After John the Baptist had been delivered up: – The time of Jesus’ ministry is distinguished from that of John the Baptist. Jesus begins his ministry only “after John had been delivered up” (RSV: “arrested”). There is indeed more than a temporal sequence implied here. At the very outset the evangelist wants us to see the destiny of Jesus prefigured in that of John the Baptist. For just as John the Baptist was “delivered up” and was put to death (Mk 6: 17-29) Jesus too will be “delivered up” to be put to death (Mk 9: 31; 10: 33; 14: 21, 41; 15: 1, 10, 15). The shadow of the cross already looms at the very beginning.
- Jesus came to Galilee: – The place of Jesus’ ministry is Galilee. The gospels of Matthew and John tell us more about Galilee. It was a despised country (Jn 1: 46; Mt 26: 73) with no religious importance (Jn 7: 41). The Gentiles also lived there along with the Jews (Mt 4: 15). For the orthodox Jews Galilee was a despised, good-for-nothing region unlike Jerusalem the holy city. However, Galilee is theologically significant for Mark. Jesus inaugurates his ministry not in the holy city of Jerusalem, but in Galilee and he works in the hamlets, villages, and small towns of Galilee. A deliberate choice indeed. Galilee is contrasted with Jerusalem which is the place of opposition and conflict for Jesus. The Scribes come from Jerusalem to Galilee to oppose Jesus (Mk 3: 22; 7: 1) and in Jerusalem itself Jesus meets with bitter opposition, rejection, and death. While Jerusalem is the place of opposition and bitter conflict, Galilee is the place of salvation. Significantly, it is in Galilee that the risen Lord will meet his disciples (Mk 14: 28; 16: 7).
Proclamation: – Jesus’ activity is described by Mark as “proclaiming” the gospel of God. The attention is directed to the ‘God who acts.’ In Jesus’ proclamation the emphasis is on God’s action. The Good News of God is that in Jesus the reign of God has begun to irrupt. God has begun to rule over the people in a new and decisive way.