When Jesus came preaching, his message contained both announcement and imperative: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). This is not the word for clock-and-calendar “time” (chronos) that we can calculate in advance. It is a word (kairos) indicating the right time for a specific event, a fixed time. In Jewish and Christian literature this word particularly refers to a special era when God will send his anointed One (Hebrew — “Messiah”; Greek — “Christ”) to break the destructive powers that oppose his will and bring harm on humans and creation alike. By this divine intervention through his chosen agent, God will restore peace with his estranged people and usher in his beneficent rule over this broken and rebellious world.
Jesus declared himself to be this divine agent, and he demonstrated his agenda by words of forgiveness and deeds of exorcism and healing. To the surprise of friends and foes alike, he also went through death on the cross to new life beyond the borrowed tomb. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the beginning of the new era of fulfillment — “the fullness of the times” (kairos). This era will reach its culmination when everything seen (“on the earth”) and unseen (“in the heavens”) is fully summed up and reaches its intended goal in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:10). Every discordant note will be harmonized. Every noble aspiration will be fulfilled. God will destroy death and wipe away all tears. All that is beautiful and good and just in this creation will be purified and perfected to shine forever in the new heavens and earth.
What God announced through the prophets he has begun to fulfill. The Messiah has suffered and ascended to heaven (Acts 3:18, 21). We have heard Jesus’ message and have repented and believed the good news (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19). The restoration which God prophesied from ancient times will come in its appointed period (kronos). Until then we wait in hope, renewed by the forgiveness of our sins, sustained by seasons (kairos) of refreshing, anticipating with confidence the return of God’s servant, our Prophet, Jesus the Messiah/Christ (Acts 3:19-26).