Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The End of the World and The Beginning of the Kingdom of God

Arguing from The Cross from a Distance from IVP's New Studies in Biblical Theology series. 

Usually Mark 13 is said to be about the fall of the Temple in AD70. Peter Bolt differs and reads it within it's more immediate context. He argues that Mark 14-16 carries the expectation of Mark 13, and particularly 13v35. We're to be awake and alert, looking for the Son of Man to come, in the evening, midnight, when the cock-crows, at dawn...
  • 14v1-11. Famous incident. Anointed for burial – because he won’t be there to be anointed after his death in 16v1. This will be told when the gospel is globally preached (v8-9) –  which it will be when the Son of Man comes (13v27).
  • 14v-12-31. Evening comes. The Passover. But there is no Lamb? The only blood to paint over the door is Jesus' blood (v24)
  • Then, at midnight in Gethsemane as Jesus wrestles with the cup before him. The future of the world, our future, hangs in "this passionate exchange". Everyone flees, scattered as the Shepherd will be struck, (13v14) and then Jesus is put on trial (where he uses Daniel/Mark 13 language as Son of Man).
  • Then as the cock-crows Peter denies him (13v26, 14v30,72). Still we wait.
  • At dawn 15v1 Jesus is turned over to the Gentiles, to divine wrath. That trial will lead to Jesus being declared innocent but sentenced to death anyway, while a guilty man goes free. As he dies the sun turns dark (13v24) and a destructive sacrifice is set up - the whole world raging against the Lord's annointed (Psalm 2)
  • Yet as Jesus dies, Joseph of Arimithea will still be waiting for the kingdom. Waiting until the dawn comes on the third day...  then the Son of Man comes, and it's time (13v27) to gather in the elect from the ends of the earth.
Mark 14-16 tells the story of the end of the world that will bring the beginning of the kingdom of God – with King Jesus in charge, the fresh start that people from the whole world need.

"It is not often that a ‘theological’ book makes the reader want to go and tell people about the achievement of the cross. This book did that for me! It deserves to be widely read." Justin Mote on Peter Bolt's The Cross from a Distance

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