A on-line Bible study group … you are welcome to join us


series_mediaimage_markI had to set aside this blog for a few weeks because I was traveling (2400 miles in a little over a week) and also trying to finish up the New Testament Foundations Class that I have been teaching for Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s Pastoral Training Institute in eastern Pennsylvania.  With Christmas rolling in, I have some unprecedented family time; but later this week we will get back to our study of Mark’s Gospel in earnest.

Since it is only to days yet until Christmas, most Christians are focusing on the Christmas story; in particular, the story of Jesus’ birth (also referred to as the Nativity story).  And if you have been doing that, you have probably been reading the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke.  Someone has probably also told you that John’s description of the Incarnation is his version of the Nativity story.

But Mark does not even allude to the birth event even symbolically.

Probably the best answer for this is this: for Mark and John, the ministry of Jesus as Messiah began at his baptism; thus, no ‘away in the manger’ stories. That is not a minor point to be passed over on our way to Luke 2:1 or Matthew 1:18.   One commentator has said, “In Mark the nativity is always now.” Jesus’ first words reported by Mark, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is near; repent and believe in the gospel,” encapsulate his entire message.  The Greek word translated here as “time” is kairos, meaning   propitious time, as distinct from chronos, meaning chronological time.  His message, then, is timely in the same sense that a harvest is timely; it is a time of ripeness and fulfillment.  Mark supplies the historical context of Jesus’ message: “after John was betrayed.”

Because Mark was focusing on the public ministry–the kairos of the harvest, detailing Jesus’ birth was superfluous to the message he was trying to convey in his particular telling of the story of Jesus.

Join me again on December 26th and we will continue our exploration of Mark, chapter one.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!




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