Despite the fact that I used to drive a racecar (not a joke), I am painfully slow at almost everything I do. I am a slow reader. I am a slow eater. I tell stories at a painstakingly slow pace (that usually include lots of unnecessary details). I like to get up early so that I can slowly ease into the day ahead. Whereas I like to think of myself as being contemplative and/or methodical, to most everyone else I’m just plain slow.
Such is not the case with Mark.
Apparently, Mark is eager to get down to business in his retelling of the life and ministry of Jesus. Unlike Matthew, Mark spares us the details of Jesus’ family lineage. Unlike Luke, Mark jumps right past any retelling of Jesus’ birth and the preceding events. Unlike John, Mark gives only an abbreviated introduction to John the Baptist as Jesus’ forerunner. By the end of his first chapter, Mark already has us well into the ministry of Jesus.
Why does Mark seem to be so anxious to introduce his readers to the ministry and message of Jesus? Because “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (v. 15). Jesus’ arrival marked the end of thousands of years of waiting–the Savior had finally come! And Mark seems adamant that we get to know him and what he’s all about.
May Mark’s hasty retelling of Jesus’ life reorient us around the urgency we should feel in calling our families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to “repent and believe in the gospel” (v. 15).