The Other Advent Herald

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’” -Mark 1:14-15

Read Mark 1:14-20

When we think of “Advent heralds,” the first image that may come to mind is a chorus of angels and shepherds in the fields. Did you know that Jesus himself was an Advent herald? Mark 1:14 tells us that Jesus proclaimed, or “heralded,” the good news of God. As the angels proclaimed the arrival of the Christ child, Jesus proclaimed the coming (advent) of the kingdom of God.

His proclamation involved an invitation for the hearers of this good news to respond, to “repent and believe,” not sometime in the future but here and now to experience the present “Advent” of the kingdom.

Jesus’s announcement that “the time is fulfilled” is also significant, illustrated by Mark in the response of the disciples to Jesus’ invitation to follow him into the kingdom. They respond “immediately” because the kingdom is already present. They do not need to wait to experience the kingdom that Jesus is proclaiming. The time of the coming of the kingdom is “fulfilled” in the coming of Jesus into the world. The invitation today is the same as to the disciples: Repent and believe! Enter the kingdom!

This is what the coming of the kingdom looks like—people turning and believing and following Jesus into the kingdom that he has both proclaimed and is establishing. As disciples turn, believe and follow, they enter Christ’s kingdom immediately and change the way they function in and identify with the world while waiting for his return.

May we turn and believe so that at this very moment the advent of your kingdom may come for and in each of us today as we follow you.

Leah Jordache, M.A. Theology Student, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary; Silver Spring, MD