Mark’s gospel has a very different feel than Matthew’s. In Mark, Jesus comes out of the gates running and never stops until the end. Jesus is either healing someone, giving a short lesson, having a confrontation with the Pharisees, or performing a miracle. Mark’s account of Jesus’ ministry is virtually all action with very little commentary. It’s as if Mark said, “I’ll show you the game film and you can come up with your own conclusions about why and what.” (wouldn’t it be nice if sports commentators had this attitude towards games on television!)
Mark’s gospel can be divided into two basic sections. In this it is similar to Matthew:
Section 1: Ministry in Galilee – The season of Popularity
As you can see in the chart, this section is characterized by Jesus being surrounded by the adoring crowds. They loved Him. They would swarm to Him desiring to be healed and fed. They marveled at His teaching, although they did not understand what He was saying. During this phase of Jesus ministry, He spent all His time in the northern region of Galilee and performed more miracles than He spent time teaching. In a sense, He was authenticating His claim to be the Messiah through action more than words.
This section ends with the climactic pronouncement of Peter that Jesus is, “The Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and with Jesus being transfigured on the mountain top. Once these events had taken place it was time to finish his business in Jerusalem.
Section 2: Toward Jerusalem — the Season of Rejection.
Once Jesus set His sights on Jerusalem, He turned to the crowds and said, “boo!” He told them that if anyone wanted to follow Him they must take up their cross daily and give up their lives. On His way to Jerusalem things got intense between Him and the Pharisees. They tried to trap Him with legal questions. He eluded their traps and, in so doing, condemned them as inept shepherd of God’s people. Finally, the fickle crowds that once shouted “Hosanna!” turned on Jesus and screamed out, “Crucify Him!” After the Last Supper, a final plea of release in the garden, an arrest, and trial, Jesus was crucified. In the final chapter, He rises from the dead and the women that found Him were told to tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee. As with the rest of the book, little fanfare is given to these events; just the facts.
More Mark Resources
Enter the Bible A resource from Luther Seminary.
The Text this Week an ecumenical collection of resources.