Mark is an urgent, fast-moving narrative driving us toward a place we do not want to go: the passion of Jesus, his crucifixion and death. What is Mark’s haste to get there, such that when we reach the end of the story our momentum hurls us past any resolution or denouement, and we are left with only silence and fear?
How can this be good news?
A four-part study of the Gospel of Mark, first offered at Landrum Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church-Woodruff. The core of each week’s more extended study is presented in a brief recorded synopsis.
Part 1. “They Said Nothing To Anyone”
“So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:8)
To study the Gospel of Mark, we begin at the end. Startled by news of Jesus’ resurrection, three faithful women who have come to anoint his body flee in terror. And there the story abruptly ends.
Part 2. “I Believe; Help My Unbelief!”
“Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24)
Two stories of healing, each in longer narrative sequences that develop the question of who Jesus is and from where his authority as a healer and teacher comes, challenge us to become “mathetes”: disciples, learners along the Way.
The two passages examined are:
–Mark 1:21-28, within the series of stories of Mark 1
–Mark 9:14-29, within the series of stories from Mark 8:27-9:37
Part 3. The Beloved
“Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him Jesus went away at once, saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone…'” (Mark 1:42-44)
Three stories of revelation move the good news of God’s love out, from the voice of God to the voice of the unlikeliest person, so that we stand with the Beloved Son as the children of God:
–Mark 1:9-11, the Baptism
–Mark 8:31-9:8, the Transfiguration
–Mark 15:33-41, the Crucifixion
Part 4. You Will Be Afraid
“This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” (Mark 13:8)
Three stories move us toward the core meaning of the Gospel of Mark, through suffering and fear to disbelief, and the courage to act:
–Mark 13, the Apocalypse
–Mark 14:1-9, the Anointing at Bethany
–Mark 16:1-8, the Women at the Tomb