Challenged to Follow

This post is part of a series on the Gospel of Mark based on classes I am teaching.

In chapter 1 we are introduced to Jesus and the start of His earthly ministry. One of the themes in this part of the narrative is that Jesus is growing in popularity.

So the news about him spread quickly throughout all the region around Galilee. … so that Jesus was no longer able to enter any town openly but stayed outside in remote places. Still they kept coming to him from everywhere. (Mark 1:28, 45 NET)

The people are amazed at His authoritative teaching and His authority over the demons and diseases so they are coming out to Him so that they can be made well. However Jesus does not stay in any one place to long and enjoy His “rock-star” status. He continues to move from village to village focusing on His primary mission which is to proclaim the good news (1:14-15, 38).

Chapter 2 picks up where chapter 1 left off noting the popularity of Jesus and His focus on preaching: Continue reading

Blessed are those who Hunger for a Markan Sandwich

This post is part of a series on the Gospel of Mark based on classes I am teaching.Bite of Sandwich

Mark, the writer of this gospel we are studying is helping us understand who Jesus is. Throughout the narrative he uses a literary technique called the “Markan Sandwich”. This technique involves starting a story that pulls the reader in, then switches to another story line before concluding the first story line. This is similar to how a movie tells concurrent story lines shifting from one character’s situation then panning out and dropping us into the events being tackled by another character. What makes this technique a “sandwich” is after the author finishes telling us the middle story the shift in the narrative moves immediately back to the story that was started and left unfinished.

One of the most obvious and identified “sandwiches” in the Markan narrative occurs in chapter 5. It looks like this: Continue reading

What is Mark’s Good News?

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark

Mark

So begins the Gospel according to Mark. We might have different ideas about what the term “gospel” means, but for a first century reader the “good news” (from the Greek εὐαγγέλιον) would bring to mind the ideas of a ruler and/or a great victory. [1]

A popular example that captures these Roman ideas from the same time period (9 BC) is the Priene Inscription. It is an engraved stone created in the city of Priene in Asia Minor to celebrate the birth of Emperor Augustus. It is variously translated, but the Greek word for gospel appears twice (noted in bold).[2] Continue reading