The Gospel of Mark
A Bible Study
Although there is no direct internal evidence of authorship it was the unanimous testimony of the early church that this Gospel was written by the man John Mark. The most important evidence comes from Papias (140 AD) who quotes an even earlier writer as saying...
1. Mark was a close associate of Peter, from whom he received the tradition of the things said and done by Jesus.
2. This tradition did not come to Mark as a finished, sequential account of the life of our Lord, but as the preaching of Peter-preaching directed to the needs of the early Christians.
3. Mark accurately preserved this material. The conclusion drawn from this tradition is that the Gospel of Mark largely consists of the preaching of Peter arranged and shaped by John Mark.
John Mark in the rest of the New Testament
It is generally agreed that the Mark who is associated with Peter in the early non-Biblical tradition is also the John Mark of the New Testament...
The first mention of him is in connection with his mother, who had a house in Jerusalem that served as a meeting place for believers. (Acts 12:12)
When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch from Jerusalem after the famine visit, Mark accompanied them (Acts. 12:25)
Mark next appears as a "helper" to Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5) but he deserted them at Perga, in Pamphylia, to return to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13)
Paul was deeply disappointed with Mark's actions on this occasion, because when Barnabas proposed taking Mark on the second journey, Paul flatly refused, a refusal that broke up their working relationship (Acts 15:36-39)
Barnabas took Mark, who was his cousin, and departed for Cyprus. No further mention is made of either of them in the book of Acts. Mark reappears in Paul's letter to the Colossians written from Rome. Paul sends a greeting from Mark and adds: "You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him". (Col.4:10) At this time Mark was apparently beginning to win his way back into Paul's confidence. By the end of Pauls life, Mark had fully regained Paul's favor (cf. 2 Tim.4:11)
Some, who hold that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a major source for their gospels have suggested that Mark may have been composed in the late 50's or early 60's. Others have felt that the content of the Gospel and statements made about Mark by the early church fathers indicate that the book was written shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Place of Origin
According to early church tradition, Mark was written "in the regions of Italy" or more specifically, in Rome (Irenaesu and Clement of Alexandria) These same authors closely associate Mark's writing of the Gospel with the apostle Peter. The above evidence is consistent with the following points...
1. The historical probability that Peter was in Rome during the last days of his life and was martyred there.
2. The Biblical evidence that Mark also was in Rome about the same time and was closely associated with Peter (cf. 2 Timothy 4:11; 1 Peter 5:13, where the word ''Babylon'' is probably a cryptogram for Rome)
Recipients of the Gospel
The evidence points to the church at Tome or at least to Gentile readers. Mark explains Jewish customs (7:2-4; 15:42) translates Aramaic words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11,34; 15;22) and seems to have a special interest in persecution and martyrdom (8:24-28; 13:9-13) which would be of special interest and concern to Roman believers. A Roman destination would explain the almost immediate acceptance of this Gospel and its rapid dissemination.
Occasion and Purpose
Since Mark's Gospel is traditionally associated with Rome, it may have been occasioned by the persecutions of the Roman church in the period ca 64-67 A.D. The famous fire of Rome in 64 A.D.-probably set by Nero himself but blamed on Christians--resulted in widespread persecution. Even martyrdom was unknown among Roman believers. Mark may be writing to prepare his readers for this suffering by placing before them the life of our Lord. There are many references, both explicit and veiled, to suffering and discipleship throughout Mark's Gospel. (cf. 1:12-13; 3:22,30; 8:34-38; 10:30,33-34,45; 13:8, 11-13)
Major Emphases in Mark's Gospel
1. The cross-Both the human cause (12:12; 14:1-2; 15:10) and the divine necessity (8:31; 9:31; 10:33) of the cross are emphasized by Mark.
2. Discipleship-Special attention should be paid to the passages on discipleship that arise from Jesus' predictions of his passion.(8:34-9:1; 9:35-10:31; 10:42-45)
3. The teachings of Jesus-Although Mark records far fewer actual teachings of Jesus than the other Gospel writers, there is a remarkable emphasis on Jesus as a teacher. The words "teacher," "teach" or "teaching" and "Rabbi" are applied to Jesus in Mark 39 times.
4. The Messianic secret-On several occasions Jesus warns his disciples or the person for whom he has worked a miracle to keep silent about who he is or what he has done. (1:33, 44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36-37; 8:26, 30; 9:9)
5. Son of God-Although Mark emphasizes the humanity of Jesus (3:5; 6:6,31,34; 7:34; 8:12,33; 10:14; 11:12) he does not neglect his deity (1:1,11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 12:1-11; 13:32; 15:39)
Special Characteristics in Mark's Gospel
Mark's Gospel is a simple, succinct, unadorned, yet vivid account of Jesus' ministry, emphasizing more what Jesus did than what he said. Mark moves quickly from one episode in Jesus' life and ministry to another, often using the adverb "immediately."
The book as a whole is characterized as ''The beginning of the gospel" (1:1) The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ comprises the "beginning" of which the apostolic preaching in Acts is to continuation.
THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD
I. 1:1-45 Christ's Coming Ushers in the Promised Reign of God
II. 2:1--3:6 Christ's Coming Provokes Contradiction: Five Galilean Disputes
III. 3:7--8:30 Christ's Response to Contradiction
IV. 8:31-10:31 Christ Imprints Cross on Life of His Disciples
V. 10:32-13:37 Christ Goes to Jerusalem
VI. 14:1-16:20 Christ's Suffering, Death, and Resurrection
I. Christ's Coming Ushers in Promised Reign of God
A. 1:1-13 The Preparation For His Coming
John the Baptizer prepares men for Christ's coming by his baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and by his announcement of the coming of the mightier One with His gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is prepared for His coming ministry by submitting to John's baptism, an act by which He marks His solidarity with sinful men; by being endowed with the fullness of the Spirit; by being hailed from heaven as the Son and Servant of God; by overcoming the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. He appears as the embodiment of the new, true Israel, who obeys and triumphs where the old Israel disobeyed and failed.
1:1 ''Beginning of the gospel" This is best taken as the title of the whole gospel of Mark.
1:2 Isaiah the prophet Mark introduces the quotation from Isaiah concerning the voice (Isa.40:3) with Malachi's word concerning the messenger (Mal.3:1) -Malachi had promised God's people that the hoped-for coming of the Lord would not come unheralded; there would be a warning messenger to prepare them before He came to judge and purify.
1:13 Tempted by Satan This phrase does not imply that the temptation lasted 40 days; the temptation was the significant climax of His 40 day sojourn in the wilderness.
1:13 Was with the wild beasts Only Mark has this feature. It may be merely an indication of the rigors of Jesus' wilderness sojourn; but more probably it signifies that Jesus is the new Man to whom all beasts are subject as they were to Adam. (Genesis 1:26; 2:19-20), that with the coming of Jesus there has dawned the Messianic age of paradisal peace of which Isaiah spoke (Isa.11:6-9) that the covenant of peace promised by Ezekiel is being inaugurated. (Ezekiel 34:25-31)
B. 1:14-45 Christ's Coming In Might and Mercy
Jesus announces that the promised and long awaited kingdom of God is at hand and calls men to repentance and faith, bidding them turn to the God who is at this decisive hour turning in might and mercy to them.
Jesus enacts the good news of God's reign by His sovereign call to discipleship (vv.16-20), His word of authority which even the unclean spirits must obey (vv.21-28) His healing of the sick and the possessed (vv.29-34), His cleansing of the leper (vv.40-42)
Yet, though His fame spreads (vv.28, 37, 45) He remains the selfless Son and Servant who works for the glory of God, to whom He prays (vs.35) whose law He obeys (vs.44).
God shall at His time glorify His Servant-Son, not the demons (vv.24-25, 34) not men who do not as yet understand the significance of His mighty acts. (vv.43-44)
1:14 Gospel of God Both the saving action and His saving proclamation are God's. Two aspects or phases of His one royal reign (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; the key word here is reconciliation).
1:15 The time ls fulfilled The word for time implies "decisive time'' the great moment foretold by the Old Testament prophets in which God's final offer of His grace and His final summons to accept it and live by it appear in history.
1:24 Holy One of God The unclean spirits are confronted by the Bearer of the Holy Spirit and recognize in Him the One destined to destroy them, since no compromise is possible between the Holy and the unclean.
1:27 New teaching!...unclean spirits...obey him The authority of Jesus' Word establishes itself; the power to command the unclean spirits only confirms it. With Jesus word and deed do not fall apart, as is so often the case with men; with Jesus, speech and act are one.
1:32 At sundown The Sabbath ended at sundown, and men could carry their sick and possessed without fear of violating the Law.
1:45 Openly enter a town Jesus did not want a fevered "Messianic movement". He wanted repentant and believing men. The mob excitement generated by His presence in a crowded town would have frustrated His purpose.
II. 2:1-3:6 Christ's Coming Provokes Contradiction
In the account of five disputes in Galilee Mark shows how "religious" men (that is, men who want to make their own legal righteousness count before God and therefore resist the grace of God) contradicts Christ and the Kingdom.
Scribes and Pharisees oppose... -The divine forgiveness pronounced by Jesus (2:1-12) -Jesus' free fellowship at table with repentant sinners (2:13-17) -Jesus the Bridegroom who brings the festal joy of a new age (2:18-22) -The Son of Man who is Lord even of the Sabbath (2:23-28) -The Healer who saves life on the Sabbath, while they (the jealous guardians of its sanctity) plan to kill on the Sabbath (3:1-6)
2:12 Amazed...glorified God..."we never saw anythinq like this!" Here the uniqueness of Jesus' authority breaks upon men; they see in Him the glory of the God of Israel, the Lord "who forgives...iniquity, who heals...diseases." (Psalm 103:3)
2:14 Levi The first gospel calls him Matthew and includes "Matthew the tax collector" in the list of the Twelve (cf. Matthew 9:9; 10:3) Perhaps Levi came to be known as Matthew (gift of the Lord) ~ in the Christian community.
2:26 Abiathar The high priest in the Old Testament story of David and the (sacred) bread of the Presence is called Ahimelech (1 Samuel 21:1) his son was Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:20) closely associated with David. Some important manuscripts omit the reference to Abiathar, as do Matthew and Luke.
2:27-28 Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man ls Lord even of the sabbath Jesus saw in the law of God one unified will, that of love (cf. Mark 12:28-34) The God who asks love of man is the God who shows love to man---even the rabbis asserted that the sabbath was made for man (in order to relax the sabbath-law in cases of dire necessity) but the idea that a man can be lord---of the sabbath was unheard of in Judaism, and rightly so; Jesus can override the Sabbath only because He is the Son of man who comes to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.
3:1-6 To save life or to kill on the sabbath If the Sabbath was made for man and is, as the Lord's Day, the day on which His love is to be manifested, it is the Pharisees, not Jesus, who are violating the Sabbath.
3:5 Here is anger mingled with grief. This is Jesus' reaction to those who in their hardness of heart have no eyes for the divine goodness and mercy revealed to them in the works of Jesus.
3:6 Herodians, patrisans of the Herods and Roman rule, whose cooperation would be needed to destroy Jesus since the Jewish authorities did not have the right to inflict capital punishment. (see John 18:31)
III. 3:7--8:30 Christ's Response to Contradiction
Three themes dominate this section of Mark's Gospel...
First, the contradicted Christ maintains His will of mercy toward all who will accept the gracious reign of God present in His words and works. He heals, frees men from the power of demons, raises the dead, invites men in great numbers to the fellowship of the common meal, and gives a Gentile woman part in the abundant mercies of the God of Israel. The appointment and sending of the Twelve is the declaration of His mercy to the whole of Israel (all 12 tribes).
Second, the cleavage between Christ and those who oppose Him becomes ever sharper and deeper. The line of demarcation is drawn between Jesus and His "friends'', the scribes and Pharisees, His fellow townsmen, those who are willing to call Him prophet but not to confess Him as the Christ.
The death of John the Baptist is prophetic of Jesus' own death. But even the bitterest opposition cannot make Him swerve from His course as the obedient Son and the Servant Christ. He withdraws before opposition, silences the demons who proclaim Him Son of God, "cannot" do mighty works in the face of His townsmen's unbelief, and refuses to give the sign from heaven that would satisfy arrogant unbelief. He executes judgment only by speaking parables, which take from the man who has not even what he has.
Third Christ deepens the communion between Himself and His disciples until they, and they alone, are capable of confessing Him as Christ. He appoints the Twelve to be with Him and gives them a share in His Messianic task and declares His disciples to be His true family. His teaching in parables is for His disciples a deepened revelation of the kingdom of God which equips them for their future task as His apostles. He permits them to witness His victory over death, and comes to them across the waters. He evokes from them the confession which He had refused from the demons, the confession of faith which sets them apart from both His enemies and His admirers and binds them wholly to Himself forever, the confession: "You are the Christ!"
A. 3:7-12 Jesus withdraws, Heals many, silences demons.
3:7 Jesus withdrew He meets the will to destroy Him with the will to serve as the quiet Servant of God who " will not wrangle or cry aloud''
3:12 Ordered them not to make him known Not the defeated demons in their terror but the men given Him by God shall confess Him before men in faith.
B. 3:13-19 The Appointment of the Twelve
3:18 Canannaean The name which distinguishes this Simon from Simon Peter indicates that he had been a member of the fiercely nationalistic Jewish party, the Zealots. (Cf. Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13)
C. 3:20-30 By the Prince of Demons He casts out Demons: Blasphemy against the Holy
3:20 They could not even eat They are Jesus and His disciples a particularly clear case of how the "we" of Peter's preaching shines through in Mark's Gospel.
3:21 His family This verse illustrates how Jesus' consuming passion for ministry was misunderstood and misinterpreted even by family and friends.
D. 3:31-35 The Family Of Jesus
E. 4:1-9 The Parable of the Sower
F. 4:10-25 The Purpose of Teaching In Parables
4:11 The secret of the kinqdom The phrase recalls the vision of Daniel 2. The "secret" is the fact that the Kingdom "is at hand" in the person of Jesus, in His Word and work God is revealing what He had promised through Daniel for "the latter days" the establishment of a kingdom by "the god of heaven," which shall put an end to the kingdoms of this world but shall itself never be destroyed. (cf. Daniel 2:28, 44-45)
4:13 Understand this parable...understand all the parables? The key to the parable of the sower is Jesus as the presence of God's kingdom among men. And He is the key to all the parables; the parable of the self-growing seed and of the mustard seed also tell His story.
4:21-25 If the message of the parable is the story of Jesus, the Son of God (1:1) if it is the Gospel of God (1:14) it must and will emerge from the hiddenness of the parable's veiled utterance and come to light. In that coming to light the apostles have a decisive role to play; it is therefore of crucial importance that they should have ears to hear and "take heed what they hear." The measure of obedience to the word which they give will be the measure of the blessing which they will get in their ministry, fidelity is all.
G. 4:26-29 Parable of Seed Growing Secretly
This parable, only in Mark, conveys both a warning and a word of encouragement to Jesus' disciples. However important their role may be, they are not to imagine that the Kingdom is their kingdom or its triumph their triumph; the Kingdom remains God's mysteriously creative work. He is "Lord of the harvest" (Matthew 9:38) This serves for encouragement also; however slow and unspectacular the "progress" of the Kingdom may be, the outcome is in the sure hands of the Creator. Men may pray, "Thy Kingdom Come," with patience and confidence.
H. 4:30-34 Parable of the Mustard Seed
As they were able to hear it, that is, in terms familiar to their experience. The parables speak plainly to those who have not rejected Jesus, the key to the parables.
I. 4:35-41 The Stilling Of The Storm
The story is told in simple language, and all the details of the account (other boats, boat was already filling, cushion, said to one another) leave the impression that the details come from one who experienced the event. The account indicates strongly that Mark "became Peter's interpreter."
4:39 The disciples are made conscious of their frail humanity in the presence of this Lord of the waves. Jesus deepens His communion with the disciples by using His power in the service of compassion for them and by using the event to build up their faith. (vs.40)
J. 5:1-20 The Demoniac of Gerasa
The line of demarcation between Jesus and men is very apparent here, where some want to rid themselves of Him (because He costs them swine) and one man becomes the messenger of His mercy. All marvel; not all respond.
5:1 Gerasenes. Both here as well as in Matthew and Luke the manuscripts fluctuate between Gerasens, Gergesens, and Gadarenes.
5:9 Legion, the largest unit of the Roman army; then used to indicate any large number.
5:19 Go home and tell them. This contrasts strangely with Jesus' usual command that healed persons tell no one. The exception may be due to the fact that the miracle took place in Gentile territory so that the proclamation of how much the Lord has done for you would not impede Jesus' real mission but might serve as preparation for a later mission to the Gentiles in that region.
K. 5:21-43 Jarius' Daughter and the Woman With the Flow of Blood
In these two mighty acts the majesty of Him whom men dare to contradict is apparent. He is Lord not only over the sea and the demons but over death itself; and His vigilant compassion can hear and answer the unuttered petition of the woman who dared only to touch His garment. He who has eyes to see and ears to hear cannot rank Him with John or Elijah or one of the prophets He must be confessed as being the Christ. (cf. 8:29)
5:33 Fear and trembling Since a woman with a flow of blood was unclean according to the Law, she feared rebuke from the Man whom her touch had defiled. But Jesus, who had touched and healed the unclean leper (1:41) cannot be defiled.
5:40 They laughed This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus' presence evokes laughter, just where He manifests Himself as overcomer of death, which silences laughter.
L. 6:1-6a Jesus Rejected At Nazareth
The men of Nazareth are astonished at the wisdom and the mighty works of Jesus of Nazareth but take offense at the carpenter whose mother, brothers, and sisters they know so well. Their unbelief makes revelation impossible; He who met every need of man with God's creative power but gave no sign to questioning and demanding unbelief could do no mighty work there.
6:3 Son of Mary and brother of James The much-debated question whether the brothers of Jesus were children of Joseph and Mary born after Jesus or children of Joseph by a previous marriage or Jesus cousins will probably never be settled to everyone's satisfaction. The first suggestion (that they were children of Joseph and Mary) seems the most natural.
M. 6:6b-13 The Sending of the Twelve
6:13 Anointed with oil Healing by anointing with oil is mentioned only here as an act involving the power of God. (Luke 10:34 records common medicinal practice). Neither passage explains the significance of the oil; James stresses the power of the accompanying prayer.
N. 6:14-29 The Death of John the Baptist
Herod senses that in Jesus the powers which he thought he had banished when he executed John are at work; the disquieting voice of God calling him to account has not be silenced. The death of John the Baptist, told here and not in its natural place in the sequence of events is prophetic of Jesus' fate. Both in the village (vv.l-6) and in the royal court men are turning against Him; the cleavage deepens because of His teaching.
O. 6:30-44 The Returning Of The Twelve, And the Feeding of 5,000
The contradicted Christ still invites men to Himself by offering them the fellowship of the meal which His compassion provides.
P. 6:45-56 Jesus Walks On The Sea
6:52 They did not understand about the loaves If their hearts had not been dulled by unbelief (hardened) they could have known that He who multiplied the loaves could come to them, not as a ghost (vs.49) but as a person, and bring peace to them.
6:56 Fringe of his garment The compassion that reached out to the woman is there for all who will follow her example.
Q. 7:1-23 The Tradition of the Elders: What Defiles a Man
7:22 Foolishness is not only intellectual but moral and religious. In Luke 12:20-21 we find the "fool" who "lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God".
R. 7:24-30 The Syrophoenician Woman
The woman was a Greek-speaking inhabitant of Syrophoenicia, a district so called because ancient Phoenicia belonged to the Roman province of Syria and to distinguish it from Libophoenicia around Carthage...
S. 7:31-37 He Has Done All Things Well
The mercy of Christ restores the deaf man to health and to the society from which his impediment had shut him out. The response of those who witnessed the act of restoration recalls the "very good" of creation. (Genesis 1:31) The coming of the Kingdom is the new creation. (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
7:33 Spat This feature is found only in cases where communication with the person to be healed is difficult; since spittle was held to have curative powers in Judaism (both by the act itself and in connection with magical spells) the action indicates to the deaf man the presence of the healer. The cure is brought about simply by the mighty word of Jesus (vs.34) which eliminates any idea of magic.
T. 8:1-10 The Feeding of the 4,000
The great gesture of offered fellowship is repeated. It is difficult to say whether the account of the feeding of 4000 is intended merely to emphasize by repetition Jesus' will of mercy to the multitudes or has independent significance, as in the case of the feeding of the 5,000.
Some see such independent significance indicated by the time and local of this feeding: as the feeding of the 5,000 followed the sending and return of the Twelve (6:30; 6:7) and concludes and crowns the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, the feeding of the 4,000 follows Jesus' wanderings in non-Israelite territory (7:24,31) and is Jesus' gesture of fellowship toward those Gentile regions. The children of God's household (Israel) are fed first; then the Gentiles partake of His bounty (7:27-28)
U. 8:11-13 Demand For a Sign From Heaven
The sign of Jonah of which Jesus speaks in Matthew is not the kind of sign from heaven the Pharisees expect. In both gospels Jesus refuses the sign, and the cleavage between Him and Judaic leadership widens. Men who come to Jesus to argue and test Him cannot find the way to the Christ; Jesus must in sorrow (sighed deeply) leave them to the judgment their unbelief invites; they continue their demand for a sign at the cross.
V. 8:14-21 The Leaven Of The Pharisees & The Leaven Of Herod
The rabbis used the term leaven to designate the evil impulse in man, and that is probably the meaning here. For all their arrogant self-centered religiosity and Herod, or the Herodians, in their self-seeking political machinations are at one in their impulse of opposition to Jesus Christ. Their example and
influence can ruin the disciples, whose hold on Jesus is still a shaky one.
8:18 Eyes...ears The grace and power of Christ, who gives sight to the blind, hearing to deaf, and speech to the dumb has made but slow headway in their unperceptive hearts.
W. 8:22-26 Healing The Blind At Bethsaida
X. 8:27-30 You Are The Christ
Here as always in His relationship to His disciples Jesus takes the initiative. He has separated His disciples from those who oppose Him; now He draws the line between disciples who believe in Him and men who admire Him and "appreciate" Him and binds them to Himself for better or worse, life or death, (vs.35) and forever.
8:28 John the Baptist...Elijah Men see in Jesus only one who plays a preliminary and preparatory role in the coming of the kingdom.
IV. 8:31-10:31 Christ Imprints Cross on the Life of His Disciples
By His teaching in this section Jesus puts the imprint of His cross on the life of His disciples. They are to go the way of the cross to glory; but they are to go this way within the orders which God has established for this world. As a result Christ shapes their relationship to marriage, children, and property.
A. 8:31-9:1 The Way of the Cross
Jesus predicts His Passion, saying this plainly in 8:32 He brands as satanic any will,
even Peter's, which would oppose that way. He makes His way to the cross the pattern of
the disciple's way; the disciple is to be ready to lose his life in service of
Christ in order to save his life.
8:32 Rebuke him In Peter's mind the idea of the cross and of Christ are contradictory; he feels that Jesus is contradicting the confession of 8:29 when He predicts His cross.
8:33 Seeing his disciples Peter has by his rash words endangered the faith of all the disciples, therefore the public and emphatic rebuke of Jesus.
8:33 Side of God God wills the cross; He gives the son the cup which He drinks.
8:38 Adulterous Unfaithful to the covenant God who was a husband to Israel. (cf. Jeremiah 31:32)
B. 9:2-29 The Transfiguration
9:2 After six days Since indications of time sequence are rare in Mark, this note is probably intended to link the Transfiguration closely with the confession of Peter in Mark 8:29 and the prediction of Mark 8:31. It provides a commentary on the words "and after three days rise again" Peter, James and John have a glimpse of the glory which awaits the Christ beyond the cross.
9:14 Scribes arguing with them (the disciples) probably on the basis of their failure to heal the demoniac boy (18, 28) which the scribes would use to discredit their Master.
9:15 Were greatly amazed The reason for their amazement is not stated; perhaps something of the glory of the transfiguration still lingered about Jesus.
C. 9:30-50 He was Teaching His Disciples
Jesus teaches His disciples and His teaching is the cross; His own cross and His disciples' the cross puts an end to the question of who is the greatest (vs.34) and makes him great who is servant of all (vs.35). The disciple finds his greatness in service to the child, the little one who needs his help; in serving the child he serves Christ and God Himself.
The disciple goes the way of servant, with no self-seeking motives this makes him generous and open-hearted toward every recognition of Christ and every slight service rendered to them because of Christ.
This greatness found in service makes the disciples scrupulous toward the little ones who believe in Christ, capable of heroic self-sacrifice in their behalf, lest he cause them to sin. They are t become men salted with fire (that is cleansed of self by God's discipline) salt that seasons and preserves, and men working together, at peace with one another (vv.42-50)
9:49 Salted with fire To be acceptable to God, every sacrifice had to be salted with salt (Leviticus 2:13) So to be an acceptable servant of God and of Christ, the disciple must be purified by the fire of self-denial (vv.43-47) which God uses to make him a fit servant. For fire as God's means of purifying His servants see Mal.3:2-3.
D. 10:1-31 Children, Marriage, and Property
The way of the cross does not evade the obligations and temptations of family and money but meets them and deals with them in faith. Marriage is to be the pure communion which God the Creator ordained (vv.l-12)
Children are to be received, honored, and imitated as the objects of the lobe of God the King. (13:16)
God the only good which can free them from the fatal hold of property, and He will provide for all who renounce the created blessings for His sake and give them eternal life in the age to come.
V. 10:32-13:37 Christ Goes To Jerusalem
The cross pronounces doom on the empty, self-centered piety of Jerusalem (the old Israel) and gives the disciples, the new Israel, their hope of glory. Three phases may be distinguished...
a. Christ binds Himself to the disciples as the Servant Messiah (10:32-52)
b. Christ confronts Jerusalem with His Messianic claim and His call to repentance (11:1-12:37)
c. Christ separates His disciples from the scribes, the teachers of Israel. (13:1-37)
Jesus claims His disciples for Himself as the dying Servant Christ. He predicts His death for the third time; Israel's leaders will reject Him, condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles for execution.
He is forced to remind His disciples again that participation in His suffering, that He must bear and also they, will only see glory through the cross. He once more sums up His whole serving and saving ministry in one mighty deed: He opens the eyes of blind Bartimaeus in order that the new seeing man may follow Him on the way.
In deed and word Jesus confronts Jerusalem, the capital city and heart of Israel, with His Messianic claim and call to repentance.
1. The Messianic entry (11:1-11)
2. The Call to Repentance in Deed (11:12-26)
3. The Call to Repentance in Word (11:27-33) "By what authority?"
4. The Call to Repentance in Word (12:1-12) The Vineyard
5. The Call to Repentance in Word (12:13-34) Three Disputes
6. Jesus' Messianic Claim "David's Son & Lord" (12:35-37)
Jesus Predicts the Fall of Jerusalem and the deliverance of His elect. In these words the fall of Jerusalem and the temple is the beginning of the end (vv.l-2) Henceforth, all history is to be for Jesus' disciples the sign which alerts them to the coming of the end...All this will happen to point to that great day when we will see the coming of the Son of man in power and glory to gather in His elect from all the earth. (Mark 13:24-27)
VI. 14:1--16:20 Christ's Suffering, Death, and Resurrection
A. 14:1-11 Prelude to the Passion
B. 14:12-25 The Last Passover, The New Passover
C. 14:26-52 The Stricken Shepherd And The Scattered Flock
D. 14:53-72 The Trial Before Caiaphas and Peter's Denial
E. 15:1-20 The Trial Before Pilate
F. 15:21-47 The Crucifixion, Death, and Burial of Jesus
15:21 The Father of Alexander and Rufus Simon and his sons were evidently well known to the church (or churches) for whom Mark wrote. If the Rufus of Romans 16:13 is identical with Simons son, he was a member of one of the churches in Rome.
G. 16:1-20 The Resurrection
Self Study Bible – New International Version, Robert G. Hoerber Editor Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO. 1986