The Mission Statement of Jesus: Mark 1:15, Mark's Apocalyptically Charged Decision Motif


This dissertation examines the mission statement of Jesus in Mark 1:15: ‘The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel’. The statement will be examined from the perspective of the writer, Mark, who - it will be argued - crafted the statement as a rhetorical device to press his audience for a personal decision to accept Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God and as a call for them to be baptized. It will be argued that the mission statement was fully crafted by Mark rather than originating with the historical Jesus. The analysis examines the apocalyptic imagery that the writer invokes, and how he uses that imagery to charge a decision motif with tension and a call to action, prior to what was expected to be the imminent Parousia of Jesus. The statement in Mark 1:15 is examined from a textual, literary, and historical perspective, considering Mark’s literary style from a narrative perspective, his rhetorical goals, and the eschatological and apocalyptic expectations that were operating in the background at the time of the Gospel’s composition. Mark’s use of apocalyptic imagery for rhetorical purposes will be shown to be the product of his circumstances and of those experienced by his community during the first Jewish-Roman War. These circumstances led him to believe that the end of the age had come and that certain prophetic traditions regarding the ‘Day of the Lord’ were being fulfilled. This therefore led Mark to frame the mission statement as an imperative for early Christian believers to decide to commit themselves fully, through the act of baptism, to suffering discipleship and imminent death in the final moments before the return of Jesus

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