By Rev. Dr. Fontella Irons
Bible Texts: Isaiah 35:1-10 & Matthew 11:2-11
(The following is an except from the sermon. You may listen to the sermon in its entirety by clicking on the headphone button.)
Kingdom Authority. The Kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ… μετανοεῖτε (Mk. 1:15 NA28)). In the Gospel of Mark, the beginning of Jesus’ ministry happens in the Galilee region after the arrest of John the Baptist. The ministry followed Jesus’ baptism and his temptation by Satan after being led into the wilderness by the Spirit. In Mark, the first words we hear of Jesus’ preaching are: “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news,” Mark 1:15. ὅτι πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς (the time is fulfilled) καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ (the kingdom of God has come near) · μετανοεῖτε (repent) καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ. πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ (and believe in the good news).
The message in Isaiah promised this day of deliverance would come for the exiles in Babylon and for us. In Isaiah, the task was encourage the exiles, to strengthen the disheartened with the good news. What was the “good news” for them? God is on the way! God had not forgotten them. The Messiah would come and save them. And, there would be this “highway” made through the wilderness. The “highway” is Jesus.