According to Harnack, the essence of Christianity is Jesus’ preaching of the Father. The Son had no place in the Gospel as Jesus preached it. This “liberal” construction of the Gospel which Jesus preached about the Father differs substantially from the Gospel which Paul preached about Jesus. This thinking finds two religions in the New Testament, one in the Sermon on the Mount and the other in the Epistle to the Romans. In this vein, Professor Kirsopp Lake kept telling the Harvard students that every time he read Mark he was the more convinced that Jesus had nothing to say about himself. On the other hand, even Bultmann now says, “In any case Jesus’ preaching was taken up into Christian preaching and became a part of the proclamation in which the Proclaimed is at the same time present as the Proclaimer.”
Mark begins the gospel of Jesus Christ with Old Testament prophecies concerning the preparation of the Lord’s coming. John, the preparer, gathers these and points them directly to Jesus who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit. At Jesus’ own baptism the heavens are opened, the Spirit descends upon him, heaven’s Voice identifies him as God’s Son, and the Spirit drives him into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan.
ACTIVITY IN GOD’S STEAD
Following these things, Jesus begins his ministry, announcing the day of salvation, for he, the Saviour, is present. His mission is to be the Redeemer of his people, the Shepherd to gather the lost sheep of Israel, the Physician to heal the sick, the Messenger to summon guests to the banquet of salvation, the Fisherman to appoint fishers of men. He is fundamental to the revelation of God, to the coming of the Kingdom, and to the life of the Church.
From a study of Christ’s preaching, it is evident ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more