What would a first-century Jew living in Jerusalem consider good news? I would imagine the coming of the promised Messiah who is the true King of the Jews would be good news. The Jews lived under an oppressive Gentile government, with a fake puppet king, so the good news would entail an overthrow of injustice and putting in place a true rule of God on this earth. Well, perhaps the gospel does reflect some of that good news as well. Actually, I can’t imagine that the horrific suffering and death of the Messiah would be considered good news to these people, which is one reason why the disciples could not hear what Jesus clearly told them.
Mark writes that Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” For Jesus, the gospel was this: the kingdom of God is here. It required a change of heart and a response of faith and obedience. It was a change of allegiance that would forever alter one’s life’s direction.
The gospel of the kingdom is the good news that the King has come! He is here…NOW! And He is here with power and authority to rule justly and lovingly. That is good news. This was what the disciples (Matt. 10:7) and John the Baptist (Luke 3:18) as well as Jesus Himself was preaching (Mark 1:14-15).