On Sunday I preached from Mark 1:9-20, in which we see four events from the life of Christ: His baptism, His temptation, His preaching, and His calling some disciples. The summary of his preaching is found in verse 15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Of this message, J. C. Ryle said, “This is that old sermon which all the faithful witnesses of God have continually preached, from the very beginning of the world. From Noah down to the present day the burden of their sermon has always been the same: ‘Repent and believe.'”
Ryle is correct as far as he goes. However, Jesus had a new twist, which brought a special urgency. He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” The time was fulfilled because the King had come. The kingdom was at hand because the King was near. The prophets had all preached, “The time is coming.” But, Jesus preached, “The time is fulfilled.” What was anticipated in the Old Covenant had now dawned. Jesus, the Messiah, was now on the scene. Thus, the urgency to repent now!
When lunch has been prepared and it’s time for us to eat, there is a call to all of us, “Come and eat!” That’s what this call is like. It’s a call to come and feast at His banquet. It’s a call to enjoy the living waters that God supplies. The good news is that the king has come. Jesus has come to redeem His people. Come and get it before the food gets cold!