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Sunday, June 9, 2024

Class Assignment: What is the gospel, according to Mark?

Assignment: Without referencing any other New Testament writer, but you can reference any Hebrew Bible writer that the gospel author himself references, what is the gospel according to...

Gospel Reading: Mark

Darrell Wolfe

Literature, The King’s University

Life of Jesus (BIBL-2302)

Professor Jason Moraff

November 1, 2020


1.       On its own, the comparison to Jesus as Bridegroom and his men with him not fasting makes sense. I fail to see how the new cloth patching old cloth or new wine and wineskins have any relevance to the question of why his men do not fast. This might be a point where cultural relevance would be at play?

2.       Paraphrase: “Jesus climbed into the boat and the wind stopped. They were afraid. They still did not understand the significance of the loaves.” How were his disciples expected to connect his ability to multiply food with his ability to stop wind? Should they have observed these as power over the natural order of things?

3.       9:10 – Jesus’s three closest men are asking among themselves what “rising from the dead” means. Considering the rest of the story, it means exactly what it means. How often do we make things too difficult or aloof, when he is really telling us quite plainly?

4.       In most instances, Jesus heals a nameless blind person. But here in 10:46 the person is named. It feels odd or out of place compared to other stories of healing. What is naming this person accomplishing? What could his name reveal about him or the story? Is he important in some way in another place? This just stands out to me as a “things that make you go, hmm” sort of way.

5.       Ch. 13 – I am forced to admit that I do not see a “rapture” described in this set of events. I wonder how much we have a proper understanding of what is coming next and what Jesus actually said his second coming would look like (vs what Left Behind said it would be)?

6.       My margin notes say that anything after 16:8 may or may not be authentic. This says more about the scholar than the text to me. Maybe I am just missing something about the history of it. Why do scholars find incomplete copies and then use them to doubt the authenticity of the original?


·         Throughout Mark, Jesus tells people not to tell what he did for them; and demons not to reveal who he was. This was strange at first until I reached the end. Jesus was, ultimately, crucified for claiming to be the Son of God. So, he kept a lid on this until the time was right to admit it to the leaders at the end. He kept them second-guessing until then.

·         4:24-25 – In the NKJV, this did not completely make sense. But the NLT Messiah version made more sense. “The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given”. I think this is what classes like this one teach us to do. Listen closer. Listen more attentively. Ask questions. Use the background and history to see deeper into the words. Preparing our hearts to be good soil.

·         Jesus is on the way to heal a man’s daughter. They are stopped by a woman who had faith to be healed. He calls her daughter. Between the lines, Jairus is still standing there when he said it. Jesus is building Jairus’ faith by comparing the daughters of healing. The end of this section speaks about Jesus being unable to do any miracles because of unbelief. These stories juxtapose each other to show that we have a role to play in God’s miracles in our lives.

·         9:24 – “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” This could be one of the most powerful prayers I pray. Despite decades walking with God and multiple experiences seeing Him show up for me, I continue to doubt he will do it again the next time. I have grown by leaps and bounds, but the tendency to doubt is strong and one I fight constantly. I love how Jesus met the father at his level. He took that seed of belief and used it.

·         Ch. 11 – Jesus shows up, observes, leaves. He comes back the next day and acts. Also, he speaks death to a tree. The next day, his disciples see the effects of that curse. I enjoyed seeing these weave into each other in the same story. Day 1, Day 2. I wonder how often we are rushed into action without taking time to pray? I wonder how often we pray and do not see anything and give up before the miracle comes?

·         Roman officers were hardened to crucifixions. It must have been an impressive death scene to make the soldier believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

The Gospel According to Mark

            According to Mark, this is the story of Jesus the Messiah, Kingly Son of David, and Son of God, who came preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God. In Mark’s story, we see an unlikely king. This man is no military leader or revolutionary. He comes as a Rabbi teaching people to see and think differently, and as a result, live differently. His teaching forces the religious leaders, people, and even his own disciples to think deeper and see things from a new (heavenly) perspective. Jesus comes racing onto the scene with a new style of message and new power to back it up. He heals the sick, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Most shockingly to a first century audience, he also comes forgiving sins. This kingdom, however, is no ordinary kingdom. It is a kingdom that is from above. He tells us that it starts small like a mustard seed and grows until it becomes the largest plant in the garden; possibly hinting at the non-geo-political nature of it. It is as if to say, this kingdom will be a kingdom of minds and hearts, worldview altering, but not one of palaces and policies. He even stops his disciples from fighting for him, which is what most disciples would have been expected to do for the Messiah they were expecting. As if to drive the point of Jesus’s heavenly status home, he places the transfiguration and God the Father announcing “this is my Son” at the midpoint (9:7). It becomes the truth upon which the entire story hinges. Then again, at the end, a Roman solider repeats “truly this man was the Son of God” (15:39). This kingdom is lead by a King who conquered death and sits at God’s right hand. The book ends by saying that Jesus tells his disciples to go into the world preaching the good news of this kingdom, and he backs it up with signs following. Even though the story is about the Son of God who introduces a new kind of kingdom, this Good News seems far more interested in how we think and live here on Earth than it does in getting us “saved to get to heaven”. 

Shalom שָׁלוֹם: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant | Freelancer | Bible Nerd


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