The great hope of Israel was centered on the Kingdom of God, which would change the course of history by establishing the period of justice, peace, and prosperity announced by the prophets
Jesus began his active life. Like John the Baptist, he demanded a change of life because the reign of God was at hand (Mt 4:17). However, he was not trying to say the same as John. For John, the reign would begin with a tremendous judgment (Mt 3:12); for Jesus, it is a new change God is offering humankind.
What Jesus was offering was radical: he denied the validity of the system. Solutions to the problem of injustice would not be found through inaction or through the reformation (whether gradual or violent) of existing institutions. The root of the troubles of humanity lie in the very foundations of the institutions it has created: in the striving for money, desire for prestige, and thirst for power; in the three-fold ambition of "holding," "climbing," and "commanding" that spurs people on to rivalry, hatred, and violence.
Jesus distinguished two eras in God's reign: one historical, which must come about now, and one final, in which God's triumph will be complete. He has come to start the first era and will set a movement going that will be the beginning of God's reign in the world.
The coming of the kingdom was good news (Mk 1:15), especially for the poor and oppressed, as had been announced in the Old Testament (Lk 4:18-19; Mt 11:5). The good news was that they were going to be made free and would no longer be in need. This was God's message brought by Jesus: an era of equality, abundance (Lk 2:51-53), and peoplehood, of which the only king would be God himself. As they had hoped, it was a change in the course of history—in the form of a new human society.
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