“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time [kairos] is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
In addition to moments and seasons, kairos can also refer to an era in history. That we are living in a kairos era is made clear in scripture, as you can see from the passage from the gospel of Mark quoted above. These are the words of Jesus at the beginning of his messianic ministry.
The word used in the verse “the time is fulfilled” is kairos. Jesus announced that the time for the long-awaited Messiah had arrived, and his messianic ministry of revelation and redemption had begun. Resident within Jesus’ announcement is the reality that the kairos/time of the Messiah would be limited. Jesus would only be on the earth three more years following his announcement, after which he would die on the cross, resurrect from the dead, and ascend into heaven.
Following his resurrection and ascension, Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to indwell Christians so they could carry on the message and ministry of the kairos/time which Jesus had initiated.
Do you understand the profound and eternal impact of this? Jesus broke into chronos/time and brought the kairos/time of the kingdom of God. Jesus inaugurated a new era, a new time, on planet earth. The era of the presence of the kingdom. He then commissioned his followers to be agents of the kingdom—agents of the kairos/time of the kingdom—to the world.
Our world moves along in the flow of chronos, not recognizing the kairos in its midst. Not recognizing that the very kingdom of God has broken into history in the person of Jesus. Through the gospel message the Lord continues to say to the world, “Hey! Slow down. Stop for a moment and recognize what has happened. Look carefully. Don’t you see? The time is fulfilled. God’s promise of redemption is here. Now.”
It is the mission of the Christian community — it is our calling — to help people see the kairos in the midst of the chronos.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
“Behold, now is the favorable time [kairos]; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6.2)
With that commission in mind, please note that scripture divides history into two ages: “The present evil age” and “the age to come”. The good news, the gospel, is that “the age to come” is now here through the person and work of Christ. However, the present age has not yet passed away. The two ages are operating in parallel. They overlap one another.
Being a Christian — being rescued by Jesus — means being delivered from this age and being transferred into “the age to come”. The Christian life is living the good news of “the age to come” in the midst of “the present evil age.” The purpose of Christ’s death, therefore, was not only to bring us forgiveness, but also to empower us to be ambassadors for the kingdom of God in the midst of a fallen and broken world.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
The implications of this truth are profound and all-encompassing: The Lord did not bring the kingdom simply to save us; rather, he saved us so that we can serve in his kingdom. The world needs the love of Christ and the example of God’s people more urgently than ever. The world needs the “faithful presence” of the people of God.
That is our purpose; we are called by God to live the gospel in the midst of a watching world. Are we — the followers of Jesus in our generation — up to the task?
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1.3-5)
Again, it is the mission of the Christian community — it is our calling — to help people see the kairos in the midst of the chronos. May people see in us and hear in us the presence of Jesus and His kingdom.
The Lord is calling.