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The Gospel of Mark Jesus Prepares for His Death Session 3 Photo by Rob Wallace.

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1 The Gospel of Mark Jesus Prepares for His Death Session 3 Photo by Rob Wallace

2 Opening Prayer Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer, 1979)

3 Jesus Prepares for His Death Session 3 Series based on The Gospel of Mark By Donald H. Juel 1999 Abingdon Press

4 Jesus the Teacher

5 Teacher of Parables Found mainly in Mark 4 –Wise sayings –3 “story” parables Read as allegories in the Middle Ages Source criticism –Attempts to get back to the original words spoken by the historical Jesus –Attempts to determine meaning from original setting –Involves translation issues since Jesus probably spoke Aramaic & the gospels written in Greek –A very difficult task

6 Mark 4:1-20 The Parable of the Sower Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 "Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold." 9 And he said, "Let anyone with ears to hear listen!" 10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that 'they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'" 13 And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20 And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."

7 Parable of the Sower & Source Critics Told in all 3 synoptic gospels & noncanonical Gospel of Thomas Joachim Jeremias, a source critic, proposed 3 distinct parts –4:3-9 ● the parable itself –4:10-11 ● unoriginal explanation –4:13-20 ● allegorical explanation Close examination of the allegorical explanation reveals some mismatches between the parable and its explanation This type of analysis does not help us understand what Mark’s Gospel is saying

8 Parable of the Sower in Mark’s Gospel Mark presents the parable as an allegory Jesus gives Mark’s readers its interpretation The seed / the word / Jesus’ proclamation is received differently by different people The seed is lavishly spread on all types of soil Can identify some characters with the parable Juel says the parable leaves us asking when will this great harvest occur

9 Parable of the Sower & Us Often interpreted as command to “Be good soil” Only command in parable is to “Listen” Juel says the parable is a tale of how things actually are Verses amplify the difficulties of this narrative –Meir Sternberg, the fine student of Hebrew literature, finds these verses to be the most offensive in the Christian Bible.” (p. 128) Tension between promised abundant harvest & distinctions in soil raise a number of questions Juel concludes that both the seed and being productive soil is a gift Juel notes that the parable works as promised In my experience as a teacher, the result of working at interpretation of the parable of the sower confirms Jesus’ strategy. He tells parables, he says, to keep those outside from repenting. And that’s generally the way it works. One of my students put it most forcefully: “I will not believe in a God who hardens!” she said through clenched teeth. Like most readers, she was hardened, as Jesus promised. (p. 128) 10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that 'they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'"

10 Taking Up the Cross Mark 8:31-10:45 In Mark 8:27-30 Peter makes his confession, then turns to rebuke Jesus for his teaching on discipleship (8:34- 36) Juel suggests that martyrdom not as much of an issue as status –Clearer in next 2 predictions of death (9:31-35; 10:33-34) Making status the focus of this teaching block makes sense of this unit of Mark –Service on behalf of others will mark true authority (10:42-45) –Uniting theme of teaching on divorce, children, & wealth Mark 8:27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" 28 And they answered him, "John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." 29 He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Messiah." 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Mark 8:34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Mark 9:31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again." 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." Mark 10:33 saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34 they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again." Mark 10:42 So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

11 The Beginning of the Birth Pangs Last section of Jesus’ teaching in Mark (13) This unit follows: –Jesus’ cleansing of the temple (11:15-18) –Jesus warns the disciples of the scribes’ teaching (12:38-40) –Jesus observes the widow casting her mite / her life into the temple treasury (12:41-44) Jesus’ instruction about the future is response to disciples’ question about the temple –The temple’s future is destruction These future difficulties are “birth pangs”, not the end (13:7-8) Yet the time of the end is clouded with uncertainty (13:32) Discipleship is lived out in the interim, prior to the end. Suffering in such a situation may actually produce hope if one can trust that there will be a good ending. This is what Jesus promises: Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (13:26-27) (p. 134) Mark 11:15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." 18 And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. Mark 12:38 As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation." Mark 12:41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." Mark 13:7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. Mark 13:32 "But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

12 “Stay Awake” Greatest temptation of the slaves is to fall asleep before the Master returns (13:35- 37) Threat of sleep can have multiple meanings –“Lack of purpose” –“False sense of well-being” –Best read in context of disciples’ behavior in Gethsemane Mark 13:35 Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."

13 Lessons Learned Teaching & warnings of chapter 13 accurately prefigure Jesus’ trial at the hand of religious & political authorities Darkness during crucifixion (15:33) compared to “the sun will be darkened” (13:24) Jesus’ response to chief priest (14:62) reiterates Jesus’ promise to his disciples (13:26-27) What is planted will surely produce a harvest. The onset of labor pains means that the future is even now making its presence felt in a real if uncomfortable way. Jesus’ ministry is not only about a past and a present; it is about a future at the end of which stand the Son of Man and his angels, a future toward which the present strains. (p. 137) Mark 15:33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. Mark 13:24 "But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, Mark 14:62 Jesus said, "I am; and 'you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,' and 'coming with the clouds of heaven.'" Mark 13:26 Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

14 The Death of the King Mark 14:43-15:47

15 Death of the King Mark reserves a large amount of space for Jesus’ final days (a third of the text) Gives an increased number of details –Names –Places Withholds tantalizing details –Preparation for Passover celebration –Information about Judas’ motivations & fate Gives the barest details on cleansing of temple incident

16 What Happened to Peter? Mark 14:66-72 Mark omits a great deal Action occurs simultaneously –Peter is also on trial –Peter questioned by the chief priest’s maid while Jesus is interrogated inside by the chief priest –Peter lies; Jesus tells the truth –While Jesus is taunted to prophesy, his prophecy about Peter is being fulfilled Mark 14:66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, "You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth." 68 But he denied it, saying, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them." 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, "Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean." 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about." 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.

17 “As It Has Been Written” Authorities reject Jesus – Psalm 118:22 cited in 12:10 Jesus’ response to the chief priest in 14:62 cites Psalm 110:1, Daniel 7:13 & possibly Zechariah 12:10 Casting lots for Jesus’ clothes – Psalm 22:18 cited in 15:24 Mark 15:29 is a citation of Psalm 22:7 Jesus’ dying words recall Psalm 22:1 The sponge with vinegar recalls Psalm 69:21 Mark 12:10 Have you not read this scripture: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; Psalm 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. Mark 14:62 Jesus said, "I am; and 'you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,' and 'coming with the clouds of heaven.'" Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." Daniel 7:13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. Mark 15:24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. Psalm 22:18 they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots Mark 15:29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, Psalm 22:7 All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? Psalm 69:21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

18 The King of the Jews Royal imagery of Jesus’ titles return with full effect in Jesus’ trial with the question of the chief priest To the Roman occupation the title is a claim to a Jewish throne –Constitutes a challenge to Roman political power Both Roman & Jewish leaders unite in derision of Jesus the King Soldiers stage a mock coronation –Words of centurion at Jesus’ death are ambiguous

19 The Temple Played an important role in events leading to Jesus’ death –After triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus visits Temple & looks around (11:11) –On following day, overthrows the tables of the money changers (11:15-16) –Quotes the prophets as he does so (Isaiah 56 & Jeremiah 7:9-15) –Best viewed as prophetic act announcing the Temple’s destruction At trial, accusations made that Jesus had vowed to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in 3 days At Jesus’ death, Temple curtain torn from top to bottom While it is the Temple authorities who reject Jesus and hand him over, God will vindicate the rejected stone—and of the Temple not one stone will be left on another. (pp ) Mark 11:11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. Mark 11:15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. Jeremiah 7:9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, "We are safe!"-- only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the LORD. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, says the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.

20 Truth & the Gospel of Mark Mark’s account is not the truth of digital video Interpretive truth of a portrait Juel suggests Mark’s Gospel does point in certain directions –Religious & political leaders are blind –Jesus threatens the established social order –Appearances are deceiving in Mark Jesus keeps company with criminals at the moment of fulfilling his role as king Jesus keeps company with sinners at his baptism –Mark’s use of irony signals we should be wary of becoming too comfortable –Theologically, Paul has it right when he says, “we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23)

21 The Death of Jesus and the Will of God

22 A Necessary Death That Jesus death is required is suggested in Mark Paul says Christ died “in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3) No specific atonement theory prescribed in scripture Mark 14:35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want." Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 10:45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 14:24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Exodus 24:8 Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, "See the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." Zechariah 9:11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

23 Anselm’s Theory of Atonement Best explained in Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis While such theories make a kind of sense, they do so by making God’s actions fit into a pattern of justice that is the most theoretical aspect of the construct. God is made subject to a law humans have imagined. The result of this imagined pattern of justice is a God who demands blood in order to be merciful. The sketch does not square with biblical portraits, though it has shaped the way many read them. Closer attention to the particulars of the Gospel narrative can result in a rather different theory about why Jesus must die—one which is more sensitive to biblical stories and images. (p. 163)

24 A Markan View of Atonement God is merciful; no blood is required Jesus’ death results from Jesus’ authoritative stand on the law –Jesus is free to cross legal boundaries –Result is conflict with legal & political authorities –Most serious is Jesus’ tendency to speak for God Necessity for Jesus’ death arises out of the people’s need –Blind, deaf & hard-hearted

25 Why Did Jesus Die? Jesus must die not because God requires blood or is obligated to someone or something, but because God is gracious and is willing to suffer the consequences of becoming vulnerable. The narrative provides not so much a lesson about the value of suffering as an opportunity to experience the surprise in the career of Jesus the holy man, healer, preacher, and prophet—but most of all the crucified and risen King of the Jews. There is need for atonement because the world has no place for Jesus. When Jesus will not go away, the authorities must take measures to protect themselves and their traditions and their laws. Violence is the only possible end: they must kill to protect themselves. (p. 165)

26 Bibliography Juel, Donald H., The Gospel of Mark, Nashville : Abingdon Press, Rob Wallace, “The Lion of St. Mark”, March 23, 2008, photo used by permission under Creative Commons license.


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