“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Marks opens by telling us that this is the beginning of the good news of King Jesus. He lets us know, right at the start, that he can back up his claim, that this man, Jesus, truly is the Son of God and rightful heir to the title King of kings and Lord of lords. Marks lets us know that everything that follows is his declaration of why Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not. Mark highlights these points because he is speaking to Gentiles, non-Jews, who have otherwise been ardent supporters of the Roman Empire. If Mark is going to disturb the status quo, he had better have a pretty compelling argument.
This is part of the reason why Mark dives in to the Jesus story so quickly. Mark doesn’t have time for lengthy explanations of Jesus’ birth, nor is he trying to convince Jewish scholars of Jesus’ ancestral claim to the throne of David – Mark is speaking to people like you and me, people busy enough with the living of life and who don’t really want to be bothered unless it is vitally important. To Mark, nothing is of greater importance than telling people about the Kingdom of God.
What is the “Kingdom” you may ask?
The Kingdom of God can be a rather complex subject, but I will try to simplify the best I can. When I speak of “the Kingdom of God,” I am speaking of an inward and outward reality. The Kingdom Inward is the ruling and reigning of God in the life of every believer. Our bodies are sovereign pieces of soil, governed by us, the enemy or God. As we submit ourselves to God’s will through faith in Christ, we find ourselves renewed and transformed. Inwardly we begin to live as citizens of Heaven, the place where God’s will is perfectly done in affectionate and reverent submission. But the Kingdom is also an outward, physical and tangible Reality. The Kingdom is not fully expressed until it has its fullness here on the earth. This will one day culminate in the Millennial Kingdom (described in Revelation 20), but we see bits and pieces of it breaking in to our world today. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that the Kingdom is wherever the King is and where people are obedient to Him.
I think it goes without saying that the Kingdom of God is nothing like the kingdoms of this world. For starters, God is the King and He rules with holiness, righteousness, kindness and mercy. His Kingdom is a place of life, love and peace where death, sin, pain and violence are no more. God’s Kingdom is a place where justice reigns, truth prevails, wrong things are made right and there is no fear. It is the place where things are as they were meant to be and we live in restored relationship with God, creation and each other. Far from being a pipe dream, this is the Kingdom that Jesus brought with Him and the Kingdom to which Mark testifies.