Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” - Mark 1:14-15
Twice in this short passage and once before these verses already, the author has used the word 'good news,' also translated sometimes as 'gospel'. In the first century world, that was a technical term used to describe the ascension of a new emperor, who was supposedly a god (for the nerds amongst us, the official 'gospel' of Caesar Augustus is written below, captured on a stone tablet near Ephesus).
Jesus was quite different than the caesars. Where they killed their enemies, he taught to love your enemies; where they used their power to extract cash from their people, he said God blessed the poor in spirit; where they oppressed the people, he set them free time and time again. Jesus's kingdom was radically different than that of the empires of his day, and it's radically different than the empires of our day as well.
For us, we love power as well - but we just call it being controlling. We love our money, too. And we love to attack our enemies, but typically we do it on social media or through back channel gossip. These are the evil empires of our little lives, and Jesus is right here and right now proclaiming the good news - that he wants to ascend to the throne of your life and lead you to become a citizen of his new kingdom, the kingdom of God.
Can you receive the good news today that Jesus is here, seeking to be enthroned in your heart?
Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him.
- Priene Calendar Inscription, 9 BC, in western Turkey