Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Time is Fulfilled

Mark 1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

14 Μετὰ δὲ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ 15  καὶ λέγων ὅτι πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ· μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.

One of the great things about the book of Mark is that it is all about action.  It leaps from one story to the next and there is rarely much time for background material.  Here we see a lot of time condensed into two verses.  We learned about the John the Baptizer's ministry and then we see the transition to Jesus.

Jesus says something pretty striking to His listeners.  He tells them that πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς.  The verb πεπλήρωται is a perfect passive, which means that it would most literally be translated something like, "the time has been fulfilled."  What time is that?  Jesus continues with καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, which is a perfect active.  Here we see that the kingdom is near.  What does this mean?

It means that everything that the prophets wrote about were coming true in Him.  They predicted His coming and here He was.  They didn't have to keep looking through the prophets and they didn't have to keep watching and waiting.  He arrived to fulfill the prophets.  He emphasized this by explaining that the kingdom of God is near and therefore, they had to repent and believe right then.

What does this mean to us?  I think that it is a key to understanding Old Testament prophecy.  It points forward to Christ.  He is the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy.  This puts our focus on the cross and not anywhere else.  Frankly, I think that is where it should be.

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