On the mark in the Gospel of Mark (22 Mar 2015)

What is the mark or key message in the Gospel of Mark?

On reading the gospel of Mark, I realized once again that there is a close link between the Old Testament and Mark as it begins with a quote from the book of Isaiah, and John the Baptist proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. Mark tells the story of Jesus as the Son of God and speaks of Jesus healing the sick, the blind, the deaf, the leper, casting out demons and evil spirits including the one called legion, and performing miracles, including feeding the four thousand, and walking on the water. It also gives details on the baptism and temptation of Jesus, the transfiguration, Jesus’ predicting His death and resurrection and Peter’s confession that ‘Jesus is Christ’ (Chapter 8). We are also given details on Jesus being rejected at Nazareth, His sending out the twelve, His teaching, telling parables, His overturning the tables in the temple, and His resting, withdrawing from Galilee (Mk 8:10).

Once again, we have a succinct account of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion, culminating in His resurrection and interwoven with the cost of discipleship and to ‘proclaim the gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15).

What strikes me is that Jesus’ miracles includes power over nature, for example calming the storm, walking on the water, the withering of the fig tree, and power over death as shown in the raising of the ruler’s daughter to life (Mk 5:37-39). The miracles also include healing

individuals, particularly the leper, whom Jesus took pity on, and crowds, for example, the feeding of the five thousand, where Jesus had compassion on them. I see afresh a God who is powerful yet compassionate.

How does this affect us? First, it reminds us once again of Christ love and suffering for a lost world and that we need to appropriate His love in order to be healed, to be cleansed of our sins. Jesus asked Bartimaeus, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ and he answered that he wanted to recover his sight (Mk 10:51). What would you say if Jesus were to ask me the same question?

Another interesting insight from Mark is the account of the widow who gave her two mites. Her name was not mentioned; Jesus only commended her, but did not give her anything. Why? Unlike the rich young man who was sorrowful when told to sell his riches, the widow was content. Could it be that if Jesus were to give her something, it will rob her of her contentment? Like the widow, we need to learn to be content.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for your love, your suffering, your dying on the cross, and rising again. Indeed, like Peter, we want to say that you are the Christ, the Son of God. Help us to be content and to look to you, our Saviour and healer.


Deaconess Dr Ler Soon Lay