"Immediately" and Mark 1
Yesterday I finished up my week study on Mark 1. But on Saturday as I was reading through the chapter once again, and I came upon a word used repetitively that I must have read right over all week during my study time. I guess that this type of oversight is bound to happen, especially with a text that I have read so many times and just by nature tend to skim over instead of read in depth. But, as I said, yesterday I came upon a word used repetitively in Mark 1 that I had failed to see all week – the word is “immediately”.
In the New King James translation, which is the translation I use, the word “immediately” is used in the text of Mark 1, 8 times. But when looking further into this word, I found that the two Greek words that are translated into “immediately”, eutheōs and euthus, are used 42 times in just the book of Mark, but only 16 times in Matthew, 10 in Luke, and 4 in John to give you a comparison. The specific words within Mark 1 are a combination of these two Greek words, mostly being eutheōs, which can be translated into “as soon as”. But, the Greek word euthus, which means “at once” is used twice in Mark 1 also. The first instance where euthus is used is in verse 12 when the Spirit is said to have drove Jesus into the wilderness and the second time is when the fame of Jesus spread through the region of Capernum because of the miracles He had performed.
No other Gospel or New Testament writer uses these two words to the extent that Mark does in his gospel, and that is because Mark had a specific purpose in conveying the gospel as he did. The use of these words helped him to create images within his text and a feel for the character of Jesus that helped to convey his purpose. I will let Henry Blackaby describe the purpose of this gospel and why it was so important that the word “immediately” was used so frequently in the text.
“Perhaps the foremost word to describe the Gospel of Mark is action. No effort is wasted. No time is spent on the frivolous...The pace is fast, the language vivid, and in many cases, the Gospel of Mark presents in only a few verses what other writers describe in greater depth...From many angles, Mark tells of Jesus' power...and Romans, who admired power – are challenged to see Jesus as bearing supreme and eternal power.” Henry Blackaby
Mark was just writing to his audience, the Romans, and he used the word “immediately” to pull his readers towards the power of Jesus in each story he told of his Lord and Savior. Mark I think does such a good job at using the word “immediately”, or at least the translated meanings in his text, that to the reader, the word itself does not take a prominent role in the text but does exactly what he had intended for it to do, to show Jesus' great power that He exerted while here on earth as “the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).
Yesterday, as I was thinking just about the study I was going to do on this word “immediately” later in the day, my pastor closed off his sermon with the following question that I couldn't help to relate to what my afternoon held in store for me: “How available are you?” Could I answer that question like Simon and Andrew and like James and John, all who left their activities to follow Jesus “immediately”? I guess when we look at how to apply this study to our daily lives it is one thing to see the power Jesus has but yet a whole different thing to be willing to trust our own lives to His call and join Him in the activities He places in ours lives where He wants us to join Him in exhibiting His power to the world around us.
How about you? How available are you when Jesus may call you to follow Him? We must all be ready because His call and our response are the tests that determine if we really follow Him or instead follow our own desires and our own gods. I hope you make yourself ready and available today because you never know when you may be asked to by Jesus to “Follow Me”.