Advent 1

As we begin this “new year” we adjust our posture to prepare for the coming messiah. This first week of Advent we pause to consider the hope we have in Christ Jesus. This hope is simultaneously a present reality and an anticipated future.

The obvious hope we are “anticipating” is the birth of Jesus in 3 short weeks. But, as the first series of readings for Advent remind us, we are also looking forward with hope to His second advent. With this second set of eyes, we turn to the Gospel text to consider the 3 primary “interpretive lenses” we place over the text to understand the message Mark is crafting. These lenses are the Preterist perspective (all of “these things” have already happened), the Historicist perspective (some of “these things” have happened, some are currently happening, and some will happen soon), and the Futurist perspective (we are waiting for “these things” to begin to unfold). We then move on to consider the parable at the end of the passage to hear Mark’s main point, “stay awake!”

A few resources I found helpful in sparking some thoughts and questions are:

  • http://www.davidlose.net/2014/11/advent-1-b/

I often look to see what Dr. Lose is wrestling with in the lectionary readings for the week. This week he helps us stay in the tension between perspectives rather than reinforcing one fixed point-of-view over another

  • http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=184

I found Berge’s perspective on the connection between the parable at the end of the text and the passion narrative that follows interesting. We did not talk about this Sunday morning as it falls too firmly in the Preterist camp to serve the purposes of the message… perhaps food for discussion Sunday evening…

  • http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/MkAdvent1.htm

Dr. Loader consistently is helpful in framing a text and drawing solid conclusions. He ends his consideration in the same location as the text and the morning sermon… waiting, watching, staying awake.

  • http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/pmol/pastissues/2005%20Advent/magnov27.htm

Dr Busic does a nice job setting the scene and setting this text as the foundation for the rest of their proposed sermon series.

  • Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (by S. Gregg)

This volume does a wonderful job of laying out the 4 main interpretive options for understanding the book of Revelation verse by verse. It is very thorough, and a little dense to try and read, but it is a very helpful reference resource for personal study.

  • Discipleship on the Edge (D. Johnson)

This is my “go to” resource for Revelation and all things apocalyptic. Dr. Johnson will radically alter our hearing of the text if we will take this journey with him.

I hope this consideration of the variety of perspectives can be helpful in our personal understanding of apocalyptic literature, and in our interpersonal discussion about the eschatological vision contained in the text.