Not Simply a Promise, But a Happening
“Here was an amazing claim. John had announced an imminent visitation of God which would mean the fulfillment of the eschatological hope and the coming of the messianic age. Jesus proclaimed that this promise was actually being fulfilled. This is no apocalyptic Kingdom but a present salvation. Jesus did not promise his hearers a better future or assure that they would soon enter the Kingdom. Rather he boldly announced that the Kingdom (Herrschaft) of God had come to them. The presence of the Kingdom was ‘a happening, an event, the gracious action of God’ (Bornkamm). The promise was fulfilled in the action of Jesus: in his proclamation of good news to the poor, release to captives, restoring sight to the blind, freeing those who were oppressed. This was no new theology or new idea or new promise; it was a new event in history. ‘The wretched hear the good news, the prison doors are open, the oppressed breathe the air of freedom, blind pilgrims see the light, the day of salvation is here’.”
– George Eldon Ladd, The Presence of the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 111-112.
(HT: Jared Wilson)