Indicative Precedes the Imperative
During the (post-)baptism of Jesus, the heavens are torn open, the Holy Spirit descends into Jesus and God speaks from heaven (Mk 1:9-11). As we’ve seen, these all serve as indicators of the inauguration of the kingdom of God.
Then, after being driven out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, Jesus is tempted by Satan (Mk 1:12-13). This scene foreshadows the spiritual conflict that will run throughout the entire Gospel of Mark.
After John the Baptist — who fulfilled Old Testament prophecy — is arrested, Jesus begins preaching the Gospel (i.e., Good News) in Galilee (Mk 1:14). His message:
…the [appointed] time has been fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk 1:15, AT)
As we’ve said, two indicatives precede two imperatives. As often in Scripture, God indicates (indicative) what He has done before commanding (imperative) what people are to do.
Next, Mark records two responses to Jesus’ authoritative1 proclamation. Simon and Andrew (Mk 1:16-18) and James and John (Mk 1:19-20) demonstrate the appropriate response to Christ’s summons: radical allegiance that renders all other matters secondary.
As we’ve said, “If We’re Following Christ, Christ Comes First“.
- Mark 1:14 Commentary | Given Over, Gospel Given
- Mark 1:15 Commentary | The Kingdom of God Has Come; Repent & Believe!
- Mark 1:16 Commentary | Fishing For Fishers of Fish
- Mark 1:17 Commentary | Fishers of People
- Mark 1:18 | Drop Everything; Follow Christ
- Mark 1:19 Commentary | Fishing For More Fishers
- Mark 1:20 Commentary | Jesus Calling
- Because the time has come and the Kingdom/Reign of God is inbreaking, people must repent and believe in the Gospel.2
- The Kingdom/Reign of God is here already but not yet fully consummated. The “endgame” of “God’s plan of redemption and restoration” has arrived .3 The Kingdom has come because the King (Jesus) has come.4
- Jesus announces the divine call/summons, disciples exemplify appropriate human response5 – “radical obedience”.6
- Negative: Repent — turn away from sin, one’s former way of life,7 and anything that comes between us and God (including possessions and family)(note the escalation from Mk 1:16-18 to Mk 1:19-20)8
- Positive: Believe — be faithful/loyal to Christ wholeheartedly,9 becoming fishers of people.10
- “A radical announcement requires a radical and total response. All prior claims on a person lose their urgency”.11
- Only Jesus the Christ, the Son of God (Mk 1:1) has authority to make such a totalitarian call to discipleship.12 Only Christ sacrificed Himself for our redemption (Mk 10:45, 14:22-25).13 We should respond to His grace faithfully
- (1) Acknowledge Christ’s authority, (2) be willing to leave one’s former way of life to follow Christ, (3) become a fisher of people by proclaiming the Gospel — telling others to repent and believe.14
To download a .PDF version of this slideshow, please click –> Mark 1:14-20 Lesson | Kingdom Come/Coming! Repent and Believe! Exhibit A
For more commentary on Mark, please visit the Book Study Overview page. For the sources cited, please see the bibliography.
- “Throughout this gospel, Jesus’ words carry divine authority. When he speaks, demons are put to flight, diseases are healed, storm waves are calmed, and experts in debate are rendered speechless. Jesus speaks and acts with the authority of God.” Strauss, 85
- cf. Lane, 68
- Strauss, 84-85. “The kingdom is still future because Jesus is launching the plan that will bring about the final restoration of all things. His exorcisms reveal that the power of the Adversary is being neutralized; his healings demonstrate that fallen humanity is being restored (Isa 35:5, 6); his offer of forgiveness confirms that the power of sin is being broken; and his nature miracles show his divine authority to restore a fallen creation. All these are postcards from the kingdom, telling people that its power is really present and that its consummation is coming. Ultimately, Jesus’ death on the cross will serve as a ransom for sins (Mark 10:45), breaking the endless cycle of sin and death and restoring humanity to eternal fellowship with God.” Strauss, 85.
- Strauss, 85
- English, 53
- Lane, 69
- Kernaghan, 45; Guelich, 52; Strauss, 85
- Stein, 80; Guelich, 52
- cf. Kernaghan, 45
- Stein, 80 – 2 by 2 (cf. Mk 6:7; Guelich, 52)
- Witherington, 86 cf. Lane, 68; Lane, 69
- Stein, 81; Strauss, 85; Schnabel, 53
- Stein, 81; cf. Strauss, 85
- cf. Schnabel, 55