Expository Thoughts on Mark

3 Oct

Part Two (Click here for part 1)

Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…”

I don’t know that we always appreciate the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

It one of the main points of the gospel of Mark, that Jesus is the Son of God. Still I don’t think it’s really much of a main point for many of us.

It’s not really something the average Christian thinks an awful lot about.

I’m not even sure as I look back that I always could have answered the question as why Mark doesn’t just begin, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God…”

It could be that we don’t think about it too much because it is kind of hard to think about. Son of God, but God. The whole Trinity thing is mind boggling. I mean, we believe in one God but at the same time we believe that God eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

One God, three persons, we’re saying the Father, Son and the Spirit are the same God but at the same time distinct, not divided, distinct, meaning the Father is not the Son or the Spirit, and the Son is not the Father or the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father or the Son…or to put it more straightforwardly, they are the same God, totally united but Jesus Christ is not God the Father and He’s not God the Spirit, He is God the Son, fully God, the one true God…which is bottom line, pretty hard to understand.

I know for me, I’m kind of a practical guy and so I don’t always like to spend much time on things I think are abstract. It could be we don’t spend much time thinking about Jesus as the Son of God because it seems a little obtuse for us.

I wonder though if sometimes God up in heaven looks at all the stuff we’re normally going around worrying about, like finances or vacations or the new car we want to buy, and if he’s kind of like, man why don’t you actually spend some time thinking carefully about what is really important…me.

I’m not going to get in to all the reasons why understanding Jesus as the Son of God is important.  I’ll give you one big one though.  God matters.

What I am saying, it may be tough to understand all this but it is totally significant.  It is worth thinking about Jesus as the Son of God.  We need to know, what does it mean? What is the significance? How does knowing him as the Son help us understand who He is?

We could answer in a variety of ways.

One way to answer it would be I think, fairly broad.

We could take a theological route.

The term says something about the relationship within the Trinity. We know there’s one God, and that God the Father and God the Son are both equally God.  We know that God the Son isn’t any less God than God the Father, so calling him Son, part of the significance has to be in terms of the relationship the two persons have with one another.

One it helps us understand the loving relationship between God the Father and Jesus.

Two it says something about the order in the Trinity.

As Son, Jesus is loved by the Father and also, as Son, Jesus submits to the authority of His Father.

Another way to answer the question is to get a little more specific.  What would the original readers of Mark have thought when they heard the term, Son of God?

I guarantee you they would have thought something.

The term Son of God, it would have been a fairly familiar title to Mark‘s original audience .

To the Jewish person, it would have been familiar because they knew their Hebrew Scriptures. They would have known that the term Son of God it was a title in the Old Testament for either the nation Israel or even more to the point, the promised coming Messiah-King.

In fact, much of the hopes and expectations of the Jewish people in Jesus day centered on something God says about His Son in Psalm 2.
You remember Israel, they were subject to this completely pagan nation.  Psalm 2, it was their hope; God gives a peak into His future redemptive plan, promising that the day is coming when He will enthrone His Son as King and fix everything, giving Him the nations as an inheritance; promising that the Son would act as His agent, bringing the nations of the world who have turned their backs on Him into complete submission to the one true God.


“Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together. Against the Lord and against His Anointed. Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us! He who sits in heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury. But as for me I have installed My King, upon Zion, my holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord, He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.”

The term Son of God, it had to do with Kingship, rule – judgment, salvation. When we talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, we are talking about the gospel of the promised Messiah- King, the one God the Father was using to bring in this longed for salvation.

The average Roman citizen, the average Gentile, obviously they wouldn’t have thought of that.

It would have been significant though, don’t get me wrong. The term Son of God, it’s the kind of thing they heard quite often…only not about Jesus, but about the emperor of Rome.

It’s actually found on some old Roman coins. Right on the face of it, “Augustus Tiberius Caesar, Son of the Divine…”

When a son would inherit his father’s throne, he would declare his dead father divine, and himself a son of God. He did that because, you remember back then, politicians weren’t so concerned with hiding their egos, so this, it was a way of them saying, I am the emperor, I am supreme, I am the one in control.


What I’m saying is that I one hundred percent guarantee you, when the average unbeliever opened up the gospel of Mark and read the very first sentence, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” that last title, it would have absolutely whacked them in the face.

It’s something they would have understood, and not understood at the same time…(more to come next week…)

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