[The Gospel According to…] Mark 1:14-15

Bible opened to Mark 1 with pascha 70% cacao dark chocolate on floral pattern plate

Today’s passage: Mark 1:14-15

Today’s passage immediately follows Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist and his 40-day temptation in the wilderness by Satan. It’s short enough that we might as well paste it here in its entirety:

Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (vv.14-15)

As in Matthew’s account, we see that the gospel is tied to the coming of the kingdom of God. Mark reports an additional part of Jesus’ message: “The time is fulfilled.” Jesus’ arrival on the scene marks the culmination of something that’s been brewing for ages; he tells the people of 1st-century Judea that God’s kingdom is finally here. If the world is a chess match, this is the endgame, and God is setting up checkmate.

I’m making a few inferences there, I’ll admit. I think my assertion that the coming of God’s kingdom has been brewing for ages is supported by Mark’s references to Old-Testament prophecies. And while there’s nothing in Mark 1:14-15 that implies the existence of the enemy necessary for my chess-game analogy, I think the birds, rocky soil, and weeds in the Parable of the Sower can easily be understood as enemies of the kingdom.

Interestingly, Jesus tells his hearers, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” He’s urging a particular response to his preaching from them; he wants them to turn from their sin and believe in the gospel. The Greek preposition translated here as “in” might also be translated “on.” The good news that Jesus is bringing–the eminent immanence of God’s kingdom, if you’ll indulge me the wordplay–forms the basis for trust in God.

Today I finished off the Pascha dark chocolate. Did you know that “Pascha” is the word for Easter, derived from Hebrew “pesach,” passover? This chocolate is seasonal!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a brand-new chocolate.

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