Mark (Pt. 6): The King Is Here

Mark’s driving message…
Vital points that have been dropped before us about the above…
“Give his life as a ransom for many”
Temple – redundant
Last Supper and Gethsemane
            Special meals? Ever have one for something? What?
Passover -> Liberation -> Exodus -> Lamb
Jesus reworks it
            Deeper Exodus/Pharaoh/Liberation
Jesus is going to do what the Lamb was meant to / A Lamb being sacrificed in the Temple shortly to remember Passover (v24-25)
            It’s all about and around him now.
They head to Gethsemane – where Jesus is going into the depths of what he has been up to; there’s no turning back now.
The God’s kingdom revolution is going ahead this way.
Not a way of violence and horses and swords but of giving up life for the life of others.
The Disciples never quite got this – a Messiah always = a fight / not this!
Because when they saw what was happening they, v50, legged it – even after v31.
Sanhedrin and Pilate
The point Mark is driving home throughout all of this centers on one big point – Jesus is the true King of Israel.
How does this idea, that Jesus is the King, play out in front of the Sanhedrin and Pilate? (groups)
            Remember: Messiah, son of God etc. = KING!!
Sanhedrin (53-65): It’s the claim they can use to get him in trouble with Pilate but Jesus says more – he says he will join God seated with God and demonstrated to be right. This = a big fat blasphemy – these men who think he is nuts feel they can go out of their way to do away with him!
Pilate (1-15): This idea that Jesus is King is on repeat here. It’s important because ‘King of the Jews’ meant a political opponent to Caesar – Pilate had to kill Jesus. Even though when he looked at him he saw no threat at all, he saw an innocent man with a different kind of agenda!
1) The alternative nature of God’s kingdom as Jesus brings it
2) The King, we should remember, as we move forward here, was a person who stood in for and represented all the people; the beating and death Jesus gets here is a playing out in advance of what will happen to Israel later.
The difference: with Jesus God works to bless everyone through Jesus’ self-giving death, as he remains quiet and takes all of the pain, suffering, injustice that defines the darkness of us as people / Israel later would rebel and fight and kill and reject the way God wanted them to behave and act as his people.
Jesus goes to die as the full and proper faithful Israelite carrying out what God wanted them to do himself – serve and bless the world.
15:25-41 (read)
Follow this through and pick up the reference to King-ness as well as the Temple.
Israelites and Priests etc. don’t want this Messiah – Messiah’s aren’t meant to come like this Jesus character, dying weak and neglected on a cross – so they insult and tease failing to see that Jesus dies for them and many others; doing the job Israel was always meant to do.
Temple comes in here because a few days before Jesus said it was redundant. It was also Passover and the lamb was getting ready to be sacrificed to make right for Israel’s sins and as Jesus dies the curtain rips. The place where God was meant to be and the lamb was meant to be killed is… empty!? Redundant, not up to all that much… So…
The question then is… Where is God? Well He’s out there, forsaking his son, who he is also strangely present in – dying, himself, for the world!
God takes up, stands over, and ultimately, cares for the world that rages and beats its aggression, violence, waywardness and evil against God’s king. The worst from our human ways of doing things is thrown at and absorbed by God making room for his way of doing things, his kingdom, to begin to come about – it’s only 3 days away.
And to cap this all off is the Centurion – “son of God” -> the only sane person to get the magnitude of what has happened and who joins with God himself (ch1 and ch9) saying “this guy was God’s son, God’s king!”
There we have it – “Jesus Christ, the son of God” (1v1) now sits on his thrown “giving his life as a ransom for many” because that’s how God’s kingdom, which promises to rescue this world, works. But… it’s not over just yet – there is more we can expect.
Mark’s full ending is, almost 100%, missing – the two endings we have don’t quite fit.
What do you reckon?
a) Mark couldn’t be bothered to write anymore
b) Mark didn’t know how the story ended
c) Mark’s gospel starts abruptly and ends mysteriously
d) Mark wants to challenge us to make our own mind up
e) Mark’s readers already knew what happened afterwards
f) Mark was reserving the best bits for the sequel
g) Mark wanted to emphasize that this all happened among very ordinary people
h) Mark was useless at telling stories
Mark’s ending is missing – it is a sad thing, it’d be great to read but it’s likely that we have some version of it in Matthew and Luke’s gospel accounts which take quite a lead from Mark in telling the story – John also, although his is a different ball game.
The news they communicate is the news that shapes the whole of the New Testament – Jesus is very, very, alive and is the King, the Messiah, the son of God, who brings God’s way of doing things – love, peace, forgiveness, justice – into our world.
This has been the story of Jesus according to Mark. Jesus is King and he has brought the way God wants the world to be with him. He took the most efficient weapon of death and all of the darkness of human thought that got him there and turned it upside down – this is God’s Kingdom.
What about us?
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35
Christians are disciples. We deny and our lives for the gospel (Mark 1:14-15) – God’s Kingdom is here – that’s what we talk about, that’s what we live for now and in all of this resurrection promises carrying your cross, your death and any and all kinds of violence will not be the end of anything.