Monday, August 5, 2013

Mark Introduction and Outline (Mark 1:1-15)

My favorite Gospel tends to be whichever of the four I am currently reading. Mark, being the current one, has a lot to argue in its favor. It is short. It is fast paced and action packed. It has some wonderful structural patterns. And its central theme (outside of the Gospel message itself) is discipleship.

The Gospels tend to be less straight biographies and more a text after the style of a film documentary. Mark is especially so. The evangelist takes moments, teachings, and events from the life of Jesus and places them together in such a way as to accentuate the message of His life and mission: the Gospel message. The central passage that bridges Jesus’ public ministry and His passion is 8:27-30 where Peter spells out clearly who Jesus is, the messiah come to save His people.

Structural features throughout the book are apparent and insightful. The first half is constructed in three parts, each beginning with a disciple story and ending in a summary of ministry. The healings and miracles all accentuate Christ’s authority and the faith of those whom He helps. There are seven passages that are set up where one story is “sandwiched” into another event that helps us see the reason why Mark is telling these events, what the point is that he is trying to make.

Mark begins his Gospel rushing through events that we think of as major in the life of Christ. His coming, John’s ministry, Jesus’ baptism and temptation, are all covered in a mere 12 sentences. Then we get the content of Christ’s message. The thesis of the Gospel, really:

“The time has come near and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and put your trust in God’s message of good news.”

Outline for the Gospel of Mark

I. Introduction 1:1-15
II. The Public Ministry 1:16-8:26
  A. Authority “New Wine” 1:16-3:12
  B. Teaching “The Kingdom” 3:13-6:6
  C. Mission “The Call” 6:7-8:26
[Central Passage] “Who am I?” 8:27-30
III. The Passion 8:27-16:8
  A. Discipleship 8:27-10:52
  B. Judgment 11:1-13:37
  C. Death and Resurrection 14:1-16:8
IV. Additional conclusion 16:9-20

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