The Baptism of Jesus
BAPTISM: Confessing sins and being immersed in water as a sign of purification
JOHN THE BAPTIST: The man who baptised Jesus in the river Jordan
Baptism- Baptism was a sign of repentance, showing that you were cleansing yourself of sin. John the Baptist regularly performed baptisms in the river Jordan. John the Baptist was believed to have been sent to foretell the arrival of the messiah, who was Jesus
Why was Jesus baptised?- Jesus was baptised to show the approval of John's ministry and to mark the beginning of Jesus' own ministry. Jesus was not a sinner and had no sins to repent, so this symbolic part of baptism did not apply to Jesus.
How Mark portrays the baptism of Jesus in his gospel- It was the starting point of Jesus' ministry. It was the sign of Jesus' approval of John's ministry (Johns ministry was baptising people and spreading word about the messiah- Jesus). The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove, and God speaks to him, saying "this is my son, whom I love". All three parts of the trinity were present- the son, the spirit and the father.
What does this show about the identity of Jesus?- Jesus is God's son, as God speaks to him. Jesus was special as the holy spirit descended on him. God gives Jesus his approval.
ELIJAH- An Old-Testament prophet believed to return before the Messiah
MESSIAH- The anointed one (christ) who would bring in God's Kingdom
Key points of this text- This was the first direct mention of Jesus as messiah in Marks Gospel. It is also a passage that gives us an idea of how Jesus was viewed/ recieved in his time. People described him as John The Baptist, or Elijah- John was had a reputation for his good teaching, whilst Elijah was a very important prophet in Judaism.
The use of the title 'Messiah'- Peters confession is the first time that anyone directly refers to Jesus as the Messiah, or the Christ. However, Peter did not view the term Messiah in the same way as Jesus. In Judia in Jesus' time, a Messiah was seen as a warrior, somebody who would free the Jews from the Roman rule. Therefore, Peter did not like Jesus' predictions that he would suffer.
Jesus warns the disciples to not tell anyone- After telling the disciples that he is indeed the Christ, Jesus warns them not to tell anybody. This may be because he does not want to be accused of blasphemy. Also, after Caesarea Philipi, the atmosphere of the Gospel and stories becomes much darker, with everything Jesus does and says pointing towards his suffering.
What does this show about Jesus?- The Messiah, he was seen as a prophet/teacher, that he wasn't a warrior and that his Kingdom was spiritual. He could predict his suffering
MOSES- The Old Testament prophet to whom God gave his laws
TRANSFIGURATION- When Jesus' appearance was changed
Jesus' appearance- The transfiguration means that there was a supernatural change in the way Jesus looked. Mark describes Jesus' clothes as turning to a dazzling white, which awed the disciples that Jesus took up the mountain with him- Peter, James and John. The colour white is also a symbol for purity and cleanliness, suggesting Jesus had no sins. This showed, to mark, that Jesus was more than human, was closely connected with God, and had experienced the glory of God.
Moses and Elijah- Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. They were very important Old Testament prophets, well known in Judaism. Their appearance suggests that Jesus is another in a long line of prophets, and that he, too, has Godly powers like they did. Elijah was also expected to return before, as in, infront of, the messiah, and he appeared in front of Jesus. This suggests Jesus is the Messiah.
What does the transfiguration suggest about who Jesus was?- The transfiguration suggests he is supernatural, clean and pure, without sin, amazing and awesome, more than human, closely connected with God, important person, had Godly powers, the Messiah
Jesus Calms a Storm
NATURE MIRACLE- A miracle in which Jesus shows his power over nature
The calming of the storm story- This is Mark's first mention of a nature miracle in his gospel. Storms were common on the Sea of Galilee, but this described as particularly bad. Jesus calms the storm with just a few words, and the disciples were very scared. However, Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith.
The meaning of the story- There is dispute nowadays if this story is to be taken literally. Many Christians see it as a metaphor (the sea was seen as a symbol for chaos that could only be overcome by God in Jesus' time) to show that Jesus can sort out all the chaos in your life, if you have faith. Some people think that the storm is an allegory for the persecution faced by Christians in Mark's time, with the storm being the persecutors and Jesus defeating them.
Summary and what this shows about Jesus- Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee when a sudden fierce storm broke out. Jesus calmed the storm with a few words. The Church interprets this story in terms of the storms of life- and how Jesus guides people through them to safety. If the story is literal, it shows Jesus has great power over anything including natural obstacles, it shows the disciples where scared and in awe of him.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand
NATURE MIRACLE- A miracle in which Jesus shows his power over nature
The story- In this miracle, food is miraculously multiplied so it feeds 5000 men (and some say there were woman and children as well). Mark uses this story to show Jesus' power. Lots of old testament prophets also made food appear for lots of people when they were in the desert and hungry, for instance the case of Moses: manna from heaven. This event compares Jesus to these people, therefore he is being directly linked with God's power.
Is this story literal?- Many people think that the idea of feeding so many people with so little is impossible. If you think that, you could argue that: Mark exaggerated the number of people there, so Jesus only fed a few; that everybody only got a crumb and were not fully fed; that everyone saw the disciples sharing their food and decided to also share their own food; that Mark made up this story to show that Jesus will provide more than enough for you in whatever you do. Many Christians see this story as a teaching that we should always share and not be greedy. However, if the feeding of the five thousand is true:
What does this story show about Jesus?- Jesus ordered the five thousand into groups of hundreds and fifties. This was the kind of thing an army leader would have done, and the Jews saw the messiah as being a military figure. This event convinced many people that Jesus was the messiah. The event also showed his power, that he will always provide for you if you are hungry.
Jesus Walks on the Sea
How this story links to the other miracles- This is yet another nature miracle. Mark placed these significant miracles in such a close order to really get across to the reader the extreme power that Jesus had. This miracle is quite similar to the calming of the storm- both take place on the Sea of Galilee and both show Jesus being in control of the water, with the disciples on a boat. Most of Jesus' teachings took place around the villages and towns around the Sea of Galilee so it would not be unusual for them to use a boat.
What this shows about Jesus- At first, the disciples think he is a ghost, which is something supernatural. Walking on water shows his amazing power, and that he must be close with God. In the Old Testament, many links are made to God being on water and future messiahs having control over water. For instance, Psalm 77 said: 'Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen' and this is exactly what Jesus did. Also, Jesus uses the words 'It is I' which, in Greek, translate to 'I am' and these are the words God uses to describe himself to Moses in Exodus when he appears through the burning bush. Mark is making direct links between Jesus, God and the Old Testament.
Beliefs about what really happened- Many people think that Jesus was just walking on a reef, or raft, but that the disciples could not see it, so thought he was walking on the water. Many think that he was simply on the shore and it looked like he was walking on the sea. Some people think Mark made it up to make links between Jesus and the Old Testament.
Jesus Heals Legion
LEGION- A man from whom Jesus cast out many demons
What happened?- Jesus heals a man who has many demons inside him. He is called 'Legion' because there are 'many' demons. Jesus sent the evil spirits into a herd of pigs nearby (the herd was about two thousand in number). The pigs ran into a lake and were all drowned. The people in the area responded very negatively and asked Jesus to leave the area. The man Jesus healed, however, went about telling people what Jesus did for him, and people were amazed.
What does this show about Jesus?- In this story, as the man is healed by Jesus, the evil spirits say ' What do you want with me, Son of the Most High God?' this shows that even evil spirits recognise who Jesus really is. It shows Jesus has power over evil spirits, and therefore over evil. Jesus would free a human life from Satan at any cost, even two thousand pigs. Whatever was wrong with Legion, Jesus had the power to heal him, so even if it was not evil spirits and it was mental illness, Jesus still cured him. The people were amazed and afraid
What is the signifacance of the pigs?- The pigs stampeded into the water. The sea was believed to be the dwelling place of Satan, so many think the evil spirits were 'returning home'. There are many opinions about the way Jesus treated the pigs. Some people think he had no respect for the farmer, some people think a human life is worth more than 2000 pigs.
The Raising of Jairus' Daughter
HEALING MIRACLE- A miracle in which Jesus showed his power over nature
JAIRUS- The synagogue ruler whose daughter was brought back to life by Jesus
The meaning of this story- At this point in Jesus' ministry, many Jewish leaders were openly critical of Jesus and his teaachings. For a synagogue ruler to call on Jesus for help shows that he must have been extremely desperate, and his daughter must have been extremely ill. As Jesus was delayed on his way to the house (a woman with a hemorrhage was healed by Jesus and he taught her and others about faith) he was late, and the daughter had by this point died. Many people were in the house mourning her. The fact that many people were in the house shows that she must have been dead, as that many people cannot all be mistaken. Jesus raised her from the dead.
What does this show about Jesus?- This story shows he has not just power over sickness, but power over life and death as well. Life after death was only come across for Jews in the idea of Heaven, and Heaven is directly linked with God. As Jesus shows life after death here, he is linking himself to God. Early Christians were dependant on such stories as this for proof that they were following the real Messiah. This miracle, where Jesus defeats death, hints towards his own resurrection.
Who was Jesus?: Jesus- The Messiah
MESSIAH- The anointed one (christ) who would bring in God's Kingdom
Meaning of 'Messiah'- The names 'Messiah' 'Christ' and 'Anointed One' all mean the same, apart from that 'Messiah' is the Hebrew word for 'anointed one' and 'Christ' is the Greek. 'Christ' is a title for Jesus and not a surname. Jesus may not have openly referred to himself as 'Christ' or 'Messiah' to avoid being accused of blasphemy.Jesus as the Messiah in Mark's Gospel- The very first lines in Mark's Gospel are: 'The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, The Son of God' Showing that Mark wants it known from the beginning that Jesus is the Messiah. When Peter spoke about Jesus being the Christ at Caesarea Philipi, Jesus warned them to tell no one. At Jesus' trial in front of the Sanhedrin, the High Priest asks Jesus: 'Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?' to which Jesus replied 'I am'. This was Jesus openly declaring that he was the Messiah, although at this point he had already been arrested.
Beleiefs about the Messiah in Jesus' time- Beliefs had developed about a Messiah that would come, and what they would be like. The Jews believe that he would be someone who would restore Israel's fortunes, be a descendant of David, chosen by God to rule as king, he would bring peace, he would stand against God's enemies, he would make Jerusalem and the Temple become the centre of the world, all faithful Jews would be brought back from exile, and the Messiah would bring in a time of peace and happiness for everyone. He would be the person to free the Israelites from Roman rule. The Significance of the Messiah for Christians today- From early Christianity to now, followers of Jesus see him as the Messiah, as they have seen God's work in him through his life, death and resurrection. For Christians, Jesus the Messiah will guide you through your problems to God. Christians are commanded, as followers of Christ, to do good in the world.
Who was Jesus?: Jesus- The Son of Man
SON OF MAN- A title used by Jesus of himself, probably meaning he would suffer before bringing in God's Kingdom.
Why did Jesus use the title 'Son of Man' rather than 'Messiah' or 'Son of God'?- To avoid causing trouble with the authorities, to avoid being accused of blasphemy. Some people think it is because in a book in the Old Testament, the book of Daniel, the words 'Son of Man' are used to describe a Messiah. The title was also used to show Jesus' God given authority- when he heals the paralysed man Mark states that the 'Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins'.
When did Mark use the title 'Son of Man' in his Gospel?- Jesus himself describes himself as the Son of Man three times, the first being when he is saying that the Son of Man will be ashamed of people who are ashamed of him- he was describing what you needed to do to be a disciple. The second was when Jesus was talking about signs that point to the end of the world: "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory'. The third was at his trial, he said to the Sanhedrin that they will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand. Mark describes Jesus as the Son of Man at other occasions, many of them when Jesus is predicting his own suffering and death.
What does the title mean for Christians today?- Today, the title means that Jesus will return to judge humanity, and the title retains the suffering theme, reminding Christians he suffered to save us. It means Jesus saves people from sin.
Who Was Jesus?: Jesus- The Son of God
Marks use of the title 'Son of God'- The very beginning of Mark's Gospel says: 'The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God' this shows right from the start that Mark thought Jesus was a divine, holy person, and that he was the Son of God. A centurion at Jesus' crucifixion also used the title, saying 'Surely this man was the Son of God' if even a centurion (a Roman soldier) thought he was the Son of God, then he must have been.
Why people may believe Jesus was the Son of God- Twice in Marks Gospel God talks to Jesus saying he is his son, at Jesus' baptism and the transfiguration. God's words at these events also parallel with Old Testament readings/ prophecies. The story of the parable of the tenants also suggests Jesus is God's son, as it says: 'He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. he sent him last of all, saying "They will respect my son"' In this parable 'He' is God, and the son is Jesus. The parable speaks of God's plan of salvation for humankind.
What the title means for Christians today- This title shows that Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which is split into three parts but is still one being. Jesus helped people understand what God was like- he was humble and from a normal background, so is somenone we can all relate to, but he also mirrored the perfect qualities associated with God.