THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN MARK
Having considered the various ways in which the concept of God's kingship was used and interpreted in early Judaism, we must now examine how this concept is employed by Mark in his presentation of the preaching of Jesus.
Mark's first description of Jesus' ministry is as follows (1:14, 15):
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the
gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”
It is generally agreed that Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God was central to his teaching,1 and this is the case in Mark's presentation.2occurs in Mark not only in the above summary of Jesus' teaching (1:15), but also on the lips of Jesus on twelve other occasions,3 as well as once in narrative (15:43).
A significant clue to the meaning ofin Mark may be deduced from the fact that the above verses (1:14, 15) contain an allusion to Isaiah 52:7:
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good tidings,
1 Cf. J. Weiss, Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (first ed. in German, 1892; ET,
1971); R. Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, I (ET, 1952), pp. 4ff.; C.H. Dodd,
The Parables of the Kingdom (first publ. 1935; rev. ed., 1961), pp. 29-61;J.Jeremias, Neiv
Testament Theology, I (ET, 1971), pp. 96IT.; D. Guthrie, New Testament Theology (1981),
pp. 40911”.; G. Vermes, Jesus and the World of Judaism (1983), pp. 32-39; J.P. Meier, A
Marginal Jew. Rethinking tlie Historical Jesus, Ii (1994), pp. 237ff.; B.D. Chilton, Pure King-
dom. Jesus' Vision of God (1996).
2 R.T. France, 'Mark and the Teaching of Jesus', in Gospel Perspectives, I, edd. R.T.
France & D. Wenham (1980), pp. 101-136, shows that, despite initial impressions to
the contrary, nearly half of Mark's gospel is devoted to teaching, while Mark in his
narrative sections emphasizes Jesus' teaching role.
3 4:11,26, 30; 9:1, 47; 10:14, 15,23,24,25; 12:34; 14:25.