Thursday, July 29, 2010

Emphasis in Mark – The Messiah is Here and His Kingdom is Offered.

Mark 1:15 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Mark 1:15 15 καὶ λέγων ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ• μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.

Recent linguistic studies in Koine Greek have revealed a number of important features in grammatical studies. One such feature regarding the Greek verb is that it does not specifically connote “tense” (=time) but rather “aspect” (=viewpoint as the author chooses to portray an action). Also contained in this way of looking at the Greek verb is the idea of prominence in the verbal form the author chooses to use (as juxtaposed with the verbal forms that he consciously or subconsciously does not use). For example, the aorist verb form is usually background, the present/imperfect verbal forms heighten emphasis a bit. And the perfect/pluperfect verbal forms bring that particular verbal action to the frontground with all the spotlights beaming on it.

This is what Mark does in Mark 1:15. He utilizes two perfect verbal forms in a summary statement describing the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. The two perfect verbal forms are Πεπλήρωται (“is fulfilled”) and ἤγγικεν (“is at hand”).

Accepting the notion that the Greek verb is a-temporal and that it rather reveals the particular viewpoint of the author as to how he wants to portray a given action as taking place (from outside, inside, or as a state of being), the two perfect verbal forms here bring emphasis to Jesus’ statement.

He emphasizes first that the time of the Messianic era is here. It has been fulfilled. It is present. It is “in the fullness of time that God sent His Son” (Gal 4:4). It is this perfect era of God’s giving of the Messiah to the nation of Israel and to the Gentiles. That particular time is fulfilled. He is here. He is on the scene. It is fulfilled!

Second, Jesus says that the kingdom of God “is at hand” (ἤγγικεν)—or it could be rendered: “has come near.” The emphasis here is on the reality that the reign of God in Jesus the Messiah (=the Kingdom) which is being offered to His people, Israel, has come. The Messianic King to which the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings have spoken of is now on the scene. He is here. His Kingdom is ready to be inaugurated if they will receive Him for who and what He claims to be.

The point is that even from the outset of Jesus’ public ministry, Mark emphasizes (in utilizing the verbal forms that he does) the purpose for Jesus’ coming:

1. The perfect moment on God’s sovereign time-table has come for the Messiah to come to His people and offer salvation, deliverance, hope, and forgiveness (cf. Dan 9:24-27). And,

2. The kingdom that this Messiah offers has come if only Israel would receive her Messiah and worship Him as He rightly requires. The kingdom has come near in the person of Jesus in His public ministry.

When reading the text noting the emphases that Mark brings to light, it is helpful in recognizing the things that he emphasizes so we can emphasize those things in our preaching and teaching.


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