Mark (Pt.1): The King is Here

[In our Youth Fellowship we’re doing a 6 week series during which, we’ll hopefully travel through the Gospel according to Mark. Here’s week 1. In it we cover the first 15 verses… Good start!]

Introduction
We’re starting a series, which – for the next 6 weeks, is going to take us through the book of Mark.
Mark is a whirlwind of a book. The language is really dynamic “Suddenly!” “All at once!” “At once!” and so on. It’s like Mark, when writing is, so excited he can’t contain himself “and then this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened!”
However, before looking at what happened, we need to start where Mark begins.
That means we need to look at two ideas that will help us make sense of what Mark is telling us about Jesus.
These ideas are:
  • King
  • God’s Kingdom
Let’s first look at
King
Mark 1:1
“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God…”
Jesus is good news.
Who is Jesus?
The Messiah (or anointed one). The Son of God.
These are words that mark out a King – the King of Israel.
These words mean that Jesus is “The King.”
Mark is a book telling us “The King is Here!”
This video of WIll Smith’s entrance at Live 8 several years ago, I think, gets across the energy with which Mark might have been communicating his message (though the video is definitely not conveying how Jesus becomes or acts as King (mainly because of the pyrotechnics)!).
“The champ is here!” becomes “the King is here!”
And were Will Smith has ladies as he comes on a throne Jesus has a messenger in the desert who eats locusts and honey getting people ready for his arrival.
Mark 1:2-8 – Get ready for the King!
People were hoping, looking and waiting for God to do something new with Israel.
Waiting for him to do something new through a Messiah He would send.
They expected fighting but to their surprise it was starting with repentance.
A turning around from the how they thought things would happen (politically, religiously, militarily etc.) and begin to start over with God.
No one seemed sure exactly what this would look like.
But John was sure that someone was coming and that this person would do something big…
This person would move with and move people with the Holy Spirit!
And then in trying to get our heads around this news about a King and a messenger getting people ready for his coming with the Holy Spirit we have Jesus getting baptized.
Mark 1:9-11 – Baptism! Anointing – The King is confirmed!
Did you ever find this strange?
Why did Jesus need baptized?
Well, it seems, I think, Jesus wanted to publicly demonstrate his willingness to connect with this new movement of God.
And it is in doing this that we see Jesus gets this amazing confirmation about what we’ve already been told by Mark!
Heaven opens.
The Holy Spirit comes down on Jesus.
And where Mark tells us Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God…”
God says to Jesus “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Basically this means “You are the King, I love you; you make me happy. I’m glad you’re doing this!”
Kings were anointed when they got the job.
This is Jesus getting anointed.
And then we’re immediately whisked off to… the desert! Huh!?
Mark 1:12-13 – The King is tested
Did you ever find this strange as well?
Why does Jesus need to go into a desert to get tempted by Satan?
All good questions this is a bit of an odd one initially.
This is an event tied to Jesus being the King.
The Messiah, the King, represented his people. Everybody in the nation was connected to his rule… Would this King fall apart and mess up or hold it together?
The desert and the time spent there represent the classic screw up story of Israel – would the representative of Israel, the King, foul up like the rest of his people or do for God what the could not?
Well we find out…
John gets arrested and Jesus has to step up and take over where John left off.
But this is where our second important idea comes in!
God’s Kingdom
Mark 1:14-15
Jesus is good news, Mark tells us.
Jesus is the King.
And every King has a Kingdom and the good news we’re told about Jesus is that he had good news about God, which went…
“The time has come. The Kingdom of God (or God’s Kingdom) has come near. Repent (or turn around) and believe the good news!”
“The King God has put in charge is here. He’s arrived and is bringing a place to live God’s way. Turn around from all your agendas and believe that its true.”
Questions then…
  • What is God’s Kingdom?
  • What’s it about?
  • Why’s it important?
What is God’s Kingdom?
This isn’t just some spiritual thing.
This isn’t advice to behave well.
This is news that God was moving again. God was taking up charge of Israel again.
This is what people had been waiting for and they needed to get in tune with it by turning around and believing it.
But turning around meant ditching ever political, religious, economic and military desire that were leading Israel to a crazy war!
It meant turning around and joining what God was going to do with His King.
This is why belief was so important.
Jews trusted all sorts of things, family, laws, the Temple, their Land, their God – provided He did what they expected.
Jesus was saying they needed to believe what God was doing with Him – they needed to trust what he was going to do and how he was going to do it.
What’s it about?
One of the best places I think we can see this is in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
“Aslan is on the move.”
“It’s always winter but never Christmas.”
The White Witch is in charge but when the King, Aslan, returns something new begins to come about.
“Aslan is on the move. The Witch’s spell is weakening.”
When Jesus moves about saying “God’s Kingdom has come near” he’s basically saying “Aslan is on the move”, “winter is over Christmas is coming”, “the Witch’s spell is weakening”.
Perhaps we see the Witch’s spell in all sorts of things? Sickness, death, poverty, hunger, exclusion, violence etc – this is the way things are when the people who should be doing the job aren’t doing it.
God’s Kingdom is the place where everything that is wrong is beginning to be set right.
God’s Kingdom is the place where an ancient problem is set right.
A new obedient King invites people to become new and obedient people in God’s Kingdom.
Adam and Eve were meant to rule (or be King and Queen, if you like, of) the world with God – they didn’t do this.
Israel was to do the same – it didn’t.
Israel’s Kings the same again – they didn’t.
They were all meant to do this – they didn’t.
The Witch’s spell held it’s grip.
However,
Now we have another King and it looks like he’s bring about the way things should have been.
He’s being what Adam and Israel (and it’s Kings) weren’t and was enabling people to do the same – what they were always meant to do.
In Narnian terms
When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone
Sits at Cair Paravel in throne
The evil time will be over and done
Humans are being enabled to do what they should have been doing and it’s happened through King Jesus inviting us into God’s Kingdom where we can rule with him. In which we can help to make the world like what it should always have been like.
Why is this important?
Because it is good news. It’s the news we’ve all been waiting to hear.
Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons captures this.
Love, it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment
A cry of my heart to see
The beauty of love as it was made to be
These words put flesh to my longing for myself and for the world.
I believe, like Jesus, that in Him and in God’s Kingdom is where answers and life and love are found.
What has dismayed, enslaved and betrayed you is not a factor in the way of God’s Kingdom.
It’s King does not wish to do that.
The intention is to allow people to be what they were always meant to be.
You’ve wanted this – God’s Kingdom is where it happens!
When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone
Sits at Cair Paravel in throne
The evil time will be over and done
Jesus is opening up the place where people can come to do and be part of the way things where meant to do.
The thing in the narrative, Adam, Israel and Israel’s Kings had never been able to do.
“The King is Here!” and we’re welcome to join in, and rule with him, in this place he’s in charge of (kingdom), where the world is being set right and through which
The evil time will be over and done
How this happens is a journey we will have to walk with Mark to discover. 
Summary
The King is here, is Mark’s message.
God’s Kingdom has come, is the King’s message and we’re invited to the party – where things are being set right, us included, and we can help make things right.
We’ll see how this all looks in the coming weeks through looking at
  • How Jesus teaches about God’s Kingdom.
  • How Jesus acts out God’s Kingdom.
  • and what being a disciple of the King of the Kingdom means.
And much more…
Resources + Analogies:

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