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If you were ask to sum up the Gospel message in three sentences, how would you reply?
Mark does just that in verses fourteen and fifteen, where he summarizes the Gospel message in just three sentences.
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (NIV)
After being tempted by Satan for a period of forty days and nights Jesus begins His ministry.
Some unspecified period of time has passed between the end of the temptation in verse thirteen and the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry at verse fourteen.
The Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, all record Jesus' ministry in Galilee. John adds that a Judean ministry took place before Jesus started His ministry in Galilee.
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) John 3:22-24 (NIV)
1. What does John tell us about the timing of the events mentioned in John 3:22-36 ?
○ They happened before the events mentioned in Mark chapter one verse fourteen.
2. What key phrase tells us that this Judean ministry was before the start of Jesus' Galilean ministry?
○ This was "after John was put in prison". Mark tells us it is after John was imprisoned by Herod.
3. Why is it important for us to understand that John adds to the Gospel story and is not contradicting what Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us?
○ John is not saying something different than the Synoptic Gospels. He is filling in detail the other Gospels leave out.
The passage from John is easily placed between Mark's statements of verse nine of Jesus leaving Galilee, "Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee" and that of verse fourteen of His return to Galilee, "Jesus went into Galilee"
The early church pointed to the baptism of Jesus and His following ministry in Judea as the beginning of the Gospel story.
You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:37-38 (NIV)
Jesus started His ministry and in fact came from Nazareth in the province of Galilee. Galilee was the northern most province of Palestine with the others being Samaria and Judea.
Galilee was a small area of land approximately 50 miles north to south and 30 miles east to west making up more than a third of Palestinian territory. Originally part of the land of Naphtali (2 Kings 15:29) the population of the region was of mixed ancestry consisting of Jewish and Gentile settlers. The Jews called the region "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt 4:15) and practiced a very orthodox form of Judaism. Galileans were considered a mixed race of people who did not zealously adhere to the law and were despised by the Jews.
Jesus choose Galilee to start His ministry: Insignificant, even contemptuous Galilee.
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. John 1:46 (NIV)
4. Why do you think Jesus chose Galilee to begin His ministry?
5. Why didn't Jesus choose the religious center, Jerusalem to begin His ministry?
The Bible tells us that Galilee was significant to Jesus as many momentous events were to take place there. Among them are were the following :
a. He would choose eleven of the twelve disciples from Galilee, with the exception being Judas.
b. Nineteen of His thirty-two parables were spoken in Galilee.
c. Twenty-five of His thirty-three great miracles were done in Galilee.
d. His first miracle was done at Cana in Galilee
e. His last miracles were performed in Galilee.
f. The Sermon on the Mount was delivered in Galilee
g. The sermons on"Forgiveness", "Purity", "Humility" and "The Bread of Life" were all delivered in Galilee.
6. Galilee, viewed with contempt by the world, favored by Jesus. What lessons can we learn from these insights?
7. How can we put these insights into practice?
"After John was put in prison", the NIV renders the word Greek word Paradidomi (par-ad-id'-o-mee) as "put in prison". A better translation is "To arrest" or "handing over". The word Paradidomi is used by Mark in the handing over of the Son of Man (9:31, 10:33), eight times in chapters fourteen and fifteen, and of believers in chapter thirteen.
8. What message can be taken from Mark's tying the suffering of John to the good news of Jesus Christ?
9. John is called the forerunner of Jesus, in what way was he the forerunner?
○ In His message of the coming Messiah.
○ In His suffering, John was beheaded for his faith. Executed much like Jesus was executed.
10. In what ways does John's arrest and execution set the standard for all Christians?
○ John put his faith in Christ ahead of his life.
Mark tells us that Jesus came "proclaiming the good news of God". This is the only time Mark uses this expression.
11. Since Mark has already linked the Gospel to be Jesus Christ (v1), how should we interpret the "good news of God"?
○ As the sum of Jesus' teachings and proclamations about God.
Isaiah 61:1 and Joel 2:1 announce the end times victory of God.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand- Joel 2:1 (NIV)
The use of the same word by John and Isaiah as well as Joel suggests that the proclamation "of the good news of God" ties Jesus to the Old Testament prophets who had foreseen the reign of Gods coming kingdom.
Luke 4:16b-21 tells of Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, reads from Isaiah 61:1-2.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
12. What does Jesus claim with his closing statement in Luke 4:21?
○ He is the fulfillment of the prophecy.
"The Kingdom of God" took its initial form from Israel's concept of God as King (Ex 15:18). God is exalted above all; He rules in majestic splendor, mocks false idols and gods, and brings kingdoms to ruin. Initially begun with the Exodus, it would finally be ushered in by a coming Messiah.
Jesus confirmed this description of the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus' differences with the established ruling religious leaders hinged on the following concepts.
It was taught by Judaism that humanity was divided into two classes, the righteous and the unrighteous. The righteous took the mantle of obedience to the Torah, the unrighteous did not. The righteous expected reward from God for themselves and annihilation for the unrighteous. According to this view, the kingdom ultimately depended on God but was predicated on human righteousness and obedience.
13. How was righteousness obtained in Judaism?
○ By adherence to the law and traditions of men.
Jesus on the other hand, spoke mostly of entering the Kingdom. Jesus taught the Kingdom of God is not a result of human efforts. The Kingdom of God does not evolve toward completion.
Mark links the Kingdom of God with Jesus by his use of the verb "near", a word used through out the New Testament to refer to spatial nearness.
14. What does it tell us about God in light of His choosing the time and the place for His coming?
○ God is omnipotent (all powerful).
The Kingdom of God is currently hidden, awaiting future manifestations of power and glory. (9:1, 14:25) The coming of Jesus' ministry inaugurates the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God, is not yet fully realized, yet the repentant believer stands at its doorstep.
"The time has come" announcing the arrival of "the Kingdom of God". This moment in history later called by Paul the fullness of time, is the dawn of salvation.
The Greek word translated to time in the NIV, kairos, (kahee-ros' ) means an opportune time or the right time; of a fixed and definite time.
15. How does the nearness of the Kingdom relate to Jesus ministry?
○ It is a physical nearness brought about by Jesus' presence.
The arrival of God's time calls for a response unique and unparalleled in human history. The commands to repent and believe demand major change. Both words in the Greek are verbs used to represent a present reality. This would imply that repentance and belief are to be always on going and applied to all aspects of a persons life.
16. What allows us to gain entrance to the Kingdom of God?
○ Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.
17. How should we as. twenty first century Christians, respond to the call to repentance and belief?
Mark sums up the Gospel as present in and by Jesus; the Kingdom of God is present as a divine blessing and two simple imperatives represent human responsibility: repentance and belief.
Clyde Annach is the operator of the Web Log Clyde's been thinking again! [http://clydesthinking.com/]