Analysis of Mark's Gospel

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This research assignment aims to analyse and interpret an influential part of the New Testament – Mark's Gospel. An analysis of Mark and his community will be discussed as well as interpreting Jesus' teachings and his significant theme of Discipleship as it was then and in present society.

A Gospel in general, is a textual document written in narrative form of the good news and teachings proclaimed by Jesus to announce the power of God. Mark's Gospel is one of four others (Matthew, Luke and John), where each Gospel has its differences in structure, language and theological slants. Mark's Gospel is divided into three main sections: The Ministry of Jesus, Jesus' prologue of foretelling his Passion, and his Passion and Death. Mark set out on a mission of God to carry on the word of Jesus with Paul, where Mark was traditionally known to be closely linked to one of Jesus' disciples – Peter, which many of the stories in the Gospel relate to his perspective and point of view. Much of Mark's stories may have originated from Peter through oral transfer (as it was common in those times) and discussions with Paul, as well as accounts from the Old Testament.

Mark's community mainly consisted of Gentiles who lived in Rome as opposed to Jesus followers in Israel who were Jews. Gentiles are classified as people of any religion that are not Jewish, and of non-Jewish origins such as the Romans. In particular the Roman Centurion (army officer) who professed that Jesus was truly the Son of God (15:39), is one of many reasons that suggest Mark's community to be Gentile. This is a significant part in the Passion narrative, as the Centurion – being a Gentile is one of the first people to have faith and believe in Jesus after his death, which is relevant to the Kingdom of God. Also, many of Jewish customs are explained for non-Jewish followers as well as Mark's translation of Latin words written in Greek (Mark: A Gospel for Today, 1989). Mark's community endured much suffering under the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero that was persecuting Christians for practicing their Monotheistic faith and preaching the word of Jesus. For Mark's community, in continuing the word of Jesus and to spread the good news, the people faced many difficulties as to convert to Christianity. These barriers included the geographical differences of Rome and Jerusalem as well as having their own opinions and beliefs. Scholars believe that Mark's Gospel is written in around 64-65AD, being about thirty years after Jesus' death and resurrection (Mark: A Gospel for Today 1989 p.18) decreased the legitimacy and belief of the accounts offered to Mark's readers. Although the Roman society questioned Monotheism, the strength of Mark's community to Jesus had overthrown their past beliefs, whereby their loyalties had met with the many hardships and dangers of Roman hierarchy – just as Jesus' followers did.

The concept of ‘seeing' the ways of Jesus and that He is the Messiah, is to truly understand the message being portrayed throughout the Gospel, and not the surface meaning that is being represented literally. This concept was very significant to Jesus and his followers as to interpret the meaning without being said, most parables being related to the Kingdom of God and Jesus' miracle stories. Times were harsh and difficult to spread and teach the words of Jesus, as Mark's community would face persecution. The disciples of Jesus could ‘see' more than other believers could perceive, from being apart of Jesus' life with close relationships, as they were taught the fundamentals from Jesus himself to understand his teachings in much more depth and fluency than others. There were many similarities among Jesus' twelve disciples and Mark's community, as both groups share the strong faith in Jesus and God's power by spreading the good news to others as well as experiencing hardships caused by arrogant hierarchy and society. According to Mark, Jesus was known for his parables and...
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