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February 2018 Messenger Newsletter

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Matthew 22:14

Lent

"The kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
(Mark 1:15)

First Sunday in Lent

John Baptizes Jesus

Mark 1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Mark 1:10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
Mark 1:11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

Satan Tempts Jesus

Mark 1:12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
Mark 1:13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

Mark 1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,
Mark 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

[Mark 1:9] Baptism and Temptation (see map).

Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. After His temptation in the wilderness (possibly near Jericho), Jesus returned to Galilee.

Since Jesus was sinless (Heb. 4:15), a baptism of repentance was unnecessary. Why then was He baptized by John? At least four reasons seem evident: (1) to connect Himself with John, the prophet who prepared the way for the Messiah; (2) to identify Himself with the sinful race He came to redeem (see Matt. 3:16-17, note); (3) to establish the course of His own ministry; and (4) to inaugurate that ministry officially.

[Mark 1:10] "Immediately" (euthus, Gk.) is a characteristic word in Mark. It is used 42 times in Mark and only 12 times in the rest of the N.T. This word serves to advance the narrative at a rapid pace. (vv. 10,11) The descent of the Spirit to rest upon Jesus was His anointing by God for His mission as the Messiah (the "Anointed One"; cf. Acts 10:37, 38).

[Mark 1:12] Names for Satan (see chart).

Mark's account of the temptation is the briefest in the Synoptics (cf. Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). It is significant to note that it is the Spirit that "drove" (ekballei, Gk., implying "impelling force") Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. It was necessary for Jesus to face His Adversary at the outset of His ministry and demonstrate His victory and qualification to be the Messiah. Jesus' conflict with satanic forces is a prominent theme throughout Mark's Gospel. That Jesus "was with the wild beasts" (v. 13) is recorded only in Mark. The phrase would heighten the character of the desolate, lonely wilderness with all its danger. It might also be included as a subtle word of encouragement to Mark's Roman audience, who regularly heard reports of their fellow believers being savagely torn apart by "wild beasts" in the arena. The Master had gained the victory over the beast in the wilderness, and He would see believers through the trials and struggles they were enduring

[Mark 1:14] Cities of the Galilean Ministry (see map).

See Matt 4:23-25. Jesus began His public ministry at Cana, where He graced a wedding ceremony with His presence and turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). In the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus announced that He was the fulfillment of prophecy from the book of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-22). But His hometown rejected Him, so He went to Capernaum, a prosperous fishing town situated along an international trade route. There He established a base of ministry.
In Capernaum He called Matthew to be His disciple (Mark 2:14) and healed the paralyzed servant of a centurion (Matt 8:5-13), as well as Peter's mother-in-law (Matt 8:14,15). The Sea of Galilee, with its fishing industry, was the setting for many miracles. At Nain, Jesus mercifully raised to life the only son of a widow (Luke 7:11-17). Chorazin and Bethsaida were cities Jesus chastised for their unbelief (Matt 11:21). The area of Gergesa was possibly where Jesus healed the demoniacs (Matt 8:28-34).

(vv. 14,15) The coming of the kingdom of God is the initial, the central, and the final burden of the Master's proclamation. Jesus' preaching began with the challenge, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). In His most extensive teaching pericope, the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus described the righteousness of the kingdom. Then as His days of earthly sojourn drew to a close, He instructed the apostles concerning the course of this age and the dawning of the kingdom of God (Matt. 24:14ff.). In order to understand the "kingdom of God," or "heaven," motif, one must recognize its seven aspects which are unfolded in God's revelation: (1) God, by virtue of being Creator of all things, is also the Proprietor and Ruler of all (Ps. 10:16; 24:1, 2, 9, 10). (2) More particularly, God is the King of Israel, although, in reluctant response to the nation's insistence during the era of the judges upon having an earthly king (cf. Judg. 8:22, 23; 1 Sam. 8:4-9), the theocracy was set aside. (3) Having allowed a human line of kings to reign, God, through His spokesmen, the prophets, proclaims the reestablishment of the theocracy -- an everlasting kingdom through the Davidic line (cf. 1 Sam. 13:14; 2 Sam. 7:15, 16; Ps. 89:21, 36-38; Isa. 11:1-9; Dan. 7:13, 14). (4) Jesus Christ, who comes from the Davidic line (cf. Matt. 1:1; Luke 1:32, 33), offers the kingdom promised by God through the prophets, but the Jews reject the King (cf. the parable of the minas in Luke 19:11-14). (5) Jewish rejection opened the door to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the kingdom, but this new aspect of the kingdom took the form of a mystery in the church. Christ reigns in the hearts of subjects who have experienced the New Birth and who thus make up the church (cf. 10:15; John 3:3, 5; Rom. 14:17; Col. 1:13). (6) The phenomenon of the kingdom hidden in the hearts of men is temporary because Jesus shall once again appear physically, ushering in the apocalyptic kingdom and reigning on the throne of David for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). (7) God's reign is forever, but the earthly kingdom terminates after the thousand years in order to give way to the eternal kingdom in heaven (1 Cor. 15:24-26, 28; 2 Tim. 4:18; Rev. 22:3, 5). From all of these aspects, one gathers the fact that the kingdom of God is that perfect reign of God wherein He destroys His enemies and bestows His blessings upon His subjects. Very often, two or more aspects of the kingdom are realized at one period in time. Despite the varying aspects, however, two factors are constant: (1) it is God who ushers in the kingdom, and (2) Jesus is His appointed King.

NSRV & Believer's Study Bible (BSB) Notes

Readings for the week of February 25th
Second Sunday in Lent
First: Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22: 23-31
Second: Romans 4: 13-25
Gospel: Mark 8: 31-38

 

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St James Lutheran Church, Sumter SC ELCA Pastor Keith Getz

 

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