Mark 15:1-16:8

As with the other Synoptic Gospel narratives, the crucifixion of Jesus in Mark is recounted with singular objectivity.  Here there is little commentary, only shallow reflection on the gory specifics of the Roman practice.  Yet Mark’s account is not without some measure of the author’s personal view of things—this Gospel … Continue reading

Mark 14

Mark’s passion narrative displays a similar progression and arrangement as that found in Matthew and Luke.  Yet Mark arranged the events in three “sandwich” units, a literary figure he had employed previously (cf. Mark 3.13-25; 7.1-8.26; 11.12-25).  While this chapter could be titled, “the forsaken Son of Man,” the text … Continue reading

Mark 13

This discourse is the longest in Mark’s Gospel; here the author recorded Jesus’ prophetic word regarding the days to come.  Mark emphasized discipleship, pointing out the necessity of watchfulness and endurance during times of difficulty.  Although Jesus had demonstrated His authority during His earthly ministry, even He did not know … Continue reading

Mark 12

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem it became apparent that He was a great threat to the security of the religious authorities of the day; they thought, “If we let Him continue in this way, everybody will believe in Him!  The Romans will come and remove both our place and our … Continue reading

Mark 11

As Jesus moved south toward Jerusalem, the cross became a more significant topic of discipleship in Mark (cf. 8.31-38; 9.30-32; 10.32-35).  In Mark 11 the author recorded Jesus’ triumphal entry—Jesus had finally arrived at the city of David!  But the triumph would not be over Roman opponents; Jesus’ success would … Continue reading

Mark 10

In the last several chapters of Mark’s Gospel it becomes clear that there is a relationship between the geographical locale of Jesus and His messages on discipleship.  As Jesus turned south toward Jerusalem, and the cross, His messages became more specific regarding His suffering and death—and what the disciples should … Continue reading

Mark 8:27-9:50

As is the case with the other Gospel narratives, the closer Jesus was to the cross, the more intently He gave Himself to the twelve; the crowds enjoyed Jesus’ early ministry, but only those nearest Him would understand the significance of His last days.  Naturally then, the later portion of … Continue reading

Mark 7:1-8:26

Mark’s style is blunt and economic, but dull or unsophisticated it is not.  This Gospel abounds with literary features like ‘sandwiches’ and parallelism.  In Mark 7.1-8.26 the author arranged his scenes such that one scene serves as “foil” for another, providing a contrast of ideas.  In Mark 7.1-30, Jesus’ interaction … Continue reading

Mark 6

Mark’s Gospel is pointed and dense.  The author compiled overlapping stories—which may be likened to a literary ‘sandwich’—so as to economically recount Jesus’ life and ministry.  After recording the rejection of Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth (Mark 6.1-6), Mark provided his readers with another sandwich to help those on … Continue reading

Mark 5

Much of Mark 3-4 consists of dialectic and parabolic instruction.  In Mark 5 the author again presented Jesus as a Man of action.  One using a red-letter Bible notices that most of the chapter is black—why all the attention to what Jesus was doing?  Here we see again what is … Continue reading

Mark 4

Mark 4 displays the literary beauty of the Bible, and the profundity of Jesus’ teaching.  The chapter is about divine disclosure—and the ‘fruitfulness’ of those who receive the revelation.  Here Jesus used parables to teach because, as He here explained, they reveal only to those who have the ability to … Continue reading

Mark 2-3

These chapters of Mark’s Gospel record Jesus’ early ministry in Galilee, and roughly parallel events recorded in Matthew 4, 8-9, and Luke 4-6.  Jesus healed and taught—and interacted with His opponents.  Mark 2-3 records Jesus’ early dialectic with the scribes and the Pharisees.  But the text also records that those … Continue reading

Mark 1

Mark began his Gospel by introducing, “Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1.1), in light of both the Old Testament prophecies concerning John the Baptist and John’s early sermons.  Mark understood John the Baptist as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning one who would cry out “Prepare the way for … Continue reading