Aug 20, 2018

Build Your Kingdom Here - Bible Study #1


Mark 1:14-15, After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Mark’s is the shortest one.  He doesn’t waste parchment!  But don’t be deceived by the shortness of these verses. We will see that Mark packs quite a few things into this very short passage.

JOHN 

Verse 14a, “After John was put in prison”

This is John the Baptist.  According to Matthew 14:1-12, John was put into prison for chastising Herod.  Herod had divorced his wife, Phasaelis, and had taken his brother’s wife, Herodias.  The mentioning of John helps to date the time to Jesus’ public ministry (approximately 28-29AD).  This is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  It starts with His baptism (Mark 1:9-11) and His temptation in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13).

GOOD NEWS

Verse 14b:  “Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God”

In order to fully understand this verse, it is helpful to think about Good News in general.  Good News is something that has already happened.  This happens in the world all the time. It could be that your child has walked for the first time.  It can be anything.

Q:  What “Good news” have you experienced in your life?  Feel free to share a few.

Q:  What made these events Good News?


Think of some “Good News” events that may have happened in history.  One that comes to mind is May 8, 1954.  On this day, Nazi Germany surrendered and laid down their weapons.  This was a big event and news spread quickly to the United States.  Special editions of newspapers were printed and young news carriers flooded the city streets to proclaim that the Allied forces had won!  This was good news.

The same is true for Jesus.  When he proclaimed that the Good News had come, it is helpful to think of an event that has already happened.

Q:  Without looking ahead in the text, what do you think is the “Good News” that Jesus is proclaiming?

The Greek word for “Good News” is “evangelium” from which we get the word, “evangelist”.  This means that at its root, an Evangelist is someone who is sharing good news.

Q:  What Good News is an Evangelist sharing?

TIME

The word, “Time” in English can have many meanings.  However, in Greek, there were two primary words that we translate into English as “Time”.

The first word is Chronos.  It is the word from which we derive the word chronometer.  Remember that this is long before clocks, but the Jews and Greeks did have times of day.  This would be Chronos time.  Chronos is linear time that keeps ticking away.  It began with Creation and continues to the present.

The second work is Kairos.  Kairos time is best translated into English as epoch.  This time is not linear time, but a moment in time.  It is an event.  It is the birth of a child. It is walking along a trail, coming around the bend and seeing a scenic view for the first time.  It is being outside at Sunset and noticing the colors and it causes you to startle at its beauty.

Q:  Does this distinction make sense? 

Another helpful distinction is the quote from Maya Angelou who once said, “Time isn’t marked by breaths you take (chronos) but by moments that take your breath away (Kairos).”

In Spiritual terms, Kairos time is an encounter with God.  One way to draw someone into a spiritual discussion about Kairos time is to ask the question, “How is God messing with you?”

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR

Jesus says that the epoch has occurred.  The Kingdom of God is Near.

Christ Lutheran Vail has spent the whole year talking about The Kingdom.

Q:  What is your understanding of The Kingdom?

REPENT

Q:  When Jerome translated the Greek into Latin, he used the word, paenitentiae.  What do you believe this word connotates?

Think about it for a moment.  Jesus is proclaiming “Good News”.  This is as significant as V-E Day or the birth of a child.  This is an epoch of time.  It is something remarkably wonderful.  And Jesus says, “REPENT”.  It doesn’t really make sense.

That is because this Latin word, “penitence” is a poor translation.  The Greek word here is actually, “metanoiete”.  It comes from the Greek Word meta which means change and Noios which means mind.  In other words, the best English translation of metanoiete is best “Have a change of mind”.  It says nothing about being sorry for your sins.  The Greeks had another word for that.  The command of Jesus might be best said as, “Think of life in a new way”.

Q:  Does this understanding of REPENT make sense?  Does it change your understanding of the text?  Does it make you uncomfortable?

BELIEVE

The second command of Jesus is “believe”.  Again, there is nuance to this word.  The Greek word for “Believe” can also be translated as “Have Faith”.

What does this all mean?

It means that Jesus has come into the world and a new dawn is emerging.  Jesus is saying to us  something like this…

“Hey everyone.  Jesus here.  I am bringing a new moment in time.  You live under the rule of King Herod.  But I say to you that a New Kingdom is here.  In that Kingdom I AM KING.  But it isn’t a kingdom on earth built with bricks and stones.  It is a spiritual kingdom.

I have come to call you INTO that kingdom and make you my precious royal offspring.  And as part of that, I am going to show you a new way of thinking.  Some of the things I will tell you will seem CRAZY. You’ll look at each other and say, “That makes no sense at all”.

But trust me.  It will make sense. Because when you change your thinking on these things, believe that this is a way to live your life, and actually start living this way, your life will change.  You will be filled with an inescapable joy and an overwhelming peace.”


So bringing this home, every Christian is in this Kingdom.  And every Christian will have moments in their life when “God is messing with you”.  These are Kairos moments.  It might be during a Bible study, or during a sermon, or while driving home from work.  Some moment may happen and God will be giving you a new way to think about life.

Q:  Has this happened to you recently?  Would you be willing to share one?  

Q:  Is it happening now?  Would you be willing to share a way that God is nudging you?

THE STRUGGLE

People struggle with this in two ways.

What is God saying?

For some people the struggle comes from trying to distinguish exactly what God is saying.  They hear many competing viewpoints.  Sometimes scripture isn’t as clear as they’d like.  They are struggling to reconcile something that they think God is saying with what they have always known to be true.  For these people the struggle is for TRUTH.

Am I willing to follow through?

For some people the struggle comes later.  They know what God is saying, but they struggle with the faith to actually follow through with what Jesus is commanding.

Jesus has many commands and some are easy for some and extremely difficult for others.  For these people the struggle is FAITH.

One helpful way to think about faith is that it is a muscle.  The more you use faith, the stronger the faith muscle gets.  If Jesus is calling you to something difficult, work on easier faith muscles.  But set as a goal to tackle the really hard stuff.

Another way to think of this is tree rings.  As a tree grows, it grows on the outside.  Every time you step out in faith and do the thing that God calls you to do, you are building your faith.  You are adding a tree ring into your faith life.  And as you add tree rings, your faith gets stronger and stronger until one day you are a very large tree with so many tree rings that God can call you to do very difficult things and your faith is strong enough to handle the challenge!

CHALLENGE

Throughout the next week, spend time in prayer to see how God is messing with you.  Make a conscious effort to think about Kairos moments.  Ask others, “How is God messing with you”.  Help them to see what their challenge is.

Is their challenge TRUTH?  Help guide them through scripture.

Is their challenge FAITH?  Offer words of encouragement.  Walk beside them.