November 29, 2004

Mark 1:14-15 Sermon Notes

Category: Bible - NT - Mark :: Permalink

Mark 1:14-15
(October 17, 2004 Sermon Notes)

Our creeds and catechism jump from Jesus’ birth to his death, without saying anything about his life. That might give us the impression that his life isn’t important. But Jesus didn’t spend his life waiting for the important stuff to start to happen. He was working throughout his life.

What was that work? We’re going to see it all through Mark’s Gospel. But we start to see it in the summary in Mark 1:14-15.


Jesus starts his ministry in Galilee “after John was put in prison.” Literally, it’s “after John was delivered over.” That’s the same phrase Mark uses later when he says that Jesus was “delivered over” (sometimes translated “betrayed”) to his enemies (3:19; 9:31; 10:33-34; 14:10, 11, 18, 21, 41, 42, 44; 15:1, 10, 15). John’s imprisonment foreshadows Jesus’ imprisonment.

God destroyed Pharaoh and saved Moses. God protected Elijah from Ahab. But God doesn’t save John, who is a new Moses and a new Elijah. Joshua conquered Canaan and Elisha died peacefully in his bed, but Jesus isn’t going to be protected as they were. He’ll conquer, but he’ll die first.

But Jesus doesn’t run away. Herod, the ruler of Galilee, arrested John and Jesus marches into Galilee, into Herod’s territory, to preach. And his work is more glorious than John’s.

John’s death isn’t the end. Something more glorious happens next. And Jesus’ death will lead to something more glorious: His resurrection and the spread of the kingdom. And though we, too, will be “delivered over” (Mark 13:9-12), the kingdom will keep advancing from glory to glory.


Jesus and John both proclaim that God is becoming King as he promised. But unlike John, Jesus announces that “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand.” The time the prophets talked about it here and God’s kingdom is already present. In fact Jesus himself is the kingdom.

The presence of the kingdom demands a response: “Repent and believe the gospel.” This isn’t just ordinary daily repentance; Jesus is calling Israel to the great repentance which must happen before Israel can be restored (Deut. 30:1-3). The king is coming; therefore Israel must repent.

Repentance involves returning to loyalty to the true King. It involves dropping your own agenda and adopting God’s agenda. Jesus calls people not only to repent but to believe “the gospel,” that is, to believe the good news he is preaching. They have to adopt his view of the kingdom. They have to drop their old loyalties and follow him to inherit the kingdom.

And so do we.

Posted by John Barach @ 5:57 pm | Discuss (0)

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