chapter  2
23 Pages

Early Christianity: A Kingdom not of this World


At the beginning of his ministry Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed that the kingdom of God was ‘upon you’ (Mark 1.14-15). Like the prophets of the Old Testament he spoke of the direct kingly rule of God over his people.1 Sometimes ‘upon you’ seemed to mean ‘already here’, and sometimes it meant ‘imminent’, like the split seams of a bud showing the colours already starting to burst out.2 His immediate followers were certain that the kingdom was already present in the person of Jesus: he was the kingdom, and in him all the tradition and the promise of the Old Testament had come together. Even though he was reluctant to acknowledge titles like ‘messiah’ or ‘king’, the gospel record shows him to have been aware that God’s presence was uniquely revealed through his own actions and words.