Today I started reading the Gospel of Mark one passage per week in 2016. What’s my goal? As with any scripture reading and study, my goal is to be transformed. I want the words, images, and ideas of the Gospel of Mark to inform the integration of faith in life. And I don’t want to do it alone. I invite FCCDM folks, and really anyone, to read along with me, and I encourage you to leave your thoughts, impressions, even disagreements in the comments.
You can view a 52-Week Reading Plan for the Gospel of Mark here. Please know that my thoughts and meditations on these passages will be brief and non-exhaustive. The point is to read, study, and meditate throughout the week. This is not a theological exercise.
Focusing on verse 15, I find the major motif of the Markan Jesus captured succinctly. These three clauses, interpreted as the message of Jesus’ good news, sums up the life, ministry, passion, and legacy of the man. I suppose the author might have meant for the audience to interpret all that comes hereafter through the lens of this sentence.
Here are some of my observations/meditations on the three clauses:
- The time is now. Live in the present. Now is where God is to be known. Wisdom comes with hindsight and prosperity with planning; nevertheless, each moment is the fulfillment of Divine presence. Therefore, the time is now.
- The Kingdom of God is at hand. This is the same message Jesus’ predecessor, John the Baptist proclaimed in the wilderness. God’s time has come. The movement is started. I propose the Kingdom of God is as ubiquitous as love. It is all around us. We enjoy it often. Though sometimes for a variety of reasons, either consciously or subconsciously, we limit our perception.
- Repent, and believe the good news. Quoting biblical scholar, NT Wright: “Of course, Jesus wanted people to stop sinning, but ‘repentance’ for him meant two rather different things as well. First, it meant turning away from the social and political agendas which were driving Israel into crazy, ruinous war. Second, it meant calling Israel to turn back to a true loyalty to the LORD, their God.” The point is, we individually respond to the message of Jesus. It is not that we must, should, or ought to respond for our response happens without effort. The preferred response is repentance, which is layered and ongoing. I believe this is what we’ll see thought the Gospel narrative – we are invariably faced with a choice between the social-political status quo and the in-breaking Kingdom of God.
But don’t take my word for it… What do you think?
What did you notice in Mark 1:1-15?
 N.T. Wright. Mark for Everyone. (Westminster John Knox, 2004) pg.9.