Mark 1:14-20 â€“ for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany â€“ January 22, 2012
â€œThe time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come nearâ€¦â€ (Mark 1:15)
It could be saidâ€”only jokingly, of courseâ€”that if the New Testament is the Internet, then Markâ€™s Gospel is Twitter.
The second Gospel (and first written) starts with a gallop and races toward its conclusion. No frills, lots of thrills. Jesusâ€™ comments come with the urgency of someone screaming â€œDuck!â€ because an errant ball hurled by Tim Lincecum is headed your way.
- The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.
- Follow me and I will make you fish for people.Â
- Be silent and come out of him!
- Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.
- I do choose. Be made clean.
Those are the first five commentsâ€”couldnâ€™t they easily be tweeted?â€”by the Nazarene in Mark. Brevity? You bet! These sayings, if you count all the tweet-ready words, punctuation and spaces are, in order: 101, 46, 30, 120 and 27. Tweet on, Jesus!
Some scholars suggest Jesusâ€™ first words in Mark represent his ministryâ€™s essence. Those 101 wordsâ€”in English, able to be tweeted without substituting â€œ&â€ for â€œandâ€ or deleting commas or periodsâ€”are as abrupt as they are clear. This scholarly claim could be frustrating if a New Testament expert desires to write an insightful bestseller for the masses. After all, who could make money on a book that doesnâ€™t have to be much longer than a few paragraphs? God is near. Transform your lives. Believe in the good news. Thatâ€™s all, folks!
Brevity has also underscored the best of my private life and public ministry . . . Continue reading →