The text (Mark 1:14-15):
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
After the preparation of His baptism and testing, Jesus now begins His ministry. He does this in the northern region of Galilee, the area where He grew up as a young man. His hometown of Nazareth is in this region, so basically He starts close to home. This probably would have had little impact on the original audience of this Gospel, but what I do find interesting is what He starts saying to a people who technically already “know” God…
Twice in this passage, Mark uses a term that is translated here as good news (or gospel in some translations). The Greek word used here is euangélion. It literally translates as good message (eu=good; angelia=message, announcement, or news). Jesus went into an area that already knew about God, and started preaching the good message of God. I imagine in some ways it must have been like preaching to the choir. But it is how He started to communicate the good message that made the difference.
Jesus comes in saying that the time has come for something big. The Jews have always expected the Kingdom of God to come, and Jesus was saying that the occasion in time was now coming to pass. He was saying that what you have been expecting for centuries is now here. Not only is it here, but you must now turn from your old ways, and believe what you are about to see. He was letting them know that their lives were about to change forever.
At this point, Jesus hadn’t performed any miracles (according to the “timeline” of this Gospel), and He was starting off in such a way that would let people know that what they were about to witness was the fulfillment of everything that they had been hoping and waiting for their whole lives. This was the launch of something big, and Jesus let them know ahead of time that something was about to happen.
The word euangélion is also the root of our English word evangel or evangelize. Even today at the core of the evangelism efforts of the church is this idea that there is this great message that needs to be shared. It is the message of salvation and restoration through the suffering of Christ. Our gospel is the story that we have in us about how we have been changed and restored through this Glorious King. And as Jesus did, we must go and announce our ministry and that we have a good message to share that will change their lives too.