Bible Review 10:3, June 1994

Mark and the Life—and Death—of Jesus

For Mark, belief in Jesus as the powerful messianic teacher and worker of miracles was not the point. Jesus is ultimately something very different.

By Helmut Koester

Bible Review

Mark’s Gospel provides the readings for the Sunday gospels in most churches this year. After the Sunday of Pentecost, the readings will take the worshiper from the story of the Plucking of Grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23–28), through the Beelzebub Controversy (Mark 3:23–30), the Stilling of the Tempest (Mark 4:35–41), Jesus’ Rejection at Nazareth (Mark 6:1–6), the Controversy about Clean and Unclean (Mark 7:1–23), and Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce (Mark 10:2–16), to Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem at the end of his career (Mark 12:28–44, 13:1–13). All these stories create an image of a powerful and successful prophet and miracle worker—one who was baptized by John the Baptist, drove out demons, healed the sick and was widely acclaimed as the Messiah; who refuted his enemies and instructed his disciples; and who, upon entering Jerusalem, was hailed as the one “coming in the name of the Lord” (Mark 11:9), though he was later arrested and executed.

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