Notes On Mark’s Gospel (74)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!


A Taste of Death (Chapter 9 Verse 1)

This verse really belongs to the last section of Chapter eight (v1). Jesus gives the solemn assurance that there are actually some standing there in the crowd who will see the beginning of that judgment, before they taste the bitterness of death. The Kingdom’s coming is the same as Jesus himself coming, one and the same, because where Jesus is there is his kingdom, his rule of grace and power. But some of these will see it come in powerful judgment. This is a repetitive theme (Mark 13.30; Matthew 26.64), which he took pains to explain (Matthew 22.7; 23.38-39). The awesome destruction of Jerusalem and the driving out of the Jews from Palestine in AD75. Their Christ-rejection caught up with them, it was inevitable. It was a catastrophic judgment such as had never been seen, virtually wiping out the Jews as a nation, it made the holocaust look like child’s play. But of course it is but a foretaste of the greater judgment to come, the final one, the big one. Are you ready for God’s judgment day (Amos 4.12)? Jesus is not speaking about the end of the world here as some have erroneously supposed, for that is not even known by Jesus (Mark 13.32). Now some think they know more than the Lord Jesus, they seem to be absolutely sure that he is about to arrive at any moment. Well the Bible, the Christian’s supreme authority, and only rule, says we do not know (Acts 1.7). Our business is to leave it there and get on with the commission we have been given to fulfil (Matthew 28.19ff).

These thankfully are gospel days, not easy days, but gospel ones, days of grace, so let us use them, let us be about the Master’s business, and be found faithful when he comes. And O what a glorious gospel it is we have to proclaim (Romans 1.16)! The wonder-working power of the gospel able to melt the hardest heart, to set the captive free (Luke 4.18-19). To lift the shroud of judgment from upon men’s shoulders, to give life and peace. The way to bring people to a fear of the Lord? To know and understand the terror of the Lord (2Corinthians 5.11)? Well it is not to frighten them with threats of Hell and judgment, yes, these must be preached in a Biblical context. But this fear is a supernatural thing. The way people come to this fear? Is by Christians like you and I, being filled with the Holy Spirit, shining, sparkling with holiness. When Moses came down from that Mountain the people did not need to ask who he had been with (Exodus 34.30- 35). And they feared the Lord.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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