to live with God in God’s kingdom even now. Can you imagine what this good news meant for people in Jesus’ time? They repeatedly had been told that only certain people were acceptable to God. Now they were hearing that God was accepting ordinary men and women into the kingdom, no matter who they were or where they were from. This was the gospel that Jesus preached.
Unfortunately, some of us grew up hearing a different gospel. The gospel I first heard went something like this: “Come to Jesus, get your sins forgiven, and get ready to go to heaven.” Please don’t misunderstand me. Getting our sins forgiven so that we can go to heaven is essential. But this is not the whole gospel that Jesus preached.
- Trevor Hudson & Stephen D. Bryant
The Way of Transforming Discipleship Participant’s Book
From pages 32-33 of The Way of Transforming Discipleship Participant’s Book, A Companions in Christ resource, by Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant. Copyright © 2005 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
What does “the kingdom of God is at hand” mean to you? Share your thoughts.
Today’s Scripture Reading
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.
Genesis 9:8-10 NRSV
This Week: pray for those who are beginning a new spiritual discipline. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
For Your Spirit:
Join Upper Room author Derek Maul in our Lenten eRetreat, Reaching Toward Easter. Log in anytime anywhere to this online retreat and find video, audio, and online conversation to keep you focused on Jesus through Lent. Learn more.
This week we remember Martin Luther (February 16).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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