An outline of Mark’s references to Jesus’ self awareness of the nature and purpose of his death

  • 2:5-7. Jesus forgave sins. Only God can do that. The Old Testament presents a model of forgiveness of sins associated with a sacrifice. I think Jesus here is foreshadowing the sacrifice of himself for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 7:27).
  • 2:20. Jesus expects to be taken away from his disciples, in circumstances causing fasting/grief.
  • 8:31, 9:31, 10:33. Jesus expects that he will die and rise again.
  • 8:33. 14:36. Jesus taught that the path he was on towards death and resurrection was God’s will.
  • 8:34-38. He taught that his act of sacrifice and losing his life was a pattern/path for believers to follow
  • 9:1, 14:25, 14:62. Jesus expects that through/after his resurrection that he would come into the kingdom of God in some kind of fuller/more powerful way
  • 10:33. Jesus expected to be betrayed by his own, condemned by Jews and killed by Gentiles.
  • 10:45. Jesus taught that giving his life would be an act of service and function as means of a random.
  • 14:8. Jesus told them that is good to prepare for his burial.
  • 14:22-25. Jesus taught that his life would be ‘poured out’ for many.

1 Kings 11

Despite enjoying peace and prosperity (wisdom, wealth, and wives) as blessings from God, Solomon breaks the covenant with his attitude and actions incurring the just (but merciful) punishment of God.

Purpose (my reflections):

  • Consequences for disobedience are real. The stakes are high. God is serious. Sin is punished
  • Attitude and action maketh the man
  • Even the greatest splendor without God is a filthy worthless rag (What does it profit a man to gain the world but forfeit his soul?)

Supporting points:

God is crystal-clear in the Solomonic covenant (1 Kings 9:1-9): Walk before God as David did and be forever blessed, or disobey and follow other gods and incur disaster. On the surface, chapters 9-10 describe the peak of Solomon’s reign. But there are lots of ways his reign is less than ideal e.g. selling off Israelite towns to the king of Tyre (1:10-11); Solomon’s great splendor in chapter 10, rather than God’s; Solomon explicitly acts contrary to Deut 17 e.g. accumulating gold and horses.

Despite growing wealthy, his spiritual poverty begins to show itself more clearly. Solomon’s many forbidden wives appear to be the most significant influence in his spiritual degeneration. We see the extent of Solomon’s apostacy in building multiple high places for their/his ‘detestable’ gods (v5-8).

It is interesting to consider the different ways the author describes Solomon’s state of sin – his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD as was David (4), Solomon did evil, did not follow the LORD (6), his heart turned away from the LORD (9), his attitude (11). From this we see something of the complex interplay between heart and hand, attitude and action. As public statesman and representative of God’s rule, obviously his actions are significant. But the heart of the matter is the state of his heart. His wives turn his heart from God, as his heart then turns him towards evil action.

Solomon’s heart turned from God points to his failure in keeping the greatest (most fundamental) commandment – Love God with ALL your heart (Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37). Jesus makes this standard of heart orientation our standard as well.

David is the model against which Solomon is compared (6, 13), and significantly, it is for the sake of David that the kingship of Solomon will continue at all. That the kingdom is to be torn away is no surprise (i.e. 1 Kings 9:6-9). And note that God’s punishment is prophetic, showing both the mercy of God in delaying the impact of the punishment, but also divine providence of God his his control of events into the future.


  • Donald J. Wiseman, 1 and 2 Kings, TOTC 9 (Leicester: IVP, 1993), 134–136
  • Iain W. Provan, 1&2 Kings, NIBC/UBCS 7 (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995), 91–93

2 Samuel 7

Main point
The sovereign almighty LORD does not need or want David to build him a house. Instead, God will build his own house (13) through the house he will build for David (11b).

Main purpose
God does not need man, but we need God, and he has already done, and will do, all we need (cf. Acts 17:24-31). So let’s join with David in praising Him and praying, ‘Your will be done’.

Supporting argument
David has reached a point of rest and reflection in his reign. He is established as king, he has claimed the capital, built a palace for himself, defeated the Philistines, had children, and successfully brought the ark of God into Jerusalem (2 Sam 5-6). Understandably and for seemingly good reasons, David considers building a house for God (consider Deuteronomy 12, particularly v10-11). Although David was supported initially by Nathan and not reprimanded by God, it is possible that David’s motivations reflect the influence of other near Eastern kings in devoting national resources to building temples for their gods (3).

The message from God is that the development of His relationship with his covenant people has always been based on His agenda, initiative and activity. God lets David down gently – David’s plan is rejected, but his person is not (2). God is already at work towards establishing a house for himself. God does not need David to construct an impressive but lifeless building – God is building a living house in the life of David himself (3). The 2nd part of God’s response is his establishment of a covenant with David, which forms the basis of a lasting dynasty of blessing under God’s kingship that finds it’s ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. God promises David that he will make his name great (v9b), provide him a place for his people (v10), and provide rest (v11). In the structure of these promises, the lack of apparent obligations on David’s behalf, and David’s response of simple sure belief, this covenant appears to be a new formulation of the Abrahamic covenant (cf. Gen 12:3, 15:6).

God promises that a descendant of David will build a house for God (which David’s son Solomon does) and God will establish his kingdom forever. It is important to note though that it is clearly a kingdom under God, as God establishes the throne, the king is the son, and God is the father (14). Verse 14b-15 anticipate the reality of the history of the Israelite nation from the point of Solomon’s decline, that although God’s love never failed, the people of God brought on themselves the punishment of God through other nations. It is not surprising then that these promises of God were understood as future messianic promises (e.g. Jeremiah 33:14ff, Isaiah 11ff). And clearly from the time of the New Testament on, v12-16 are understood as substantially referring to Jesus (3) – see Acts 13:22-23, Matt 1:17.

David offers a humble, dependent, trusting response in v18-29 – who am I? what more can I say? How great you are! You are God! This is a great model of humility from the one whom God uses as the one to represent all the positive and beneficial aspects of kingship through the rest of scripture (1). David’s prayer connects the kingship of God and the promises he has fulfilled in the past for the people of Israel, with the promises and work of God into the future through himself. I love the way that David prays God’s will back to him, aligning his will to the will of God, and claiming God’s promises as his own. David response expresses the right belief that these are promises from God, fulfilled through God, for the praise of God.

(1) Mary J. Evans, 1 & 2 Samuel, NIBC/UBCS 6 (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2000), 245–252.
(2) Robert P. Gordon, 1 and 2 Samuel, LBI (Exeter: Paternoster, 1986), 235–242.
(3) Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, NAC 7 (Nashville: Boradman & Holman, 1996), 334–345.

Mark 13 summary

In verses 1-23 Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple and describes the signs of the end of the age. The disciples ask the obvious question – when will this happen, and what will be the signs beforehand so that we can be prepared? In a parallel passage in Matt 24, the disciples ask more specifically regarding the sign of Jesus’ coming and the end of the age. It may be that the disciples considered these things closely related. In Jesus’ response, he indicates that the destruction of the temple will be one of the signs of the end times, along with natural disasters and political events such as wars. Another sign is the persecution of Christians as the gospel is preached to all nations. The destruction of Jerusalem and the desecration of the temple, which occurred at least in one form in AD 70 (see also Luke 21:20), is another significant sign not only because it was a period of unequaled distress, but because it represents a decisive end to the Jewish temple period. Jesus cleared the temple in Mark 11, foreshadowing the significance of his once-for-all sacrificial death for our sins replacing the role of the temple in mediating our relationship with God. And now, the physical temple itself is removed by Roman powers. Another significant sign of the end times that brackets Jesus’ discourse is that of false prophets (5, 22). Perhaps it’s not actually that surprising that within the visible church, those looking for to Christ’ return might be susceptible to believing in false prophets. Significantly, all the signs of the end times have occurred, and had already occurred, at least once, within the generation after Jesus.

Verses 24-17 describe the end of the end times, when Jesus returns. These verses concern Christ’s future public visible return at end of human history. From the earthly physical birth pains (7-9) to the heavenly reality of the son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. There will be a sudden gathering of the elect (cf. Luke 21:28 which adds a distinctly uplifting feel as the elect lift their heads because redemption is drawing near).

Verses 28-37 form the conclusion and summary. The main application that Jesus appears to want to impart to the disciples is to watch out, be alert, and be ready for not only the end times, but the end itself. Whilst the timing of these things is unknown, the signs have already all happened (the twigs are tender), the Son of Man will return and what Jesus has spoken of will surely come to pass (v31). Matt 24-25 graphically fleshes out the tragic consequences for not being ready (Matt 24:51, 25:30, 25:46). I’m reminded of Jesus words in Rev 22 where four times he says that he is coming soon – clearly this is an important truth meant to guide how we live now. The idea of being alert and keeping watch is quite active. That is, we are to keep working at our assigned tasks (v34), which is preaching and living out the gospel.

Finally, it is helpful to consider the overall purpose of Mark in including this discourse of Jesus. Whether Mark wrote before or after the siege of Jerusalem took place, the world for Jewish Christians was not a pleasant place to be. This passage does not incite idle speculation about the end times. Instead, it teaches the plain reality of the end times experience and encourages the believer to stand firm till the end, watching out and living expectantly of Christ’s return.


  • David Wenham and Steve Walton, Exploring the New Testament: The Gospels and Acts. Vol. 1. Second Edition. (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2011), 118–120 and 173
  • Craig L Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey. 2nd Edition. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2009), 375–381
  • Larry W. Hurtado, Mark, NIBC 2. (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2989), 211-220Garland, David E. Mark. The NIV Application Commentary. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House), 1996.

Hannah’s song: 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Main point

Hannah delights in Gods deliverance her from her trials and looks forward to the way God’s anointed king will deliver all that are on the LORD’s side.

Main purpose

Let the hearer draw nearer to God in praise and thankfulness because God is powerful and purposeful. We are to serve him with humility and trusting obedience.

Supporting argument

Despite Elkanah and Hannah’s faithful obedience (1:3), God had closed Hannah’s womb, reminiscent of God’s dealings with the patriarch’s wives. Hannah brings her personal grief and desperation before the Lord Almighty (1:11). God allows her grief, her honesty, her boldness, and her bargaining. In her distress in asking for a son she foreshadows Israel in it’s distress in asking for a king (1 Samuel 8:19-20). God knew that Hannah would faithfully keep up her end of the bargain – she had 3 years to change her mind, to weaken in her resolve, to love man more than God, but she proved faithful and dedicated her son’s life to God just as she had promised. Hannah, Elkanah and Samuel’s humble, thankful characters are contrasted with those of Eli’s wicked sons. Hannah’s obedience and faithfulness in keeping her promises is also contrasted with the unfaithful Israelites in the book of Judges.

As God works through Hannah’s suffering to bring about his good purposes, Hannah’s private grief before God (1:13) turns to public praise (2:1-10). The birth of a child to a barren woman is cause enough for celebration. But Hannah’s joy is not ultimately in the way God has blessed her, but in God.The shape of Hannah’s prayer of praise shifts from personal experience (‘my’, ‘my’, ‘my’) (1-3), to God’s general rule over creation (4-8), to looking forward to God’s full and complete rule over the earth through his anointed king (9-10). As Hannah’s horn is lifted up in verse one, illustrating God’s deliverance in providing a son, Hannah prophetically looks forward to God’s anointed king having his horn exalted, picturing his rule over the earth with power and strength (9b – 10).

Hannah’s prayer of praise moves the story of God’s chosen people from being king-less, oppressed and powerless at end of Judges, towards the reinstatement of God’s chosen people under his kingship in 1 Samuel. Fittingly, Hannah prophesies a king as she dedicates her son who will be a prophet establishing Israel’s kingship under God. The ‘king’ being prophesied here was expected from Judah’s tribe (Gen 49:10), anticipated clearly in Deut 17:14-20, failed to emerge during the time of Judges (Judges 9), and at least partially realised through the reign of David (2 Samuel 22). However Hannah’s song of praise looks forward further still as it provides a source of inspiration for both Mary and Zechariah’s songs in Luke 1, as they point to God’s ultimate saving/delivering/redeeming work in Christ as the ‘horn of salvation’ and the fulfillment of the holy covenant between God and his chosen people (Luke 1:69-75). This act of micro-salvation from God for Hannah then looks forward to his plans for macro-salvation in a king, and then ultimately in Jesus Christ.


  • Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart (Fearn: Christian Focus, 2000), 22–27.
  • Mary J. Evans, 1 & 2 Samuel, NIBC/UBCS 6 (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2000), 39–42.
  • Robert Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel. Vol. 7. The New American Commentary. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 74-77.
  • Robert P. Gordon, 1 and 2 Samuel (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1984), 25-26.
  • Walter A. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, IBC (Louisville: John Knox, 1990), 15–21.

God’s kingdom

When does the kingdom come?

I understand the kingdom to be God’s activity in the world, and so I think God’s kingdom came with creation. God reigns as king over all (Ps 97:1). However God’s kingship was rejected in the fall and the ongoing sinfulness of humanity ever since. God re-established his kingship with the people of Israel (Is 43:15) and installed human kings (or ‘regents’) to act as leaders of God’s kingdom on God’s behalf (1 Samuel 10:1). However God always had a better kingship planned. Daniel (7:13-14) looks forward to a better eternal kingdom with a king reigning with all power and authority. It is Jesus’ incarnation that inaugurates this full and final kingdom period – which we might distinguish as the kingdom of Jesus. Matthew ch1 shows Jesus arriving on the scene as the Christ king from the line of David. Jesus himself announces in Mark 1:15 that the Kingdom of God is now near, in time and space, in Jesus’ physical presence, and in his death and resurrection, as historical events in the world. As Blomberg puts it, the kingdom that comes with Jesus is “the in-breaking of God into history to realize his redemptive purposes”. Jesus appears to have come more completely into his kingdom after his death (Luke 23:42-43). So the kingdom came in the past in creation, but was re-inaugurated in the incarnation of Christ, and will be completely established in the future (the kingdom is clearly still growing i.e. Matt 13), in new creation (Rev 21-22) – from one garden (Gen 2) to another (Rev 22:1-5). The kingdom is progressively coming through all of human history.

Where is the kingdom?

God’s kingdom is both a reign (subjective experience) and a realm (objective reality). It is an objective reality now in the heavenly realms where God has and always will reign, and will be most objectively real for us in the future when Christ returns, brining his inaugurated reign that he started in his incarnation to completion in the new creation. It is also a subjective experience of God’s reign though as it is entered into through each persons repentance and belief (Mark 1:15). It is manifested through the normal experience and expression of Christian life (Rom 14:17, 1 Cor 4:20). Every believer by virtue of being a follower of Jesus is an outpost or local expression of the kingdom of Jesus. The kingdom has a real place now in this creation then as God’s will is done (Matt 6:10), both subjectively and objectively. The kingdom is corporately embodied in the physical manifestation of the community of believers as the church. More than that, the kingdom of God is the possession of believers (Luke 12:32) and believers proclaim and extend the kingdom through preaching and witnessing to Christ in this world (Acts 1:6-8, 28:30-31).


  • Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels, 448–452
  • Wenham & Walton, Exploring the NT, 170–180
  • Graeme Goldsworthy, ‘Kingdom of God’, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, 615–620
  • Joel Green, ‘Kingdom of God/Heaven’, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (2nd ed.), 468–481