The Lord's Prayer Matthew 6:9-13 Discussion

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The discussion requires a minimum of 250 words. Two scholarly sources, including the textbook. Make sure that you use APA style with your references.

1. Read Matthew 6:9-13. This is often called "The Lord's Prayer." Describe the different parts of this prayer and how they apply to our lives today.

1,250 word count and there is a total of 6 questions each (not including in-text citation and references as the word count), a minimum of three scholarly sources are required in APA format. For the three scholarly sources, one from the textbook that’s posted below and the other two from an outside source (library articles-EBSCO). Let’s be sure to write it in own work 100% and give appropriately when using someone’s else work.

1 According to tradition, who wrote the Gospel of Mark? Why are modern scholars unable to verify that tradition? What themes in the Gospel suggest that it was composed after the Jewish Revolt against Rome had already begun?

2 Describe the three different categories Mark assigns the Son of Man concept. How is this concept related to earlier Jewish writings, such as the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and I Enoch?

3. Define parable and discuss Jesus’ use of this literary form to describe his vision of God’s kingdom.

4 Why do scholars believe that it is unlikely that one of the Twelve wrote Matthew’s Gospel? From the content of the Gospel, what can we infer about its author and the time and place of its composition?

5 Describe some of Luke’s major themes and concerns.

6 Evaluate the evidence for and against the tradition that Luke, Paul’s traveling companion, wrote the Gospel bearing his name.

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c h a p te r 7 Mark’s Portrait of Jesus The Hidden Messiah andREschatological Judge I For even the Son of Man did notCcome to be served but to serve and to give up his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45 A R D , Key Topics/Themes Between about 64 CE, when Nero began Rome’s first official persecution of Christians, and 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem (along with its Temple and the original apostolic church), the Christian community faced a series of crises that threatened its survival. Responding to the wars, revolts, and persecutions that afflicted his group, Mark composed what appears to be the earliest narrative account of Jesus’ public career, presenting Jesus’ story in a way that The shortest and probably the earliest of the four canonical Gospels, the narrative “According to Mark” contains relatively few of Jesus’ teachings. Instead, the author—who was the first to call his written account an evangelion (gospel)— presents Jesus as a miracle-working man of action who is almost constantly on the move, dashing from village to village in Galilee and adjacent regions and, finally, journeying to Jerusalem for a fatal confrontation with its religious and political authorities. Mark’s Jesus announces God’s kingdom, exorcizes demons, heals the sick, and voluntarily sacrifices himself for others. 136 was strikingly relevant to the precarious circumstances of Mark’s intended readers. AMark’s Gospel thus portrays a Jesus who faces Dattack on three crucial fronts: from Jewish religious leaders, local (Herodian) rulers, and RRoman officials. Painting Jesus as a “hidden I Messiah” who was misunderstood and devalued by his contemporaries, Mark emphasizes Ethat Jesus came to serve, to suffer, and to Ndie—but also ultimately to triumph by submitting fully to the divine will. N E 2 Mark’s Historical Setting 4 7Several critical methods are helpful in studying 9Mark, beginning with historical investigation of the Gospel’s authorship, date, place of compoTsition, possible sources, and social and religious Senvironment (see Figure 7.1). The earliest reference to Mark’s Gospel comes from Papias, a Christian writer who was bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor about 130–140 ce (see Box 7.1). As quoted by Eusebius, Papias states that Mark had been a disciple of the apostle Peter in Rome and based his account on Peter’s reminiscences chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s The Gospel According to Mark Author: Traditionally John Mark, traveling companion of Paul and “interpreter” for Peter in Rome. The writer does not identify himself in the Gospel text, and scholars, unable to verify the midsecond century tradition of Markan authorship, regard the work as anonymous. Date: About 66–70 ce, during the Jewish Revolt against Rome. Place of composition: Rome or Syria-Palestine. Sources: Primarily oral tradition. Many scholars believe that Mark used a few written sources, such as a collection of Jesus’ parables (ch. 4), a compilation of apocalyptic prophecies (ch. 13), and, perhaps, an older account of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution (chs. 14–15). Audience: Gentile Christians suffering persecution. R I C A R D of Jesus. Papias notes that Mark “had not heard , the Lord or been one of his followers” so that his Gospel lacked “a systematic arrangement of A the Lord’s sayings” (Eusebius, History 3.39). Besides his intention to link Mark’s Gospel D to apostolic testimony, a consistent trend among R church leaders during the second century ce, I Papias makes two important historical observations: The author of Mark was not an eyewitness E but depended on secondhand oral preaching, N and Mark’s version of Jesus’ activities is “not in N [proper chronological] order.” Careful scrutiny of Mark’s Gospel has convinced most New E Testament scholars that it does not derive from a single apostolic source, such as Peter, but is 2 based on a general body of oral teachings about 4 Jesus preserved in the author’s community. Mark’s author offers few hints about where 7 or for whom he wrote, except for his insistence 9 that following Jesus requires a willingness to sufT fer for one’s faith. Mark’s near equation of discipleship with suffering suggests that he directed S his work to a group that was then undergoing severe testing and needed encouragement to remain steadfast (see Mark 8:34–38; 10:38–40). This theme of “carrying one’s cross” may derive from the effects of Nero’s persecution (c. 64–65 ce), when numerous Roman Christians were crucified Provincial aristocracy: Herodian ruling house, priestly and lay aristocracy, members of the Sanhedrin 137 Elite (upper-stratum groups) Members of the Sanhedrin, administrative and military retainers, functionaries, priests, scribes, local judges, tax collectors, foreign traders, wholesalers Nonelite (lowerstratum groups) Prosperous craftsmen, traders, peasant farmers, tenants, service workers Minimum existence Small farmers, tenants, businessmen, day laborers, fishermen, shepherds, widows, orphans, prostitutes, beggars, bandits City Country figure 7.1 Social Pyramid 2: Social Stratification of Jewish Society in the Land of Israel (Without Religious Groups). In Jesus’ day, Jewish society was sharply divided between two unequal groups: a powerful elite, representing a tiny percentage of the total population, and the nonelite masses. Whereas the elite upper stratum, such as the Roman-appointed Herodian kings, aristocratic chief priests, and large landowners, enjoyed the privileges of political influence, wealth, and prestige, the lower stratum, encompassing the vast majority of the population, lacked access to power or social privilege. Nonelite groups ranged from some relatively prosperous artisans, small farmers, and merchants to large numbers of landless day laborers whose families existed in utter penury. Many of Jesus’ parables deal with the social and economic inequities that pervaded his society. See also Figure 5.7 for the pyramidal structure of Roman society. (Pyramid figure is reprinted from The Jesus Movement by Ekkehard W. Stegemann and Wolfgang Stegemann, English translation by O. C. Dean, Jr., copyright © 1999 Fortress Press. Used by permission of Augsburg Fortress.) 138 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s box 7 .1 Papias on the Origin of Mark’s Gospel The oldest surviving reference to Mark’s authorship of the Gospel bearing his name comes from Papias, who was a bishop of Hierapolis about 130 or 140 ce. An early church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, quotes Papias as writing that an unnamed presbyter (church elder) was his source: This, too, the presbyter used to say. “Mark, who had been Peter’s interpreter, wrote down carefully, but not in order, all that he remembered of the Lord’s sayings and doings. For he had not heard the Lord or been one of his followers, but later, as I said, one of Peter’s. Peter used to adapt his teachings to the occasion, without making a systematic arrangement of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark was quite justified in writing down some things just as he remembered them. For he had one purpose only—to leave out nothing that he had heard, and to make no misstatement about it.” (Eusebius, The History of the Church 3.39) or burned alive. Papias and Irenaeus, another early church leader, agree that Mark wrote shortly after Peter’s martyrdom, which, according to tradition, occurred during Nero’s attack on Rome’s Christian community. Although Rome is the traditional place of composition, a growing number of scholars think it more likely that Mark wrote for an audience in Syria or Palestine. Critics favoring a Palestinian origin point to Mark’s emphasis on the Jewish Revolt (66–73 ce) and concurrent warnings to believers who were affected by the uprising (Mark 13; see Box 7.6). In Mark’s view, the “tribulation” climaxing in Jerusalem’s destruction is the sign heralding Jesus’ Parousia, or return in heavenly glory. The association of wars and national revolts with persecution of believers and Jesus’ Second Coming gives an eschatological urgency to Mark’s account. Even though Papias and other second-century writers ascribe the Gospel to John Mark, a companion of Peter and Paul (Philem. 24; Col. 4:10; Acts 12:12–25; 14:36–40), the author does not identify himself in the text. The superscription— “The Gospel According to Mark”—is a later church Eusebius also quotes Papias’s declaration that he preferred to learn Christian traditions from the testimony of persons who had known Jesus’ companions rather than from written documents, such as the Gospels: And whenever anyone came who had been a follower of the presbyters, I inquired into the words of the presbyters, what Andrew or Peter had said, or Philip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew, or any other disciple of the Lord, and what Aristion and the presbyter John, disciples of the Lord, were still saying. For I did not imagine that things out of books would help me as much as the utterances of a living and abiding voice. (Eusebius, The History of the Church 3.39) R I C A R D Although Papias is a relatively early witness to the Christian tradition, scholars caution that we have no , means of verifying the historicity of his claims. A embellishment, for second-century churchmen Dtried to connect extant writings about Jesus with Rapostles or their immediate disciples. The Gospel I is anonymous; for convenience, we refer to the author as Mark. E N Mark’s Puzzling Attitude N Toward Jesus’ Close E Associates 2Jesus’ Family 4If scholars are right about assigning the Gospel 7to a time when the Jewish War against Rome 9had already begun and the Temple was exto fall, most of the adult generation that Tpected had known Jesus was no longer alive. Even forty Syears after Jesus’ death, however, there must have been some persons who had heard the disciples preach or who had known members of Jesus’ family. James, whom Paul calls “the Lord’s brother” (Gal. 1:19), was head of the Jerusalem church until his martyrdom in about 62 ce ( Josephus, Antiquities 20.9; Acts 12:17; 15:13–21; chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s 139 b ox 7 .2 Mark’s Leading Characters* John the Baptist (1:4–9); executed (6:17–29) Jesus introduced (1:9); final words (15:34) Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (1:16–18); Peter’s imperfect discipleship (8:27–33; 9:2–6; 14:26–31, 66–72) James and John, the fishermen sons of Zebedee (1:19–20); wish to be first in the kingdom (10:35–45) R Levi (Matthew), a tax collector (2:13–17) I The Twelve (3:13–19) Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ betrayer (3:19; 14:17–21, 43–46) C Mary, Jesus’ mother, and other family members A (3:20–21, 31–35; 6:3) R The Gerasene demoniac (5:1–20) D Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee (ruled 4 bce– , 39 ce) (6:17–29; 8:15) The Syrophoenician (Canaanite) woman (7:14–30) A D 21:16), making him a contemporary of Mark. R Through his surviving associates, James preI sumably would have been an invaluable source of information when Mark began compiling E data for a biography of Jesus. N Strangely, Mark does not seem to have re- N garded Jesus’ relatives—or any other ordinary source a modern biographer would consult—as E worthy informants. One of the author’s prevailing themes is his negative presentation of virtu- 2 ally everyone associated with the historical Jesus. (Box 7.2 lists Mark’s leading characters.) 4 From “his mother and brothers” (3:31) to his 7 most intimate followers, Mark portrays all of 9 Jesus’ companions as oblivious to his real naT ture and/or as obstacles to his work. Mark’s Gospel consistently renders all Jesus’ Palestinian S associates as incredibly obtuse, unable to grasp his teachings, and blind to his value. The Markan picture of Jesus’ family implies that they, too, failed to appreciate or support him: “When his relatives heard of this [his drawing large crowds around him], they set out to A rich young man (10:17–22) The woman who anoints Jesus at Bethany (14:3–9) The High Priest Caiaphas (14:53–64) Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea (governed 26–36 ce) (15:1–15, 43–44) Barabbas, the terrorist released in place of Jesus (15:6–15) Simon of Cyrene, the man impressed to carry Jesus’ cross (15:21) Joseph of Arimathaea, the Sanhedrin member who buries Jesus (15:42–46) Mary of Magdala (in Galilee) (15:40–41, 47; 16:1) Mary, mother of James and Joseph (15:40, 47; 16:1) *Characters are listed in general order of appearance, along with the chief quality or event that distinguishes them in Mark’s narrative. take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind” (3:21, Jerusalem Bible). When “his mother and his brothers” send a message asking for him, apparently demanding that he cease making a public spectacle of himself, Mark has Jesus declare “whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, my mother.” This is a startling repudiation of his blood ties and an implication that in the Markan Jesus’ view, his relatives were not doing the divine will (3:31–35). The force of this antifamily episode is intensified because Mark uses it to frame a controversy in which Jesus’ opponents accuse him of expelling demons by the power of Beelzebub, another name for the devil. Jesus countercharges that those who oppose his work are defying the Holy Spirit (God’s presence active in human life), an “unforgivable sin” (3:22–30). At this point in the narrative, Mark shows Jesus’ family attempting to interrupt his ministry, thus subtly associating them with his adversaries (see also John 7:1–9). Mark also depicts Jesus’ acquaintances in Nazareth as hostile to a local carpenter’s 140 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s unexpected emergence as prophet and healer, questioning his credentials as sage and teacher. “Where does he get it from?” his neighbors ask. “‘What wisdom is this that has been given him?’ and ‘How does he work such miracles? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ So they [turned against] him” (6:2–3). In this incident in which Jesus revisits his home turf, Mark argues that those who thought they knew Jesus best doubted not only his right to be a religious leader but also his legitimacy—note Mark’s reference to “the son of Mary,” a contrast to the biblical custom of identifying a son through his male parentage even if his father was dead. The Nazarenes’ refusal to see any merit in him results in a troubling diminution of Jesus’ power: “He could work no miracle there” except for some routine healings (6:6; emphasis added). Mark thus seems to dismiss both family and hometown citizens as acceptable channels of biographical tradition: They all fail to trust, comprehend, or cooperate with his hero. Mark’s allusion to Jesus’ “brothers” and “sisters” (see also Matt. 13:54–56) may disturb some readers. Because his Gospel does not include a tradition of Jesus’ virginal conception or birth, the existence of siblings may not have been an issue with the Markan community (as it apparently was not for the Pauline churches; none of Paul’s letters allude to a virgin birth). Matthew, however, explicitly affirms that Jesus was virginally conceived (Matt. 1:18–25), and Luke strongly implies it (Luke 1:26–38). Some Protestant Christians believe that, following Jesus’ delivery, his mother may have borne other children in the ordinary way. According to Roman Catholic doctrine, however, Mary remains perpetually virgin. Jesus’ “brothers” (translating the Greek adelphoi) are to be understood as close male relatives, perhaps cousins or stepbrothers (sons of Mary’s husband, Joseph, by a previous marriage). (An apocryphal infancy Gospel, the Protevangelium of James, which probably dates from the second century ce, depicts James as Jesus’ older stepbrother and Mary as eternally virgin; see Chapter 20.) The Disciples Mark’s opinion of the Galilean disciples whom Jesus calls to follow him (3:13–19) is distinctly unsympathetic, although these are the Twelve Apostles on whose testimony the Christian faith is traditionally founded. Almost without exception, Mark paints the Twelve as dull-witted, inRept, unreliable, cowardly, and, in at least one I case, treacherous. When Jesus stills a storm, the disciples are impressed but unaware of the act’s Csignificance (4:35–41). After his feeding of the Amultitudes, the disciples “had not understood Rthe intent of the loaves” because “their minds were closed” (6:52). The harshness of Mark’s Djudgment is better rendered in the phrase “their , hearts were hardened” (as given in the New Revised Standard Version). This is the same used to describe the Egyptian pharaoh Aphrase when he arrogantly “hardened his heart” and Drefused to obey Yahweh’s commands (Exod. R7:14–10:27). After listening for months to Jesus’ I teaching, the disciples are such slow learners that they are still ignorant of “what [Jesus’ referEence to] ‘rising from the dead’ could mean” N(9:9–10). Not only do they fail to grasp the conNcept of sharing in Jesus’ glory (10:35–41), but even the simplest, most obvious parables escape Etheir comprehension (4:10–13). As Jesus asks, “You do not understand this parable? How then 2will you understand any parable?” (4:13). Although he has “explained everything” 4(4:33–34; see also 8:31–32), and the disciples 7have presumably recognized him as the Messiah 9(8:27–32), they desert him after his arrest Peter, who had earlier acknowledged T(14:30). Jesus as the Messiah, three times denies knowSing him (14:66–72). Almost the only character in Mark shown as recognizing the significance of Jesus’ death is an unnamed Roman soldier who perceives that “truly this man was a son of God!” (15:39). Mark’s recurring motif that all of Jesus’ original associates, including family, former neighbors, chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s and followers, were almost preternaturally blind to his true identity and purpose carries through to the end of his Gospel. At the empty tomb, an unnamed youth in white directs a handful of women disciples not to linger in Jerusalem but to seek their Lord in Galilee, but they are too frightened to obey (16:1–8). The Gospel thus ends with the only disciples who had followed Jesus to the cross—a few Galilean women—inarticulate with terror, unable to cope with the news of his resurrection! Mark’s view that the resurrected Jesus will not R be found near his burial site—Jerusalem— I contrasts with the Lukan tradition that Jesus instructed his followers to remain in Jerusalem C awaiting the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:47–53; Acts A 1–2). Whereas Luke makes Jerusalem the center R of Christian growth and expansion, the Spiritempowered mother church led by Peter and D James, Jesus’ “brother” (Acts 1:4–3:34; 15:13–21; , 21:16), Mark paints it as a hotbed of conniving hypocrites who scheme to murder the Son of God. A Mark’s antipathy toward the historical Jesus’ closest associates and the original Jerusalem D church is puzzling. Does this apparent hostility R mean that the group for which Mark wrote I wished to distance itself from the Jerusalem community, whose founders included Jesus’ E closest family members, Mary and James (Acts N 1:14; 12:17, etc.)? Does Mark’s negative atti- N tude indicate a power struggle between his branch of Gentile Christianity and the Jewish E Christians who (until 70 ce) headed the original church? Some scholars caution that one 2 should not necessarily postulate a historical 4 tension between the Markan community and Palestinian Jewish Christians. Ancient histori- 7 ans and biographers commonly portray their 9 heroes as enormously superior to their peers, T depicting a subject’s followers or disciples as constitutionally incapable of rising to his level S of thought or achievement. Writing in this literary tradition, Mark may have emphasized the deficiencies of Jesus’ contemporaries to underscore his hero’s unique status: By magnifying Jesus’ image, Mark demonstrates that Jesus alone does God’s work and declares God’s will. 141 Mark as a Literary Narrative Organization and Bipolar Structure Whatever the historicity of Mark’s version of Jesus’ career, it eventually exerted a tremendous influence on the Christian community at large, primarily through the expanded and revised editions of Mark that Matthew and Luke produced (see Chapter 6). Because the two other Synoptic Gospels generally follow Mark’s order of events in Jesus’ life, it is important to understand the significance of Mark’s bipolar organization. Mark arranges his narrative around a geographical north– south polarity. The first half of his narrative takes place in Galilee and adjacent areas of northern Palestine, a largely rural area of peasant farmers where Jesus recruits his followers, performs numerous miracles, and—despite some opposition—enjoys considerable success. The second half (after ch. 8) relates Jesus’ fatal journey southward to Judea and Jerusalem, where he is rejected and killed (see Figure 7.2). Besides dividing Jesus’ career according to two distinct geographical areas, Mark’s Gospel presents two contrasting aspects of Jesus’ story. In Galilee, Jesus is a figure of power, using his supernatural gifts to expel demons, heal the sick, control natural forces, and raise the dead. The Galilean Jesus speaks and acts with tremendous authority, effortlessly refutes his detractors, and affirms or invalidates the Mosaic Torah at will. Before leaving Caesarea Philippi, however, Jesus makes the first of three Passion predictions, warning his uncomprehending disciples that he will go to Jerusalem only to suffer humiliation and death (8:30–38; 9:31–32; 10:33–34). By using the Passion predictions as a device to link the indomitable miracle worker in Galilee with the helpless figure on the cross in Judea, Mark reconciles the two seemingly irreconcilable components in his portrait of Jesus. The powerful Son of God who astonishes vast crowds with his mighty works is also the vulnerable Son of Man who, in weakness and apparent p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s Palestine During the Ministry of Jesus (c. 30 CE) Decapolis Tetrarchy of Philip Under Pontius Pilate Tetrarchy of Herod Antipas Areas under special control Cities of the Decapolis Leont MT . es Ri LIBA ve NU r S Sidon I A Sarepta Damascus T. M ON RM HE Caesarea Philippi I C Tyre PA N IT E N S IA UL AT H AEA UR A Jordan R. GAU LA NI T R I SepphorisC Tiberias Nazareth Gaba A Ki MT. sh on TABOR Nain Ri ve r R DGinaea , MEDITERRANEAN MT. CARMEL SEA S L I P O J U D A E A Gaza Hebron Jorda M A E A 2 4 Masada 7 9 T S DEA D SEA Ascalon U A Azotus D C Jamnia R A E A P E Joppa Lydda I Pella A D S A M A R I A R I E Jericho Emmaus Bethany Beyond Jordan N Jerusalem Bethphage Qumran N Bethany Bethlehem E Jacob’s Well Raphia E Samaria Sebaste Sichem Sychar Plain of Sharon MT. GERIZIM Gadara D Caesarea Jordan R iver G EA IS EE Chorazin IL AL Capernaum Bethsaida-Julius Plain of Sea Gennesaret Gergasa Cana of Magdala Galilee Hippos NA TA BA H O Lake Semechonitis Ptolemais Chabulon P 142 Machaerus Ar n o n R i ve 0 0 r 10 10 20 20 30 Miles 30 Kilometers figure 7.2 Political divisions of Palestine during the ministry of Jesus (c. 30 ce). Note that Rome directly administered Judea and Samaria through its governor Pontius Pilate; Herod Antipas ruled Galilee (Jesus’ home district) and Peraea; another son of Herod the Great, Philip, ruled an area to the northeast. The Decapolis was a league of ten Greek-speaking cities on the east side of the Jordan River. chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s 143 b ox 7 .3 Mark’s Order of Events in Jesus’ Life beginning of jesus’ ministry (c. 27 or 29 ce) Jesus is baptized by John at the Jordan River (1:9–11). Jesus begins preaching in Galilee (1:14–15). Jesus recruits Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be his first disciples (1:16–20). Jesus performs miraculous cures and exorcisms in Capernaum and throughout Galilee (1:21–3:12). Jesus appoints twelve chief disciples from among R his many followers; he explains the meaning I of parables to this inner circle (3:13–4:34). C Jesus returns to Nazareth, where his neighbors A reject him (6:1–6). Herod Antipas beheads John the Baptist (6:14–29). R Jesus miraculously feeds a Jewish crowd of 5,000 D (6:30–44). , end of jesus’ ministry (c. 30 or 33 ce) Jesus leaves Galilee and travels through non-Jewish territories in Phoenicia and the Decapolis (7:24–37). Jesus miraculously feeds a second crowd, this time of Gentiles (8:1–10, 14–21). Jesus cures a blind man, and near the town of Caesarea Philippi, Peter’s eyes are opened to Jesus’ true identity as the Messiah; Jesus rebukes Peter for failing to understand that the Messiah must suffer and die (8:22–9:1). Jesus is gloriously transfigured before Peter, James, and John (9:1–13). Jesus travels south to Judea, teaching the crowds and debating with Pharisees (10:1–33). On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus for the third time predicts his imminent suffering and death A D R I E N N E 2 4 7 9 T defeat, sacrifices his life “as a ransom for many” (10:45). Thus, the author balances older Christian S traditions of his hero’s phenomenal deeds with a bleak picture of Jesus’ sufferings, devoting the last six chapters to a detailed account of the Passion. Although Matthew and Luke follow Mark in his north–south, power–weakness dichotomy, John’s Gospel shows that there were other ways to arrange events in Jesus’ story. In (the Passion predictions) (8:31–33; 9:30–32; 10:32–34). events of the last week of jesus’ life On Palm Sunday, Jesus arranges his public entry into Jerusalem; his followers hail him in terms of the Davidic kingdom (11:1–11). Jesus drives the moneychangers out of the Temple (11:15–19). Seated on the Mount of Olives opposite Jerusalem, Jesus predicts the imminent destruction of the Temple (13:1–37). Jesus’ enemies conspire to kill him; Judas betrays Jesus (14:1–11). Jesus holds a final Passover meal with the Twelve (14:12–31). After the Last Supper, Jesus is arrested at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem (14:32–52). Jesus is tried on charges of blasphemy before the High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (14:53–65). On Good Friday, Jewish leaders accuse Jesus before Pontius Pilate; Jesus is declared guilty of treason, flogged, and condemned to crucifixion (15:1–20). A group of Galilean women witness the Crucifixion; Joseph of Arimathaea provides a tomb for Jesus (15:40–47). On Easter Sunday, Mary of Magdala and other women discover that Jesus’ tomb is empty; a young man instructs them to look for Jesus in Galilee, but the women are too frightened to tell anyone of their experience (16:1–8). John, Jesus repeatedly travels back and forth between Galilee and Judea, performing miracles in both regions. As Papias’s remark about the Gospel’s lack of historical order warned, the Markan sequence of events, with its emphasis on a single, final visit to Jerusalem, appears to express the writer’s theological vision of Jesus’ life rather than a literal reconstruction of his subject’s actual movements (see Box 7.3). 144 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s Mark’s Gospel can be divided into six parts: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Prelude to Jesus’ public ministry (1:1–13) The Galilean ministry (1:14–8:26) The journey to Jerusalem (8:27–10:52) The Jerusalem ministry (11:1–15:47) Mark’s Passion narrative: Jesus’ trial and cruifixion 6. Postlude: the empty tomb (16:1–8) Prelude to Jesus’ Public Ministry Like the writer of a classical epic, Mark plunges into the middle of the action, providing no background about his hero but introducing him with apocalyptic suddenness. The opening line, “Here begins the gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ” (1:1), simultaneously announces his epic theme and echoes Genesis 1, alerting readers to see that, in Jesus, God has begun a new creative activity. Jesus is the Christ (Greek translation of the Hebrew mashiah) and “the Son of God,” titles that Mark seldom uses in his narrative, for one of his purposes is to demonstrate that in his lifetime the majority of people did not recognize Jesus’ divine Sonship. No person calls Jesus “a son of God” until almost the very end of Mark’s Gospel (see Box 7.4). Significantly, at that point Jesus is already dead, and the speaker is neither a Jew nor a disciple but a Roman centurion (15:39). By citing, as if from memory, a blend of passages from Isaiah (40:3) and Malachi (3:1)— that a divinely appointed “herald” and a “voice crying aloud in the wilderness” are preparing a path for the Lord—Mark immediately places Jesus’ story in the context of the Hebrew Bible. Mark identifies the “herald” with John the Baptist, a desert ascetic then conducting a religious campaign at the Jordan River, where John baptizes converts “in token of repentance, for the forgiveness of sins” (1:4). Jesus, implicitly included among the repentant, appears for baptism, perhaps as John’s disciple. Mark has John predict a “mightier” successor, although he does not show the Baptist as explicitly identifying Jesus as such. The biographer’s decision to introduce Jesus at the Jordan River is significant, for the Jordan was the gateway by which the Israelite tribes originally entered Palestine, their Promised Land. Mark may also have expected his readers to remember that “Jesus” is the Greek version of “Joshua,” the name of Moses’ successor who led Israel across Jordan into its homeland. Mark’s Rbrief reference to Jesus’ being tested for forty I days in the Judean wilderness also has biblical connotations. As the Israelites wandered for forty Cyears through the Sinai wilderness, undergoing Atrials and temptations, so Jesus is tempted by RSatan in the desert, the untamed haunt of hostile entities. Jesus vanquishes Satan, just as Joshua Dconquered the Canaanite nations that opposed , Israel (Josh. 1–6). Mark’s allusion to Jesus’ overcoming the One introduces another of the author’s AEvil principal themes: God’s Son will break the Ddevil’s hold on humanity. Jesus’ exorcisms— Rthe casting out of demons who have possessed I human beings—are an important part of Jesus’ ministry and are given proportionately Egreater space in Mark than in any other NGospel. (In contrast, John’s Gospel does not Ncontain a single reference to Jesus’ performing exorcisms.) E 2 The Galilean Ministry: 4 Inaugurating the Kingdom 7 Mark’s Eschatological Urgency 9 launches Jesus’ career with a startlingly TMark eschatological message: “The time has come, Sthe kingdom of God is upon you; repent and believe the Gospel” (1:15). Mark’s sense of eschatological urgency permeates his entire Gospel, profoundly affecting his portrayal of Jesus’ life and teaching. With the tradition that Jesus had prophesied the Temple’s fall about to be realized, Mark, writing about 70 ce, sees the chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s 145 b ox 7 .4 Mark’s Identification of Jesus as “Son of God” Although Mark’s preferred designation of Jesus is “Son of Man,” he also identifies Jesus as “Son of God” at strategic places in his narrative. In most editions of Mark, the first reference to Jesus’ divine parentage occurs in the opening verse and is addressed directly to readers, who must be aware of Jesus’ supernatural identity if Mark’s way of telling his hero’s story—an ironic contrast between who Jesus really is and who peo- R ple mistake him for—is to succeed. Because some I early manuscripts omit the phrase “Son of God” in Mark 1:1, however, it is possible that the author C originally intended for readers to learn of Jesus’ A special relationship to the Father in the same manR ner that Jesus did, at his baptism, when a heavenly voice privately confides, “You are my beloved Son; D in you I take delight” (Mark 1:11). , The “voice from heaven” paraphrases Psalm 2, a poem sung at the coronation of Israel’s monarchs, a royal ceremony at which Yahweh is repre- A sented as adopting the newly consecrated king: D “You are my son, . . . this day I become your father” R (Ps. 2:7). Because Mark contains no reference to I Jesus’ virginal conception, many scholars think that the author regards Jesus as becoming God’s E son by adoption, his baptism and visitation by the N Holy Spirit the equivalent of Davidic kings’ being N anointed with holy oil. In an ironic counterpoint to God’s voice, Mark E next uses the speech of a demon to reveal Jesus’ hidden identity. When driven from a man he has 2 possessed, the demon angrily declares: “I know who you are—the Holy One of God” (1:25). Whereas 4 Mark’s human characters fail to recognize Jesus’ 7 true nature until after his death, supernatural 9 entities, including “unclean spirits,” know and fear him. In a typically Markan paradox, human opponents accuse Jesus of being an agent of Beelzebub, “the prince of demons”—allegedly the source of his supernatural power—while the demons themselves testify that Jesus is “the Son of God” (3:11, 22–28). Mark draws further on the questionable testimony of evil spirits when describing the Gerasene demoniac: The satanic “Legion” boldly announces that Jesus is “son of the Most High God” (5:1–13). In contrast, when Peter finally perceives that Jesus is “the Christ,” he apparently does not also intuit Jesus’ divinity, confining his witness to his leader’s messianic (political) role. In Mark’s narrative, Jesus’ closest disciples lack the perceptiveness of Beelzebub’s imps! (Compare Mark’s account of Peter’s “confession” with Matthew’s version, where the author has Peter employ a major Christological title, “Son of the living God,” absent in Mark [Matt. 16:13–16].) Even after Jesus is miraculously transfigured before their eyes and the celestial voice again affirms that he is God’s son (9:8), the Galilean disciples remain oblivious. At Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin, Mark presents a darkly paradoxical glimpse of his hero’s real identity. When the High Priest asks if his prisoner is indeed the “Son of the Blessed One” (a pious circumlocution for God), Jesus, for the first time in Mark’s account, admits that he is—a confession of divinity that condemns him to death. Only when Jesus hangs lifeless on the cross does a human figure—a Roman centurion—belatedly speak of Jesus as “a son of God,” a Hellenistic Gentile’s recognition that Jesus had died a heroic death worthy of divine honor (see also Box 11.2). T S eschaton—the end of history as we know it— about to take place (13:1–4, 7–8, 14–20, 24–27, 30, 35–37). He therefore paints Jesus as an eschatological figure whose words are reinterpreted as specific warnings to Mark’s generation. In the thought world Mark creates, the apocalyptic Son of Man who is about to appear in glory (13:24–31) is the same as the Son of Man who came forty years earlier to die on the cross (8:31, 38; 9:9–13, 31). The splendor of the one to come casts its radiance over Mark’s portrait of the human Jesus (9:1–9). 146 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s Mark’s style conveys his urgency: He uses the present tense throughout his Gospel and repeatedly connects the brief episodes (pericopes) of his narrative with the transition word immediately. Jesus scarcely finishes conducting a healing or exorcism in one Galilean village before he “immediately” rushes off to the next town to perform another miracle. In Mark’s breathless presentation, the world faces an unprecedented crisis. Jesus’ activity proclaims that history has reached its climactic moment. Hence, Mark measures time in mere days (during the Galilean ministry) and hours (during the Jerusalem episodes). Reduced to tiny increments, time is literally running out. Mark represents Jesus as promising his original hearers that they will experience the eschaton—“the present generation will live to see it all” (13:30). The kingdom, God’s active rule, is so close that some of Jesus’ contemporaries “will not taste death before they have seen the kingdom of God already come in power” (9:1). The long-awaited figure of Elijah, the ancient prophet whose reappearance is to be an infallible sign of the last days (Mal. 4:5), has already materialized in the person of John the Baptist (9:12–13). Such passages indicate that Mark’s community anticipated the imminent consummation of all things. Mark as Apocalypse So pervasive is Mark’s eschatology that some scholars regard the entire Gospel as a modified apocalypse (apokalypsis), a literary work that reveals unseen realities and discloses events destined soon to climax in God’s final intervention in human affairs. Mark’s use of apocalyptic devices is particularly evident at the beginning and ending of his Gospel. God speaks directly as a disembodied voice (a phenomenon Hellenistic Jews called the bath qol) at Jesus’ baptism and again at the Transfiguration, an epiphany (manifestation of divine presence) in which the disciples see Jesus transformed into a luminous being seated beside the ancient figures of Moses and Elijah (1:11; 9:2–9). In this apocalyptic scene, Jesus converses with Moses and Elijah (who represent, respectively, the Torah and the prophets) to demonstrate his continuity with Israel’s biblical tradition. Jesus thus embodies God’s ultimate revelation to humanity. Mark’s declaration that at Jesus’ baptism the heavens are “torn apart,” suddenly giving access to the spirit realm, anticipates a later apocalyptic vision in the Book of Revelation. Revelation’s author similarly describes “a door opened in heaven” and hears a voice inviting him to “come Rup here” and receive a preview of future history I (Rev. 4:1–2). At the most important event in his Gospel, CJesus’ crucifixion, Mark repeats his image of the Aheavens being “torn” asunder. He states that at Rthe instant of Jesus’ death “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom,” a Dphenomenon that inspires a Gentile soldier to , recognize Jesus’ divinity (15:37–39). In describing this incident, Mark apparently assumes that readers will understand the symbolism Ahis of the Temple curtain. According to Josephus, Dthe outer room of the Temple was separated from Rthe innermost sanctuary—the Holy of Holies I where God’s “glory” was believed to dwell invisibly—by a huge curtain that was embroiEdered with astronomical designs, images of the Nvisible heavens that hid God’s celestial throne Nfrom mortal eyes. In Mark’s view, Jesus’ redemptive death “tore apart” the curtain, openEing the way to a heavenly reality that the earthly Temple had symbolized. For Mark, this rending 2of the sacred veil functions as an apocalypse or revelation of Jesus’ supreme significance. 4 7Jesus as Son of Man The author presents virtu9ally all the events during Jesus’ final hours as of God’s unfolding purpose. At the Trevelatory Last Supper, Jesus emphasizes that the eschatoSlogical “Son of Man is going the way appointed for him” and that he will “never again” drink wine with his disciples until he will “drink it new in the kingdom of God” (14:21, 25). At his trial before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish leaders’ highest judicial council, Jesus reveals his true identity for the first time: He confesses that he chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s 147 b ox 7 .5 The Synoptic Gospels’ Use of the Term “Son of Man” The authors of the Synoptic Gospels use the expression “Son of Man” in three distinct ways, all of which they place on the lips of Jesus to denote three important aspects of his ministry. The three categories identify Jesus as the Son of Man who serves on earth, the Son of Man who must suffer and die, and the Son of Man who will be revealed in eschatological judgment. Representative examples of these three categories appear below. R the earthly son of man Mark 2:10 (Matt. 9:6; Luke 5:24): Has authority to forgive sins. Mark 2:27 (Matt. 12:8; Luke 6:5): Is Lord of the Sabbath. Matthew 11:19 (Luke 7:34): Comes eating and drinking. Matthew 8:20 (Luke 9:58): Has nowhere to lie his head. Luke 19:20: Came to seek and save the lost. I C A R D , A D R I E is the Messiah and that the officiating High N Priest “will see the Son of Man seated at the N right hand of God and coming with the clouds E of heaven” (14:62–63). This disclosure—found only in Mark— associates Jesus’ suffering and death with his ul- 2 timate revelation as the eschatological Son of 4 Man. A designation that appears almost exclusively in the Gospels and then always on the lips 7 of Jesus, Son of Man is Mark’s favored expres- 9 sion to denote Jesus’ three essential roles: an T earthly figure who teaches with authority, a servant who embraces suffering, and a future es- S chatological judge (see Box 7.5). Although many scholars question whether the historical Jesus ever used this title, many others regard it as Jesus’ preferred means of self-identification. Still other scholars postulate that Jesus may have used the title Son of Man to designate another, the suffering son of man Mark 8:31 (Luke 9:22): Must suffer. Mark 9:12 (Matt. 17:12): Will suffer. Mark 10:45 (Matt. 20:28): Came to serve and give his life. Matthew 12:40 (Luke 11:30): Will be three days in the earth. the eschatological son of man Mark 8:38 (Matt. 16:27; Luke 9:26): Comes in glory of the Father and holy angels. Mark 14:26 (Matt. 24:30; Luke 21:27): Will be seen coming with clouds and glory. Mark 14:62 (Matt. 26:64; Luke 22:69): Will be seen sitting at the right hand of power. Luke 17:26 (Matt. 24:27): As it was in days of Noah, so in days of Son of Man. For a fuller discussion of the Son of Man concept and its use by the Synoptic authors, see George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1974), pp. 145–158. future-coming figure who would vindicate Jesus’ own ministry and that the later church, because of its faith in Jesus’ resurrection, retrojected that title back into the account of Jesus’ life at points where it originally did not appear. In Mark’s view, however, Jesus himself is clearly the eschatological Son of Man. Son of Man in Hellenistic-Jewish Literature The Hebrew Bible offers few clues to what Jesus may have meant if he employed this title. The phrase appears frequently in the Book of Ezekiel, where “son of man” is typically synonymous with “mortal” or “human being,” commonly the prophet himself. In the Book of Daniel, however, “one like a [son of] man” appears as a celestial figure who receives divine authority (Dan. 7:14). Most scholars think that this human figure (contrasting with the mystic 148 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s “beasts” in Daniel’s vision) originally symbolized a collective entity, Israel’s faithful. By Jesus’ time, Daniel’s Son of Man apparently had assumed another identity, that of a supernatural individual who will come to judge the world. The composite Book of 1 Enoch, which belongs to noncanonical Hellenistic-Jewish writings known as the Pseudepigrapha, contains a long section (called the Similitudes or Parables) that prominently features the Son of Man as the one who, at the consummation of history, passes judgment on humanity (1 Enoch 37–71). Although some scholars dispute this claim, many believe that this section of 1 Enoch was written by the first century ce. Fragments of Enoch (but not yet the Similitudes) have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the canonical Epistle of Jude cites Enoch as if it were Scripture (Jude 14–15). It seems likely that ideas about Enoch’s Son of Man were current in Jesus’ day and that he—or his immediate followers— applied them to his role in history. The major element that Mark’s Jesus adds to the Son of Man concept is that he is a servant who must suffer and die before attaining the kind of heavenly glory that Daniel 7 and 1 Enoch ascribe to him (cf. Mark 8:30–31; 10:45; 13:26–27; 14:62). “The Son of Man Has the Right on Earth . . .” It is as the earthly Son of Man that Mark’s Jesus claims the right to wield immense religious power (see Box 7.5). As Son of Man, the Markan Jesus assumes the authority to prescribe revolutionary changes in Jewish Law and custom (2:10). Behaving as if he already reigns as cosmic judge, Jesus forgives a paralytic’s sins (2:1–12) and permits certain kinds of work on the Sabbath (3:1–5). In both instances, Jesus’ pronouncements outrage Jewish leaders. Who but God can forgive sins? And who has the audacity to change Moses’ inspired command to forbid all labor on God’s day of rest (cf. Exod. 20:8–10; Deut. 5:12–15)? In the eyes of Jews scrupulously observing Torah regulations, Jesus dishonors the Sabbath by healing a man’s withered arm on that holy day. The Pharisees interpreted the Torah to permit saving a life or dealing with other comparable emergencies on the Sabbath, but in this case (2:23–28), Jesus seems to have violated the Torah for no compelling reason. As Mark describes the situation, it is Jesus’ flexible attitude toward Sabbath keeping that incites some Pharisees and supporters of Herod Antipas to hatch a murder plot against him (3:5–6). To most readers, Jesus’ opponents overreact inexplicably. To many law-abiding Jews, Rhowever, Jesus’ Sabbath-breaking miracles and I declaration that the Sabbath was created for humanity’s benefit (2:27–28) seem to strike at Cthe heart of Jewish faith. Many devout Jews Abelieved that the Torah was infallible and eterRnal. According to the Book of Jubilees, the Torah existed before God created the universe, Dand people were made to keep the Sabbath. , Jesus’ assertion that the Sabbath law is not absolute but relative to human needs appears to the Torah’s unchanging validity and to Adeny question its status as God’s final and complete Drevelation. R I Teaching the Mysteries of the Kingdom EJesus’ Parables Many of Israel’s prophets, and Nvirtually all its apocalyptic writers, use highly Nsymbolic language to convey their visions of the divine will. In depicting Jesus as the eschaEtological Son of Man, it is not surprising that Mark states categorically that Jesus never taught 2publicly without using parables (or other figures of speech) (4:34). The root meaning of 4the word parable is “a comparison,” the dis7cernment of similarities between one thing 9and another. Jesus’ simplest parables are typically similes, comparisons using as or like to Texpress unexpected resemblances between Sostensibly unrelated objects, actions, or ideas. Thus, Jesus compares God’s kingdom—which he never explicitly defines—to a number of items, including a mustard seed. Like the tiny seed, God’s rule begins in an extremely small way, but eventually, like the mustard plant, it grows to an unexpectedly large size (4:30–32). chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s (Jesus’ intent in this parable may have been ironic, for farmers do not want wild mustard plants taking over their fields any more than most people wanted the kind of divine rule that Jesus promoted.) Like the parable of the growing seed (4:26–29), which appears in Mark alone, the mustard plant analogy stresses the unnoticed evolution of divine sovereignty rather than explaining its nature or form. Most parables are open-ended: They do not provide a fixed conclusion but invite the hearer to speculate about many possibilities inherent in the compar- R ison. According to Mark, understanding parables I involving germination and growth suggests the “secret” of God’s kingdom, a glimpse into the C A mysterious principles by which God rules. Other parables take the form of brief sto- R ries that exploit familiar situations or customs to illustrate a previously unrecognized truth. In D the parable of the sower, a farmer plants seeds , on different kinds of ground with distinctly different results (4:2–9). The lengthy interpretaA tion that Mark attaches to the image of sowing seeds (4:13–20) transforms what was originally D a simple parable into an allegory. An allegory is R a complex literary form in which each element I of the narrative—persons, places, actions, even objects—has a symbolic value. Because every E item in the allegory functions as a symbol of N something else, the allegory’s meaning can be N puzzled out only by identifying what each indiE vidual component in the story represents. Almost all scholars believe that Mark’s elaborate allegorical interpretations, equating dif- 2 ferent kinds of soil with the different responses 4 people make when they receive the “seed” (gospel message), do not represent Jesus’ original 7 meaning. By the time Mark incorporated the 9 sower pericope into his Gospel, the Christian T community had already used it to explain people’s contrasting reactions to their preaching. S Jesus’ pithy tale based on everyday agricultural practices was reinterpreted to fit the later experience of Christian missionaries. The reference to “persecution” (4:17) places the allegorical factor in Mark’s time rather than in the context of Jesus’ personal experience in Galilee. 149 In one of his most controversial passages, Mark states that Jesus uses parables to prevent the public from understanding his message (4:11–12). To many readers, it seems incredible that Jesus deliberately teaches in a way intended to confuse or alienate his audience. Mark justifies his hero’s alleged practice by quoting from Isaiah (6:9–10), which pictures Yahweh telling the prophet that his preaching will be useless because Yahweh has already made it impossible for the Israelites to comprehend Isaiah’s meaning. Mark’s attempt to explain why most people did not follow Jesus seems contrary to the gracious goodwill that the Gospel writers normally associate with him and probably does not express the policy of the historical Jesus. In the historical experience of Mark’s community, however, it appears that the kingdom’s secrets were reserved for a few chosen disciples, such as those whom Mark says privately received Jesus’ esoteric teaching (4:11). (In Luke’s edition of Mark, he removes Isaiah’s pessimistic declaration from Jesus’ lips and transfers the saying to his sequel, the Book of Acts, where he places it in Paul’s mouth to explain why the apostle gave up trying to convert fellow Jews and concentrated instead on the more receptive Gentiles; cf. Mark 4:11–12; Luke 8:10; Acts 28:25–28.) Jesus and the Demons Eschatological beliefs are concerned not only with the end of the world but also with visions of invisible spirit beings, both good and evil (see Chapter 19). Apocalyptic literature, such as Daniel and 1 Enoch, typically presents God’s defeat of spiritual evil as the ultimate victory that completes God’s sovereignty over the entire universe. Given Mark’s strongly eschatological point of view, it is not surprising that he makes a battle between supernatural forces—God’s Son versus Satan’s demons—an integral part of his apocalyptic Gospel. After noting Jesus’ resistance to Satan (1:12–13), Mark reinforces the theme of cosmic struggle by making Jesus’ first miracle an exorcism. Remarkably, the demon that Jesus expels from a human victim is the first character in the 150 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s Markan narrative to recognize Jesus as “the Holy One of God”—who has come “to destroy” the agents of evil (1:23–26). Following his exorcisms at Capernaum, Jesus performs similar feats in Gentile territory, “the country of the Gerasenes.” Driving a whole army of devils from a Gerasene madman, Jesus casts them into a herd of pigs. The religiously unclean animals become a fit home for spirits who drive people to commit unclean acts (5:1– 20). The demons’ name—“legion”—is an unflattering reference to the Roman legions (large military units) then occupying Palestine (and in Mark’s day assaulting Jerusalem). When in Capernaum, a Galilean Jewish city, Jesus commands the demons to remain silent, whereas in the Gerasene region, he orders the dispossessed Gentile to tell others about his cure. Mark arranges his material to show that Jesus does not choose to battle evil in isolation. At the outset of his campaign through Galilee, Jesus gathers followers who will form the nucleus of a new society, one presumably free from demonic influence. Recruiting a band of Galilean fishermen and peasants, Jesus selects two sets of brothers, Simon Peter (also called Cephas) and Andrew, and James and John—sons of Zebedee also known as “sons of thunder (Boanerges)”—to form his inner circle (1:16–20). Later, he adds another eight disciples to complete the Twelve, a number probably representing the twelve tribes of Israel: Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus; Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot (3:16–19; cf. the different list in Acts 1). Mark states that, when Jesus commissions the Twelve to perform exorcisms (6:7–13), they fail miserably (9:14–18, 28–29), a sad contrast to the success enjoyed by some exorcists who are not Jesus’ followers (9:38–41). Jesus Accused of Sorcery In another incident involving demonic possession (3:22–30), Mark dramatizes a head-on collision between Jesus as God’s agent for overthrowing evil and persons who see Jesus as a tool of the devil. The clash occurs when “doctors of the law” (teachers and interpreters of the Torah) from Jerusalem accuse Jesus of using black magic to perform exorcisms. Denying that evil can produce good, Jesus countercharges that persons who attribute good works to Satan “slander the Holy Spirit,” the divine force manifested in Jesus’ actions. Matthew’s version of the incident explicitly links Jesus’ defeat of evil spirits with the arrival of the kingdom of God. The Matthean Jesus Rdeclares, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I drive I out the devils, then be sure the kingdom of God has already come upon you” (Matt. 12:28). CTo both Evangelists, Jesus’ successful attack on Ademonic control is a revelation that through Rhis presence God now rules. Willful refusal to accept Jesus’ healings as evidence of divine power Dis to resist the Spirit, an obstinacy that prevents , spiritual insight. Existence of Demons Mark, like other New AThe Testament authors, reflects a common Hellenistic Dbelief in the existence of unseen entities that Rinfluence human lives. Numerous Hellenistic I documents record charms to ward off demons or free one from their control. In Judaism, Eworks like the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit Nreveal a belief that demons could be driven out Nby the correct use of magical formulas (Tob. 6:1–8; 8:1–3). Josephus, who was Mark’s conEtemporary, relates a story about Eleazar, who allegedly exorcised a demon in the presence of 2the emperor Vespasian (69–79 ce), drawing the malign spirit out through its victim’s nose 4(Antiquities 8.46–49). 7 9Zoroastrianism A belief in devils and demonic appears in Jewish literature primarTpossession ily after the period of Persian domination (539– S330 bce), when Persian religious ideas seem to have influenced Jewish thought. According to the Persian religion Zoroastrianism, the whole universe, visible and invisible, is divided into two contending powers of light and darkness, good and evil. Only after historical contact with Zoroastrian dualism does the figure of Satan chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s emerge as humanity’s adversary in biblical literature (Job 1–2; Zech. 3). Angels and demons thereafter populate Hellenistic-Jewish writings, such as the books of Daniel and 1 Enoch. Belief in Supernatural Evil Although Hellenistic Greek and Judeo-Christian writers may express their beliefs about supernatural evil in terms considered naive or irrational to today’s scientifically disciplined mind, they reflect a viewpoint with important implications for contemporary society. Surrounded by threats of R terrorism, lethal diseases such as cancer and I AIDS, and frightening disregard for human life, people may wonder if the forces of cruelty and C violence are not greater than the sum of their A human agents. Does evil exist as a power inde- R pendent of human volition? Such diverse works as the Synoptic Gospels, Ephesians (6:10–17), D , 151 and Revelation show a keen awareness of evil so pervasive and so profound that it cannot be explained solely in terms of human acts, individual or collective. Whatever philosophical view we choose to interpret the human predicament, the Gospel portrayal of Jesus’ struggle to impart wholeness and health to others expresses the Evangelists’ conviction that humanity cannot save itself without divine aid. Jesus the Healer Physical cures, as well as exorcisms, characterize Jesus’ assault on evil. In Mark’s portrayal, one of Jesus’ most important functions is to bring relief to the afflicted (see Figure 7.3). He drives a fever from Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (1:29–31), cleanses a leper (1:40– 42), enables a paralyzed man to walk (2:1–12), restores a man’s withered hand (3:1–6), stops a woman’s chronic hemorrhaging (5:25–34), and A D R I E N N E 2 4 7 9 T S figure 7.3 Christ with the Sick Around Him, Receiving Little Children. In this etching by Rembrandt (1606–1669), healing light radiates from the central figure of Jesus and creates a protective circle of illumination around those whom he cures. 152 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s resuscitates the comatose daughter of Jairus, a synagogue official (5:21–24, 35–43). To Mark, Jesus’ restoration of physical health to suffering humanity is an indispensable component of divine rule, tangible confirmation that God’s kingdom is about to dawn. Mark’s Narrative Techniques In assembling from various oral sources a series of brief anecdotes about Jesus’ ability to cure the sick, Mark stitches the miracle stories together like pearls on a string. Weaving these originally independent pericopes into the fabric of his narrative, Mark re-creates them with vividness and immediacy. Besides using a wealth of concrete detail to help readers visualize the scene or feel its emotional impact, Mark commonly employs the technique of intercalation, inserting one story inside another. This sandwiching device typically serves to make the story placed inside another narrative function as interpretative commentary on the framing story. In telling of Jesus’ family’s attempt to impede his ministry (3:21, 31–35), for example, Mark inserts a seemingly unrelated anecdote about Jesus’ opponents accusing him of sorcery (3:22–30), implicitly associating his “mother and brothers” with his adversaries. Mark uses the same device of wrapping one story around another when describing the resuscitation of Jairus’s daughter, interrupting the Jairus episode to incorporate the anecdote about a hemorrhaging woman into the middle of the narrative. Pushing through the crowds surrounding him, Jesus is on his way to help Jairus’s seriously ill daughter (5:22–24) when a woman—who Mark says had suffered for twelve years from unstoppable bleeding (and was therefore ritually unclean)—suddenly grabs his cloak and, as if by force of desperate need, draws into her ailing body Jesus’ curative energy. This incident is doubly unique: It is the only Gospel healing to occur without Jesus’ conscious will and the Evangelists’ only hint about the physical nature of Jesus’ ability to heal. Mark states that Jesus can feel his power flow out when the woman touches him, as if he were a dynamo being drained of electrical energy (5:25–34). The Markan Jesus, moreover, does not know at first who is tapping his power. Mark then resumes the Jairus narrative: Although a messenger reports that the girl has already died, Jesus insists that she is only “asleep.” Taking his three closest disciples into the girl’s room, he commands her to “get up”— “Talitha cum,” an Aramaic phrase that Mark’s Rcommunity probably revered for its association I with Jesus’ power over death (5:35–43). The author links the two stories by a simple numerical Cdevice—the mature woman had been afflicted Afor a dozen years and the young girl is twelve Ryears old—and by the assertion that it is the participants’ faith that cures them. The Dwoman demonstrates unconditional trust in , Jesus’ power, and Jairus presumably accepts Jesus’ advice to replace fear for his daughter’s safety with “faith.” A DMark’s Ironic Vision In the Nazareth episode, Rwhere Jesus appears as a prophet without honor I (6:4–6), Mark invites his readers to share Jesus’ astonishment that people who should have Eknown better reject a golden opportunity to Nbenefit from Jesus’ help. As Mark presents NJesus’ story—which is largely a tale of humanity’s self-defeating rejection of God’s attempt to reEdeem it—such disparities abound. Demons steeped in evil instantly recognize who Jesus is, 2but most people—including his peasant neighbors and the educated religious elite—do not. 4The wind and waves obey him during a storm 7on the Sea of Galilee (4:35–41) (see Figures 7.4 9and 7.5), but his disciples ultimately prove disHe miraculously feeds hungry multitudes Tloyal. (an incident Mark records in two different verSsions [6:30–44; 8:1–10]) and can suspend the laws of physics by striding across Galilee’s waters (6:30–52; 8:1–10), but Jesus’ closest followers are unable to grasp the meaning of his control over nature. Among the very few who respond positively to him, the majority are social outcasts or nobodies such as lepers, blind chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s 153 R I C A R f i gure 7.4 Fishing boat returning to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee. The village of Capernaum, DJesus’ early Galilean ministry. home to Peter and his brother Andrew, served as a center for , The Journey to Jerusalem: A Jesus’ Predestined Suffering D R Mark’s Central Irony: Jesus’ I Hidden Messiahship E In chapter 8, which forms the central pivot on N which the entire Gospel turns, Mark ties together N several motifs that convey his essential vision of Jesus’ ministry. Besides repeating the theme E of the disciples’ obtuseness, chapter 8 also f i gure 7.5 Excavations at Capernaum. Dated to the first century ce, the ruins of these small private houses are located near the shore of the Sea of Galilee, an appropriate location for the dwellings of fishermen. Archaeologists have found considerable evidence indicating that one of these humble structures belonged to Peter. According to Mark, Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever there (Mark 1:29–31; cf. 2:1–12). mendicants, ritually unclean women, and the diseased. This irony, or logical incongruity between normal expectation and what actually happens in the narrative, determines both Mark’s structuring of his Gospel and his characterization of Jesus’ messiahship. 2 4 7 9 T S sounds Mark’s concurrent themes of the hidden or unexpected quality of Jesus’ messiahship— especially the necessity of his suffering—and the requirement that all believers be prepared to embrace a comparably painful fate. In contrast to John’s Gospel, in which Jesus’ identity is publicly affirmed at the outset of his career, Mark has no one even hint that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah until almost the close of the Galilean campaign, when Peter—in a flash of insight—recognizes him as such (8:29). The Markan Jesus then swears the disciples to secrecy, as he had earlier ordered other witnesses of his deeds to keep silent (1:23–24, 34; 3:11–12; 5:7; 7:36; 8:30; see also 9:9). Jesus’ reluctance to have news of his 154 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s miracles spread abroad is known as the messianic secret, a term coined by the German scholar William Wrede (1901). Some commentators have suggested that Mark’s picture of Jesus’ forbidding others to discuss him merely reflects historical fact: that during Jesus’ lifetime most of his contemporaries did not regard him as God’s special agent and that he himself made no public claims to be Israel’s Messiah. Most scholars, however, believe that Mark’s theme of the messianic secret represents the author’s theological purpose. For Mark, people could not know Jesus’ identity until after he had completed his mission. Jesus had to be unappreciated in order to be rejected and killed—to fulfill God’s will that he “give up his life as a ransom for many” (10:45). A conviction that Jesus must suffer an unjust death—an atonement offering for others— to confirm and complete his messiahship is the heart of Mark’s Christology (concepts about the nature and function of Christ). Hence, Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) is immediately followed by Jesus’ first prediction that he will go to Jerusalem only to die (8:29–32). When Peter objects to this notion of a rejected and defeated Messiah, Jesus calls his chief disciple a “Satan.” Derived from a Hebrew term meaning “obstacle,” the epithet Satan labels Peter’s attitude an obstacle or roadblock on Jesus’ predestined path to the cross. Peter understands Jesus no better than outsiders, regarding the Messiah as a Godempowered hero who conquers his enemies, not as a submissive victim of their brutality. For Mark, however, Jesus’ true identity must remain shrouded in darkness until it is revealed in the painful glare of the cross (see Figure 7.6). At the end of chapter 8, Mark introduces a third idea: True disciples must expect to suffer as Jesus does. In two of the three Passion predictions, Jesus emphasizes that “anyone who wishes to be a follower of mine must leave self behind; he must take up his cross, and come with me” (8:27–34; 10:32–45). Irony permeates the third instance when James and John, sons of Zebedee, presumptuously ask to rule with R I C A R D , A D R 7.6 Christ with the Crown of Thorns. In this I figure wooden carving of Jesus crowned with thorns, an anonymous Etwentieth-century African sculptor beautifully captures both the sorrow and the mystery of Mark’s suffering Son of Man. N N EJesus, occupying places of honor on his right and left. As Jesus explains that reigning with 2him means imitating his sacrifice, Mark’s readers are intended to remember that when Jesus 4reaches Jerusalem the positions on his right 7and left will be taken by the two brigands cruci9fied next to him (15:27). In reiterating the necessity of suffering, TMark addresses a problem that undoubtedly Stroubled members of his own community: how to explain the contrast between the high expectations of reigning with Christ in glory (10:35–37) and the believers’ actual circumstances. Instead of being vindicated publicly as God’s chosen faithful, Christians of the late 60s ce were being treated like outcasts or traitors by Jewish Zealots chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s and like criminals by the Roman emperor. Mark offers fellow believers the consolation that their hardships are foreshadowed by Jesus’ experience; Christians must expect to be treated no more justly than their Master. Mark’s device of having a delegation of Jewish leaders conspire against Jesus in Galilee (3:6) and having Jesus repeatedly prophesy his death serves to cast the shadow of the cross backward in time over the Galilean ministry. These foreshadowing techniques help unify the polar opposites of Mark’s narrative: They not R only connect the powerful healer of Galilee I with the sacrificial victim in Jerusalem but also link Jesus’ experience with that of Mark’s C A implied readers. The Jerusalem Ministry: A Week of Sacred Time R D , 155 joyous reception in the holy city with the tragedy of his crucifixion five days later. A crowd, probably of Galilean supporters, enthusiastically welcomes Jesus to Jerusalem, hailing him as restorer of “the coming kingdom of our father David” (11:9–10). As Mark reports it, Jesus had carefully arranged his entry to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah would appear in humble guise, riding on a beast of burden (Zech. 9:9). Mark thus portrays Jesus suddenly making a radical change in policy: Instead of hiding his messianic identity, Jesus now seems to “go public”—challenging Jerusalem to accept him as God’s Anointed. Jesus’ appearance as a messianic claimant also challenges Roman authority. Because the Messiah was commonly expected to reestablish David’s monarchy, the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate was likely to interpret Jesus’ actions as a political claim to Judean kingship and, hence, to Rome, an act of treason (15:2–3). A Focus on the Temple In the third section of his Gospel, Mark focuses exclusively on the last week of Jesus’ life, from D the Sunday on which Jesus enters Jerusalem to R the following Sunday’s dawn, when some I Galilean women find his tomb empty (11:1– E 16:8). To Mark, this is a sacred period during which Jesus accomplishes his life’s purpose, sac- N rificing himself for humanity’s redemption. N Mark’s Christian Holy Week also corresponds E to Passover week, when thousands of Jews from throughout the Greco-Roman world gather in Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s deliverance from 2 slavery in Egypt. As he narrates Jesus’ rejection 4 by Jewish leaders and execution by Roman officials, Mark celebrates the irony of events: Blind 7 to Jesus’ value, no one recognizes Jesus as a de- 9 liverer greater than Moses and a sacrifice that T epitomizes the essential meaning of Passover. S The Triumphal Entry If Mark was aware of Jesus’ other visits to Jerusalem (narrated in John’s Gospel), he dismisses them as unimportant compared with his last. In bold strokes, the author contrasts Jesus’ Once Jesus is in Jerusalem, his activities center around the Temple: His entrance into the city is not complete until he enters the Temple courts (11:1–10). On the Monday following his arrival, he creates a riot in the sanctuary, overturning moneychangers’ tables and disrupting the sale of sacrificial animals (11:15–19). This assault on the Sadducean administration brands him as a threat to public order and probably seals his fate with the chief priests and Temple police. As Mark describes his actions, Jesus visits the Temple, not to worship, but to pronounce eschatological judgment: Jesus’ last teaching is a prophecy of the sanctuary’s imminent destruction (ch. 13)—a prediction that may lie behind later charges that Jesus conspired to destroy the center of Jewish religion (14:56). Jesus’ negative verdict on the Temple begins to take effect at his death, when the jeweled curtain veiling its inner sanctum is split apart (15:38), exposing its interior to public gaze and foreshadowing its imminent desecration by Gentiles (see Figure 7.7). 156 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s figure 7.7 Warning inscription from Herod’s Temple. Illustrating the barrier erected between Jews and Gentiles, this inscription warned Temple visitors that no Gentile could enter the inner courtyards except on pain of death. Besides condemning the Temple’s sacrificial system and the Sadducean priests who control it, Mark uses other devices to indicate that Jesus’ Jerusalem ministry is fundamentally an adverse judgment on the city. Jesus’ cursing an unproductive fig tree—the curse (11:12–14) and its fulfillment (11:20–24) bracketing the story of his attack on Temple practices—represents Mark’s intent to condemn the Jerusalem leaders who, in his opinion, do not bear “good fruit” and are destined to wither and die. The parable of the wicked tenants who kill their landlord’s son (12:1–11) has the same function: to discredit Jesus’ enemies. In Mark’s view, the landlord (God) has now given his vineyard, traditionally a symbol for Israel, to “others”—the author’s Christian community. Confrontations at the Temple In Jerusalem, clashes between Jesus and Jewish leaders intensify, becoming a matter of life or death. Mark pictures Jesus scoring success after success in a series of hostile encounters with representatives of leading religious parties as he moves through the Temple precincts, thronged with Passover pilgrims. The Pharisees and Herod Antipas’s supporters attempt to trap Jesus on the controversial issue of paying taxes to Rome, a snare he eludes by suggesting that people return government coins to their source while reserving for God the rest of one’s life. The Sadducees also suffer defeat when they try to force Jesus into an untenable position they hope will illustrate the illogic of a belief in resurrection to future life. When asked to which husband a woman who has been widowed six times will be married when all the former spouses are raised, Jesus states that there will be no ethical problem because resurrected Rpersons escape the limits of human sexuality and I become “like the angels in heaven” (12:18–25). Citing the Torah, apparently the only part of Cthe Hebrew Bible that the Sadducees accept, Ahe quotes Yahweh’s words to Moses at the burnRing bush—that Yahweh is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exod. 3:6)—arguing that, beDcause Yahweh is “not God of the dead but of the , living,” the ancient patriarchs must still be alive from the Deity’s perspective (12:26–27). Interestingly, Mark closes Jesus’ Temple Adebates with a friendly encounter in which the DGalilean and a Torah expert agree on the esRsence of true religion. Answering a “lawyer’s” I question about the Bible’s most important requirement, Jesus cites the Shema, or Jewish Edeclaration of monotheism: There is only one NGod, and Israel must love him with all its force Nand being (Deut. 6:4–5). To this he adds a second Torah command: to love one’s neighEbor as oneself (Lev. 19:18). In agreement, the “lawyer” and Jesus exchange compliments. 2Although not a follower, the Jerusalem leader sees that active love is the essence of divine 4rule, a perception that Jesus says makes him 7“not far from the kingdom of God”—a more 9favorable verdict than Jesus ever passes on the Twelve (12:28–34). T S Jesus’ Prophecy of the Temple’s Fall In chapter 13, Mark underscores his eschatological concerns. In response to the disciples’ question about when his prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction will take place, Jesus delivers his longest speech, associating the Temple’s fall chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s with an era of catastrophes that culminate in the Son of Man appearing as eschatological judge. The author seems to have composed this discourse from a variety of sources, combining Jesus’ words with older Jewish apocalyptic literature and perhaps with prophetic oracles from his own community as well. A considerably expanded version of the speech is preserved in Matthew 24, and a significantly modified version of Mark’s eschatological expectations appears in Luke 21. John’s Gospel contains no parallel to the Synoptic prophecies R about the eschaton. I Readers will notice that Mark incorporates two somewhat contradictory views of the End. C He states that a swarm of disasters and frighten- A ing astronomical phenomena will provide un- R mistakable “signs” that the Parousia is near, just as the budding fig tree heralds the arrival of D spring (13:8, 14–20, 24–31). Conversely, nei- , ther the Son nor his followers can surmise the time of Final Judgment, so one must keep conA stant watch, because the End will occur without D previous warning (13:32–37). R Oracles of Disaster Mark’s strong emphasis on I political and social upheavals as portents of the End reflects the turbulent era in which he com- E posed his “wartime” Gospel. If, as historians be- N lieve, Mark wrote during the Jewish Revolt, N when battles and insurrections were daily occurrences, he seems to have viewed these E events as a turning point in history, an unprecedented crisis leading to the final apocalypse. 2 In addition to witnessing the intense suffering 4 of Palestinian Jews, the Markan community was undoubtedly aware of recent persecutions in 7 Rome that resulted in numerous deaths, in- 9 cluding the executions of Christianity’s two T chief apostles, Peter and Paul (mid-60s ce). Between about 67 and 70 ce, Zealots may also S have attacked Palestinian Christians who accepted Gentiles into their communities, for those extreme revolutionaries regarded virtually all Gentiles as enemies of the Jewish nation. These ordeals may well account for Mark’s references to “persecutions” and assertions that 157 unless this period of testing was “cut short,” no believers could survive (13:9–13). The “Abomination” Mark incorporates a cryptic passage from the Book of Daniel into his eschatological discourse. When believers see “‘the abomination of desolation’ usurping a place which is not his,” they are to abandon their homes in Judea and take refuge in nearby hills (13:14–20; cf. Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). Directly addressing his readers, the author alerts them to the importance of understanding this reference (13:14). Some scholars believe that Mark here refers to the Zealots’ violent occupation of the Temple in 67–68 ce and their pollution of its sacred precincts with the blood of their victims, which may have included some Christians (see Box 7.6). This tribulation, which threatens the people of God, will be concluded by the Son of Man’s appearing with his angels to gather the faithful. Mark shows Jesus warning disciples that all these horrors and wonders will occur in the lifetime of his hearers, although no one knows the precise day or hour (13:24–32). Mark’s eschatological fervor, which Matthew and Luke subsequently mute in their respective versions of the Markan apocalypse (cf. Matt. 24–25 and Luke 21), vividly conveys both the fears and hopes of the author’s Christian generation. Mark’s eschatology, in fact, closely resembles that of Paul, who—a few years earlier—wrote the church in Corinth that “the time we live in will not last long” (1 Cor. 7:29). As his first letter to the Thessalonians makes clear, Paul fully expected to be alive at the Parousia (1 Thess. 4:13– 18; see Chapters 14 and 15). The Last Supper and Jesus’ Betrayal Following the eschatological discourse, Jesus withdraws with his disciples to a private “upper room” in Jerusalem. On Thursday evening, he presides over a Passover feast of unleavened bread, an observance that solemnly recalls Israel’s last night in Egypt, when the Angel of Death “passed over” Israelites’ houses to slay the Egyptian firstborn (Exod. 11:1–13:16). In a 158 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s box 7 .6 The Desecrating “Abomination” and Mark’s Eschatological Community The longest speech that Mark assigns to Jesus is his prediction of Jerusalem’s imminent destruction (Mark 13), suggesting that for Mark’s intended audience this event was of great importance, a warning that the Parousia (Jesus’ return in glory) was near. Mark’s cryptic reference to the “abomination of desolation,” an apocalyptic image borrowed from Daniel (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11), signifies a Gentile pollution of the Jerusalem Temple. Mark pointedly advises his readers to take careful note of this profanation of the sanctuary and, when they see it occurring, abandon their homes in Judea and take refuge in the surrounding hills. In Daniel, the “abomination” was Antiochus IV’s defilement of the Temple by sacrificing swine on its altar and erecting an altar to Zeus, king of the Hellenic gods, in its courtyard. Some scholars suggest that the “abomination” to which Mark refers was the occupation of the Temple area by brigands shortly before the Roman siege began. According to Josephus, in the winter of 67–68 ce, a mixed band of Jewish guerrilla fighters moved into Jerusalem from the countryside and seized control of the Temple. Led by Eleazar, son of Simon (see Chapter 3), this revolutionary group formed the Zealot party, which resolved not only to expel the Romans but also to purge the city of any Jewish leaders who cooperated with them. Adopting a policy of radical egalitarianism, the Zealots fiercely attacked Jerusalem’s wealthy aristocracy and the Temple’s priestly administration, which they condemned as traitors to the Jewish nation for having collaborated with the Romans. The Zealots assassinated many of the Jewish landowners and priests, staining the Temple pavements with the blood of ritual at the close of their meal, Jesus gives the Passover a new significance, stating that the bread he distributes is his “body” and the wine his “blood of the [New] Covenant, shed for many” (14:22–25)—liturgical symbols of his Jerusalem’s leadership, acts that outraged Josephus and may have been regarded as a polluting “abomination” by other Jews. The Zealots also held illegal trials for and executions of those they suspected of not sharing their total commitment to the war against Rome. It is possible that Jerusalem’s Christian community, which Rby then included Gentiles (an anathema to the Zealots), suffered Zealot persecution and that the I shedding of Christian blood, both Jewish and CGentile, also contaminated the holy place, an A“abominable” guarantee of its impending fall. The church historian Eusebius records that Rshortly before Jerusalem was obliterated Christians Dthere received an “oracle” inciting them to escape , from the city and settle in Pella, a mostly Gentile town in the Decapolis, a territory east of the Jordan dominated by a league of ten Hellenistic cities (Eccl. AHist. 3.5.3). Scholars still debate the historicity of Dthis episode, but Josephus reveals that such “inRspired” predictions about Jerusalem’s dire fate were circulating among Jews during the war with Rome. I He states that some Jews prophesied that the ETemple would be destroyed “when sedition and naNtive hands [the Zealots] should be the first to defile God’s sacred precincts” (The Jewish War 4.6.3; see Nalso 4.3.10 and 4.3.12). In Christian circles, oral traEditions about Jesus’ pronouncement on Jerusalem may have been the source of Mark’s declaration to 2flee the city when the “abomination” (Zealot defilement of the sanctuary?) occurred. 4 a detailed analysis of the Jewish Revolt’s influence on 7For Mark 13, see Joel Marcus, “The Jewish War and the Sitz 9im Leben of Mark,” Journal of Biblical Literature 3(3) (1992): 441–462. T S crucifixion. Mark’s account of this Last Supper, the origin of the Christian celebration of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, closely resembles Paul’s earlier description of the ceremony (1 Cor. 11:23–26). chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s Mark’s Passion Narrative: Jesus’ Trial and Crucifixion Mark’s Suffering Messiah In describing Jesus’ Passion—his final suffering and death—Mark’s narrative irony reaches its height. Although the author emphasizes many grim details of Jesus’ excruciatingly painful execution, he means his readers to see the enormous disparity between the appearance of Jesus’ vulnerability to the world’s evil and the actual R reality of his spiritual triumph. Jesus’ enemies, I who believe they are ridding Judea of a dangerous radical, are in fact making possible his C saving death—all according to God’s design. A R Jesus’ Arrest in Gethsemane Even so, Mark’s D hero is tested fully—treated with vicious cruelty (14:65; 15:15–20), deserted by all his friends , (14:50), and even (in human eyes) abandoned by God (15:34). The agony begins in Gethsemane, A a grove or vineyard on the Mount of Olives opposite Jerusalem, to which Jesus and the disciples D retreat after the Last Supper. In the Gethsemane R episode (14:28–52), Mark places a dual empha- I sis on Jesus’ fulfilling predictions in the Hebrew Bible (14:26–31, 39) and on his personal an- E guish. By juxtaposing these two elements, Mark N demonstrates that, while the Crucifixion will N take place as God long ago planned (and revealed in Scripture), Jesus’ part in the drama of E salvation demands heroic effort. While the disciples sleep, Jesus faces the hard reality of his 2 impending torture, experiencing “grief” and 4 “horror and dismay.” To Mark, his hero— emotionally ravaged and physically defense- 7 less—provides the model for all believers 9 whose loyalty is tested. Although Jesus prays T that God will spare him the humiliation and pain he dreads, he forces his own will into har- S mony with God’s. Mark reports that, even during this cruel testing of the heavenly Father–Son of Man relationship, Jesus addresses the Deity as Abba, an Aramaic term expressing a child’s trusting intimacy with the parent (14:32–41). 159 Jesus’ Hearing Before Caiaphas Mark’s skill as a storyteller—and interpreter of the events he narrates—is demonstrated in the artful way he organizes his account of Jesus’ Passion. Peter’s testing (14:37–38) and denial that he even knows Jesus (15:65–72) provide the frame for and ironic parallel to Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council headed by Caiaphas, the High Priest. When Peter fulfills Jesus’ prediction about denying him, the disciple’s failure serves a double purpose: confirming Jesus’ prophetic gifts and strengthening readers’ confidence in Jesus’ ability to fulfill other prophecies, including those of his resurrection (14:28) and reappearance as the glorified Son of Man (14:62). Mark contrasts Peter’s fearful denial with Jesus’ courageous declaration to the Sanhedrin that he is indeed the Messiah and the appointed agent of God’s future judgment (14:62). The only Gospel writer to show Jesus explicitly accepting a messianic identity at his trial, Mark may do so to highlight his theme that Jesus’ messiahship is revealed primarily through humility and service, a denial of self that also effects humanity’s salvation (10:45). Like the author of Hebrews, Mark sees Jesus’ divine Sonship earned and perfected through suffering and death (Heb. 2:9–11; 5:7–10). Pilate’s Condemnation of Jesus At daybreak on Friday, the “whole council held a consultation” (15:1)—perhaps implying that the night meeting had been illegal and therefore lacked authority to condemn Jesus—and sends the accused to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect (governor) who was in Jerusalem to maintain order during Passover week. Uninterested in the Sanhedrin’s charge that Jesus is a blasphemer, Pilate focuses on Jesus’ reputed political crime, seditiously claiming to be the Jewish king. After remarking that it is Pilate himself who has stated the claim, Jesus refuses to answer further questions. Because Mark re-creates almost the entire Passion story in the context of Old Testament prophecies, it is difficult to know if Jesus’ silence represents his actual behavior 160 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s or the author’s reliance on Isaiah 53, where Israel’s suffering servant does not respond to his accusers (Isa. 53:7). As Mark describes the proceedings, Pilate is extremely reluctant to condemn Jesus and does so only after the priestly hierarchy pressures him to act. Whereas the Markan Pilate maneuvers to spare Jesus’ life, the historical Pilate (prefect of Judea from 26 to 36 ce), whom Josephus describes, rarely hesitated to slaughter troublesome Jews (cf. Antiquities 18.3.1–2; The Jewish War 2.9.4). When a mob demands that not Jesus but a convicted terrorist named Barabbas be freed, Pilate is pictured as having no choice but to release Barabbas (the first person to benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice) and order the Galilean’s crucifixion. Jesus’ Crucifixion Stripped, flogged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, Jesus is apparently unable to carry the crossbeam of his cross, so Roman soldiers impress a bystander, Simon of Cyrene, to carry it for him (15:16–21). Taken to Golgotha (Place of the Skull) outside Jerusalem, Jesus is crucified between two criminals (traditionally called “thieves” but probably brigands similar to those who formed the Zealot party in Mark’s day). According to Pilate’s order, his cross bears a statement of the political offense for which he is executed: aspiring to be the Jewish king—a cruelly ironic revelation of his true identity (15:22–32). Mark’s description of the Crucifixion is almost unendurably bleak (see Figure 7.8). To bystanders, who mock him for his assumed pretensions to kingly authority, Jesus—nailed to the cross—appears powerless and defeated (15:29–30). As Mark so darkly paints it, the scene is a tragic paradox: Despite the seeming triumph of religious and political forces allied against him, Jesus is neither guilty nor a failure. The failure lies in humanity’s collective inability to recognize the sufferer’s inestimable value, to see in him God’s hand at work. To emphasize the spiritual blindness of Jesus’ tormenters, Mark states that a midday darkness envelops the earth (15:33). Unlike Luke or John, who show Jesus dying with serene confidence (see Box 10.7), Mark focuses only on Jesus’ isolation and abandonment, making his last words (in Aramaic) a cry of despair: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”—“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (15:34). In placing this question—a direct quotation of Psalm 22:1—on Jesus’ lips, the author may echo a memory of Jesus’ last words. Mark’s main purpose, however, is probably to create a paradigm for Christians facing a similar fate Rand to show that out of human malice the diI vine goal is accomplished. From the author’s perspective, there is an enormous disparity beCtween what witnesses to the Crucifixion think is Ahappening and the saving work that God actuRally achieves through Jesus’ death. In Mark’s eschatological vision, the horror of Jesus’ agony Dis transformed by God’s intervention to raise , his son in glory. AJesus’ Burial DAlthough some scholars believe that Mark’s Rwealth of concrete detail indicates that he drew I on a well-developed oral form of the Passion story for his Gospel, others think that the narraEtive of Jesus’ last week is basically a Markan Ncomposition. In contrast to the geographical Nvagueness of much of his Galilean narrative, the author’s Passion account is full of the Enames of specific places and participants, from Gethsemane, to Pilate’s courtyard, to Golgotha. 2As in all four Gospels, Mary of Magdala provides the key human link connecting Jesus’ 4death and burial and the subsequent discovery 7that his grave is empty (15:40–41, 47; 16:1). 9Joseph of Arimathea, a mysterious figure introsuddenly into the narrative, serves a Tduced single function: to transfer Jesus’ body from SRoman control to that of the dead man’s disciples. Acquainted with Pilate, a member of the Sanhedrin and yet a covert supporter of Jesus’ ministry, he bridges the two opposing worlds of Jesus’ enemies and friends. Not only does Joseph obtain official permission to remove Jesus’ body from the cross—otherwise, it would routinely chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s R I C A R D , A D R I E N N E 2 4 7 9 T S f i gu r e 7 .8 The Small Crucifixion. Painted on wood by Matthias Grünewald (c. 1470–1528), this small version of Jesus’ tortured death heightens the sense of the sufferer’s physical pain and grief. Although his emphasis on Jesus’ agony reflects Mark’s account, Grünewald follows John’s Gospel in showing Jesus’ mother and the beloved disciple (as well as another Mary) present at the cross. 161 162 p art t h r e e d i v e r s e p o r t r aits o f jes u s be consigned to an anonymous mass grave— but he also provides a secure place of entombment, a rock-hewn sepulcher that he seals by rolling a large, flat stone across the entrance (15:42–47). Postlude: The Empty Tomb Because the Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday, the day of Jesus’ execution, the female disciples cannot prepare the corpse for interment until Sunday morning. Arriving at dawn, the women find the entrance stone already rolled back and the crypt empty except for the presence of a young man dressed in white. (Is he the same unidentified youth who fled naked from Gethsemane in 14:50–51?) Mark’s scene at the vacant tomb recalls themes recurring throughout his Gospel. Like the male disciples who could not understand Jesus’ allusion to resurrection (9:9–10), the women are bewildered, unable to accept the youth’s revelation that Jesus is “risen.” Fleeing in terror, the women say “nothing to anybody” about what they have heard (16:8), leaving readers in suspense, wondering how the “good news” of Jesus’ resurrection was ever proclaimed. The Gospel thus concludes with a frightened silence, eschewing any account of Jesus’ post resurrection appearances (16:8). Mark’s Challenge to the Reader Some interpreters suggest that the double failure of Jesus’ disciples—the Eleven who desert him in Gethsemane and the Galilean women too paralyzed by fear to proclaim the good news of his resurrection—is intended to challenge the reader. If all Jesus’ closest followers fail him, who but the readers, who now know conclusively that God has acted through their crucified Lord, can testify confidently that he is both Israel’s Messiah and universal king (see Tolbert in “Recommended Reading”)? Mark’s Inconclusiveness: Resurrection or Parousia? Other commentators propose that Mark’s belief in the nearness of Jesus’ Parousia may explain why the risen Jesus does not manifest himself in the earliest Gospel. The mysterious youth in white tells the women how to find Jesus—the risen Lord has already started a posthumous journey “to Galilee,” where Peter and the other disciples “will see him” (16:6–7). RSome scholars think that Mark, convinced that the political and social chaos of the Jewish I Revolt will soon climax in Jesus’ return, refers Cnot to a resurrection phenomenon but to the AParousia. Forty years after the Crucifixion, community may believe that their wanRMark’s dering through the wilderness is almost over: DThey are about to follow Jesus across Jordan , into “Galilee,” his promised kingdom. Mark’s inconclusiveness, his insistence on leaving his story open-ended, must have seemed Aas unsatisfactory to later Christian scribes as it Ddoes to many readers today. For perhaps that Rreason, Mark’s Gospel has been heavily edited, with two different conclusions added at differI ent times. All the oldest manuscripts of Mark Eend with the line stressing the women’s terriNfied refusal to obey the young man’s instruction to carry the Resurrection message to Peter. In Ntime, however, some editors appended post resEurrection accounts to their copies of Mark, making his Gospel more consistent with Matthew and Luke (Mark 16:8b and 16:9–20). 2 4 7 Summary 9 TChristianity’s first attempt to create a sequential Saccount of Jesus’ public ministry, arrest, and exe- cution, Mark’s Gospel includes relatively little of Jesus’ teaching. Focusing on Jesus’ actions— exorcisms, healings, and other miracles—the author presents his mighty works as evidence that God’s kingdom has begun to rule, breaking up Satan’s control over suffering humanity. Writing under the shadow of Roman persecution and the chapter 7 m ark’s po rtrait o f jes u s impending Roman destruction of Jerusalem, Mark presents Jesus as an eschatological Son of Man, who will soon reappear to judge all people. Mark’s ironic vision depicts Jesus as an unexpected and unwanted kind of Messiah who is predestined to be misunderstood, rejected, and crucified—a Messiah revealed only in suffering and death. God, however, uses humanity’s blindness and inadequacy to provide a ransom sacrifice in his Son, saving humankind despite its attempts to resist him. 2. 3. R Questions for Review I 1. According to tradition, who wrote the Gospel according to Mark? Why are modern scholars un- C able to verify that tradition? What themes in the A Gospel suggest that it was composed after the Jewish Revolt against Rome had already begun? R 2. Outline and summarize the major events in D Jesus’ public career, from his baptism by John and his Galilean ministry through his last week , in Jerusalem. Specify the devices that Mark uses to connect the powerful miracle worker in A Galilee with the seemingly powerless sacrificial victim in Jerusalem. Why does Mark devote so D much space and detail to narrating the Passion R story? Why does he have Jesus predict his own I death three times? 3. Describe the three different categories Mark E assigns the Son of Man concept. How is this concept related to earlier Jewish writings, such N as the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and 1 Enoch? N 4. Define parable, and discuss Jesus’ use of this litE erary form to illustrate his vision of God’s kingdom. Why does Mark state that Jesus used parables to prevent people from understanding 2 his message? 5. Explain a possible connection between the 4 messianic secret concept and Mark’s picture of 7 the disciples as hopelessly inept and Jesus’ opponents as mistakenly seeing him as the devil’s 9 agent. What devices does the author employ to T convey his view that Jesus had to be misunderS stood for him to fulfill God’s plan? Questions for Discussion and Reflection 1. How does the historical situation when Mark wrote help account for the author’s portrait of Jesus as a suffering Messiah whose disciples 4. 5. 163 must also expect to suffer? Would the wars, insurrections, and persecutions afflicting Mark’s community have stimulated the author’s sense of eschatological urgency? Why does Mark paint so unflattering a picture of Jesus’ Galilean family, neighbors, and disciples, all of whom fail to understand or support him? Do you think that the author is trying to disassociate Christianity from its Palestinian origins in favor of his Gentile church’s understanding of Jesus’ significance? Do you think that Mark’s emphasis on Jesus’ exorcisms—his battle with cosmic evil—is an expression of the author’s eschatology, his belief that in Jesus’ activities God’s kingdom has begun and the End is near? Explain your answer. Discuss Mark’s use of irony in his...
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Running head: THE LORD’S PRAYER


The Lord’s Prayer
Prayer is an essential tool that human beings use to communicate with God. Through the
tool, they can make their requests and wishes known to God. In the book of Mathew chapter six
versus nine to thirteen, the Lord's prayer is outlined on how it's supposed to be done by people
while speaking to the Almighty. The Lord’s prayer presented by Mathew teaches bible believers
and Christians on how to present themselves to God. According to Harri...

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