"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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John the Baptist and beginning of Jesus' ministry
Mark 1:1-20 Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
Mark relates no stories of Jesus' birth or childhood, but launches right into Jesus' adult life and the beginning of his public ministry.
He introduces his story succinctly: "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (1:1). From the beginning, readers are told what characters in the story will struggle and often fail to understand -- that Jesus is Christos (Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah), God's anointed one, the long-expected deliverer of God's people.
This story is good news for all who are awaiting God's deliverance. Yet the way in which this Messiah delivers God's people will shatter all expectations. He does not come as a warrior to overthrow the Roman occupiers. He does not appear in Jerusalem among the religious and political rulers, but in the Judean wilderness among sinners coming to be washed in the Jordan. This tension between what is expected of the Messiah and who Jesus is will only intensify as the story progresses.1
Before Jesus appears on the scene, we are introduced to John the baptizer, by way of the prophets. Mark's scriptural citation conflates material ...
| Bible Text
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The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 018: John the Baptist and beginning of Jesus' ministry
January 01, 2012
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's reading is John the Baptist and beginning of Jesus' ministry: Mark 1:1-20