Jesus Creed

The final reference in kingdom in our earliest source, the Gospel of Mark, is found in Mark 15:43 and it ties back to Mark 12:34 (Monday’s post). Here is the reference in context: 42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid..
1. Joseph of Arimathea is portrayed here as a pious Jew, not unlike Simeon of Luke 2. Both Matthew 27:57 and John 19:38 state that this man is a “disciple” of Jesus. He is connected to Nicodemus in John’s Gospel, connecting him at some level then to John 3 and the nighttime interview of Jesus by a secret would-be disciple, and he is also part of the inner religious establishment in Jerusalem. Joseph is well off. His action here is risky.
2. We can infer that “waiting for the kingdom” is not simply a nice way of describing the pious among those who did not actually follow Jesus but is instead a short-hand expression for disciple. So, when it says he was “waiting for the kingdom” we can infer he was a disciple of Jesus. Disciples await God’s kingdom. As RT France (Mark) puts it: kingdom “is intimately bound up with the mission of Jesus, so that [he] must be on Jesus’ side.”
3. Again, as with Mark 14:25, the kingdom here is a set of conditions — king, will, society, land, etc — in the future for which disciples wait in hope. Hope for the future manifestation of God’s will (upon earth?) is inherent to genuine discipleship.

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