Jesus and new creation
There are 4 gospel accounts about the life of Jesus. Matthew and Luke talk about his birth, John starts with His divine origins from the beginning of creation but Mark just begins his account with “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1 NIV) and then proceeds to talk about John the Baptist witnessing about Jesus.
Have you ever found this rather odd?
And then there is Mark’s paragraph on the disciples of John and the Pharisees asking Jesus why they fast and Jesus’ disciples didn’t. Jesus gave the reply that there was no need for fasting whilever the bridegroom (Jesus) was with them but when the bridegroom was taken away, that would be the time for them to fast.
After that Jesus added this obtuse statement: "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins"(Mk. 2:21-22).
Is there a link between Mark’s immediate account of the ministry of Jesus without any introduction as to who He is and His origins and this bizarre statement?
I believe Mark is highlighting to the reader that Jesus’ ministry can’t be slotted in to the existing legal system of Judaism. Jesus’s teachings, miracles and authority were so entirely new that they couldn’t be simply patched into an old system. Mark went on to say that Jesus didn’t come to observe the old law of keeping the Sabbath for Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath (vv 23-28). Jesus confirmed His mission to start an entirely new covenant when He said after His resurrection, "I am making everything new!"(Rev. 21:5).
Just look at the way Mark elsewhere uses that Greek word for “new”, καινός, to mean “a new kind; unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of”.
“The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him" (Mk 1:27).
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues” (Mk 16:17).
In short, the old system that pointed out sin and how a person had to remedy that problem with sacrifices and offerings had been replaced with an entirely new system of grace and salvation simply by believing that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died on the cross to take away our sins.
Mark impellingly sums this all up at the end of his gospel:
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).
All quotes are from the NIV.