St Mark's Gospel

All of the passages with explanation from the St Mark's Gospel section of AQA Religious Studies on Roman Catholism

The calming of the storm-Passage

  • When evening came, Jesus said to his disciples "Let us go over to the other side."
  • They left the crowd and went in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
  • A furious squall (storm) erupted while Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat, on a cushion
  • The disciples woke him and said "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
  • Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves "Quiet! Be still!" The storm died down.
  • He turned to his disciples and said "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
  • The disciples were terrified and asked each other "Who is this man? Even the wind and waves obey him!"
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The calming of the storm- Meaning for 1st Century

  • 1st century christians were being persecuted in Rome when Mark was writing the gospel.
  • Violent storms were thought to be caused by demons, Jesus' words were the same as those said in exorcisms
  • Some christians at this time would have associated the storm with Emperor Nero, the persecutor and hater of christians
  • This passage shows that even if it feels like God was asleep at their time of need, he still has power to save him.
  • The ship is a symbol of the church, surviving the stormy seas of life to reach haven.
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The calming of the storm- Meaning for 21st Century

  • Some Christians believed the passage happened exactly as described (Fundamentalists)
  • Many Christians however, believe it was a story created by the Early Church to show God's power to overcome evil.
  • Others believed that the storm calmed down without Jesus's intervention or that it was a "miracle" of timing.
  • The Sea of Galilee is noted for violent storms that subside quickly.
  • Some think Jesus was talking to the disciples to calm them down.
  • Whatever their view is, the story gives christians facing hostility (opposition) encouragement and inspirtaion to cope.
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Jesus' Baptism- Passage

  • Jesus came from Nazareth, Galilee to the River Jordan, where John baptised him.
  • As he came out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
  • A voice came from heaven, saying "You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
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Jesus' Baptism- Symbolism

  • The heavens opening symbolised the presense of God, a symbol seen in the Old Testament (OT)  frequently.
  • The dove is very important. In a Jewish commentry in OT, the voice of the Spirit is seen as a turtle dove. In Genesis 1:2, the Spirit of God is said to be brooding on the waters like a dove. This imagery is interpeted as Jesus experiencing the peace of God in his heart.
  • The voice from heaven avoids any reference to God being human while giving Jesus divine apporval and confirmation that he was God's beloved son.
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Jesus' Baptism- Meaning

  • For Jesus, it was a turning point in his life. After the baptism, he became a public and controversal figure. It also confirmed/ assured Jesus that he was the Son of God.
  • Mark did not explain why Jesus went for baptism when according to Christian belief, he was sinless. Christians assume that he wished to be associated with those who came to be cleansed of sin through baptism, showing his humility.
  • At the same time, what happened indicates his authority originating from his unique relationship with God. Most Christians practise the rite of baptism, understanding it as initation into the church, symbolising membership of the Kingdom of God and following Jesus' example.
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Jesus' Temptation-Passage and Symbolism

(For context: This occurs straight after the baptism, in the Judaean desert)

  • "At once, the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended to him"
  • According to Mark, Jesus was driven or sent out. The greek verb is also used later on for exorcism, showing the seriousness of the temptation.


  • Forty days is the time Moses spent on Mt Sinai when recieving The Law, but was also used simply as a round figure meaning a long time.
  • Satan and the wild animals were both seen by Jews as oppositions of God. Satan was seen as trying to lead humans astray and the animals were sometimes as identified with demons, so both were seen as testing Jesus' faith severely.
  • In OT, angels were messengers of God who brought help to good people in difficulties.
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Jesus' Temptation-Meaning

  • Satan may have been trying to shake Jesus' belief that he was the Messiah and in his relationship with God. Jesus triumphed over him and returned from the desert ready to start his ministry thanks to his awareness of God's support
  • Mark probably meant to show the temptation as further reinforcing the unique status and authority of Jesus, and wanted Christians to read the gospel with the knowledge that Jesus was the Son of God and had authority over Satan in their minds.
  • Christians remember Jesus' temptation in the season of Lent. They give something up, fast or take on a task to increase their self disipline and devotion to God.
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Caesarea Philippi-Passage

  • Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.
  • He asked "Who do people say I am?"
  • They replied "Some say John the Baptism; others say Elijah; and others still, one of the prophets."
  • "But what about you?" he replied, "Who do you say I am?"
  • "You are the Christ" answered Peter.
  • Jesus warned them not to tell anyone.
  • Jesus then began to teach that the son of man must suffer and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the Law, and must be killed and after three days rise again.
  • Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
  • When Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
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Caesarea Philippi-Meaning

(This bit is long so i'm going to try and shorten it as much as I can)

  • First recorded recognition of Jesus as the Messiah.
  • First Passion prediction.
  • Rebukes Peter for thinking like a man and not remembering God's purpose. Refers to him as Satan, tempting him to take an easier path as Messiah.
  • After this event, the atmosphere became darker. Jesus made his teaching private to only the disciples and kept his location secret. This teaching included many predictions on his suffering and death.
  • He said that the Son of Man must suffer and be killed. This is known as the divine must.
  • Peter probably spoke on behalf of all the disciples, who would have discussed Jesus' identity before. However, they still had a lot to learn as they still only thought in the terms of glory for them and Jesus.
  • Christians understand the divine must and how they were part of God's purpose. 1st century Christians and Christians suffering today find comfort in knowing that their suffering has a purpose, even if they cannot understand it.
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The Transfiguration-Passage

  • Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain.
  • He transfigured before them, with his clothes becoming dazzlingly white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
  • Moses and Elijah appeared before them and began to talk to Jesus.
  • Peter said to Jesus "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters- one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
  • A cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my son, whom I love. Listen to him!"
  • When they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them apart from Jesus.
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The Transfiguration-Symbolism and Meaning

  • The whiteness of Jesus' clothes signified that he was more than just a man, as did the words spoken by God, idenitcal to the ones at the baptism, and the cloud indicated God's presense.
  • Moses and Elijah were two of the most important OT figures. Moses is a symbol of Jewish Law and Elijah is a representative of the prophets. Their appearance fulfilled the OT; in other words, the teaching he gave at Caesarea Philippi was in accordance with God's will.
  • The shelters might have been Peter's way of showing respect, or Mark might have wanted the readers to think of the sacred tent used for prayer during the wilderness wanderings, or the tents where Israelites lived during the time, which Jews still remember at the festival of Sukkoth.


  • Peter's rejection of the divine must might have tempted Jesus and made him doubt his ministry, so the transfiguration reassured him that he was following the right path.
  • For Peter, James and John, the transfiguration proved that Jesus was not Moses or Elijah and would have taken this to mean that they should pay heed to Jesus' teaching.
  • The tranfiguration is celebrated by Christians every year on the 6th August. It reminds them that for Jesus, suffering and glory went hand in hand and that he was the Son of God.
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The Entry into Jerusalem-Passage

  • They approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. 
  • Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you "Why are you doing this?", say "The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly."
  • They found the colt tied to a doorway, and as they untied it people asked "What are you doing, untying that colt?" They answered as Jesus told them and they let him go.
  • They brought the colt back to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it. Jesus rode the colt in while people laid down their cloaks and branches they had cut in the fields. 
  • Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
  • Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around, but because it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
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The Entry into Jerusalem-Meaning

  • It was customary to enter Jerusalem on foot- only kings rode into the city as a sign of triumph after victories of conquest or authority.
  • Jesus was making a statement about his humility by riding in on a colt. It fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9).
  • The Messianic Secret was being revealed while showing that Jesus came in humility and peace. 
  • The branches acknowledged his authority. 
  • "Hosanna" means "Save us." Together with the words about the kingdom of David, it suggests that those with Jesus were hoping that he would free them.
  • Many thought the Messiah would be descended from King David. 
  • The other words shouted by the crowd were part of a psalm that were chanted by all pilgrims as they approached Jerusalem.
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The Sanhedrin's Dilemma

  • "Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the Law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot."
  • According to Mark, the days after Jesus's entry were largely spent in the temple, teaching and debating with the religious leaders.
  • Jesus' protest in the temple (see unit 5) was a direct challenge to the Sanhedrin's authority, so they became determined to destroy him.
  • They understood Jesus' popularity meant an open arrest could have sparked riots, so they looked for some way to arrest him quietly.
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The anointing at Bethany-Passage

  • Location: Bethany, at the house of Simon the Leper
  • As Jesus sat at the table, a woman with an alabaster jar of expensive oil arrived, broke the jar and anointed him.
  • People at the table argued “What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!” and they criticized her harshly.
  • Jesus said Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me. She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial. Now, I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
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The anointing at Bethany-Meaning

  • It was customary to anoint guests at a meal, but it was unthinkable for a woman to do it, especially with such an expensive oil.
  • Jesus's reply was important because he understood the woman's motivation and and praised her generostiy, saw her as performing burial rituals to anticipate his death and said her action would always be remembered whether his story was told.
  • In OT times, kings were annointed as a sign that they;d been chosen by God and had a unique relationship with him.
  • The word Messiah means "annointed one."
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Juda's betrayal

  • "Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him some money. So he watched for an oppotunity to hand him over."
  • The Sanhedrin had been powerless to get rid of Jesus, but now their chance came. The nature of the arrangements is not clear, but Jusas probably told them where Jesus could be arrested privately.
  • Mark conveys horror at Juda's action. Each time he refers to the betrayal, the phrase "one of the Twelve" is used, emphasising that one of Jesus' chosen companions was the traitor.
  • Apart from the betrayal, nothing else is know for certain about Judas. Iscariot is not a surname, and some scholars think that it means "King of Kerioth", a town in Judaean. Others think he was a Zealot, linking Iscariot with the latin sicarii (daggermen), who stabbed their victims in crowded places.
  • Some people think Judas betrayed Jesus for greed because he was offered a fee. Others think Judas thought Jesus was going to lead a rebellion against the Romans, so Jesus' statement on paying Roman taxes (see unit 5) earlier in the week would have upset him. No one knows for sure, but New Testament (NT) writers were more concerned to see the following events as part of God's plan, including Juda's decision.
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Preparations for the Passover

  • "On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day the lambs for the Passover meal were killed, Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you?”
  • Then Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he enters, and say to the owner of the house: ‘The Teacher says, Where is the room where my disciples and I will eat the Passover meal?’Then he will show you a large upstairs room, fixed up and furnished, where you will get everything ready for us.”
  • The disciples left, went to the city, and found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal."


  • The instructions Jesus gave seemed strange; they had to follow a specific man and were told what exactly to say to the houseowner. Perhaps Jesus didn't want to openly say where it was in front of the entire group, especially Judas.
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The Last Supper-Prediction of Betrayal

  • When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were at the table, Jesus said "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me- one who is eating with me."
  • They were saddened, and one by one they said to him "Surely not I?"
  • "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him had he had not been born."


  • Jesus did not say who would betray him, but emphasised that it was one of those eating with him. Sharing food was a sign of intimate friendship, so Jesus' words highlighted the awfulness of the betrayal.
  • Jesus stated that his death was part of God's purpose for him, but the tratior was still responsible for his action; it would have been better had he not been born.
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The Last Supper-Bread and Wine

  • While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying "Take this this is my body."
  • Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." he said to them. "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."


  • The words about the bread and the wine gave the Passover meal a new meaning. In sharing the bread and the wine, the disciples were united with one another and with Jesus through his death.
  • Although Mark did not record Jesus' command to repeat this meal, the early Christian community did repeat it on a regular basis right from the start.
  • Jesus finally stated that he would not drink wine again until he did so in the kingdom of God. The Messianic Banquet was a Jewish symbol for the kingdom of God, representing the joy that joy that would be part of the new age. Jesus may have been implying that the kingdom of God would arrive with his death.
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Jesus' time of prayer-Passage

  • Went to Gethsemane with disciples, Jesus said to his disciples "Sit here while I pray." 
  • He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." he said to them, "Stay here and keep watch."
  • Going further on, he fell to the ground and prayed "Abba, father," he said "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
  • He returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the mind is weak."
  • He went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he found them asleep again. They didn't know what to say to him.
  • Returning the third time, Jesus said "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
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Jesus' time of prayer-Meaning

  • Jesus begged God to take away the cup, a metaphor for death and suffering.
  • Mark gave the actual Aramanic word Jesus used to address God "Abba"
  • Jesus was afraid, but said that he would go ahead with God's will. On returning, he found them asleep. Though mentally prepared to remain awake, Peter and the other two had given in to physical weakness. Twice more Jesus prayed and found them asleep. 
  • As he prayed, he could probably see Judas and the Levite guards leaving the city, crossing the Kidron valley and climbing up the Mount of Olives, so he woke up his disciples as his betrayer arrived.
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Jesus' arrest-Passage

  • "Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs and sent by the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders. The traitor had given the crowd a signal: “The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him and take him away under guard.”
  • As soon as Judas arrived, he went up to Jesus and said, “Teacher!” and kissed him. So they arrested Jesus and held him tight.  But one of those standing there drew his sword and struck at the High Priest's slave, cutting off his ear.  Then Jesus spoke up and said to them, “Did you have to come with swords and clubs to capture me, as though I were an outlaw?  Day after day I was with you teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must come true.”
  • Then all the disciples left him and ran away.
  •  A certain young man, dressed only in a linen cloth, was following Jesus. They tried to arrest him,  but he ran away naked, leaving the cloth behind."
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Jesus' arrest-Meaning

  • Judas' kiss was the usual way a disciple greeted his rabbi, but on this occasion it was the pre-arranged form of identification. 
  • Jesus offered no resistance, simply pointing out that the Levites, unarmed, could have arrested him at any point earlier in the week when he was in the temple teaching.
  • He saw his arrest as fulfilling the OT.
  • The young man who was seized is thought to be John Mark.
  • The reaction of Jesus and his disciples were very different. Jesus had spent time in prayer and when the moment came, accepted it as part of God's will. The disciples however, had slept and were unprepared. They panicked and, going against everything they said before, ran for their lives.
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Jesus' Trial before the Sanhedrin-Passage

  • Then Jesus was taken to the High Priest's house, where all the chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the Law were gathering.The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some evidence against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they could not find any. 
  • Many witnesses told lies against Jesus, but their stories did not agree.Then some men stood up and told this lie against Jesus: “We heard him say, ‘I will tear down this Temple which men have made, and after three days I will build one that is not made by men.’” Not even they, however, could make their stories agree.
  • The High Priest stood up in front of them all and questioned Jesus, “Have you no answer to the accusation they bring against you?”But Jesus kept quiet and would not say a word.
  • Again the High Priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?”“I am,” answered Jesus, “and you will all see the Son of Man seated at the right side of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven!”
  • The High Priest tore his robes and said, “We don't need any more witnesses! You heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?”They all voted against him: he was guilty and should be put to death. 
  • Some of them began to spit on Jesus, and they blindfolded him and hit him. “Guess who hit you!” they said. And the guards took him and slapped him.
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Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin-Context

There were strict rules governing Sanhedrin trials where the death penalty was involved:

  • Cannot be held at night or on the eve of a Jewish feast day.
  • A final verdict cannot be given until a day has passed, to encourage mercy.
  • The trial should be held in the Hall of Hewn Stone.
  • The trial should begin with reasons for finding the accused person innocent.
  • Evidence was only valid if given by two witnesses whose testimony agreed.
  • The high priest, who ran the trial, should not ask direct questions.
  • A conviction for blasphemy should only be given where God's personal name (Exodus 3:14) was used.
  • The Jewish penalty for blasphemy was stoning to death, but because of the Roman occupation, the Sanhedrin could not carry out the sentence. There had to be a Roman trial, and if the accused was again found guilty then the Roman method of execution had to be used:crucifixion.

Mark's account of Jesus' trial shows that these rules were broken. Some scholars think that the account deliberately emphasised that the Jews was responsible for Jesus' death because of the Roman persecution against the Christians at the time the gospel was written.

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Jesus' Trial before the Sanhedrin-Meaning

  • All the evidence given against Jesus at his trial at the High Priest's house conflicted. Some witnesses said that Jesus said he would destroy the Temple and in three days rebuild it.
  • The Jews believed that in the new age, God or the Messiah would rebuild the Temple. Therefore, his statement would have been seen as a falsh Messianic claim and deeply insulting to Jews.
  • The words "three days" probably just meant "a short time", but Mark and his readers would have related it to Jesus' Resurrection, three days after his death. 
  • Perhaps the High Priest took Jesus' words "I am" to be the first part of God's name as revealed to Moses, or in order to find Jesus guilty, he accepted a looser definition of blasphemy.
  • He tore his coat, the symbolic action marking the end of a trial, signifiying his horror and grief at the blasphemy.
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Jesus' Trial before Pilate-Passage

  • "Early in the morning the chief priests met hurriedly with the elders, the teachers of the Law, and the whole Council, and made their plans. They put Jesus in chains, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”Jesus answered, “So you say.”The chief priests were accusing Jesus of many things,so Pilate questioned him again, “Aren't you going to answer? Listen to all their accusations!”Again Jesus refused to say a word, and Pilate was amazed.
  • At every Passover Festival Pilate was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the people asked for. At that time a man named Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder in the riot. 
  • When the crowd gathered and began to ask Pilate for the usual favor, he asked them, “Do you want me to set free for you the king of the Jews?” He knew very well that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask, instead, that Pilate set Barabbas free for them. Pilate spoke again to the crowd, “What, then, do you want me to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?”They shouted back, “Crucify him!”“But what crime has he committed?” Pilate asked.They shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he set Barabbas free for them."
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Jesus' Trial before the Sanhedrin-Meaning

  • The Sanhedrin's meeting was probably to prepare their case against Jesus. Blasphemy was a Jewish religious offence and so wouldn't have interested Pilate, so the charge had to be political to gain the attention of the prefect.Since Jesus said he was the Messiah, it was not hard to alter the case as the Romans understood the idea of Messiah as a political figure, a king. Claiming to be king was treason, for which the Roman penalty was crucifixion.
  • When asked if he was King of the Jews, Jesus gave an ambigious response, perhaps indiciating that he was their king in only a religious sense. He refused to say anything else, which amazed Pilate as he had much experience with Jewish revolutionaries and knew that there was no real case against Jesus.
  • Pilate decided to release a prisoner at the Passover to encourage peace in Jerusalem at this time of tension. He saw this as a way of getting Jesus released without antagionising the Sanhedrin, but it failed.
  • The crowd were probably supporters of Barnabas, who had been involved in an uprising. If so, it wouldnt have been hard to whip them up into near hysteria in support. Pilate's repeated questions may have been an attempt to get Jesus freed or a way of annoying the Jews, who he despised. Whatever the reason was, he saw that the situation could get out of control, so he granted their request.
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The mocking of Jesus

  • (This is part of Jesus' trial before Pilate, but I couldn't find all of it on one card.)
  • "Then he had Jesus whipped and handed him over to be crucified.The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor's palace and called together the rest of the company.They put a purple robe on Jesus, made a crown out of thorny branches, and put it on his head.Then they began to salute him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” They beat him over the head with a stick, spat on him, fell on their knees, and bowed down to him. When they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him."
  • Jesus' charge of being "King of the Jews" formed the basis of the soldier's treatment. The crown he was given mimicked the emperor's laurel wreath crown. "Hail, King of the Jews!" was a parody of "Hail, Caesar!" and they paid him fake homage.
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The Crucifixion of Jesus-Passage pt1

"On the way they met a man named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross. (Simon was from Cyrene and was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” There they tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but Jesus would not drink it.Then they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, throwing dice to see who would get which piece of clothing. It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.The notice of the accusation against him said: “The King of the Jews.”  They also crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left. People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: “Aha! You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! Now come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law made fun of Jesus, saying to one another, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him!” And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also."

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The Crucifixion of Jesus-Meaning pt1

  • Jesus had experienced the emotional trauma of betrayal, desertion and denial by his friends and endured the stress of two trials. He was twice beaten by Roman officers, whose floggings were so severe that victims sometimes died. It's not surprising that the heavy weight of the crossbeam was too much.
  • The soldiers picked on a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the crossbeam. He probably came to Jerusalem as a Passover pilgrim.
  • The drugged drink was offered as an act of kindness, but Jesus refused it to show that he willingly accepted his suffering.
  • The inscription on Jesus' cross, "King of the Jews", pointed to his crime as political.
  • Passer-bys referred in mockery to the statement brought as evidence against Jesus in the Jewish trial. Jewish religious leaders also laughed at him, laughing at the contrast between his miracle work and his helpnessless on the cross.
  • Even those suffering the same fate insulted him. Jesus was completely alone, utterly isolated. 
  • For Christians, Jesus' death means SALV- Self giving love, Atonement, Liberation and Victory.
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The Crucifixion of Jesus-Passage pt2

  • At 3pm, Jesus cried in a loud voice "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?")
  • When those standing nearby heard this, they said "Listen, he's calling Elijah!" Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff and offered it to Jesus. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down." 
  • With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
  • The curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom, and when the centurion, who stood in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
  • Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women from Jerusalem were also there.
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The Crucifixion of Jesus-Meaning pt2

  • Mark recorded that from midday there was darkness over Israel for three hours. This may have been symbolic of the terrible sin being commited by killing Jesus.
  • The Aramaic words Jesus used,a quote from Psalm 22, were remembered and passed on. Though loud, Jesus' words may have been indistinct, as some believe he was calling Elijah, who was though to return to help good people in times of trouble. Therefore, they tried to prolong Jesus' life by giving him cheap wine, to see if Jesus' appeal was answered. However, he gave one shout and died.
  • Mark may have included the tearing of the Temple curtain as it has symbolic meaning, as it seperated the Holy of Holies, central part of the Temple where only God was present. Mark may be suggesting that Jesus' death tore down the barrier of sin between humanity and God.
  • For Mark, the centurion's words were a declaration of the real truth about Jesus. This would have been significant for 1st century Christians. The Jewish people rejected Jesus, but a Gentile recognised and declared his true identity. This was a clear statement that the good news was for everyone.
  • The disciples were no where to be seen. It was left to the women, who had looked after Jesus through-out his ministry, to witness his crucifixion. These final verses must have been very important for 1st century women, who were often looked down upon for their gender.
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The burial of Jesus

  • "It was toward evening when Joseph of Arimathea arrived. He was a respected member of the Council, who was waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God. It was Preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), so Joseph went boldly into the presence of Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. He called the army officer and asked him if Jesus had been dead a long time. After hearing the officer's report, Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. Joseph bought a linen sheet, took the body down, wrapped it in the sheet, and placed it in a tomb which had been dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb.  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were watching and saw where the body of Jesus was placed."
  • It took courage for Joseph to request the body; Pilate could have refused his request. He was a member of the council, so why did he request it? Maybe he was not present at Jesus' trial, as the meeting was called quickly as he might have gone home after the Passover meal. He may have been a secret supporter of Jesus or a devout Jew horrified at the idea of the body being left overnight.
  • Jesus was placed in a burial cave, which was common in Judaea, and it was normal to seal them with a stone. Because Sabbath was so near, there was no time to anoint the body.
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The empty tomb-Passage

  • When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices so that they could anoint Jesus' body.
  • As they went to the tomb just after sunrise on the first day of the week, they asked each other "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw the stone had been rolled away. 
  • As they entered, there was a young man in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, "He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he saw you.""
  • Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.
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The empty tomb-Meaning

  • The man in white was understood by Mark to be an angel.
  • The women were the witnesses to Jesus' death and burial, and now they were the first to hear about the good news of his Resurrection. Jewish women were important only in the home, and were often despised in wider society. It is remarkable that Mary and her companion were singled out in this way, They had been faithful until now, but they were so terrified that they failed, at least for the moment. They told no one.
  • The message the women were told to give to the disciples shows that they failed Jesus, but were assured of forgiveness. They were told to go to Galilee, where they had been called to follow Jesus, where they would see him again and be able to make a fresh start. Peter was singled out for special mention as he denied Jesus.
  • Although many modern versions of the gospel contain 9-20, scholars agree that these were added in 2nd century CE, and the original gospel ends with this story. There are many theories about why, including the other part of the scroll he wrote the gospel on being destroyed from use. However, others think this adrupt ending is deliberate as his Greek was not very good, or that the amazement and fear felt by the women is appropriate and the reader is left to reflect on Jesus' life and death, knowing of the Resurrection and experiencing the contining presence of Jesus.
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The empty tomb-Meaning

  • The man in white was understood by Mark to be an angel.
  • The women were the witnesses to Jesus' death and burial, and now they were the first to hear about the good news of his Resurrection. Jewish women were important only in the home, and were often despised in wider society. It is remarkable that Mary and her companion were singled out in this way, They had been faithful until now, but they were so terrified that they failed, at least for the moment. They told no one.
  • The message the women were told to give to the disciples shows that they failed Jesus, but were assured of forgiveness. They were told to go to Galilee, where they had been called to follow Jesus, where they would see him again and be able to make a fresh start. Peter was singled out for special mention as he denied Jesus.
  • Although many modern versions of the gospel contain 9-20, scholars agree that these were added in 2nd century CE, and the original gospel ends with this story. There are many theories about why, including the other part of the scroll he wrote the gospel on being destroyed from use. However, others think this adrupt ending is deliberate as his Greek was not very good, or that the amazement and fear felt by the women is appropriate and the reader is left to reflect on Jesus' life and death, knowing of the Resurrection and experiencing the contining presence of Jesus.
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The Resurrection Appearances-Mary Magdalene

  • "When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he'd driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she'd seen him, they did not believe it."
  • Mark's gospel gives little information about Mary Magdalene, yet she is one of the only women mentioned whose name remains exactly the same in all references. This suggests that she had a firm place in the early Christian tradition.
  • Again, it is significant that his first appearance was to a woman.
  • The disciple's lack of faith is emphasised.
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The Resurrection Appearances-Two disciples

  • "Afterwards Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either."
  • Again, there is a theme of disbelief. Although these verses were not written by Mark, they fit in with the theme of discipleship, a key theme in the gospel. Several times Jesus' disciples lacked understanding or faith during Jesus' ministry.
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The Resurrection Appearances-The Commission

  • Jesus appeared to the Twelve as they were eating.
  • He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him.
  • He said to them "Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
  • After telling them off, Jesus gave them the authority to preach the good news through-out the world, known as the commission. 
  • These verses also refer to early practises found in early Christian communites. There are a variety of NT passages which show these abilites, including the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and when shipwrecked on Malta, Paul picked up a snake and was unharmed.
  • Some Pentecostal Christians still practise these things (In the US, some churches practise snake handling, even if it's illegal! (Why didn't they get rid of the snakes but not the guns?!))
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The Ascension

  • "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."
  • The ascension marks the end of Jesus' physical presense on earth. For early Christian communties, it was the final proof that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. While Jesus was no longer physically able to work with the disciples, Mark explained that he continued to work with them. He became a spritual presense in their lives.
  • For believers, the Asension showed that Jesus was king.
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What does the resurrection mean to christians?

  • For Christians, the resurrection means LTADAC- A Living Christ, Teaching that can be trusted, A sign of God's Power, Death is not the end, A sign of victory over evil and the resurrection life Can be lived in the present.
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The Feeding of the Five Thousand-Passage

  • The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
  • Because so many people were coming and going that they hadn't eaten, Jesus said "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
  • They went away via boat to a quiet place. However, many recognised them and ran on foot to get there ahead of them. When Jesus saw the large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them.
  • It was late, so the disciples said "This is a remote place and it's already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat"
  • Jesus answered "You give them something to eat." and they said "That would take almost a year's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked, "Go and see."
  • "Five-and two fish."
  • Jesus directed everyone to sit in groups of 100s and 50s. He gave thanks and divided the loaves and fish to give to the disciples to distribute. They all ate and were satified, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets of broken pieces of food. The number of men who had eaten was 5,000.
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The Feeding of the Five Thousand-Meaning

  • This story brings together Jesus' roles as teacher and miracle worker and is told more often in the NT than any other miracle story.
  • Mark records two versions as well as teaching relating to it. For him and the early Christian community, this miracle has great significance.
  • There is OT reference, as the five loaves are symbolic of the five books of Moses and the two fishes are symbolic of the two tablets the commandments were written on. The word is literally spread far enough to spiritually fill everyone. The image of Jesus being the shepherd of the people is a reference to OT passages, which show the future Messiah as a shepherd.
  • Modern writers have often been concerned with what actually happened, and their suggestions will be considered. But what is really important for many Christians is not what happened but what the story means.
  • This passage can be used to argue Jesus's role as a teacher, a miracle worker or the Messiah.
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  • According to Jewish belief, means "An anointed one" and was supposed to be a king descended from King David, a supernatural figure and a warrior.
  • The Messianic Secret  -Jesus did not want people to refer to him as Messiah when discussing him. When he performed miracles, he told them not to tell anyone else. This is because many Jews expected the Messiah to be bale to perform miracles as proof of who he was and Jesus did not heal people to prove his identity.
  • In Caesarea Phillippi, after Peter declares Jesus is the Christ, Jesus tells the disciples to keep it a secret. He wanted people to come to their own conclusions about him, regardsless of the Messiah supposedly being a king with great wealth and power or a political saviour from the Romans. Also, if he was open about him being the Messiah, he would have been arrested before he was able to teach the crowds and the disciples.
  • Towards the end of his ministry, Jesus seem to be less concerned about the use of the title, probably because he knew that the ministry was drawing to a close. (See Blind Bartimaeus, Unit 5)
  • Some say that the title Messiah shows he was a historical figure who fulfilled OT predictions, but others argue that Messiah is only a Jewish title and wrongly shows Jesus as a worldly king.
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The Paralysed Man-Passage

  • Jesus entered Capernaum, and the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word.
  • Four men came, carrying a fifth paralysed man. Since they couldn't get through the crowd, they made an opening in the roof and lowered the mat the man was on to Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said "Son, your sins are forgiven."
  • Some teachers of the law was sitting there, thinking to themselves "Why does this fellow speak like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
  • Jesus knew in his spirit what they were thinking and said "Which is easier to say to this man, "Your sins are forgiven" or to say "Get up, take your mat and walk"? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins."
  • He said to the man "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." and he did as he said in full view of everyone. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying "We have never seen anything like this!"
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The Paralysed Man-Meaning

  • In Jesus' time, illness was thought to be the result of sin, whether that be by punishment or a psychological connection between guilt and illness. This seems to be the case here, as Jesus says "Your sins are forgiven."
  • The scribes was scandalised, as it was blasphemous to claim an authority to forgive sins that belonged only to God. Jesus replied that because he was the Son of Man, he was God's representative and acted with his authority.
  • The title "Son of Man" shows Jesus as a man, a vulnerable human being and a glorious being. It is used 14 times in Mark's gospel, mainly when talking about his ministry, his suffering and his future glory.
  • The title emphasises Jesus' humanity and humility while pointing to his authority as God's representative, reminding Christians of the good news that Jesus came as savious and showing his selfless love. It was also the title preferred by Jesus.
  • However, some Christians find it hard to relate to a Jewish title so tied to OT and the 1st century. It can also seem vague.
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Son of God

  • Jesus does not used this title, but Mark saw it as particularly important. He uses it in the introduction to the gospel, at the key events of the baptism and transfiguration, as the key question at the trial before the Sanhedrin and immediately after Jesus died.
  • In Jesus' baptism, he was very aware of his unique nature with God and the mission to which God has called him. As Son of God, he fulfilled the role and relationship with God that Israel and Israel's former kings were meant to have, and so he was pleased with him. However, it goes deeper. Mark wrote his gospel in Greek, and the Greek word of "whom i love" or "beloved" is sometimes used to mean "only."
  • Some Christians like this title as it clearly states what Christianity teaches. It isn't vague, has no political or cultural ties, is understandable for all nationalities and shows the close relationship between Jesus and God.
  • Other Christians however, find it offputting as they wish to be able to relate to Jesus more personally. The Son of God seems more remote.
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Summary of all titles

A summary table for all of the titles in Unit 4 (hopefully the picture works)

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The Man with the Withered Hand-Passage

  • Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Some of the Jewish authorities were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched to see if he would heal on the sabbath.
  • Jesus said to the man "Stand up in front of everyone." then asked the authories "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or do evil, to save life or to kill?" but they remained silent.
  • He looked around in anger and, deeply disturbed by their stubborn hearts, said to the man "Stretch out your hand." He did so and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
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The Man with the Withered Hand-Meaning

  • According to OT, death was the penalty for breaking the Sabbath law, although this would have been unlikely to be carried out in the 1st century. Oral tradition counted healing as work, but in an emergency saving life came before the Sabbath law. The man's disability was not life threatening, but Jesus tried to make the Pharisees think at a deeper level than the Law.
  • Saving life was more than preventing death, it was about enabling someone to enjoy life to the full, so was Jesus fulfilling the Torah?
  • The religious leader's refusal to rethink angered and grieved Jesus, but the man had no doubts. He obeyed Jesus and his hand was cured. Jesus couldn't be accused of disobeying the Law as he only healed him by word; this wasn't an offence. 
  • The hatred the Pharisees felt for Jesus was shown by their alliance with men whose views they despised, the Herodians. Jesus was now seen as a threat by both religious and secular authorities.
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Jesus in the Temple

  • On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there.
  • He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves, and wouldn't allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple doors. And as he taught them, he said "Is it not written: "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations"? But you have made it a "den of robbers.""
  • The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
  • Jesus' actions were very dramatic, but it could have been more than a relatively small-scale symbolic protest. He couldn't have cleared the court of all the merchants and they would have returned as soon as he left. Nevertheless, it was a bold thing to do. It was a suicidal move, as the authories couldn't ignore this incident. 
  • He was probably making a protest against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. The Temple was supposed to be a place where Gentiles and Jews could worship God, but this was impossible because of the trading and money changing which brought in a large profit for the Sanhedrin.
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Payments of taxes to Caesar

  • The Jewish authorities sent some Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are: but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?"
  • But Jesus knew their hypocrisy, "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin, and he asked him "Whose portrait of this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's" they replied. Then Jesus said to them "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" and they were amazed at him.
  • Jesus saw through their flattery and knew he must answer carefully. If he said pay the taxes, he would have lost ordinary Jew's support, making it easier for the authorites to get rid of him. If he said don't pay the taxes, he would have been reported to the Romans as a threat to state security and arrested.
  • So he asked for a coin with the emperor on, which breaks one of the 10 commandments. Nevertheless, one of the critics had one on him, implying acceptance of Rome's authority. Jesus' statement was clever, the Jews had a duty both to the state and God, but the decision on how to apply this to those listening.
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The Call of Levi/Eating with Sinners

  • "Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me." Jesus told him and Levi got up and followed him."
  • Jesus' choice of first disciples, humble fishermen, were shocking. However, choosing a tax collector was even more shocking to the crowd and to the disciples he'd already chosen, who had probably been cheated in the past by Levi. Levi (Otherwise known as Matthew elsewhere in NT) responded immediately to Jesus' call, leaving a job that earned him a great deal to follow a wandering preacher.
  • Jesus and his disciples were having dinner at Levi's house, with tax collectors and "sinners". When the teachers of the Laws who were Pharisees saw him, they asked his disciples "Why does he eat with tax collectors and "sinners"?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
  • By entering the house of a tax collector, Jesus made him ritually unclean according to the Jewish Law. This would be made worse when he ate with them, as the food laws were central to Jewish faith. It was not surprising that the Pharisees were scandalised, but Jesus' reply showed a different understanding of his mission; he was there to help the spiritually ill.
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The man with Leprosy

  • A man with leprosy came to him and begged on his knees "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched the man "I am willing", he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. Jesus sent him away with a strong warning "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."
  • Under the rules of someone with leprosy, the man shouldn't have approached Jesus, but he was desperate. He had faith in Jesus' ability, but as he was an outcast he was unsure Jesus would want to heal him.
  • Jesus often used touch in healing, but here he ran the risk of contracting the disease and by touching him, Jesus was contaminated according to the Law. Most important of all, the touch would have given back to the man a sense of being human and being cared about, and restored his dignity.
  • This incident is full of emotion. The man's desperate state aroused Jesus' compassion, so he wanted the man to go without delay for the certficate of cure that would ensure his acceptance by society. He also didn't want attention being drawn to his powers, although Mark tells us later that the man was so happy that he couldn't help telling people about his cure.
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The Greek's woman's daughter

  • Jesus went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and didn't want anyone to know about it, but he couldn't keep his presence secret. A Greek woman, born in Syrian Phoenicia and whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter."First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" "For that reply you may go; the demon has left your daughter." She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
  • Jesus' decision to leave Galilee and go into mainly Gentile territory might have been to avoid the authorties, not to conduct a mission to the Gentiles. He didn't want people knowing he was there incase he was seen as a "con-man" healer, explaining his apparent rudeness when the woman requested a healing. Using a Jewish proverb referring to Jews as children and Gentiles as dogs, Jesus stated his priorities. The woman accepted what he said, and her reply made the point that the Jews were already recieving the good news, and so Gentiles like her could be offered it too. It showed her conviction that Jesus' authority was God-given and Jesus was impressed. Her faith was rewarded and it depth was shown in her trust that her daughter was cured without her seeing it happen.
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The woman with a haemorrhage

  • A woman had been suffering with bleeding for twelve years under the care of many doctors and has spent all she had, but only grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him and touched his cloak because she thought "If i just touch his clothes, I will be healed."Immediately the bleeding stopped and she felt that she was free from her suffering. At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked "Who touched my cloak?" "You see people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask "who touched my cloak"?" But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
  • The woman's condition made her unclean according to the Jewish laws, and an outcast from society. She shouldn't have approached Jesus or touched him, which is why she was secretive. Jesus realised someone had drawn on his powers by touching him. The disciple's impatience contrasted with Jesus' determination to know who sought his help. The woman's fear was probably a mix of awe and concern that Jesus might be angry. His final words made it clear that her faith healed her. Her healing was physical and spiritual.
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Jairus' daughter-Passage

  • When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, fell at his feet and pleaded earnstly "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." So Jesus followed him...(Woman with haemorrage)
  • While Jesus spoke, some men from Jairus' house. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher anymore?" Ignoring what they, Jesus told the synagogue ruler "Don't be afraid, just believe." 
  • He didn't let anyone follow him apart from Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they got to the house, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing. He said to them "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him.
  • He took the child's father and mother and the disciples to where the child was, took her hand and said to her "Talitha koum!" ("Little girl, I say to you, get up!") Immediately the girl stood up walked around, astonishing them. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
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Jairus' daughter-Meaning

  • Jairus was a religious leader, so it's surprising that he sought Jesus' help. His desperation was shown when he fell at Jesus' feet. 
  • The faith shown by Jairus after he recieved news of the girl's death contrasted with the mockery of the mourners.
  • The details suggest that Mark got the details from Peter.
  • Jesus' gentleness was vividly remembered: he took the girl by the hand, the Aramaic word talitha literally means "little lamb" and he told her parents to give her food.
  • Whether the story is true or is a parable, Christians believe the story has great meaning, showing that there is life after death.
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The healing of Blind Bartimaeus-Passage

  • They came to Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples, along with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man called Bartimaeus (Son of Timaeus) was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 
  • Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stopped and said "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you."
  •  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man answered "Rabbi, I want to see." "Go," said Jesus, "Your faith has healed you." 
  • Immediately he recieved his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
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The healing of Blind Bartimaeus-Meaning

  • When Bart shouted "Son of David", he was declaring his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and such a public declaration was dangerous. Many tried to silence him, possibly being impaitent and thinking that Jesus was too important to bother with a beggar, but he did anyway.
  • Bart's faith was shown in him abandoning his cloak, where he would have kept his begging money, to follow Jesus. 
  • Jesus' question seems odd, but he wanted Bart to have a part in his cure. He's told his faith has saved him, meaning he was healed physically and spiritially.
  • The reference to Bart following Jesus has a double meaning, because now he wasn't blind, he would be allowed in the men's part of the temple. He also literally accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem, able to at last enter the Court of Israel. "The Way" was also the earliest name for the Christian faith and so Mark may have meant that he followed Jesus as a disciple.
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The call of the disciples

  • "As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called him, and their left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him."
  • Mark was making two important points in his account of the call. First, these men were to share in his ministry (e.g. The Mission), not just follow Jesus. Ultimately, they were not "fishers of men" in Galilee; at the commission they were authorised as leaders to take the gospel to the world (unsual, as disciples usually simply learnt the Rabbi's teaching and passed it on.) 
  • Secondly, they recognised Jesus' authority and their response to his call was immediate. Here, Mark was highlighting both the authority Jesus possessed and the obedience of the four men.
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The Mission-Passage

  • "Calling the twelve to him, Jesus sent them out two by wo and gave them authority over evil spirits. His instructions were "Take nothing for the journey except a staff- no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them." They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out evil spirits and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them."
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The Mission-Meaning

  • Jesus sent out the twelve to help him with his mission of preaching and healing. Perhaps Jesus knew that time was short for him, and he wanted the disciples to help him reach as many people as possible in the time left.
  • He only allowed them to take what was essential, as he wanted them to rely on God, trusting, as Jesus himself did, that he would provide for their needs. This was an important lesson to learn for the future when they wouldn't have Jesus physical presense to support them.
  • By telling them to stay wherever hospitality was first offered and not move on to better accomodation, Jesus was making it clear that they weren't on holiday. If rejected, they had to leave peacefully but publically. Jews returning abroad did this as they returned to prevent foreign dust from contaiminating Jewish soil. They were sent in pairs of two, to support one another, but also because of any account of an event, under Jewish law, needed two witnesses.
  • The first ascept of the mission was the disciples' message of repentance, which reflected Jesus' own message. Exorcism was an important part of Jesus' ministry and the disciples were given the authority to share in this. Anointing sick people with oil was often used for healing in the 1st century, and the disciples were given authority to do this as well. These three aspects were to be a central part of Jesus' commission after his resurrection.
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Peter's Promise

  • When they had sung a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives.
  • Jesus said "You will all fall away, for it is written: "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
  • Peter declared "Even if all fall away, I will not." "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered "today- yes, tonight- before the **** crows twice you yourself will disown me three times." 
  • But Peter insisted emphatically "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." and all the others said the same.


  • Jesus' use of an OT quotation referring to the shepherd being struck and his sheep made it clear that his death was part of God's plan and that he accepted it. At the same time it implied that all would be well: Jesus would gather his disciples to him again just as the shepherd would gather his flock.
  • Peter's implusive personality and genuine devotion to Jesus comes across vividly in his reaction. He remembered very clearly what he had said after he later denied Jesus.
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Peter's denials

  • "While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You were also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said, but he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entrance. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around "This fellow is one of them." Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them "I don't know this man you are talking about." Immediately the **** crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken to him, and he broke down and wept."
  • His denial of Jesus must have been carved into Peter's memory for the rest of his life. The girl's recogntion of him posed no threat because she was both a woman and a servant. Peter had thought better of running in Gethsemane, and had gone to the high priest's house to see what would happen to Jesus. But now, terrified that he'd be arrested too, he denied all knowledge of Jesus. When someone commented on his Galilean dialect, he reacted even more strongly. When the **** crowed for the second time, he broke down remember Jesus' words and his response earlier.
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The parable of the sower

  • “Listen! Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep. Then, when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants, and they didn't bear grain. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and bore grain: some had thirty grains, others sixty, and others one hundred.”  And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

  • The seed is the word of God. The seeds eaten by birds are listeners who don't respond or are tempted by Satan, so it wasted. The seeds on rocky ground are listeners whose enthusiasm is killed off by persecution and other troubles. The seeds on thorny ground are listeners whose response is stifled by materialism and worldly concerns. The seeds on fertile ground are listeners who have a postive repsonse in belief and action.
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The parable of the Mustard Seed

  • “What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?” asked Jesus. “What parable shall we use to explain it?  It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world, and plants it in the ground.  After a while it grows up and becomes the biggest of all plants. It puts out such large branches that the birds come and make their nests in its shade.”
  • Mustard seeds are very small. Jesus was teaching that despite the limited response to his mission, God was in control and his rule would become worldwide. The birds are a Jewish symbol for Gentiles, so this parable shows that the Kingdom of God is for everyone. 1st century Christians in Rome must have found this reassuring. The good news started with a Galilean Rabbi and 12 humble followers. The Christian community was still small and being persecuted. Yet, one day, God's rule would be acknowledged by everyone.
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The Cost of Discipleship

  • He called the crowd and the disciples to him and said "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterious and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
  • According to Mark, this teaching came after Jesus' insistance that Messiahship involed rejection, suffering and death. Jesus now used dramatic metaphorical language to show his audience that following him was not easy. It involved making sacrifices, as self-interest had no place in discipleship. It was a shocking image to use but Jesus would have to tread the same path as he did i.e of suffering that he outlined to the Twelve earlier. Those who put materialist comfort and pleasure first ran the risk of losing what really mattered: eternal life in God's kingdom. Rejection of Jesus would lead to judgement when Jesus returned at the glorious Son of Man at the Second Coming.
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The Rich Man

  • A man ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees before him "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to recieve eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered, "No one is good- except God alone. You know the commandment: "D not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your mother and father." "Teacher," he delcared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said, "Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
  • Jesus might have suspected at first that the man's words were mere flattery, and so he jsut told him to keep the commandments. But then Jesus could see the man's sincerity. He could also see what the problem was: the man was too attached to his possesions.
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Jesus' teaching on wealth

  • Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other "Who then can be saved?"  Jesus looked at them and said to each other "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
  • The disciples amazement at Jesus' teaching on wealth sprang from the belief that wealth was a sign from God's approval. Jesus however, believed that wealth could get in the way of a person's relationship with God. He used a very vivid image to get his point across. For Jesus, the possibility of entering the Kingdom was more thanks to God's goodness and love than something humans can earn.
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Rewards in the Kingdom of God

  • Peter said to him "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "No-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children and fields and the gospel will fail to recieve a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-and with them, persecutions.) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be be last, and the last first."
  • Jesus reassured his disciples hat sacrifices would be more than compensated for in the Kingdom of God, both in the present and in the future, though persecutions would be part of life. Status in the Kingdom of God would be vastly different from how it was on earth.
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Jesus' teaching on service

  • Jesus called them togehter and said "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead , whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a random for many."
  • Jesus gave this teaching on service because there had been an argument between the disciples over who would sit next to him at the Messianic Banquet. This shows how little the Twelve really understood Jesus, for he had been telling them that following the Messiah involved suffering. Jesus then made it super clear that the values of Kingdom of God were the opposite of those in the secular world. In the Roman Empire, greatness was all about power, domination and status. In the Kingdom of God it was about self-giving sacrifice.
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The greatest commandments

  • One of the teachers of the Law came and asked him "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus "is this "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." The second is this "Love your neighbour as yourself." There is no commandment greater than these." "Well said, teacher," the man replied, "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strenght, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions
  • The man's question was a genuine one. There were said to be 365 prohibitions and 248 positive commands in the Torah, and rabbis were constantly looking for one principle that would cover all these rules. Jesus' first quote was from the shema, which all Jews should say daily. The second quote was from Leviticus in OT. For Jesus, no commandments were greater than those and they went together. By "neighbour" Jesus would have meant all those living in Israel, both Jew and Gentile. The scribe's statement was surprising, as the sacrificial system was central to Jewish religion. Jesus praised this attitude.
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The widow at the treasury

  • Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and but in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of poverty, put in everything- all she had to live on."
  • Around the Court of the Women there were 13 offering boxes for the upkeep of the temple. They were known as the "trumpets" because their shape. Jesus and his disciples saw a number of wealthy people making huge offerings. In contrast, the coins the widow gave were leptons, the smallest in circulation in Palestine, less than a sixieth of a labourer's daily pay. But to such a poor woman they would have been of great value. Jesus praised this woman just as he did the woman in the Anointing at Bethany. It was a sign of her commitment to God and her complete trust that he would provide for her. For some, his praise would have made little sense; she was a woman and  a widow, and such peopek were overlooked in the 1st century.
  • Many Christians believe that in their daily life they should show the same commitment and devotion.  For some, this means giving up everything. To others, it is giving up time for God
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