Opposition and Fulfillment

Jesus began to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God in Galilee after the arrest of John the Baptist. That incident foreshadowed the opposition he would face throughout his ministry. Resistance to his efforts would culminate in his arrest, trial, and execution. His message brought fulfillment but also opposition. Unlike the ancient prophets, his work did not begin or center in Jerusalem, though it certainly ended there - (Matthew 4:13).

Though unsure of who he was, many men responded to Jesus enthusiastically and flocked to hear him. In contrast, the religious leaders associated with the Temple were offended by his teachings, methods, and deeds from the start of his ministry to the Jewish nation.

Lighthouse in storm - Photo by Marcus Woodbridge on Unsplash
[Photo by Marcus Woodbridge on Unsplash]

Jesus was neither a Pharisee nor a scribe. He was not a member of the priestly class. He had no direct connection to the Temple. Instead, he visited the synagogues of Galilee and proclaimed the imminence of the Kingdom of God. He astounded all who heard him, “
for he taught them as one with authority, and not as the scribes did.

  • (Mark 1:14-15) - "After John was delivered up, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God and saying: The SEASON IS FULFILLED, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel.”

He summoned disciples to leave their homes and livelihoods to follow him. Jesus had authority over demons and diseases. He even healed lepers by touching them while remaining free of the ritual impurities associated with the disease - (Mark 1:16-45).

The time to repent and believe the Gospel had arrived. His mission began after the arrest of John by Herod Antipas. The Gospel of Matthew points to his arrival in Galilee as the fulfillment of the Messianic passage in the Book of Isaiah, and so, the ministry of Jesus began on a strong note of fulfillment:

  • The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, near the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations. The people that sat in darkness saw a great light, and to them that sat in the region and shadow of death did light spring up – (Matthew 4:15, Isaiah 9:1-2).

In the passage in Mark, the Greek verb translated as “delivered up” is theologically significant (paradidōmi). Mark applies it repeatedly to the “handing over” of the faithful for abuse by religious and governmental authorities and especially to the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of those who put him to death.

John the Baptist was “handed over” for arrest although this was according to the plan of God. The descriptions by Jesus of his being “handed over” allude to the horrific fate of the ‘Servant of the LORD’ of the Book of Isaiah and his suffering on behalf of the sins of others:

  • Because his soul was HANDED OVER to death, and he was numbered among the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many and was HANDED OVER because of their iniquities - (Mark 9:31, 10:33, Isaiah 53:12).

The Gospel of Mark coordinates the start of his mission with the arrest of John so we understand that his ministry of proclamation did not begin until the completion of the preparatory work of the Baptist.

John’s arrest meant that the proclamation of the Gospel faced opposition from the start. The Baptist withdrew to the wilderness to administer a baptism of repentance. In contrast, Jesus traveled to the populous regions of Galilee and Judea to announce the “Good News” to everyone who would hear and receive it. Religious and political authorities opposed both men and their message.

TIME OF FULFILLMENT


Jesus declared that the “appointed time is fulfilled.” The first English term translates the Greek noun Kairos, meaning, “season, time, the opportune time.” The Greek verb represented by “fulfilled” is in the perfect tense, signifying a completed action. His announcement echoed a key passage in the Book of Daniel:

  • (Daniel 12:4-9) – “Close up the words and seal the book until the time of the end… And I heard but could not understand, so I said, O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things? Then said he: Go your way, Daniel; for closed up and sealed are the words until the time of the end.”

Prominent in Daniel is the promise of the coming vindication of the saints. When Jesus appeared in Galilee, the “time of the end” had arrived, the “last days” and the time of fulfillment had commenced. The promised Kingdom arrived in his person and ministry. That is why world forces opposed Jesus. It is also why his message was and remains “Good News” for all men – (Daniel 2:44-45, Daniel 7:13-14, 7:27).

The term “Kingdom of God” refers to the rule and sovereignty of God. The Greek word translated as “Kingdom” means a “dominion,” “realm,” and “reign.” As used by Jesus, the “Kingdom of God” is the reign of God over all things administered through His Son. The idea is derived especially from the Book of Daniel – (“The Son of Man was given dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.” Daniel 7:14).

How should individuals respond to his message? First, Jesus called men and women to “repent,” and second, to “believe” the Good News about the Kingdom of God. Like John the Baptist, he proclaimed the imminence of the “Kingdom,” and its approach necessitated repentance, faith, and lives radically reoriented to conform to the teachings and example of Jesus.

Although the arrival of the Kingdom was “Good News” for many, it also signaled impending judgment for others. Thus, Jesus baptized men and women “in spirit and fire” - The “spirit” of life for some, but the “fire” of judgment for others. The individual’s fate depended on how he or she responded to him and his message. To enter the Kingdom required faith and repentance.

Repentance” is the turning away from something, while “belief” is the turning toward something else, namely, faith in the Gospel and the one who inaugurated the Kingdom and pronounced the Good News to everyone who would hear

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RELATED POSTS:

  • The Messiah Arrives - (In the ministry of Jesus, the kingdom of God arrived, commencing with his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist – Mark 1:1-3)
  • The Forerunner - (John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah, the herald of the Good News of the Kingdom of God – Mark 1:4-8)
  • Rend the Heavens! - (The Spirit of God and the voice from heaven confirmed the calling and identity of Jesus – Son, Messiah, and Servant of the LORD)


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