17 December 2018


At the time of Christ, world politics was an ebb and flow of colliding empires and forces. The world knew only dynastic succession and rule by force. Israel was swept up in this world. Her expectations of deliverance, while diverse, had in common the anticipation of violent liberation by an alliance of God, the expected one (Theo), and Israel’s forces. Her vision included the subjugation of the world to Yahweh. Any messianic claimant would be expected to fulfil this hope.

In his Gospel, Mark knows that Jesus’ plan of salvation differed radically from the prevailing expectations of military power. Rather than liberation through revolution, it involved deliverance through humble, loving service, and cross-bearing.  The disciples follow Jesus but do not understand Jesus’ purpose. They constantly expect war. So, the Gospel needs to be read from Mark’s full understanding and the disciples’ flawed perspective. 

Dr Mark Keown unpacked this topic at a public lecture in September, at which his newly published two-volume series Jesus in a World of Colliding Empires was also launched.  Mark gave an informative and well-received lecture.

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