Jesus began His ministry with these words:
“…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the Gospel.” Mark 1:15
His next words were to two fishermen, while they were working at their trade.
“And Jesus said to them, Come you after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17
Here, the message of the Kingdom was applied to the lives of these men through a practical application to their occupation. They had been fishers of fish. Now, Jesus is calling them to become fishers of men.
Note carefully that they were to continue fishing, but with a higher purpose in view. The Kingdom message in its functioning is intended to lift the earthly aspect of our vocation into a higher purpose.
The word “Kingdom” has been both misunderstood and misapplied. It is often relegated to a future millennium or to heaven. However, the claim of the Kingdom that Jesus is presenting is meant to be a present reality in the lives of all who will hear and respond.
The outworking of a Kingdom relationship to the Lord is to be both practical and effective in the every day life experience of those who desire to go beyond their present spiritual experience. It does not imply that those who respond will be suddenly promoted into a place of prominence or rulership. Rather, it expresses the coming of a Kingdom authority that will reign over the lives of all who will submit to its message, and permeate every aspect of our daily pattern of life.
This Kingdom is presented by Jesus as being “at hand.” That is, it is meant to work in the immediate circumstances of all who respond. It is not intended that it will find its function in some ethereal religious form, or in a future hope. Rather, it is presented as being attainable and touchable.
This Kingdom that is at hand requires our submission to the rule of God. To enter this Kingdom, we must embrace the rule of God and recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal King, and then place everything that pertains to us in subjection to His Kingdom rule.
Jesus said, “Come you after Me.” If we do not recognize Him as our personal King and then allow the operation of the Kingdom in our lives, we will not be able to abide in the place of His calling. If our lives are as they were before salvation, plus the salt of religion, we are falling far short of His claim upon us, and His desire for us.
Today, Jesus is establishing His true Church in divine order and authority. Things that the Lord once winked at in the past will no longer be left unchallenged in our lives. Everything that can be shaken is shaking, until it has been reduced to the place where it will be able to submit to His Kingdom claim.
The Lord will no longer allow His people to remain in the realm of blessing alone. He is causing them to acknowledge the claim of His Kingdom upon their lives. He is bringing each one of us to the place where we must make a decision as to what we will do with this Kingdom that He said “is at hand.”
The Kingdom is a present reality. In its present form, the outworking of it will be manifested within us as “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). All else will pass away.
Do not draw back.
Accept what Jesus is saying to you, and then press into this Kingdom.