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Mark cleverly manipulates narrative space in order to show how this is so.

Because the temple veil was not visible from the cross, Mark must transport the audience and therefore grants them a heavenly perspective on events. By featuring a Gentile and women, Mark makes clear that the previously restricted access to God has now been expanded.

Book Review: A Theology of Mark’s Gospel

Then it is further extended by the mention of the women, which makes clear that this invitation is not just for men. Julie M. Smith has a degree in biblical studies from the Graduate Theological Union.

She lives near Austin, Texas, where she homeschools her children. She would like to thank James Faulconer for his helpful feedback on this paper.

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Sometimes, truths can be revealed on the level of narrative that are not mentioned on the level of discourse. For example, when Jesus multiplies loaves and fishes in Mark —44, the narrative implicitly identifies Jesus with the Lord who provides manna during the Exodus see Ex.

See Mark —45, which can be read as support for the ransom theory and the moral exemplar theory. See also Peter J. See Mark ; ; and —34; compare Mark and See David M. See Richard A.

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The Theology of Mark’s Gospel | Preaching Source

Horsley, Jonathan A. There is some debate as to whether Mark is describing the inner or outer curtain of the temple. The weight of evidence implies that it is the inner curtain see Daniel M. In Mark —20, Jesus taught that his disciples did not fast, but they would fast on the day when he was taken from them. See Matthew L. Sperry Symposium, ed. Gaye Strathearn, Thomas A. Wayment, and Daniel L. This idea is also taken up in other texts: see especially Hebrews 9 but also Hebrews —20 and — Also, see Revelation and , which picture the opening of the temple.

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See Robert G. Bratcher and Eugene A. See Daniel M. See Robert H. While some have argued that the centurion is reacting to the ripped veil, this is not likely the case. First, he would not have been able to see it from the cross. So the rending makes his statement possible, but he is not making the statement because he saw the rending. It is possible that this centurion was just a random passerby, but it is more likely that he had been the person in charge of the crucifixion. While this is possible, this paper suggests that, in context, the statement is better interpreted as genuine.

See Kelly R. See Mark — The exception to this general trend is found in Mark —9; see Julie M. The voice from heaven at the baptism is quoting Psalm , which is understood to be an enthronement psalm. By extension, the scene at the cross shows Jesus enthroned through death. This verse is also strong evidence that women were present at the Last Supper, since that Passover meal was the reason that Jesus went to Jerusalem see also Mark —8. Their presence would not have been surprising to ancient audiences but comes as news to many modern readers.

Stein, Mark Grand Rapids, Mich. There is very strong evidence that Mark —20 was not originally part of the text; there is dispute as to whether was the original ending or whether the original ending has been lost. See 1 Kings ; 2 Kings ; and Ezekiel , Compare Mark Note that while the KJV wording is identical, the Greek text is not, although the same point is made.

Skip to main content. Narrative Atonement Theology in the Gospel of Mark. Product Attributes. PDF Download. Download PDF. The idea then was that Mark introduced this literary fiction of Jesus, regularly silencing people who had come to this understanding, so that they would not tell others. This then supposedly explained why in Mark's day, writing probably in the 60s, he was able to call Jesus the Messiah, even though many of his readers presumably would not have heard of this claim before and wonder why they had not heard of it.

It is much more likely, however, that Jesus did believe Himself to be the Christ and so proclaim and acknowledge that fact.

Discovering the New Testament: An Introduction to Its Background, Theology, and Themes (3 vols.)

But He was very hesitant about accepting the title, or accepting it unqualified. This, no doubt, would have produced premature enthusiasm for a military ruler or royal Messiah, when in fact that was not how He saw His mission during this first coming of His on earth. Clearly popular Christological hopes did not leave room for a suffering Messiah.

It was not just Peter who was unprepared for such a claim. Only after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection could His more glorious nature be described without this kind of fear of misunderstanding. Thus is the one place in Mark's gospel where the Messianic Secret theme appears, but a limit is put on the so-called secrecy. After His resurrection, then that veil of secrecy can be lifted. As we noted in discussing the theology of the death of Christ in the synoptics in our previous lecture, it is Mark's gospel also that contains the two most crucial passages for demonstrating His role as Suffering Servant in and in Somewhat akin to the Messianic Secret theme is the frequent negative portrait of the disciples, particularly with them also failing to understand fully what Jesus was about.

As we already mentioned, even they, at one level, did not grasp Jesus parables, though at least they remain followers of Jesus to hear the explanations which others do not see , Elsewhere Mark describes their heats as hardened or that they have little or no faith. They are perplexed or puzzled after various miracles. On one crucial occasion after the transfiguration, they are wholly unable to fulfill Jesus' already previously given charge to them to cast demons out of a particular individual see And as we already noted, Jesus has to rebuke Peter immediately after his confession on the road to Caesarea Philippi, because he has no room for a concept of a suffering Messiah.

Indeed the account of the disciples' spiritual blindness on this occasion is contrasted with two miracle stories shortly before and after this passage ; in which literal blind people received their sight and apparently become spiritual followers of Jesus as well.

Then, of course, climactically at the end of the gospel, Peter denies his Lord and Judas betrays Him while all the disciples flee. On the assumption that Mark's gospel ended at , as it does in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts, the entire narrative ends with the women fleeing the tomb saying nothing to anyone because they are afraid.

On the other hand, while they do fail to understand, the disciples are also those who did respond to His initial call to follow Him see the various call narratives in chapters , are given truths that outsiders are not permitted to receive ; , and get to hear promises about the future in which, at the end of human history as we now know it, they will receive special privileges, or in the case of Jesus' resurrection in the more immediate future.

Thus, their ultimate role seems somewhat ambiguous. The same can be said for Jesus' women followers, even though they were not part of the formal gathering of twelve apostles. Throughout most of Mark's gospel they appear to fare better than the inner circle of twelve men. Jesus praises their tenacious faith , 34; , their sacrifice and lavish love for Himself When the men flee, the women stay and are there present to watch Jesus die on the cross, to see where He is buried and go to the tomb to honor it after the Sabbath has past though, of course, they do not find it.

But the women's bewilderment at the angel's announcement of the resurrection, their flight and initial silence with which the most probable earliest form of the gospel ended, somewhat qualifies their success earlier on.

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This suggests that ultimately all of Jesus' followers of either gender fail Him at one point or many. At first glance, this would seem to be an odd emphasis for a gospel, until we realize that Mark was probably written to Roman Christians in the 60s. This was shortly before or in the midst of Nero's persecution of Christians in that region.


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Therefore, this is, in a backhanded way, a theme that has particular poignancy for these Christian churches. They would have known, by the very fact that disciples had subsequently come and evangelized them Peter himself being the first leader of the church in Rome , that the disciples did not end on the bleak note that it appears they might in Mark's narrative alone. Jesus was able to reinstate them and use them mightily in the first generation of Christian history as described in the book of Acts.

Therefore, those who felt inadequate or felt that in one way or another they had already denied or betrayed their Lord during times of persecution should have been able to take heart. Just as Jesus was able to forgive His closest followers when they repented and use them mightily, He could do the same with them.

Another key theme for Mark has often been identified as his view of eschatology or end-times events as still imminent. He sees it as still a lively hope of that which might happen quite soon. This is appropriate for the earliest gospel. One looks particularly at the one extensive sermon that Mark preserves compared to numerous, longer, uninterrupted messages in the other gospels and discovers that it is the sermon Jesus preached on the Mount of Olives about the events surrounding the destruction of the temple and then beyond that to the end of the age and to His return in chapter So too it would appear that Mark may well have been the first Christian to use or reapply the term gospel, Greek euaggelion, or good news, for the story about Jesus, rather than just the message Jesus Himself brought and announced.

This is the way a number of translations take Mark — the gospel of Jesus Christ; the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The of the means about.