Mark 1:14-39; Matthew 4:12-22; Luke 3:23; John 4:46-54; Luke 4:16-44; Matthew 8:14-17 & 4:23-25
Jesus continues to preach and heal.
Mark 1:15 | What exactly is the Kingdom of God? There’s a dual time-horizon going on here. As we’ll see as we continue reading, Jesus makes many promises about how much better things will be in the Kingdom of God, where there is no sin. But there are other times when Jesus says that the Kingdom of God has arrived. What does this mean? Are we currently living in the Kingdom or not — or is there some spiritual/physical split where we’re simultaneously both in and not in the Kingdom?
Mark 1:17 | The ESV folks note that this ‘fishers of men’ phraseology is borrowed from Jeremiah 16:15-17. In that context it means searching for people who have been lost to idolatry and bringing them back to fellowship within God’s people. Obviously, that applies to the job with which Jesus is tasking His disciples here. And I had always just thought it was a cute turn of phrase.
Luke 4:21-29 | This passage exemplifies what CS Lewis is talking about when he says that if you grant the scriptures as an accurate rendition of Jesus’ words, you simply cannot dismiss His divinity and consider Him just a ‘good moral teacher.’ He makes wildly bold claims such as being the fulfillment of messianic prophecy, to which many of His contemporaries reacted accordingly by moving to punish Him as a blasphemer. Having made these kinds of claims, Jesus is one of three things:
- He is a liar claiming to be something that He knows He is not.
- He is a lunatic who honestly believes something that is patently false.
- He is telling the truth, and He is the divine Son of God.
There simply isn’t room for a fourth interpretation of a man who makes the outlandish claims that He makes being a kindly dispenser of folk wisdom. He’s a liar, a lunatic, or God.
Luke 4:32 | The last point of interest here is that Luke says that Jesus’ ‘word possessed authority.’ We usually think of authority as meaning credibility or respect. We’d read this phrase as His ‘words conveyed that He was an expert.’ But remember that ‘authority’ is a derivation on the word ‘author,’ which hints at Jesus’ authorship of the scriptures He was reading. In other words, Luke is saying that Jesus’ ‘words indicated that He was the author of scripture and of creation.’ It’s a much grander claim, but one that dovetails nicely with John’s earlier description of Jesus as ‘the Word.’
– On a final note, this post at last catches me up with my reading schedule. I picked the wrong weekend to go away, as the reading plan bombarded me with New Testament goodness much faster than I could write to catch up. From here on out, hopefully the posting will slow down a little…