As the early church spread and realized that the end time was no time soon, a need arose to start writing on its faith in Jesus, the Risen Christ, the Son of God and Mary. Paul was the first to write his letters on faith in the Risen Lord, to the wider Church, beyond Jewish Christians. Mark was the first of the four gospels, being written around the year 70AD.

Mark designed his faith story into two halves.

  • Mark 1:1-8:30 – The Mystery of Jesus as the Christ.

  • Mark 8:31-16:8 – The Mystery of Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God.

Mark begins by telling the reader who Jesus is and what he will do. Through various episodes, in the first half of the Gospel, involving interactions between Jesus and characters who have not read the prologue (1:1-13), a single question emerges: Who is Jesus?

The questioning ceases after Jesus asks his disciples, at Caesarea Philippi: Who do people say that I am? Peter responds: You are the Messiah.

The second half of the Gospel opens with an immediate explanation of who Jesus is: the Son of Man must go up to Jerusalem to suffer, to die and to be raised on the third day. As the crucified and risen Son of Man, Jesus is both Messiah and Son of God. As Jesus dies his agonizing death on the cross, the Roman centurion, a non-disciple, confesses the crux of the faith: Truly, this man was the Son of God. The Christ was the humble, obedient Jesus, the Son of God.

The way of obedience unto death so that God might enter his story and raise him from death must be the measure of the life of all who claim to be his followers. The disciple is called to follow the crucified Messiah and Son of God.

The presentation of Jesus in Mark is focused strongly on a suffering Jesus, who dies, asking God why he has forsaken him. This portrait challenges all who follow the Son of God. He responds to his Father through his unconditional self-gift, whatever it may cost him. His followers are asked to do the same.

Mark stands in line with Paul, for we are called to preach Christ crucified, remembering that the foolishness of God is wiser than men and his weakness is stronger than our strength. Our life of discipleship makes sense because we are following the Son of God, the Crucified Jesus whom God raised from death, following him into a life of self-giving and suffering, death and resurrection.

Francis J Moloney sdb- Reading the New Testament in the Church (2015)

Verified by MonsterInsights