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Monday, February 23, 2009

+ LENT ONE + 2009 +

First Sunday in Lent | March 1, 2009
Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-10 (10)
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

Prayer of the Day

Holy God, heavenly Father, in the waters of the flood you saved the chosen, and in the wilderness of temptation you protected your Son from sin. Renew us in the gift of baptism. May your holy angels be with us, that the wicked foe may have no power over us, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

One does not live by | bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the | mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)

1a. Context: mark 1:9-15

Before analyzing texts in Mark it should be understood that the majority of scholars consider Mark the first gospel to be written, and date it around 70 A.D., the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army (13:1–23) and that there is always a concern about the parousia and its immediacy. Also, Mark deals a great deal with the human side of our Lord.

The content of this Gospel pericope for Lent I, the "Tempta-tion," is much shorter and less detailed than the accounts in Matthew or Luke. The essentials are there, however...The Spirit lead Jesus; Jesus was tempted by Satan 40 days; Jesus is protected by the angels.

Apparently Mark (who is often used as a source by the other Gospel writers) knew by tradition of the fast and temptation of Jesus in the desert wilderness, and did not feel that it had to be dealt with in great detail. He launches immediately into the beginning of Jesus' ministry.

1b. Text: Mark 1:9-15

Text: Mark 1:9-15 [Common synthesis of two pericopes, 9-13 and 12-15 ]


1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
1:10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
1:11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
1:12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
1:13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,
1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."


9Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάννου. 10καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν: 11καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν, Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα. 12Καὶ εὐθὺς τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτὸν ἐκβάλλει εἰς τὴν ἔρημον. 13καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ, καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων, καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ. 14Μετὰ δὲ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ 15καὶ λέγων ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ: μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.

2. Analysis: Mark 1:9-15

Mark’s Gospel has a strong sense of immediacy. The word euthus [immediately] is used some 40+ times in his Gospel. In verse 12 it is used to begin give some forcefulness to the Spirit's thrusting Jesus into the desert. The BCP and the Common Lectionary attach, prior to the beginning of this reading, the Baptism of Jesus by John. This attachment has a tendency to disconnect the Baptism, the Temptation, and the Beginning of Ministry, and makes preaching on the total reading more difficult. It sounds to the listener in the parish that Mark is leaving a great deal out. He is not. He is just immediately getting to the point of beginning Jesus work.

Mark is the only Gospel writer to speak of the beasts at the temptation. This only makes the desolation of the desert more mean-ingful.

In verse 14 Mark uses the term euaggelion, "gospel." Generally it is understood that its derivation meaning is from the Hebrew concept and means "something wrought by God, good." The etymology of "gospel" can be delineated considerably and is in "The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible." But for our understanding it is well translated in the meaning the Church understands it today...the good news of salvation by God. For Mark, and for us, it is the message of Jesus himself, preached by the early church.

In verse 15, the term "The time has come" or "The time is ful-filled" [pepleirotai o kairos kai heingiken] is an expression of something that Jesus listeners would understand. It was a season for things to get done. It also refers to an on–going 'drawing near' and not neces-sarily 'has arrived' concept.

Verse 15 brings forth the "reign of God" [h Basileia tou Theou]. It is best, as many scholars agree, to translate this as the "reign" rather than the "kingdom" of God. It is not a geographical position, but a relationship, and "reign" of God really means God ruling in a positive and active manner, God's will, with his people.

Verse 15 then represents the traditional prophetic beseeching, "Repent and believe in the gospel." [metanoeite kai pisteuete] This is a turning to the Lord from old ways and allegiances. It was under-stood by Jesus' hearers as a change of heart which always led to a new way of living. This leads one to belief or faith, and that demands at least two responses...obedience to God's message, the Gospel, and total commitment to following Christ.

1:10 - skizoo - split, separate, divide; peristera - dove

1:11 - eudokeoo - take delight or pleasure in

1:13 - tessarakonta - forty;

1:13 - peirazoo - tempt, test;

1:13 - theirion - wild beast;

1:13 - dikoneoo - serve

1:15 - engizoo - draw near to;

1:15 - metanoeoo - repent, turn around

3. Strategy: Mark 1:9-15

It is not as difficult to tie the temptation to the beginning of ministry if one understands that the temptation like the Baptism (and for Lutherans and Episcopalians who celebrate the Transfiguration on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday) is a declaration of the authority of Jesus over every thing, and is true representation of God the Father.

The traditional approach to the Matthew–Luke three temptations should not be the agenda for a sermon on Mark. A possibility instead is to take the four elements..."Time fulfilled," "reign of God is at hand," "Repent," and "Believe in the gospel" could be the points from which to preach. Any one could also be taken individually, tying in the others in a unitive manner.

4. References: Mark 1:9-15

THE INTERPRETER'S BIBLE, Vol. 7, Abingdon Press

LITURGY PLUS, Lent, Pastoral Planning Software, Resource Publica-tions, Inc.

PROCLAMATION, 1–4, Lent, Series B, Augsburg


5. Music Suggestions: Mark 1:9-15

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" LBW 227/228 HB 687\688 is an excellent entrance hymn, and it is a good idea for Lutherans especially to sing this at some other time than Reformation so that the faithful understand it as something other than a militant marching battle hymn of the Reformation.

Also for the entrance HB #143 "The Glory of These Forty Days"
LBW # 99 "O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days" could be used.

Other suggested hymns might be:

HB #448–449 "O Love, How Deep, How Broad,"
LBW #450 "Who Trusts in God, A Strong Abode."

Exegete: The Reverend C. Marcus Engdahl is retired from Gloria Dei Lutheran in South Bend, IN, and now lives in Virginia Beach, VA.


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