New Testament Week 3: Mark 1:1–6:6

1) Introduction to the Gospels. a) What is a “gospel”? i) The English word gospel is a translation of the Greek word ευαγγέλιον (euaggelion / “yoo•ang•GHEL•ee•on”),1 which means “good news.” (1) The Old English word godspel—from god (“good”) + spel (“story, message”)— became the modern English gospel. ii) President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
…[T]he good news of Christ…is the revelation that the Son of God came to earth, lived a perfect life, atoned for our sins, and conquered death. It is the path of salvation, the way of hope and joy, and the assurance that God has a plan of redemption and happiness for His children.2

iii) In the New Testament, “the gospel” always refers to the entire message about Christ, especially his death and resurrection.3 (1) Mark is the only gospel to actually refer to itself as a “gospel” (Mark 1:1). b) The four New Testament books identified as “gospels” are not biographies in the traditional sense. i) We know very little of Jesus’ youth and upbringing, other than the infancy narratives (or nativities) in Matthew and Luke, which are only intended to establish that Jesus was born miraculously. ii) The gospels do not describe Jesus’ appearance or personality, and say nothing of his habits, likes, dislikes, or interests. iii) We know little of his family and don’t even know if he had any personal friends or if he was married. iv) The gospels are about Jesus’ ministry, the impact he had on others, and his sacrifice in Jerusalem. v) The gospels are passion narratives with extended introductions. (1) “Passion” comes from the Latin passio, which means “suffering” or “enduring.”4 The gospels spend a lot of time describing the passion of the Christ. (About onethird of Mark alone is about Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem.) (2) The material before the passion narratives describes Jesus’ miracles and teachings, his travels, and the reaction people had to him. 2) Introduction to Mark. a) Who is Mark?
This is the same root as the word “evangelist” (ευαγγελιστης / euaggelistes), “a bringer of good news.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Way of the Disciple,” General Conference, April 2009; http://bit.ly/Ensign200905Uchtdorf2. Jesus also gives a lengthy definition of “the gospel” in 3 Nephi 27:13–21. 3 Of the 77 times euaggelion appears in the New Testament, 73 are by Paul, who never refers to any books as “gospels,” but always to the 4 “Passion,” Online Etymology Dictionary; http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=passion
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© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 2

i) Like all the gospels, the book of Mark is anonymous— the writer does not identify himself. The authorship is based on tradition. (1) The author of Mark’s gospel is traditionally connected with John Mark (also called Marcus), the early Jewish Christian from Jerusalem who was a missionary companion of Paul and Barnabas, and an associate of the Apostle Peter.5 (2) In the 4th century Eusebius wrote an extensive history of the Church. In it, he quoted the 2nd-century Church Father Papias of Hierapolis, who claimed to have heard “the presbyter John” say:
“Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he [Mark] neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward…adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them.”6

(a) This thirdhand account is the origin of the tradition that Mark’s gospel is based on the recollections of the Apostle Peter. (3) There are several reasons not to take the traditional accounts at face value (these are listed in the handout). Ascribing Mark’s gospel to Peter via John Mark was likely a 2nd-century attempt to give it more prominence and strengthen its canonical status. (4) Regardless of who actually wrote this gospel, we’ll still refer to it as “Mark.” b) Dating. i) Putting a date to Mark is difficult. There have been arguments for a date as early as the 40s all the way to the late 70s. ii) The scholarly consensus is that this was written in the late 60s, sometime between 7 A.D. 66 and 70. 3) Mark’s relationship to the other gospels. a) Mark is the earliest gospel. i) Matthew and Luke use Mark as a source, expanding on and adding to his accounts.8 b) Mark is the shortest gospel. i) Except for his discourse on the end of the world (Mark 13), Mark’s Jesus does not have any extended speeches like the Sermon on the Mount or the parable of the Prodigal Son.
5 John Mark appears in the New Testament at Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15:37–39; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11; 1 Peter 5:13. 6 Historia Ecclesiastica 3.39:14–17; http://bit.ly/HistEccl3-39 7 This is in large part due to details in Jesus’ sermon predicting the end of the world (Mark 13). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all predict the destruction of the Temple, but Luke’s version of this sermon (Luke 21:5–38) differs in some of the details; for example, in Luke Jesus predicts that the inhabitants of Jerusalem “shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), a detail that is missing in Mark and Matthew. Because of this, many scholars have concluded that Mark wrote immediately before the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, and Luke wrote shortly after it. (This presumes a naturalistic reading—that Luke’s account is based not on revelation, but on events which had already taken place.) 8 The hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark was the first written of the three Synoptic Gospels, and that the two other synoptic evangelists, Matthew and Luke, used Mark’s Gospel as one of their sources is called Markan Priority. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markan_priority

© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 3

ii) Also, Mark has no birth narrative and his original ending is much shorter and more ambiguous than Matthew’s or Luke’s.9 c) Mark is the least developed gospel. i) Matthew and Luke both have and use Mark, sometimes verbatim, but add to and expand on him using other sources.10 (1) Compare and contrast Mark 1:7–8 with Matthew 3:11–12 and Luke 3:16– 17: Matthew and Luke both add “and with fire” to Mark’s statement about Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost. They both also add a statement about Jesus threshing and winnowing. d) What’s unique in Mark? i) Mark has a distinctive style: He is brief and to the point, and keeps the narrative moving (he especially loves the word “immediately”11). ii) His major characters are drawn large with little subtlety or ambiguity. His presentation of Jesus is most distinctive of all: He displays the passion and humanity of Jesus in his reactions to people and events. (1) Jesus is angry in Mark 3:5 and 10:14 (and in some early manuscripts12 at 1:41). (2) He is grieved at the hardness of the people’s hearts (3:5). (3) At one point he is hungry and goes to a fig tree to find some fruit. When he discovers it is barren, he curses the fig tree so that it will never bear fruit again (11:12–14). (a) Contrast this with Luke’s portrayal of Jesus, where he’s always calm, collected, and dispassionate.13 iii) Mark often presents Jesus saying things that are blunter or more puzzling than the other evangelists. Matthew and Luke will often alter or leave out Mark’s version of to make it better understood or less problematic. (1) For example, Mark relates an account where Jesus returns home after preaching and healing, and his family tries to restrain him because they believe he is insane (Mark 3:20–21).14 Matthew and Luke do not include this story in their gospels.15
We’ll discuss the ending of Mark in lesson 5. Matthew and Luke have similar material that is not found in Mark’s gospel, leading most scholars to hypothesize that they had access to another, unknown gospel source from which they drew their common material. This unknown source is called Q, from the German word Quelle (“source”). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_source 11 This word εύθέως (eutheOs) appears 40 times in Mark, more than all the other gospels combined. In Mark the KJV translates it as “straightway” (19×), “immediately” (15×), “forthwith” (3×), “soon” (2×), and “anon” (1×). See Mark 1:10, 18, 20, 21, 29, 30, 31, 42, 43; 2:2, 8, 12, 3:6; 4:5, 15, 16, 17, 29; 5:2, 13, 29, 30, 36, 42; 6:25, 27, 45, 50, 54; 7:35; 8:10; 9:15, 20, 24; 10:52; 11:2, 3; 14:43, 45. 12 Almost the entire manuscript tradition has Jesus “moved with compassion” at Mark 1:41, but the 5th-century Codex Bezae (from the Western family of manuscripts) and some Latin manuscripts read “moved with anger.” Since it would make more sense for a scribe to change “anger” to “compassion,” and because Mark presents Jesus as angry in 3:5 and 10:14, some scholars have argued that “anger” is the original reading at 1:41. Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), 133–39. 13 For example, in the accounts of the healing of the leper, Mark 1:41 portrays Jesus as emotional, while in Luke 5:13, Jesus simply acts dispassionately. Likewise, at Gethsemane Mark’s Jesus is distressed and agitated, “exceeding sorrowful unto death,” and throws himself on the ground when he prays (Mark 14:32–36), while Luke’s Jesus shows no indication of emotion, and kneels to pray (Luke 22:40–42). The incident with the fig tree is repeated by Matthew (21:18–19), but not by Luke. 14 The KJV translates hoi par autou (literally “his own people”) in Mark 3:21 as “friends,” while virtually all modern translations prefer “family” (NRSV, NIV, NET, ESV, CEV, RSV; the NAB opts for “relatives”). 15 Compare the entire passage in each gospel: Mark 3:19b–22; Matthew 12:22–24; Luke 11:14–16. Only Mark has the portion on Jesus being thought of as out of his mind (KJV “beside himself”). Matthew and Luke have the passage (from Q) on
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© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 4

(2) Another example is a story of Jesus healing a blind man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22–26). The first time Jesus tries to heal him, something didn’t go quite right; on Jesus’ second attempt the man’s sight was restored perfectly. (a) Matthew and Luke were certainly aware of this story. Why didn’t they include it in their gospels? Could there have been some hesitancy because it shows Jesus as not being perfectly successful in his first attempt?16 (3) Mark is also willing to portray Jesus as neither all-knowing17 nor all-powerful.18 e) In summary, Mark’s gospel is the roughest, earliest, and least refined gospel. It certainly represents one popular view of Jesus held by the earliest Christians. 4) Readings from Mark 1:1–6:6. a) The opening chapters of Mark describe Jesus’ appearance and his early ministry in Galilee. b) Mark 1:1–3. Mark’s opening verses are a bold introduction to who Jesus is. i) The wording of verse 1 echoes the language of the Priene Inscription, a Roman stone engraving from 9 B.C. celebrating the birth of Caesar Augustus:
…the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good news [euangelion] for the world that came by reason of him.19

(1) The Romans believed the Caesar was a divine being. Mark challenged the Roman imperial cult, claiming that the good news for the world began, not with Augustus, but with Jesus Christ, the true Son of God.20 ii) The wording of verses 2–3 is specifically tied to messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.21

Jesus casting a demon out of mute man. All three gospels have the accusation that Jesus casts out devils by the power of the ruler of devils. 16 There are also what appear to be accidental changes between Mark and Matthew/Luke. Mark Goodacre lists a number of occasions where it appears that Matthew or Luke begin by altering Mark, but later simply copy Mark directly, even when doing so is inconsistent with the changes they have already made. For example, in Luke’s version of the feeding of the multitude, he begins by claiming that the event took place in the town of Bethsaida (Luke 9:10), while Mark claimed it happened in a deserted place (Mark 6:32). Only two verses later, though, Luke is in agreement with Mark, that the events indeed took place in a desert (Luke 9:12). Goodacre argues that Luke simply copied Mark in the latter instance without realizing that he had contradicted himself. Mark Goodacre, “Fatigue in the Synoptics,” New Testament Studies 44 (1998), 45–58;
http://www.markgoodacre.org/Q/fatigue.htm
17 In the account of the feeding of the multitude, Mark’s Jesus has to ask the disciples to go find out how many loaves of bread they have (Mark 6:37–38). In the accounts in Matthew 14:16–17 and Luke 9:13, Jesus does not ask them, they merely offer the information. 18 When Jesus was rejected at Nazareth, Mark 6:4–5 reports that “he could do no deed of power there,” while Matthew 13:57–58 states that “he did not do many deeds of power there,” and Luke 4:24 omits the verse entirely. (Italics added; quotations from the NRSV). 19 Priene was a major Roman city on the west coast of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). A photograph and translation of the inscription is available at http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~fkflinn/Priene%20Inscription.html. See also Craig Evans, “Mark’s Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel,” Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 1 (2000): 67–81; http://craigaevans.com/Priene%20art.pdf 20 Compare this with Mark 15:39, where the Roman centurion confesses after witnessing the death of Jesus: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” 21 All the earliest and best Greek manuscripts read “as it is written in Isaiah the prophet” at the beginning of Mark 1:2, which is almost certainly the original reading. The problem, of course, is that Mark 1:2–3 contains quotes from three different sources: Verse 2 is an amalgam of Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1, while verse 3 is a quote from Isaiah 40:3. The later reading, “as it is written in the prophets,” appears in Latin manuscripts starting in the early 5th century, and then in later Greek manuscripts. The obvious conclusion is that scribes noted Mark’s error and changed the text.

© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 5

(1) The Old Testament prophets foretold a restoration and renewal of the nation of Israel under a true Davidic king; Mark begins by stating that Jesus is the fulfillment of those prophecies. c) Mark 1:4–5. Mark immediately segues into the fulfillment of these Old Testament prophecies in the person of John:22 KJV Mark 1:4–5
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
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NRSV Mark 1:4–5
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
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i) We’ll talk more about John when we get to Luke’s gospel, but I’d like to discuss at this point: Is there significance in John baptizing in the river Jordan? (1) In a sense, John is like a reverse Joshua. (a) Joshua assumed the mantle after Moses—the greatest prophet in Jewish history—and his first act as a prophet was part the waters of the Jordan River so that the ark of the covenant and people of Israel could pass through it. (b) John is a forerunner for Jesus, and he too is taking people into the wilderness and giving them new life in the Jordan. (c) We have here two stories of great beginnings brought by prophets at the Jordan. d) Mark 1:21–22. Jesus’ authority. i) A couple of points here: (1) First, the people who heard Jesus were astonished at his teaching (διδαχη / didache). The KJV translates this as doctrine, which can give the wrong impression to modern readers (and especially Latter-day Saints). (2) The scribes were the literate elite of scholars who were experts in the Law. They decided how the Law should be applied in new situations and made decisions when different laws conflicted with each other. (a) The scribes are frequently, but not always, portrayed as adversaries of Jesus,23 and are usually grouped with the Pharisees as Jesus’ most vocal opponents. ii) How was Jesus’ authority different from that of the scribes? Obviously we, the readers, know that he’s the Son of God, but the people who heard him teach in the synagogue didn’t know that, and they were the ones who were “astounded at his teaching” (NRSV).

22 Matthew and Luke consistently use the noun βαπτίστης (baptisths, “[the] Baptist”) as a title in referring to John, while Mark prefers the substantival participle (a verbal adjective) ὁ βαπτίζων (Jo baptizwn, “the one who baptizes, the baptizer”) to describe him in 1:4; 6:14, 24. (Mark uses the noun in 6:25; 8:28.) Many modern Bible translations follow the Greek closely here by calling him “John the Baptizer” (NRSV, NET, RSV, MSG), while others defer to the traditional “John the Baptist” (NIV, ESV, NASB, NAB, NLT). 23 See Mark 2:15–17; 7:1–8; 8:31; 10:33; 11:18; 14:1, 43, 53; 15:1; Luke 6:6–11. Contrast Matthew 8:19; 13:52; Mark 12:32.

© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 6

(1) Among Jewish rabbis it was typical to cite a list of authorities to make one’s point. It seems that Jesus didn’t cite authorities when he taught—he simply taught the truth directly, as it had been revealed to him. iii) Speaking of the teaching of prophets, President Spencer W. Kimball said:
A prophet needs to be more than a priest or a minister or an elder. His voice becomes the voice of God to reveal new programs, new truths, new solutions. I make no claim of infallibility for him, but he does need to be recognized of God, an authoritative person. He is no pretender as numerous are who presumptuously assume position without appointment and authority that is not given. * * * He must be bold enough to speak truth even against popular clamor for lessening restrictions. He must be certain of his divine appointment, of his celestial ordination, and his authority to call to service, to ordain, to pass keys which fit eternal locks.24

e) Another prominent theme in the gospel of Mark is secrecy. Jesus appears to have an almost obsessive interest in keeping his identity secret. i) This secrecy falls into three categories: (1) On four separate occasions, Jesus orders the people he heals not to tell anyone about the miracle they just experienced (1:40–45; 5:35–43; 7:31–37; 8:22–26). (a) In two of these instances—the leper and the deaf-mute—the people who have been healed disregard his warning, and go around telling everyone. (2) In three exorcism scenes, Jesus tells the demons he exorcises to keep silent about his identity (1:23–28; 1:34; 3:11). (a) One unique feature of Mark is that most people, including his own disciples, don’t know who he really is, but the demons he casts out immediately recognize him as the Son of God. (3) Finally, on two occasions, when Jesus’ disciples understand the truth about who his is, he orders them to keep quiet about it (8:27–30; 9:2–9). (a) One new detail comes up after his Transfiguration: He orders them not to tell anyone what they have seen until he rises from the dead (9:9). ii) Now, Mark himself is not consistent about the secrecy theme: Occasionally Jesus performs miracles in front of crowds or hostile audiences.25 (1) For example, he heals a man with a withered hand in 3:1–6 in the presence of his enemies, challenging the Pharisees even as he does so. And 3:7–10 tells us that crowds of people from all across the region were flocking to him and being healed. (2) But Mark’s Jesus is much more secretive that Matthew’s or Luke’s—in their versions of these events they remove the secrecy element about half the time. iii) What do we make of all this? Why is Jesus so secretive? (1) Perhaps one answer can be found in Jesus’ instruction to his disciples regarding teaching in parables:
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Spencer W. Kimball, “The Need for a Prophet,” General Conference, April 1970; http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?

In the case of the exorcism of the Legion, Jesus instructs the previously afflicted man to “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you” (NRSV Mark 5:19). © 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 7

KJV Mark 4:10–12
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
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NRSV Mark 4:10–12
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”
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(a) Jesus establishes that there are two groups of people who hear his message: Insiders who understand the mystery or secret of the kingdom of God, and outsiders who hear but don’t understand. (Jesus is even quoting Isaiah in verse 12, who was given a similar commission.26) (b) Joseph Smith:
…[T]he very reason why the multitude, or the world, as they were designated by the Savior, did not receive an explanation upon His parables, was because of unbelief. To you, He says, (speaking to His disciples,) it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. And why? Because of the faith and confidence they had in [Christ].27

(c) Jesus himself explained that his secrets were meant to disclosed, and that those with “ears to hear” would understand them (4:22–25). (d) It’s my belief that Jesus told people not to spread the stories of his miracles and forbade demons from identifying him because he wanted people to come to the kingdom of God the right way—by seeing and hearing for themselves and being converted by the Spirit.28 f) Mark 2:1–12. I’d like to discuss the healing of the paralytic29 because it’s very typical of many of Jesus’ miraculous healings. i) What elements do we find in this story that are characteristic of Jesus’ healings? (1) An incurable disease. (2) A large crowd of witnesses. (Compare 1:32–33, 37.)

Mark 4:21 is a paraphrase of Isaiah 6:9–10. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ teaching (13:10–15) quotes Isaiah outright. Joseph Smith, “To the Elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 2/3 (December 1835), 226; http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/NCMP1820-1846,7187. Reprinted in History of the Church 2:267; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 97. 28 This is the New Testament concept of a mystery (μυστηριον / musterion), a hidden religious secret, confided only to the initiated and not to outsiders and unbelievers. According to Paul, the mystery is the revealing of Jesus Christ in the world and his working out an atonement for mankind, something that can only be understood by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:1–16). 29 The KJV translation of παραλυτικος (paralutikos) as “palsy” leaves the wrong impression on the modern reader. The word palsy came into English from French and Latin, and originally meant paralysis, but today refers to muscle tremors in the extremities. The condition the man suffered from was paralysis.
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© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 8

(3) A healing conditional upon faith.30 (a) Note, though, that the faith here is not of the paralyzed man, but his friends (2:5). (4) There is opposition to Jesus from the scribes.31 (5) The event turns into a controversy over Jesus’ identity and authority. ii) What is the significance of this event? Why didn’t Jesus just simply heal the man? (1) Notice here that there is a connection between sin and illness that is assumed, but not discussed.32 (2) Jesus here asserts his power not only to heal, but to forgive sins as well. (a) His rhetorical question to the scribes—“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? (NRSV Mark 2:9)—is answered by replying that healing is harder because it can be verified; claiming to forgive sins is easier because it cannot be verified. Therefore, to prove he really can do the easier (forgive sins), he does the harder (heal the man’s paralysis). iii) This is one of the first times when Jesus refers to himself as the “Son of man,” a title that appears throughout the gospels. (1) This phrase appears in the book of Daniel33 and the apocryphal book of 1 Enoch34 to refer to a divine being who is like a human being. (a) In Daniel the Son of man comes with the clouds of heaven, stands before God’s throne, and receives authority—he is a messianic figure.35 (b) In 1 Enoch the Son of Man sits on his throne and judges the world.36 g) Mark chapter 5 is an interesting collection of accounts. It includes an exorcism (5:1–20), a healing (5:25–34), and the first account of Jesus raising someone from the dead (5:21–24, 35–43). i) It’s my belief that these three stories are grouped together to show that Jesus had power over all defilement—and, hence, power over the Law of Moses—since contact with graves (5:2), blood (5:27), or a corpse (5:41) would have made him ritually unclean according to the Law.37 ii) Interestingly Mark’s account of all three has the most detail. Usually Matthew and Luke expand on Mark; in this case they abridge the his account.

30 Miracles in Mark generally only occur in the context of faith. Compare Mark 5:21–24, 25–34, 35–43; 10:46–52. Contrast Mark 6:1–5. 31 The version in Luke adds Pharisees as also opposing Jesus at this event (Luke 5:17, 21). 32 This connection also appears in John 9:1–2; 1 Corinthians 11:29–30; and James 5:14–15. 33 Daniel 7:9–14. 34 See 1 Enoch 37–71. The Book of Enoch was written between the period of the Old and New Testaments, and was regarded as scripture by early Christians. See notes to Old Testament lesson 5, pages 1–3; http://scr.bi/LDSARCOT05n. For a translation of 1 Enoch see R. H. Charles, The Book of Enoch, Translated from Professor Dillmann’s Ethiopic Text (Oxford University Press, 1893); http://books.google.com/books?id=vwA3AAAAMAAJ 35 See notes to Old Testament lesson 25, pages 8–10; http://scr.bi/LDSARCOT25n 36 1 Enoch 69:26–29; http://books.google.com/books?id=vwA3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA182 37 Contact with graves and dead bodies is declared unclean in Numbers 19:11–22. Women with issues of blood, and all who touch them, are unclean according to Leviticus 15:19–33.

© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 9

iii) Mark 5:1–20. The demon named “Legion” and the swine. (1) Jesus has cast out demons before (Mark 1:23–27, 32, 34, 39; 3:11), but in this case he has power over an entire group of unclean spirits who had possessed this man. (a) How many spirits there were is not specifically stated, but the spirit answers Jesus, “My name is Legion: for we are many” (5:9). (i) The Greek word λεγιων (legeon) is borrowed from the Roman word for “thousands.” The term not only suggests a multiple possession, but also implies that Jesus is doing battle with an army.38 (2) After the demons are cast into a herd of swine which charge down the mountain and drown in the Sea of Galilee. The herdsmen tell the townspeople what has happened, and they all come out to see Jesus. (a) Why do you think they asked him to leave their region (5:17)? (i) Perhaps he’s upsetting the cultural balance between the Jews and Gentiles in the region, or perhaps Jesus is simply bad for business. iv) Mark 5:25–34. The woman healed of a hemorrhage.39 (1) The woman is suffering from an issue of blood that has been continuously running for twelve years (5:25). The text dances around this delicate issue, but, to put it straightforwardly, she had been menstruating continually all this time. According to the Law, this made her ritually unclean and a social outcast.40 (2) She has faith to be healed (5:34), but is probably hesitant to ask Jesus outright to be healed because she’s afraid he’ll turn her down—according to the Law, if he touched her, he too would be defiled. (3) So she comes up behind him in a crowd and touches his clothing. Jesus senses the power (KJV “virtue”) has gone out of him, and asks, “Who touched me?” His disciples—in a bit of a sarcastic mood, apparently—reply, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” (5:30–31) (4) Instead of rebuking her, Jesus commends her faith (5:34). Notice that faith is not the result of the miracle; faith is a prerequisite to the miracle occurring. v) Mark 5:21–24, 35–43. The raising of the daughter of Jairus. (1) “Faith precedes the miracle” also plays a role in the final story: Upon hearing that the child has died, Jesus exhorts her father, “Be not afraid, only believe” (5:36). (a) Contrast this with the reaction of the crowd when Jesus says she’s not dead, only sleeping: They laugh at him (5:40). (b) Notice that only those who have expressed faith—the girl’s father and mother, and Jesus’ three chief apostles—are allowed to witness the miracle. The unbelievers are all kicked out of the room (5:40).41
A Roman legion had anywhere from 4,200 to 6,800 soldiers. The number twelve appears in both in the story of the woman with issue of blood (who has been sick twelve years) and in the story of Jairus’ daughter (who was twelve years old). If that number if significant, Mark doesn’t tell us. 40 See references in footnote 37. 41 The verb used in 5:40, έκβάλλω (ekballO), almost always has the connotation of force in Mark. He uses it 19 times, 13 of which are in reference to “casting out” devils and such (Mark 1:34, 39; 3:15, 23; 6:13; 7:26; 9:18, 28, 47; 11:15; 12:8; 16:9, 17).
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© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class

New Testament: Mark 1:1–6:6

Week 3, Page 10

5) In this lesson we’ve covered the opening events of Jesus’ ministry to his own neighbors in Galilee. a) As 6:1–6 indicate, he was rejected by those who knew him best—perhaps because they knew him and could not accept someone so common as the Messiah, the Son of God. b) Next week Jesus expands his ministry and begins his move toward Jerusalem. i) Reading: Mark 6:7–10:52.

© 2010, Mike Parker

For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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