Living Faith – Reading the New Testament – Part 2: Mark

Gospel-of-Mark-Graphic

In the second session of the living faith course we looked at Mark’s gospel. Mark’s gospel is interesting, not only was it most likely the first to be written but is also probably the most overlooked, however, it is a fundamentally important piece of theology. And my personal favourite – the reason why; the cross is at the heart of Mark’s gospel, it is a journey from the divine revelation of Jesus’ baptism, through the suffering of his ministry, death on the cross and the human revelation of the centurion who recognised Jesus as the son of God.

Mark’s gospel is a passion narrative with a long introduction, it was written between 50s and 60s AD and was intended for gentile Christians, most likely the church in Rome. Mark was a close associate of Peter, which has led many theologians to conclude that the gospel is the testimony of Peter. It’s purpose is to encourage his readers to persevere through suffering and persecution. Mark presents Jesus as the suffering servant Messiah, and the son of God who died as ransom for sinners.

christ_crucified_by_carnegriff-d2zlj0nBelow is the outline of Mark’s gospel;

  1. Baptism
  2. Gathering of the disciples
  3. Miracles
  4. Crucifixion
  5. Resurrection
  6. Jesus sends them out

There is some debate as to whether the ending of Mark was in the original or if it was added later. In my personal opinion I do not think it matters overly because the main focus of Mark’s gospel is the Cross and Jesus’ suffering.

The miracles that are detailed in Mark’s gospel are signposts not proof that Jesus was the Messiah – miracles point to the kingship of Jesus and as the suffering servant; which as previously discussed is a thread throughout the whole Old Testament.

The following two passages demonstrate how Jesus was revealed to man, and just as was prophesied, some saw who he was, while others rejected him;

Mark 14:3-9 – by anointing Jesus she shows that she understands the theology that is going on and she knows who Jesus is. In the Old Testament; Priests, Prophets and Kings were anointed with oil – Jesus is all 3.

Mark 14:61-72 – this is the complete opposite reaction, the priests do not see who Jesus is and his own follower ‘Peter’ denies him

Therefore in conclusion, Mark’s gospel is a key piece of theology; the message of which can be summed up in Romans 6:4-5; that Christ died for our sins and raised from the dead for our justification, and if through baptism we are united with him in death, so too we will be with him in resurrection to new life.

 

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