During this Summer, a couple groups in English and Italian have been sharing a Bible verse and biblical theology through the first chapter of Mark. We've been using the cross-platform application called WhatsApp.
If you would like to join our WhatsApp group to discuss biblical theology like this, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
We felt that some of the insights that have been generated through family studies or through our digital discussions could be helpful for a broader audience -- and this is our Bible blog. So, there you have it -- we want to share Bible talks and Bible thoughts as part of what our ministry discovers as we are growing.
MARK - the story of God's counter-attack
Mark writes his concise and action-packed gospel most likely to a Roman church of many young believers facing hard times. Geographic distance is another serious difficulty for this church. They need a first-hand account of their Savior's life and to know how much greater he is than all of the forces they are facing. Therefore, Mark delivers this no-nonsense account of Jesus, his power, and both the worth and the cost of discipleship to follow him.
To start, Mark sets the story in the wilderness; a desert with a river running through it (the Jordan). Truth is being heralded and declared there in the desert; first by Isaiah, then John, and then Jesus. But why the wilderness? Why the river and baptism scene? Why does the Holy Spirit drive Jesus out into the wilderness as soon as the Father presents him to the world?
I think the short answer is that God wants his garden back and most of all, he wants his humanity back from the seducing snake. Remember Eden? The place of God's presence with man in communion? Eden was the place of life, with the tree of life, and a life-giving river running through it. The Tempter came in and launched his nefarious attack using lies and food. In other words, he took Eden's abundance of trust and provision and manipulated it against God and his children. The Fall turned Eden into a wilderness. Yet, buried in the curse was the first promise of the one Son who would come to crush his enemy.
The wilderness, therefore, is the home and the result of Satan's work. Mark says the prophesied Son has come and he is coming to destroy evil and redeem humanity back. He is the super Adam; the weapon of Truth itself. The desert is the new setting of temptation where the Son must conquer or we are doomed. Good news! Our God took the battle into enemy territory where none of us could go. Mark is that action story.