Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of Mark/Introduction

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Information needed about author, date, occasion, purpose, relation to other Gospels, etc.

Author:

 Anonymous     
 Tradition: John Mark (associate of Peter & Paul) 

Date:

 Earliest, c. AD 65-70 

Readers & Circumstances:

 Gentile Christians in Rome during Nero's persecution
 Between the great fire and the Jewish revolution

Special Purpose:

 To call Christians to follow Jesus, the crucified Messiah and Son of God, to death if necessary.

Emphasis

Jesus' death and resurrection Key to understanding Jesus Prior to those events it was impossible to understand him

 Outsiders cannot understand him (4:10-12).
 His family and friends consider him crazy (3:21). 
 Religious authorities oppose him (3:6; 11:13).
 Even his disciples do not understand (4:13; 8:21; 9:6; 6:52; 8:17-18). 
 Only after his death on the cross can a human being understand Jesus as the Son of God (15:39). 
 Only after his resurrection will the disciples finally understand Jesus adequately (9:2-9).  

For Mark Jesus cannot be understood as the Christ apart from his destiny in the cross and resurrection. The title Jesus uses to describe himself is “Son of man” [adapting Paul J. Achtemeier]

Outline:

Introduction (1:1-15) – the antecedents Following Jesus (1:16—8:21) � 

 Authority: Old and New (1:16—3:12) 
   Introduction (1:16-45)
   Conflict with religious authorities (2:1—3:6)
   True followers (3:7-12)
   Controversy (3:13—6:6) 
     True followers (3:13-35)
     Teaching in parables (4:1-34)
     Working miracles (4:35—5:43)
     Conflict with his followers (6:1-6)�
   Sufficiency: Bread (6:7--8:21) 
     Mission of the Twelve and John's death (6:7-29)
     Feeding and healing miracles (6:30-56)
     Teaching about the law (7:1-23)
     Healing and feeding miracles (7:24—8:10)
     Foes and friends misunderstand (8:11-21)
   Understanding Jesus (8:22—10:52) – of blind men and disciples 
     Blind eyes opened (8:22-26)
     First passion prediction (8:27—9:29)
     Second passion prediction (9:30—10:31)
     Third passion prediction (10:32-45)
     Blind eyes opened (10:46-52)
   Jesus' Final Confrontation (11:1—15:47) 
     Jesus teaches in the Temple (11:1—12:44) 
     End times (13:1-37)
     Final acts of Jesus (14:1-42)
     Jesus tried and condemned (14:43—15:47)�
   Conclusion (16:1-8) – discovery of the empty tomb 
   [Long secondary ending – 16:9-20]