The Message of Proclamation

Author: Pastor Noah Toney



We live in an age of confusion around the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you were to ask a random stranger about what the gospel is, you might receive an answer along the lines of, “The gospel is tolerance,” or, “The gospel is love.”

I was recently standing in line at a home improvement store, having a pleasant conversation with the man in front of me. During our conversation, he inevitably inquired about my occupation. As soon as I told him I was a pastor, the conversation shifted to a more spiritual exchange. At the start of our discussion, he exclaimed that he was a Christian because he believes in the gospel. In response, I asked, “what is the gospel?” He immediately responded by saying, “the gospel is my faith that God has my back no matter what.” I asked him about which church he attended, and he told me hadn’t been to church in 30 years but that, “when I was 9 years old, I recited the Sinner’s Prayer, and ever since then, I know God is with me.”


         The man I met is only one of many who share similar stories. We are living in an age of confusion. Our culture tells us that the gospel is one thing, while God’s Word says it is something entirely different. But what did Jesus actually say the gospel was? To answer this, let’s look at Mark 1:14-15:


        “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is  

          fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”


According to the book of Mark, this passage indicates the very first words of Jesus’ public ministry. As Jesus came into the land of Galilee, He began proclaiming the gospel. Mark’s book tells us that before Jesus performed miracles and healed the sick, He was proclaiming the good news. What was the message that Jesus proclaimed?

Verse 15 says, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Join me as we explore the meaning of Jesus’ words to paint a better portrait of His gospel.


 God’s Kingdom Has Come


         The first statement that Jesus makes is not about humanity nor the kingdoms of men, rather it is about God’s kingdom on Earth. Jesus is announcing that His kingdom has come and Jesus is the King inaugurating it.

Earlier, in Verse 14, Mark mentions John the Baptist. John the Baptist was a herald who announced the coming of a better King. In ancient times, it was not uncommon for a king to ride off into battle. After a victory, the king would march home with his army but send a herald ahead of them to declare the return of the king. This herald would then run through the city streets to call on the people to prepare themselves for the king’s return. At the time of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus Himself announces the arrival of the king. Jesus is the great King.


The Conditions of the Kingdom


         We understand that Jesus has announced that His kingdom is upon us and that He is the great King. This kingdom has conditions: repentance and faith. Jesus’ words capture this very sentiment verbatim: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus is calling upon all citizens of the world to abandon the kingdom of men and join His glorious kingdom – the kingdom of Christ. In the words of Jesus himself, all that seek entry need only repent and confess faith.


         Repentance is the act of turning away from sin and turning towards Jesus. God’s people express repentance when we relinquish our arrogance and pride and embrace Christ’s humility and gentleness . We turn from the lust of our flesh and turn to the purity of Christ. We abandon our greed and embody Christ’s generosity. The people of God’s kingdom should strive to live like our great King Jesus.


         Faith is belief. It is the unwavering trust in Jesus and choosing to live in light of that belief. Faith is more than an ideological concept of the mind – it requires action. Living in accordance with the light of Christ necessitates that we embody this faith in all that we do, think, feel, say, and are.


         When God called upon Abraham to go to a distant land, Abraham believed and he acted on his beliefs. He left his family in the land of Ur and humbly walked towards the land of promise by means of his faith. When David saw the Philistine champion, Goliath, taunting God’s people, David believed that God would deliver Israel from their enemies. David acted by overcoming Goliath in battle. Jesus Himself expressed His faith in God when He was in the garden of Gethsemane: “He went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done’” (Matthew 26:42). Jesus believed God was sufficient to sustain Him amidst his suffering, and He got up from the garden and gave Himself over to be crucified. Three days later, Jesus arose beautifully victorious over sin and death. The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is the perfecter of our faith. Christians can live by faith because Christ lived perfectly by faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).


Now, truly consider whether this is the gospel you believe. Many other things may come to mind when you hear or think of the word, “gospel” but after reading this, my hope is that you take refuge in the words of Christ. Even in our days of confusion, Jesus is still calling forth men and women from all statuses and cultures to join His kingdom through repentance and faith alone.