THE MESSIANIC KINGSHIP OF JESUS IN MARK
In this chapter we are considering the following question: does Mark's gospel show evidence of any intrinsic links between his presentation, on the one hand of Jesus as Messiah, and on the other hand of the kingdom of God being manifested through Jesus? We have seen that the ideas of the kingdom of God and Messiahship are both rooted in the Old Testament, albeit that they were developed in varying ways in inter-testamental expectation. We shall therefore consider Mark's presentation of Jesus in relation to Old Testament passsages that may have been interpreted messianically, and then see how closely those are linked with the concept of God's kingship.
We should first make the point that the identity of Jesus is the primary question of Mark's gospel. We see this question voiced by Jesus' opponents (2:6-7; 11:27-28), and particularly at Jesus' trial by the high priest (14:61) and by Pilate (15:2). Jesus asks questions about himself (8:27, 29; 10:18). The gospel also contains questions about Jesus by his disciples (4:41), his own countrymen (6:2-3), and by Herod, whose opinion that Jesus is John the Baptist returned to life is set in the context of popular speculation as to Jesus' identity (6:14-16; cf. 8:27-28). The last three examples fit into a general pattern of astonishment shown by Jesus' disciples and the crowd in response to Jesus' authoritative teaching and mighty works.' Mark thus shows throughout his gospel that the words and deeds of Jesus raised the question, “Who then is this?” (4:41).
A clear answer is given in Mark's prologue (1:1-13) to the question of Jesus' identity.2 The divine voice calls him, “my beloved Son” (verse 11), while Mark in his first sentence gives his own testimony to
1 See 1:27; 2:12; 4:41; 5:20, 42; 6:2, 51; 7:37; 9:15; 10:24, 26, 32; 12:17. Cf. T.
Dwyer, 'The Motif of Wonder in the Gospel of Mark', JSNT57 (1995), pp. 49-59.
2 On the importance of the prologue for Mark, cf. R.H. Lightfoot, The Gospel of St.
MOTt (1950), pp 15ff.;J.M. Robinson, The Problem of History in Mark (1957), pp 21-32;
B. Standaert. L'evangile selon Marc: Commentaire (1983), p. 42; F.J. Matera, 'The Pro-
logue as the Interpretative Key to Mark's Gospel', JSNT 34 (1988), pp. 3-20. Many