Mark starts the gospel with a quote from Isaiah. (However the quote comes from Malachi, Isaiah and exodus which explains the coming of a messenger ahead of the Lord.) John appeared from the desert clothed in camel’s hair. He proclaimed the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The people from Jerusalem came to the Jordan River to be baptized. “I have baptized you with water, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mk 1:8. Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. God said, “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” Mk 1:11.The Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the desert where he remained for 40 days tempted by Satan. Angels ministered to him.
II. The mystery of Jesus
John the Baptist was arrested. Jesus came to Galilee to proclaim the gospel. He called Simon and Andrew as disciples. They were fishermen. Jesus called James son of Zebedee and his brother John who were fishermen. They went to Capernaum. While teaching in a synagogue a man with an unclean spirit appeared and chastised Jesus. Jesus’ rebuked him and removed the unclean spirit. Jesus’ fame spread throughout the region of Galilee. While in Capernaum Jesus cured the mother in law of Simon Peter. He cured many sick and demon possessed. The next day Jesus went off into a deserted place and prayed. Jesus left for nearby villages to preach in the synagogues. Jesus cured a leper who publicized the whole matter. Word spread throughout Galilee and Judea.
Jesus returned to Capernaum after a number of days. Friends of a paraplegic lowered him through an opening in the roof of a house where Jesus was teaching. Jesus forgave him because of his faith and the man walked away. The people were stunned that Jesus could forgive sins. Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee and called Levi, son of Alphaeus, a tax collector. Some Pharisees questioned why Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus said that he came to call sinners, not the righteous. The disciples of John and the Pharisees questioned why Jesus’ disciples did not fast. Jesus answered that the Bridegroom was still at the wedding. The time for fasting will begin when the bridegroom leaves. And Jesus gave them the Parable of the wine skins. Fasting now would ruin the wine and the wineskin. Fasting is rendered superfluous during the earthly ministry of Jesus. As Jesus was followed by his disciples through a grain field, the Pharisees asked why were they gathering during a Sabbath. Jesus answered that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. The son of man is lord of the Sabbath.
Jesus cured a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Jesus asked ‘is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil.’ Mk 3:4. The members of the synagogue had hardened hearts. The Pharisees immediately conspired with the Herodians to put Jesus to death. Jesus left for the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. People came out from all the towns of Judea and Syria. He cured many and removed many unclean spirits. He went up a mountain and appointed 12 apostles: Simon Peter, James and John sons of Zebedee, Andrew, Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot. Jesus goes home and is accused of driving out Satan with the power of Satan. Jesus says that if a house is divided it cannot stand. No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder it. These sins and blasphemy will be forgiven but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This sin is called an everlasting sin because it attributes to Satan what is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, victory over the demons. Jesus was sitting with disciples surrounding him. He was told that his mother and brothers were standing outside. Jesus ignores them and says that whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. Jesus used the parable as a method of teaching the crowds as compared with the interpretation of the parable he gives his disciples. To each group according to its capacity to understand.
From a boat in the Sea of Galilee Jesus addressed a large crowd gathered regarding the Parable of the sower of seed. The seed represents the word and the breakthrough of the kingdom of God into the world. The various soil types refer to the diversity of response. Jesus also talks about the Parable of the lamp (light) and that measure with which one measures will be measured out against Him. The one who has more, more will be given. Jesus explains the parables to his disciples. The seed has power to grow itself without human intervention. Mysteriously it produces a leaf, an ear and full grain. The kingdom of God initiated by Jesus quietly develops until the kingdom is finally established at final judgment. The kingdom will be like a mustard seed. The smallest of seed will spring up and become the largest of plant. The climax of the parable is the harvest of 30, 60 and 100 foal, indicating the consummation with the kingdom. Jesus orders the disciples to cross the sea with him and a storm appeared. They woke Jesus and he rebuked the wind as if it were a demon. The wind ceased and there was great calm. The disciples were amazed and terrified. (In the Christian community this event depicted Jesus’ saving presence amid persecution.)
Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee to the Decapolis. A man dwelling in the tombs with an unclean spirit and often bound in chains approached Jesus shouting “son of the most high God.” Mk5:7. Legion was his name. Jesus was in pagan territory. Jesus allowed the unclean spirits to enter a herd of swine who rushed down a steep bank into the sea. People from the town and countryside approached Jesus and begged him to leave because fear seized them. The man went throughout the country proclaiming what Jesus had done and all were amazed. Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee and a synagogue official named Jairus approached him about his dying daughter. In the crowd along the seashore was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for 12 years. She touched the clothes of Jesus and was cured immediately. Jesus felt power leaving him and asked ‘who touched me.’ Mk5:31. The disciples were confused because the crowds were so big. The woman fell before Jesus in fear and trembling and confessed the truth. Jesus said to her ‘daughter your faith has saved you.’ Mk 5:34. While still speaking people from the synagogue arrived and announced that the girl had died. Jesus calmed Jairus and told him “just have faith.” Mk5:36. Arriving at the house of Jairus into a commotion of weeping and wailing, Jesus went into the house with Peter, James and John. He told the people inside that the child was not dead but asleep. They ridiculed him. He put everyone out except the child’s father and mother. Jesus took the child’s hand and said ‘little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Mk 5:41. The child rose immediately and all were astounded.
Accompanied by his disciples, Jesus went to Nazareth and began teaching in the synagogue on a Sabbath. The crowd was astonished at his wisdom and mighty deeds but they asked “is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary.” Mk6:3. Jesus was not able to perform any mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. Jesus summoned the 12 and sent them out two by two with authority over unclean spirits. Jesus told them to take nothing relying on a total dependence on God for food and shelter. He ordered them to shake off the dust on their feet from the towns who rejected the call to repentance. The disciples drove out many demons and cured many who were sick by anointing with oil. King Herod the great heard of Jesus’ fame. The people thought that Jesus was John the Baptist or Elijah. Herod thought that Jesus was John whom he had beheaded because John said it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife, Herodias. John was killed as a fulfillment of Herodias’ daughter’s wish to have his head on a platter. The 12 returned from their journeys and reported to Jesus all they had done. The disciples followed Jesus to a deserted place to rest. Vast crowds developed. Jesus was moved with pity. He began to teach them. It became late and the disciples wanted to dismiss the crowd so they could eat. Jesus said feed them yourselves. With five loaves and two fish, after looking up to heaven, he said blessing, broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples. 5000 men ate and were satisfied. Jesus told the disciples to cross the lake toward Bethsaida. After praying on a mountain top, he saw that the wind was tossing their boat. About the fourth watch Jesus was walking on the sea and they thought he was a ghost. They were terrified. Jesus said “take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.” Mk 6:50.He got into the boat and the wind died down. The disciples were unable to comprehend the feats of Jesus and their hearts were hardened. Jesus healed many at Gennesaret.
Scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem approached Jesus and asked why did his disciples eat with unclean hands. Jesus said Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites. “This people honors me with their lips but their hearts far from me. In vain do they worship me teaching as doctrine, human precepts.” Mk 7:6-7. Jesus condemned their man-made rules and laws. He said, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” Jesus declared all foods clean. “From their hearts come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murderer, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, blasphemy arrogance and folly.” Mk 7:21. From there Jesus went to Tyre. He entered a house to escape notice but a woman of Greek origin begged him to drive out the demon from her daughter. Jesus cured the daughter simply by the faith of the mother. Jesus moved on to Sidon by way of the Sea of Galilee to the Decapolis. Jesus cured a deaf man.
The crowd had gathered around Jesus for three days and had nothing to eat. Jesus used seven loaves of bread from the disciples, gave thanks, broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute. He fed 4000 people. The Pharisees came to Jesus seeking a sign from heaven. Jesus said no sign will be given to this generation. The people of Bethsaida brought Jesus a blind man. Putting spit on his eyes and laying hands on him Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” Mk 8:23. Looking up the blind man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Mk 8:24. Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he could see clearly.
III. The ministry begins to be revealed
Jesus and his disciples set out for Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asked “who do people say that I am?” Mk 8:27. They replied, “John the Baptist others say Elijah still others one of the prophets.” Mk 8:28. Jesus said, “But who do you say that I am?” Mk 8:29. Peter said to him “you are the messiah.” Mk 8:29. Then Jesus warned them not to tell anyone. Jesus said to them that ‘the son of man must suffer and be killed and rise after three days’. Peter rebuked Jesus for such statements and Jesus said “get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Mk 8:33. Jesus said ‘whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.’ Mk 8:35 (Life seen as self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, arrives at fullness of life.) “Whoever is ashamed of me in this world, the son of man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his father’s Glory.”
Jesus took Peter, James and John atop a high mountain and was transfigured. Elijah appeared along with Moses. A cloud appeared suddenly and a voice said, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” Mk 9:7.Jesus told them not to say anything until He had risen from the dead. The disciples did not know what that meant. They asked if Eliza must come first.
Jesus heals a boy with a demon. The disciples were unable to. Jesus said, “O faithless generation how long will I be with you? How long will I bear you?” Mk 9:19. Jesus said, “Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Mk 9:23. The disciples asked why they couldn’t heal the boy. Jesus said, “This kind can only come out to prayer.”
IV. The full revelation of the mystery
They came to Capernaum. The disciples were arguing among themselves. Jesus said, “If any one wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and servant of all.” Jesus said, “Whoever receives the child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.” Mk 9:37. The disciples saw someone driving out demons in Jesus’s name. Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Mk 9:40. Jesus warned the disciples about causing others to sin. He said, “If your hand causes you to Sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed then with two hands to go into Gehenna.” Mk 9:43. He also speaks about the foot and the eye.
The Pharisees asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” Mk 10:2. Jesus says that the Law of Moses permitted divorce only because of the hardness of your hearts. However Jesus said God made creation for the husband and wife to become one flesh and what God has joined no man must separate. (Thus Jesus declared the permanence of marriage.) Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. Jesus blesses the children. Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like the child will not enter. A rich man approached Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Mk 10:17. He said he had followed all the commandments. Jesus said “go, sell all that you have, give to the poor, and follow me.” The man went away dejected for he had many possessions. Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples asked who can be saved? Jesus said, “for humans it is impossible but not for God. All things are possible for God.” Mk 10:27.
On their way to Jerusalem Jesus explained what was going to happen to him: scourging and death and rising in three days. James and John wanted to be seated next to him in heaven. Jesus said whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. In Jericho Jesus cures the blind man, Bartimaeus. Jesus said your faith has saved you.
Jesus sent two of the disciples into Jerusalem and brought back a colt. As he entered Jerusalem, people laid palm branches in the street. They cried “hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord.” Mk 11:9. He went to the temple, looked around, and went out to Bethany with the 12. Upon entering the temple the next day, he drove out the money changers. When evening came they went out of the city. Returning to the city the next day, the disciples saw the withered fig tree. Jesus says have faith in God and if you tell the mountain to be lifted up and thrown into the sea and does not doubt in your heart but believes, it will be done for him. All that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it will be yours. When he returned to the temple area the chief priests asked him “by what authority was he doing these things” in order to trick him. Jesus asked, “Was John’s baptism of heavenly or human origin.” They refused to answer and Jesus did likewise.
Jesus tells them the parable of the vineyard and tenant farmers. After sending his servants to collect the rent, the owner sent his son. The tenants killed the son also. Jesus said the owner will come, put the tenants to death and give the vineyard to others. Some Pharisees asked is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar? He took a denarius and showing an image of Caesar said, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Mk 12:17. The Sadducees asked about resurrection. Jesus said at resurrection they will be like angels in heaven. God is not God of the dead but of the living. One of the scribes asked, “Which is the greatest commandment.” Jesus said you shall love your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second is you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus denounces the scribes as being proud and deceitful. A poor widow’s gift to the temple is worth more than large sums from excess.
Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple. Jesus describes the end times. He said the gospel must be first preached to all nations. He predicted wars, famine and persecution and a desolating abomination-the romans leveling the temple. No one knows the hour except the father. Therefore, watch.
Two days before the feast of Passover the chief priest decide to put Jesus to death. In Bethany a woman anoints him with genuine spikenard. The disciples complained. Jesus said you will always have the poor among you. And Judas Iscariot went to the chief priest to hand him over. Christ sent two disciples to prepare the room for the Passover. Jesus predicts his betrayal to the 12 while eating. He makes the new covenant with some bread and wine. Then they leave for the Mount of Olives. He predicts their abandonment and Peter’s denial. He took Peter, James and John to Gethsemane to pray and asks that this cup be taken away. And Judas Iscariot appears again with the chief priests and scribes and kisses Jesus. They arrested Jesus. A bystander cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant with a sword. They seized Jesus and the disciples fled. Peter followed at a distance. Many witnesses testified in the Sanhedrin against Jesus, but their testimony did not agree. And the high priest asked, “Are you the messiah, the son of the blessed one?” Mk 14: 61. Jesus answered, I am. The Sanhedrin condemned him to death for blasphemy. A maid of the high priest accused Peter of being a member of that Nazarene sect. Peter denied it. The cock crowed. The maid saw peter in the outer court again and said that he was one of them. Peter denied it again. A little later a bystander accused him of being a Galilean. Peter began to curse and to swear. A cock crowed a second time. Peter remembered the words of the Lord and broke down and wept.
In the early morning the Sanhedrin handed Jesus over to Pilate. Pilate asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Mk 15:2. Jesus replied, “You say so.” The crowd convinced Pilate to release Barabbas. After he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified. The soldiers lead Jesus into the preatorium. They clothed him in a purple robe and weaved a crown of thorns for his head. They pressed into service a passerby, Simon, the Cyrene, to help carry his cross. They brought him to a place called Golgotha, crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots. It was 9:00 AM. With him, they crucified two revolutionaries. The revolutionaries and the chief priest mocked Jesus. At noon darkness fell over the whole land until 3:00 PM, when Jesus cried out, “eloi, eloi, lema sabachthani?, which is translated, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mk 15:34. Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. The veil in the sanctuary was torn in two. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Salome were looking from a distance. When it was evening, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. After wrapping him in linen, he laid him in a tomb hewn out of rock.
Very early morning on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. When they arrived the large stone had been rolled back. Upon entering they saw a young man sitting clothed in a white robe. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” Mk 16:6. “Go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘he is going before you to Galilee.’” Mk 16:7. They fled saying nothing to anyone for they were afraid.
The longer ending
Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalen. She went and told the disciples. When they heard that he was alive, they could not believe. Jesus appeared in another form to two of the disciples walking in the country. They returned and told the others but they did not believe either. Later, as the eleven were at table, Jesus appeared to them and rebuked them for their nonbelief. Jesus said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Mk 16:15. Then, Jesus was taken up to heaven. They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
The shorter ending
And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of the eternal salvation. Amen.