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Urgent Grace: Understanding the Gospel of Mark Session 6: Reactions & Open Questions.

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Presentation on theme: "Urgent Grace: Understanding the Gospel of Mark Session 6: Reactions & Open Questions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urgent Grace: Understanding the Gospel of Mark Session 6: Reactions & Open Questions

2 My favorite thing about Mark is… Mark’s presentation of Jesus as a confident authority with nothing to prove Mark’s presentation of Jesus as a confident authority with nothing to prove Jesus’ willingness to confront religious leaders Jesus’ willingness to confront religious leaders Willingness to associate with the “least” and the “lowest” Willingness to associate with the “least” and the “lowest” Jesus’ single-mindedness, uncompromising dedication to his mission Jesus’ single-mindedness, uncompromising dedication to his mission

3 My favorite thing about Mark is… Simple, straightforward, understandable Simple, straightforward, understandable Jesus’ encounters with people changed lives Jesus’ encounters with people changed lives Powerful style, fast pace Powerful style, fast pace Two Commandments vs. a load of rules Two Commandments vs. a load of rules Clearer understanding of motives Clearer understanding of motives The “cliffhanger” ending; how will I respond to the witness of the Gospels? The “cliffhanger” ending; how will I respond to the witness of the Gospels?

4 My least favorite thing… The abrupt ending and lack of Resurrection appearances The abrupt ending and lack of Resurrection appearances Absence of Nativity story Absence of Nativity story Too much emphasis on demons Too much emphasis on demons Emphasis on miracles and healings – could give the wrong impression Emphasis on miracles and healings – could give the wrong impression

5 My least favorite thing… Missed the Prodigal Son, Jesus’ concern for Mary from the cross Missed the Prodigal Son, Jesus’ concern for Mary from the cross Little effort to convince the reader that belief in Jesus is desirable Little effort to convince the reader that belief in Jesus is desirable Unevenness of intensity between Passion story and ministry story Unevenness of intensity between Passion story and ministry story

6 Some Questions Is the eye of the needle in 10:25 a metaphor for something else? Is the eye of the needle in 10:25 a metaphor for something else? What is with the “unclean spirits”? Is this Satan, or mental illness? What is with the “unclean spirits”? Is this Satan, or mental illness? What about divorce? Jesus is pretty clearly against it; how does the Lutheran church justify divorce in light of this? What about divorce? Jesus is pretty clearly against it; how does the Lutheran church justify divorce in light of this?

7 Some Questions Why no birth narrative? Why no birth narrative? How do Mark’s view of Satan and the Lutheran view of Satan coincide/differ? How do Mark’s view of Satan and the Lutheran view of Satan coincide/differ? Why so many Passion predictions? Why so many Passion predictions? Why the admonitions to secrecy? Why the admonitions to secrecy?

8 Open Questions: Mark 4:25 Read Mark 4:25 Read Mark 4:25 What might Jesus be talking about “having,” “giving” and “taking”? What might Jesus be talking about “having,” “giving” and “taking”? Immediate Context: Immediate Context: Read Mark 4:21-25 Read Mark 4:21-25 Does this shed any light? Does this shed any light?

9 Open Questions: Mark 4:25 Broader Context: Broader Context: Consider Mark 4:1-25 Consider Mark 4:1-25 Does this shed any light? Does this shed any light? Is it possible that Jesus is talking about how we show/hide our allegiance to the reign of God? Is it possible that Jesus is talking about how we show/hide our allegiance to the reign of God? Is it possible Jesus is talking about the ethics of the reign of God? Is it possible Jesus is talking about the ethics of the reign of God?

10 Open Questions: The Ending Best available evidence is that anything after 16:8 is a later addition Best available evidence is that anything after 16:8 is a later addition Why would Mark end his gospel with, “They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid?” Why would Mark end his gospel with, “They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid?” What function is Mark trying to accomplish with this ending, and with his Gospel? What function is Mark trying to accomplish with this ending, and with his Gospel?

11 For Your Consideration: Mark 1:1 Is this a section heading for Chapter 1? Is this a section heading for Chapter 1? Or is this the title of the entire book? Or is this the title of the entire book? Is it possible that Mark leaves the tension unresolved because the story is not yet finished? Is it possible that Mark leaves the tension unresolved because the story is not yet finished?

12 For Your Consideration Consider real human life Consider real human life Are there any loose ends in your life? Are there any loose ends in your life? Are there past disappointments? Are there past disappointments? Are there things you look forward to in the future? Are there things you look forward to in the future? Is it possible that Mark ends here to honor the “already/not yet” tension in which we live? Is it possible that Mark ends here to honor the “already/not yet” tension in which we live?

13 For Your Consideration: Mark 16:7 Fulfilled Promises Fulfilled Promises Passion Passion Desertion & Betrayal Desertion & Betrayal Denial Denial Resurrection Resurrection Pending Promises James & John will drink from the cup Disciples will testify Gospel will be preached Jesus will be enthroned, will come again

14 For Your Consideration Based on Mark’s text, what do we surmise about the date, the location, and composition/situation of his audience? Based on Mark’s text, what do we surmise about the date, the location, and composition/situation of his audience? Given this audience, what might Mark’s purpose in writing be? Given this audience, what might Mark’s purpose in writing be? Is it possible that Mark’s purpose is satisfied by the empty tomb, apart from the post-resurrection teaching found in the other Gospels? Is it possible that Mark’s purpose is satisfied by the empty tomb, apart from the post-resurrection teaching found in the other Gospels?

15 Open Questions: Judas Read 14:21 Read 14:21 Is Judas “damned”? Is Judas “damned”? If so, what does that mean for our “betrayals”? If so, what does that mean for our “betrayals”?

16 For Your Consideration Read 3:28-30 Read 3:28-30 What does Jesus himself identify as the only unforgivable sin? What does Jesus himself identify as the only unforgivable sin? Read 14:26-31, 50-52, Read 14:26-31, 50-52, Note the contrast between the bold words and weak deeds of the disciples Note the contrast between the bold words and weak deeds of the disciples Compare with 16:7-8 Compare with 16:7-8

17 A Few Closing Thoughts Jesus’ Opponents Jesus’ Opponents Discipleship as the Way of the Cross Discipleship as the Way of the Cross The Primacy of the Passion The Primacy of the Passion The Core Values of the Reign of God The Core Values of the Reign of God

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