I’m currently in my final week of studying the New Testament 1 subject (Moore external studies) which focuses on the Gospel of Mark. The exam is next Wednesday, and so I’m going to take this opportunity of having a captive audience (here at sevennotes) to motivate me to condense and revise the main concepts I’ll need to write on next week. Hopefully you will find some encouragement here too (especially since you don’t have to write an exam next week).
This first one is based on a practice essay question which asks: Why is the theme of the Kingdom of God an important theme in Mark’s Gospel?
Well the main reason is that this is the heart of the good news which both Jesus and Mark are announcing. God’s promised King, Messiah, Son of God, has showed up, calling people to repent and believe. The Kingdom of God is at hand because the King has come and if you bow your knee to him, take up your cross and follow him, you become part of his Kingdom! Mark wants his readers to be part of this kingdom of faithful followers of Jesus. He wants to free us from lives of serving our own little kings, that is, ourselves. He knows that the service of such little kings leads to death, but in the service of King Jesus there is eternal life and joy!
So what aspects of the Kingdom does Mark make perfectly clear through his gospel account?
1. Jesus is the King of the perfect, eternal Kingdom of God. He fulfills all the promises foreshadowed through the chosen nation of Israel, the rule of David and Solomon, and the voice of the Prophets. Throughout Jesus’ ministry he gradually revealed who he was. This is reflected in Mark’s gradual reveal which draws the reader to see why he has come.
2. King Jesus rules over a kingdom where sinful humanity is restored: sickness, suffering, death and evil have no authority against this king! He has the power and authority to heal, restore and most importantly to forgive sins. He is God’s son, with the full authority of the author of life.
3. The Kingdom will remain a mystery to many: kingdom teachings come in parables that will draw those who have ‘ears to hear’ closer to Jesus, in faith and repentance. Those who reject the message of the King will never understand or find a way into the kingdom.
4. Jesus is the one like a ‘Son of Man’, (promised in Daniel 7, 12) who would receive the Kingdom in the new age, winning victory over evil and sharing the spoils of the kingdom with the ‘saints’. Jesus identified himself as this Son of Man several times (Mark 2, 8 and 13), who comes on the clouds, bringing in the Kingdom, with power!
5. In the resurrection we see the arrival of the Kingdom with power! This is the beginning of the new age of salvation. Death and sin are defeated since Jesus is alive.
6. The way to enter the kingdom is by faith in the King. True discipleship involves bowing the knee to the King. “Kiss the Son” (Psalm 2) comes to mind. The way of the Cross, the response of faith is the response Mark wants us to have to his gospel account.
This Kingdom is indeed a kingdom of grace!
See you again for more study soon.
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