The Crucifixion of Jesus as the Fulfillment of Mark 9:1 -- By: Michael F. Bird

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 24:1 (Spring 2003)
Article: The Crucifixion of Jesus as the Fulfillment of Mark 9:1
Author: Michael F. Bird


The Crucifixion of Jesus as the Fulfillment of Mark 9:1

Michael F. Bird

Michael Bird is a graduate of the Queensland Baptist College of Ministries, ministers at Grace Bible Church in Brisbane, Australia, and is a post-graduate student at the University of Queensland.

I. Introduction

Understanding Mark 9:1 presents a vexing problem for scholars, pastors, and laity alike. Its place in the Synoptic tradition, form, eschatology, purpose, and meaning are all widely disputed. Arguments based on the grammar of the text have failed to deliver a convincing solution. Similarly, appeals to either form critical or redactional studies have not won a consensus. The former argues that the logion is not authentic and simply reflects the concerns of the Markan community1 whilst the latter believes that an original Parousia saying has been reinterpreted to refer to the transfiguration.2 Yet these points are clearly contestable, and with good reasons.3 Additionally, the problem is exacerbated by the plethora of solutions offered for its fulfillment, including: a realized eschatology,4 Pentecost and spread of the early church,5 the

Parousia,6 resurrection,7 transfiguration,8 fall of Jerusalem9 and teachings of Jesus.10 One might therefore choose to remain agnostic, as some have suggested, “In all fairness to the Scriptures it is best to avoid taking any overly decisive position, or the results may do violence, either to the predictions of Jesus or to the subsequent events of history.”11 Yet the logion is a crux interpretum for Markan studies and Synoptic eschatology. Degree of difficulty is not a sufficient reason to defer the task. The logion does not deserve to be ignored but rigorously explored, as the fruits of such labor may be plentiful indeed for understanding Mark’s eschatology, Christology, and purpose.

A unique proposal is espoused by R. T. France who contends that the hiddenness of the kingdom of God was gradually being laid open and the mystery of its imminence ...

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