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Parts of the Presentation. Background II. Literary Structure III. Theology – Who is Jesus in Mark?. Hmmm…. Let us begin with the questions you have in mind about MARK. Who wrote the Gospel?. Who is Mark?. Mark is John Mark of Jerusalem. The son of a certain Mary.

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parts of the presentation
Parts of the Presentation
  • Background

II. Literary Structure

III. Theology – Who is Jesus in Mark?



Let us begin with the questions you have in mind about MARK.

who is mark
Who is Mark?
  • Mark is John Mark of Jerusalem.
  • The son of a certain Mary.
  • Cousin of Barnabas.
  • Went with Paul and Barnabas in the first missionary journey of Paul.
  • He left the missionary group at Perga in Pamphylia and returned to Jerusalem.

Mark became Peter’s interpreter. Some believed that Peter normally preached in Aramaic and Mark served as his Greek interpreter. In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter sends greetings from “my son Mark.”

when and where
when and where?
  • If Luke used Mark as source of his Gospel, and if he completed Acts while Paul was in prison, then, Mark’s letter would be prior to this imprisonment in the mid to late 50s
  • Other Scholars prefer a date in the late 60s after Peter’s death
  • Still other scholars use the allusion in Mark 13:14 to date the gospel in Jerusalem after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.



what specific life situation prompted mark to write
What specific life situation prompted Mark to write?
  • HISTORICAL – As the original apostle’s began to pass from the scene, Mark sought to record for posterity the apostolic witness concerning Jesus.
what specific life situation prompted mark to write1
What specific life situation prompted Mark to write?
  • CHRISTOLOGICAL – Mark wrote to correct a false or inadequate view of Jesus being promoted by some in the Church. E.g. The heresy of Docetism which denied Jesus’ true humanity was responded by Mark with the stress on the Sacrificial death of Jesus.
  • PRACTICAL CALL TO CROSS-BEARING DISCIPLESHIP – He wrote to challenge His readers that true discipleship means following the path of Jesus through suffering to glory.
how did the church receive the gospel of mark
How did the Church receive the Gospel of Mark?
  • The Church paid little attention to it because it was considered to be merely an abbreviated version of Matthew.

Is this so until now?

  • In the 19th-20th centuries

This view of the Gospel of Mark changed because it was found out that it was the first Gospel to be written.


1:10 And immediately coming out of water, he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit like a dove descending to him.

1:12 And immediately the Spirit drives him to go out into the wilderness


1:18 And immediately leaving their nets, they followed him.

1:20 And immediately he called them and leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, they departed following him.

1:21And they go to Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath entering the synagogue he began to teach.


1:23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit ; and he cried out

1:28 And immediately the report about him went out everywhere into the whole region of Galilee

1:29 And immediately after coming out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.


1:30 Now Simon’s Mother-in-Law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they are speaking to him about her.

1:42 And He immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

1:43 And he sternly warned him and immediately sent him away


Based on your observation from some of the lines from the Gospel of Mark, what can you say about the way it was written?

jesus calming of the sea mark 4 36 38
Jesus’ calming of the seaMark 4:36-38

How would you say this in another way?

“Leaving the crowd, they are taking him along with them in the boat…. There is arising a fierce gale of wind… and they are waking him and saying to him…”

literary features

Literary Style

  • Fast-moving narrative style
  • Fond of the Greek word euthyswhich means “immediately”
  • used present tense verbs to describe past actions

Wallace states, “The reason for the use of the historical present is normally to portray an event vividly, as though the reader were in the midst of the scene as it unfolds”


Literary devices common in Mark

  • Topical ordering of events
  • Intercalation
  • Triads
  • Irony
topical ordering of events

Mark group events for rhetorical effect.

Topical Ordering of Events

3. Jesus’ parables are similarly brought together to teach about the nature of the Kingdom (Mark 4:1-34)

1. Jesus ministry begins with a collection of healings and exorcisms (Mark 1:21-28, 29-31, 32-39, 40-45)

Goal: to demonstrate Jesus’ authority

2. Series of controversy stories, the beginning of conflict with the religious leaders (Mark 2:1-12, 13-17, 18-22, 23-27;3:1-6)

4. A series of challenges and controversies brought by the religious leaders to trap Jesus (Mark 12:1-41 )


It is the sandwiching of one event between the beginning and end of another. And the events are related to the same theme and serve to interpret one another



Symbolic Judgment against the Temple and its Sacrificial System


The withered fig tree is discovered

Jesus cleanses the temple

Jesus Curses a fig tree




Models of True Discipleship


Jesus sends out the Twelve

The Martyrdom of John the Baptist

The twelve return

The Beelzebub Controversy: Jesus Rejected by His “Own”


Jesus’ family arrives; he defines true spiritual relationships

Jesus’ own family thinks he is crazy and comes to get him

The religious leaders, representatives of his own people, reject him




The Importance of Faith


Request for healing by Jairus

Healing of the woman with a blood disorder

The raising of Jairus’ daughter

Is sometimes used to contrast episodes. Jesus’s confession before the Sanhedrin is framed by Peter’s denial (14:53-72) so that Jesus’ faithfulness is set in contrast to Peter’s unfaithfulness


Mark is fond of patterns of three. He uses repetition to drive his point home.

2. In His eschatological sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus three times calls His disciples to alertness (13:33,35,37) and three times find them sleeping in Gethsemane (14:37, 40,41)

1. Three boat scenes illustrate the disciples lack of faith (4:35-41; 6:45-52; 8:14-21)

3. Peter denies Jesus three times (14: 68,70, 71) and three-hour intervals are mentioned during the crucifixion (15:25, 33, 34)

Discipleship and Servant Leadership



It is the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite.


Mark 15:39

Though a religious elite of Israel reject Jesus as the Son of God, a Gentile centurion recognizes it.

Mark 6:4

Only in his own town is the prophet without honor.




Mark 6:4

Only in his own town is the prophet without honor.

Mark 6:4

Only in his own town is the prophet without honor.



The plot is how the author arranges events to develop his basic idea;  It is the sequence of events in a story or play. 

a)  Introduction - The beginning of the story where the characters and the setting is revealed.

b)  Rising Action - This is where the events in the story become complicated and the conflict in the story is revealed c)  Climax - This is the highest point of interest and the turning point of the story.  The reader wonders what will happen next; will the conflict be resolved or not?

d)  Falling action - The events and complications begin to resolve themselves. 

e)  Denouement - This is the final outcome or untangling of events in the story.



Mark 1:1-13

The Preparation of The Son of God

“The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God” Mark 1:1

John The Baptist (prepared the way for Jesus Christ

The coming of JESUS, the long-awaited Messianic King who will bring salvation to Israel.

Tempted by Satan

JESUS is baptized by John

Embarks on the ministry of teaching, healing and exorcism


Rising action

Authoritative Ministry of the Son of God

When Jesus calls the four fishermen to follow Him, they drop their nets and leave everything. 1:16-20

JESUS proclaims that salvation has arrived. “The time has come…the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” 1:15

People where amazed because Jesus taught “as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. (1:22,27)

JESUS claims prerogatives normally attributed to God alone.

He forgives sins (2:5)

Discerns thoughts of his opponents (2:8)

Claim’s lordship over Sabbath (2:28)

Annuls Old Testament dietary laws (7:18-19)


Rising action

The Miracle-Working Messiah

JESUS exercises authority over natural and supernatural enemies alike, healing the sick, casting out demons, even raising the dead. He controls the forces of nature, calming the storm and feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes

To gain popularity

To demonstrate that he is acting and speaking through the authority of God

The narrator enhances this sense of authority by noting the awed reactions of those who encountered Jesus.


Rising action

Secrecy motif: The Messianic Secret

Jesus repeatedly commands silence from those around him .

He silences demons who try to announce his identity (1:24-25,34;3:11-12;5:7)

He insists that his miracles be kept quiet (1:44,5:43;7:36;8:26)

He warns the disciples to tell no one that he is the Messiah (8:30;9:9)

Jesus frequent command to silence raise the tension of the narrative around the theme of the identity of JESUS.


Rising action

Conflict Begins…

Jesus repeatedly commands silence from those around him .

Jesus first conflicts are spiritual ones

Jesus is tempted by Satan

He repeatedly encounter demonic opposition

The Beelzebub incident (3:20-30)

Purpose: to present Jesus’ mission as one of profound spiritual significance

Through Jesus’ exorcisms, the kingdom of God is breaking down and overwhelming the kingdom of Satan, freeing people from its power.


Rising action

Conflict Begins…

Jesus repeatedly commands silence from those around him .

2. Jesus conflict with the religious leaders

Their opposition arises with Jesus’ table fellowship with sinners

And his apparent violations of the Sabbath command

Climax to the first series of controversies occurs during Sabbath synagogue service (3:1-6)

The real Sabbath violation is not Jesus healing but the hypocrisy of the leaders who care more about the law than the welfare of human being.


Rising action

The turning point:

The Confession of Peter and the Servant Messiah

“…. But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him “ You are the Christ.”


Jesus’ authoritative words and deed have confirmed that He is indeed the Messiah

discipleship and servant leadership three cycles of events in mark
Discipleship and Servant LeadershipThree Cycles of events in Mark

Three times Jesus Predicts His Death

1st Passion Prediction: 8:31-32

2ndPassion Prediction:9:31-32

3rdPassion Prediction:10:32-34

C. Jesus Follows with Teaching about Servanthood and Cross-bearing Discipleship

Take up your cross 8:34-38

The first shall be last 9:35-37

Servant leadership 10:42-45

B. Each time the Disciples Respond with Misunderstanding

Peter rebukes Jesus 8:33

Debate over who is the greatest 9:33-34

Chief seats in the kingdom: 10:35-41



Death of the Suffering Son of God

14:1 -15:47

Mark’s Passion narrative is one of betrayal, desertion and rejection.


“E’lo-i, E’lo-Ii, lama


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?



The Resurrection of Jesus


Mark’s Gospel reminds us that the goal of Christian life is not to find security or self-fulfillment. Following Jesus is responding to a radical call of commitment, taking up our crosses and following Him.


It reminds us that receiving the Kingdom is dying to self and living for God. It means giving up efforts to earn God’s favor and receiving His free gift of grace.

characteristics of mark s gospel
Characteristics of Mark’s Gospel
  • Fast moving narrative; use of immediately (euthys) and Greek Historical present tense
  • Prominence of Galilee as the Locus of Jesus’ early ministry
  • Strong emphasis on Jesus’ authority in teaching and in miracles
characteristics of mark s gospel1
Characteristics of Mark’s Gospel
  • Emphasis on challenges to Jesus by the forces of Satan and His defeat of them
  • Amazed reactions by others to Jesus’ authority
  • Jesus portrayed as the authoritative Messiah and Son of God
characteristics of mark s gospel2
Characteristics of Mark’s Gospel
  • Outsiders become insiders by faith; hints of Gentile Salvation
  • Negative portrait of the disciples; models of how not to follow Jesus
  • Lengthy passion narrative; emphasis on Jesus’ death
  • Brief and enigmatic resurrection narrative

Strauss, Mark L. Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus and the Gospel. Zondervan PublishingHouse, Michigan, USA; 2007.

Runge, Steven. deringHP.pdf. accessed on January 19,2014