November 14, 2006

gospel according to mark 1:1-8

1:1 - The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God .....

1:2-3 - ... begins with the fulfilment of this prophecy of Isaiah - 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you'. 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight' .

1:4-5 - For John came and began to baptise men in the desert, proclaiming baptism as the mark of a complete change of heart and of the forgiveness of sins. All the people of the Judean countryside and everyone in Jerusalem went out to him in the desert and received his baptism in the river Jordan, publicly confessing their sins.

1:6-8 - John himself was dressed in camel-hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. The burden of his preaching was, "There is someone coming after me who is stronger than I - indeed I am not good enough to kneel down and undo his shoes. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit."

JB Phillips translation


At 11:04 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

If you were shepherding a group of "new Christians", this might be a very good place to begin with your Bible study- the elements.

It is so familiar to us old heads that we tend to look at something else. But I think it will yield to us new truth, like anything else we might read in the good book.

References to the sources is very worth while for a fuller understanding of the gospels.

It appears the writers were interested in connecting their new faith with the old one. Isaiah has been called the 5th gospel, and the gospels strongly suggest that Jesus was well soaked in it. The passage in chapter 40 is one of many that the N.T. writers found to "prove" the identity of their Head.

Thanks for indulging and old man, David.

At 11:18 a.m., Blogger forrest said...

What is a "gospel"? We've got our own set of connotations, but in the time this was written, a gospel was the kind of "good news" that's "carried by a messenger, to be received with official celebrations."

Specifically, a gospel was the announcement that a new Roman Emperor, a new "savior", had agreed to govern the world in exchange for whatever wasn't actually nailed down.

So this is a book announcing a new world ruler. Why is he called that? Why do we have all those Christmas carols about "Glory to the new-born King," and like that? I once prayed to understand this better, and found clues confirming that this "Jesus the Annointed" really was the King of Israel. By prophecy, a future King of Israel was going to bring the nations under God's rule, and the implication here is that this is the one.

"Annointed" in Israel is effectively the same as "crowned" in a European monarchy--but "King de jure rather than King de facto." Hence--Much about these gospels makes more sense.

A "son of God" (There is no capitalization in the original--or even much punctuation, if I have this right) might mean anyone like God, but specifically it is a title given the King of Israel.

There's no geneology here (unlike the two later synoptics.) Jesus is not King because of his ancestry; he's a "son of David" (like David) in not coming from a dynasty, rather deriving his authority from a prophet's selection and authorization.

Prophet? There's been no officially recognized prophet in Israel for years; there aren't even supposed to be any; but here's this man dressed like Elijah, living like Elijah (who went bodily to Heaven so long ago, leaving room for speculation: When would he be back?)

Forgiveness of sins? "Sins" are a common explanation at the time for why the Jews have had this plague of pagan Roman goyim lording it over their holy city. Here's a man working to undo that condition--Where? In the River Jordan. This is the river Joshua crossed, to enter the Promised Land and claim it for God's people. These are Jews; they reenact things; the past to them is present and represents what will be. They are coming into Israel from the Jordan. This is not Sunday school piety at work, but sacred politics.

The stage is set.

At 5:19 p.m., Blogger david said...

There is no capitalization in the original--or even much punctuation, if I have this right

We have "majiscule" (capitals) and "miniscule" (lower case) manuscripts for biblical texts -- in other words manuscripts either in all caps or all lower case. Capitalising proper nouns (or even putting spaces between words) comes along about 600 years later.

So whether to read (the) Son of God or son of (a/the) god or (a) son of God becomes a matter of interpretation -- meanings of words in a dead language, context, likely theology based on other source texts, et cetera.


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