May 6, 2011
In reading Mark, I can’t help but wonder why Jesus told people to be quiet about certain miracles. What’s even more baffling is that they ignore this command. so, for example, in chapter one of Mark Jesus commands grown men to follow him, and they follow (1:17). Jesus effortlessly drives out demons (1:25). Jesus miraculously heals people (1:31). Jesus cures the leprous (1:42). But when Jesus tells the leprous not to tell about it, his command is ignored. This shocks me, coming as it does at the climax of chapter one.
Elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus commands the sea to be calm (4:39), commands legions of demon to come out (5:8), and commands a dead girl to come back to life (5:41). But when Jesus commands people to be quiet, his command is ignored.
I do not know the answer to this, perhaps I am reading way to much into the text, so let me simply offer an open-ended question: Does the phenomenon of people ignoring Jesus’ commands reveal anything about the nature of man in relation to God? Is it significant that perhaps the only imperative of Jesus in Mark that is not fulfilled is the one given to people?
May 4, 2011
In the next couple of days I hope to write a few posts related to the Gospel of Mark. I don’t plan on writing anything profound, but simply to share some observations that have occurred to me as I’ve recently been reading through this Gospel.
So today my first reflection is on Mark 4:35-41, the passage where Jesus calms the storm. Isn’t it interesting that in this passage the disciples “feared a great fear” in response to Jesus’ ability to calm the sea? Isn’t it also interesting that this is the same phrase used in the story of Jonah, where the sailors “fear a fear” when Jonah is tossed overboard!
I think that I would have also been afraid if I had been on the boat with the disciples. Maybe the disciples’ fear was related to the power of Jesus’ words — the same Jesus who speaks to the wind immediately turns and speaks to them:
4:39, “And he said to the sea, ‘Silence! Stillness!’”
4:40, “And he said to the disciples, ‘Why are you timid? Do you still not have faith?’”
And then the disciples fear. If One with the power to instantly calm the sea by speaking only two short words then turned to me and spoke a twofold rebuke for my lack of faith, I would be afraid too!
How interesting, also, that this account of Jesus’ ability to calm the sea occurs at the end of a series of parables, parables related to the seed — which represents the word (4:14).
March 27, 2011
If you are doing any writing or research on the Gospel of Mark, I recommend that you check out Writing on the Gospel of Mark (2009) by William Telford. The book purposes to “provide a comprehensive guide to recent and current developments in the field,” and includes bibliographies over the various approaches to the Gospel, major works that have been published, and all dissertations –published and unpublished — in the past 25 years. The book also includes a full 300 page annotated bibliography arranged by passage and topic, and a section detailing the future of Markan research, explaining what aspects are desperately in need of research in Mark and where there are gaps needing scholarly attention. The indexes are extremely useful: index of authors, index of Markan references. Also, this book is the first in a series, meaning that such works will be produced on each book of the NT!
March 10, 2010
I encountered these words this morning, as I began reading Mark’s gospel. This verse caught my attention for several reason. The word “straight” comes from the same word as “immediately,” one of Mark’s favorites. Thinking perhaps this was no coincidence, I opened Hendrickson’s commentary to check it out.
Hendrickson informs us that Mark’s quote is the exact same as in Matthew and Luke (p. 35). This is strange in light of the fact that neither the LXX nor the Hebrew render the verse this way. How, then, did the gospel writers come up with this particular quote and which writer borrowed from the others?
Hendrickson’s solution is fascinating:
“Matthew, the former publican, had made his own paraphrase of Old Testament passages fulfilled in the New, and that, together with other notes, this material had been distributed widely before any of our four gospels had been written” (p. 35).
This seems like some far-fetched speculation. Elsewhere Hendrickson hesitantly suggests that Mark was the first gospel written, followed by Matthew and then Luke (p. 14). What Hendrickson, then, is arguing is that Mathew paraphrased prophetic OT passages. Mark then borrowed these when he wrote his gospel, and then at a later time Mathew used his own paraphrases for his gospel.
What evidence does Hendrickson refer to for support of this theory? None–only speculation.