Mark 13:32 Problem Or Paradigm? -- By: Timothy Miller
MBTJ 2:2 (Fall 2012) p. 153
Problem Or Paradigm?
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mk 13:32). Mark may not have even slightly hesitated his pen stroke as he recorded these words of Jesus.2 His readers, however, have spent hours over those three essential words — “nor the Son.” What does it mean that the Son does not know? Has Mark jeopardized the divinity of Christ? Has the text been corrupted? Might there be another definition for “know”? Could the Son be someone different than Christ Himself? This seemingly enigmatic text has elicited a legion of questions of which the previous are merely a sample. So stunning is Mark’s lucid portrayal of Christ’s ignorance that one writer concluded that the verse “has been an exegetical embarrassment from the beginning.”3
Many pastors have felt the weight of this dilemma. They, seeking to preach the whole counsel of God, work methodically through Mark until they reach chapter 13. At
MBTJ 2:2 (Fall 2012) p. 154
this point, two problems emerge. First, the eschatological focus of the text often places expositors on uncomfortable soil. However, nestled within that uncomfortable soil rests the second problem—the “exegetically embarrassing” text of Mark 13:32. Facing this difficulty, some pastors question their exegetical method and choose to skip the selected passage. Others generalize and avoid making definitive comments. There is a better way.
In order to expose this more efficient option, this article will survey the landscape of solutions available to interpreters for the Markan quandary. We will find that many avenues have been traveled in an attempt to alleviate the force of Mark’s words. Each avenue will be examined to determine its biblical warrant. Having examined the proposed solutions, we will focus on one in particular which has gathered strong support within orthodox Christianity. Finally, we will argue that Mark 13:32 should not be looked at as an exegetical embarrassment, but as a clear paradigm for God’s interaction with his creatures. As such, pastors should not shy from preaching Mark 13:32, but should boldly proclaim its message.
Certainly this article cannot exhaust the various opinions concerning the Markan text; nevertheless, ...
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