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Parables of the Kingdom Mark's Gospel is a synoptic gospel, meaning it is very similar to those of Luke and Matthew.

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Introduction

Parables of the Kingdom Mark's Gospel is a synoptic gospel, meaning it is very similar to those of Luke and Matthew. It is believed to be having been written during a period when Christians were being persecuted at the hands of the Romans which obviously coloured the message it contained and it is also believed to be the earliest gospel written - this gives the impression of it being a fairly accurate record of what happened. Mark's main objective was to show that Jesus was the Messiah, and this is why he chooses to focus on the last three years of Jesus' life. One of the main teaching points from Mark's Gospel is the Kingdom of God; what Jesus meant by this term and how one could become a part of the Kingdom of God. The idea of a K.o.G. was not new; indeed, many Jews had their own impression of what the K.o.G. entailed. To those who lived by the rules of God - they were already a part of the Kingdom. But the term was also seen as a reward to these devoted followers - a future concept; heaven, and an eternal life. Mark's Gospel begins with a key point in Jesus' life - his Baptism. Unlike the Jewish ceremony of repentance, Jesus' Baptism is accompanied by many signs - a dove, the heavens opening, and words from God himself; "You are my own dear son. ...read more.

Middle

4 V. 30-34, likens the K.o.G. to mustard seed, the smallest seeds in the world, which has been planted in the ground. After a while, the smallest seed grows into the largest plant, offering comfort and shelter so that birds may come and make nests. The one seed represents Jesus, and the tree that from this seed, Christian faith. Just as the tree gives shelter, so does the community of believers; the Church. Having looked at the parables and the messages they give we need to recognise that there is a difference between a short simple story - parable - which gives a single teaching point about the Kingdom of God, and the much more involved example of the allegory. "The Tenants in the Vineyard" is an allegory from Mark's Gospel. A man plants a vineyard and lets it out to tenants. When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to gather his share of the crop from the tenants. But the tenants seized the slave, beat him and sent him home with nothing. The owner sends another 2 slaves but they fail to return, so he sends his own son, sure they will respect his son. But the tenants seize his son too, and kill him. Then the owner of the vineyard goes along to see why his people aren't returning. He sees what has happened, kills the tenants and hands the vineyard over to others. ...read more.

Conclusion

The incidents looked at which seem to indicate that there is no evidence of the kingdom here on earth could simply be the actions of those who fail to respond to God's message. For example, churches still flourish and new ones are being built everyday due to the demand for them alongside new developments such as housing estates, etc. People want a place to worship and a place to provide a focal point from which to develop their work within the local, and wider, communities - the mustard seed continues to grow, spreading its branches across the world in acts of love and kindness and establishing the Kingdom. Despite all negative behaviour; people still have faith, and still follow God. Many people take part in voluntary work - whether it involves something as simple as helping out at their local charity shop, or for the more adventurous, travelling to a Third World country and working, either with the sick or helping to deliver food/nourishment, etc. Such people who involve themselves in this type of work could be seen to be following the instructions given in "A Lamp under a Bowl" - to 'be seen' as Christians; spreading the light of faith. Today's world can be seen to be not too far removed from the world in which Jesus first preached the Kingdom. All are still called to respond to his message but only some respond, and then to varying degrees. Those who do respond must accept the responsibility to continue establishing the Kingdom and allow it flourish here on earth. Jonathan Greenwood ...read more.

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