Mark: The Action Begins

We’re going through the Bible looking for Trinitarian understanding. We recently finished the gospel of Matthew and took a break to write about Bristol Palin and abstinence. (By the way, cheers to the North Dakota House for passing a ban on abortion) We’re going to begin today going through Mark. Why not start at the beginning?

 1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: 
   “I will send my messenger ahead of you, 
      who will prepare your way”— 
 3“a voice of one calling in the desert, 
   ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, 
      make straight paths for him.’ “

Mark is said to be an action-packed one. This is quite so. There is little time devoted to what happens and Mark moves you briskly through the events. Go through the gospel sometime and notice all the words that indicate sudden action such as “immediately” or “as soon as.” The temptation and baptism are devoted to a few verses each and the birth of Christ is not mentioned. 

However, let’s look at how this is started. Now at the beginning, I’ll go on and answer this skeptical objection that Mark obviously didn’t know the Scripture too well. He has a quote from Malachi and yet, he’s attributing it to Isaiah.

This was common Jewish practice though. Malachi was a minor prophet and when two prophets had their statements put together, it was common to attribute the whole to the greater prophet. In this case, that would be Isaiah, who is certainly a major prophet in the history of Israel.

However, looking at this passage, one wonders who is the Lord that is being spoken of? I believe that we have reason to believe that this Lord is none other than YHWH and Mark is wanting to indicate that at the start. (Yes. Mark does have a high Christology as do all the other gospels.)

When we read the passage in Haggai 2:6-9, we see this: 

6 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

What was the greater glory that Haggai spoke of? I believe that it was the Lord coming to his temple. Now someone can say that Malachi spoke of Adonai. That is true. I also see it as appropriate as Jesus came from the Father and Adonai would be a fitting title, especially considering that Psalm 110 was a favorite passage of the early church. However, many other passages that refer to Jesus do so in terms that would have referred to YHWH normally. We’ll see these more in John and in the epistles.
We shall continue tomorrow.


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