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Mark’s Gospel: A Trinitarian Gospel Or Else It’s No Gospel

Jesus baptism 10
Which Gospel has the most trinitarian opening?  John right?

Nah! Binitarian maybe ;-)

I'm going to plump for Mark. That's right, Mark: the Gospel we take refuge in because it doesn't rub that Trinity stuff in our faces. Yep, Mark has the most Trinitarian opening of them all:

"The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

A whole theology is contained in the name "Jesus Christ, the Son of God".  The true Joshua - the LORD who is salvation - comes among us. He is eternally anointed with the Holy Spirit (the Christ). He is eternally Son of the Father. And His coming is good news.

Why? Because, v2-3, He is the LORD of Isaiah 40, bringing "comfort" to the exiled people of God.

And He does it, v4-8, by joining us in our uncleanness and exile - entering into our baptismal waters, so that we might enter into His baptising Spirit. The Anointed One comes to draw us into His anointing.

As He joins us in our predicament, v9-11, the Father and Spirit do not abandon Him to our fate. The Spirit publicly refills Him, the Father publicly acknowledges Him. This is not only the triune identity declared in its clearest terms - it is the triune identity declared in salvation. The Son, as He enters into our exile, does so explicitly as the Father's Son, filled with the Spirit.  The happy Trinity is passionately committed to our salvation: the Father sending His Son in the power of the Spirit.

And that Spirit, v12-13, drives Jesus into battle for us. Christ enters our wilderness and takes on our enemy as Champion - a true David to slay Goliath.

So here is the gospel, v14-15: the Kingdom has come because here is the King!  Good news people, rethink everything, trust that God really has shown up to save, because here is His Spirit-filled Son!

From this point onwards Jesus engages every power that enslaves us: sin, sickness, Satan, a chaotic world, death. In every encounter with these forces, Jesus does not simply prove Himself superior. He proves Himself Saviour.  All these powers dominate and destroy our lives. Jesus, the Spirit-filled Son, faces off against them in our name and on our behalf. If we belong to Him, His victory becomes our victory.

No wonder Mark opens by saying "Good News!"  These are glad tidings of great joy.  But only with trinity.

Without trinity, we simply have a Lord. And if we won't explicitly understand Him as Son of the Father, filled with the Spirit, we will seek to establish His identity in other terms.  Without trinity, 'divine identity' become purely a matter of might.  And, without trinity, the whole baptism thing will be a bit of a mystery. In fact we'll be hazy on most of the first 13 verses.  We'll gain interest again right around verse 15: A call to repent!  But since Jesus is introduced in vague terms as 'a Lord' we will construe that to mean "bow the knee"... or something.

And as Jesus takes on the forces of darkness in Mark's opening chapters we might consider these to be simply displays of power. We might just think that they establish "who's boss".  And, again, the point will not be to reassure us that the Christ has entered the fray as our Champion, it will be to drive home the point that Jesus really is big. And we ought to... um... "bow the knee."

But with trinity we really will repent and believe. With trinity, we really will be overawed by our Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. With trinity, the Gospel really is good news.

 

11 thoughts on “Mark’s Gospel: A Trinitarian Gospel Or Else It’s No Gospel

  1. Aristeo Canlas Fernando

    20130108.1045

    There is only one true God (John 17:3). With His power, He made Himself into three – as God the Father who spoke in the Old Testament, as God the Son Jesus Christ who spoke in the New Testament, and as God the Holy Spirit to speaks to us. This is what we term as the Trinity – three persons in one God. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

  2. Brian Midmore

    v7 is a good answer to muslims who say jesus was a prophet but nothing more. JC is so much above JB in rank that JB cannot loose his sandal strap.

  3. Howard

    Aristeo Fernando wrote: "With His power, He made Himself into three". So, God was actually just 'one' person who broke Himself apart? How? Why? When? There isn't any scriptural backing for this, Aristeo. What there is scriptural validation for is that Jesus declares that He was seen as God in the Old Testament, so your dividing is invalid right there.

  4. Brian Midmore

    I never thought of taking refuge in Mark cos it was'nt trinitarian. I suppose i live a very sheltered life but do Christians really do this and why? Is there a streak of unitarianism in protestantism that I dont know about?

  5. Glen

    Aristeo, who is this God who *then* made himself into three. I only know the Father, revealed in the Son by the Spirit. I can't imagine who this other "god" is who you speak of?

    Brian, I just mean that people get scared off by Trinity in John's prologue and think it's safer / more straightforward to begin in Mark.

  6. Aristeo Canlas Fernando

    20130109.1010

    You only know the Father, revealed in the Son by the Spirit? Is the Son Jesus Christ God? Is the Holy Spirit God? What is God? God is a spirit (John 4:24). FYI, there are two kinds of spirits – a good spirit and an evil spirit. So you just don’t worship any spirit. You have to learn how to scrutinize.

    You just don’t believe because it says like this way or that way in the Holy Bible. You have to scrutinize the whole thing, like the Trinity concept.

    You don’t get saved by just believing and doing nothing else. Even though you say, “I believe, I believe, I believe”, even a hundred or a thousand times, if you do not put action into your belief, you are just dead. James 2:26 says “Faith without works is dead”.

  7. Glen

    Aristeo, "What is God?" - God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father sent God the Son to be our redeemer in the power of God the Spirit. The one called "God" in John 4:24 is the Father (who redeems worshippers in the Spirit and by the Truth).

    Aristeo, do you believe John 3:16?

    "God [the Father] so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

  8. Howard

    And you really haven't addressed the questions your original point raised - you have made statements about the nature and character of God ('with his power, making himself into three") and you've said we need to scrutinize what we believe - well, I'm doing just that about what you've stated - where do you get these ideas - what's the source and the basis for what you're stating, because I don't see it in Scripture.

  9. Michael Baldwin

    Interesting that you would post this at about the same time as posting something by Keller cos I was just reading the first few chapters of "King's Cross" and was struck by how Reevesian some of his statements were- and it is essentially an evangelistic-devotional-commentary on the Gospel of Mark!

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