Mark (Pt. 2): The King is Here

Last week we looked at two key ideas coming out of the first 15 verses of Mark.
  • King
  • God’s Kingdom
Right at the start these are the things Mark emphasises.
Jesus is God’s King and he is bringing God’s Kingdom.
Everything that happens after this introduction is showing us what that looks like.
      In every action of Jesus.
      In every word He says.
These are Kingdom acts and words carried out by the King.
This week we’re going to look specifically at Jesus’ words and teachings and how they match up to this Kingdom thing Mark is telling us is super important.
We’re going to break into groups to discuss this.
However, just before we do that we need to keep in mind a couple of things about a word and a method of making a point.
      Authority
      Parables
First…
Authority
When it comes to thinking about teaching in Jesus’ day authority was a funny thing.
Authority mattered a lot.
You had to quite the right people and you had to be the right person.
Moses, the Law, the Prophets, these were the people who had authority.
Pharisees, Priests, Scribes these were the people who could tell you what Moses, the Law and the Prophets were talking about.
So when someone was talking the general protocol would be to say
“Moses said this…”
“Elijah said this…”
“Rabbi so-and-so said this…”
You taught based on what someone else had to say. There were traditions. There were accepted ways of understanding things.
It took a long time for a new way to get accepted and bounced about between the people who taught everyone else.
So imagine when Jesus turns up – out of nowhere – in your town shouts out
“God’s Kingdom has come!”
And then proceeds to teach and tell you all about it.
This might just amaze people, as we see in Mark 1:21-28, because Jesus
“taught as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”
Jesus isn’t riding on anyone’s shoulders he just turns up and begins to tell people what God’s doing!
How can he do this?
Mark has already been tuning us in.
Jesus is God’s King, John was getting people ready for him – a person so important was coming not even John could untie his shoes! – The Holy Spirit anointed him as God gave Jesus authority saying “you are my Son”. What we are to understand is that when Jesus speaks and when Jesus acts the Holy Spirit is at work!
Jesus doesn’t need Rabbis and Pharisees. God has commissioned him to speak directly for Him.
However this authority creates questions. Questions that you would expect people to ask
“Where did you get this authority?”
“Why are you saying that – only God can do that?”
In fact these questions would lead Jesus into trouble with the wrong people, as we will soon see, because Jesus’ authority was challenging the ‘authority’ of others – the Pharisees, scribes etc. and the world they had created for themselves.
Parables
Parables are Jesus’ favourite way of making his point.
In parables Jesus creates and invites us into a new world.
A world that looks like ours, a world that feels like ours, a world that involves and uses imagery we recognise but at the same is very different – why is it different?
Because in this world God is in charge.
Parables in this way get to the heart of how a person sees the world and then throws it about and invites you to reconfigure your own picture.
Connected to this is the point that nearly every time Jesus tells a parable it begins
“The Kingdom of God is like…”
And even when it doesn’t it will is about God’s Kingdom because that’s what Jesus was all about.
Jesus’ parables are a God’s-Kingdom world.
This made them dangerous – and they were – the cryptic language and imagery is used because Jesus was reimagining the central aspects and expectations of Jewish life!
What was doubly dangerous was the fact that this world wasn’t stuck in the parable. This world was bursting into the world of Jesus’ listeners – through what Jesus was doing – this world was happening then – and it is also happening now!
Parables paint a picture of what Jesus is doing as he walks and talks and works.
And remember everything Jesus is doing begins with these words
“God’s Kingdom has come!”
So the question as Jesus teaches with Parables is – what is this telling us about God’s Kingdom?
Authority
      Mark 2:18-28 + 7:1-20
How does Jesus talk about himself? What might this tell us about his authority?
How does Jesus question and challenge old ways of thinking and other people’s authority with his own?
What do these teachings of Jesus tell us about the Kingdom of God?
Parables
      Mark 4:1-20 + 26-29 + 30-34
In parables Jesus nearly always uses imagery that means or points to something else – what are some of the images Jesus uses and what do you think they represent?
Jesus’ parables are always telling us something about God’s Kingdom – what do you think these 3 parables are presenting to us?
Authority
How does Jesus talk about himself? What might this tell us about his authority?
  • New / old wineskins
  • Fasting – holy day, subverting something
  • When God’s doing something new we begin to live more in the now
  • Jesus decided what is appropriate / inappropriate to live out of
How does Jesus question and challenge old ways of thinking and other people’s authority with his own?
  • Fasting – missing what’s in front of you
  • Sabbath – rules/freedom
  • Purity laws – hypocrisy and heart issues
  • When the focus is on particulars as it was for many of the religious leaders priorities get misplaced and mistaken agendas get created that are simply distracting.
What do these teachings of Jesus tell us about God’s Kingdom?
  • Jesus has bigger fish to fry – when God’s Kingdom is in town the heart of the issue and takes us to where the past has been taking us.
  • All the old stuff was pointing people toward something and when it’s arrived (Mark 1) you have a party.
Parables
In parables Jesus nearly always uses imagery that means or points to something else – what are some of the images Jesus uses and what do you think they represent?
  • Sower – God
  • Seed – Israel
  • Soil – people
  • Imagery – necessary -> God’s coming back and people will miss it
  • (Mark 4:26-29) P#2 – unexpected growth | don’t slag this doesn’t-fit-your-criteria movement
  • (Mark 4:30-34) P#3 – God (Is. 40), what he will do / Mustard seed – what seriously? / Finally, big tree – for the whole world.
Jesus’ parables are always telling us something about God’s Kingdom – what do you think these 3 parables are presenting to us?
  • Kingdom of God criteria = different to everyone else
  • Small and unassuming – soon to grow up all around
  • Reflects Jesus wanderings and all that he does
Rounding up
Jesus teaches and when he teaches we discover and find out what God’s Kingdom is like.
The authority Jesus’ receives to teach is opening up a new world that cannot be contained in old ways of thinking.
The parables describe this world and disguise how this radical and revolutionary thing is growing all around as Jesus sows the seed.
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