During June and July we have an opportunity to reflect on some of the ways that the Gospel of Mark represented Jesus to its readers.
So far as we can tell, this Gospel was the first to be written. It was later expanded into a second edition that we know as the Gospel of Matthew, while the Gospel of Luke also seems to have built on the foundations laid by Mark, albeit with much more freedom than Matthew exercised. On the other hand, the Gospel of John shows very little evidence of sharing the way that Mark describes Jesus.
In the Year B of our three-year cycle of Gospel readings for the Sunday services, we pay special attention to Mark.
As we return to Mark now that the Great Fifty Days of Easter are behind us, we have a series of readings during June and July that represent Jesus in conflict with people around him: his family, his hometown of Nazareth, and the Pharisees. At the same time Mark portrays Jesus as a man of powerful actions (healing the sick, casting out demons, even controlling the weather) and challenging spiritual wisdom (seen especially in his parables).
By the time we reach the mid-point of Mark’s Gospel in chapter 8, we shall find Jesus asking his disciples who they think he is. Before we get to consider our response to that key question, we shall have several weeks of Mark raising the tension around Jesus who sometimes seems like a new Moses and at other times seems like another Elijah.
Of course, for Mark and his readers Jesus was even more important than either of those towering figures in the Jewish tradition.
Come with us on the journey these next few weeks as we look afresh at Jesus through the lens crafted by Mark towards the end of the first century.
See you in church on Sundays at 9.00am, or follow the sermons online.