Lectionary Year B
October 26, 2003
Mark 10:46-52

Step III: Composition

A. Immediate Context

(JFC) Pre - The first 45 verses of Mark 10 tell of Jesus and the disciples and crowds leaving Galilee to travel on toward Jerusalem. There, Pharisees ask him about divorce, to which Jesus responds with a discourse on marriage. Then He uses children to tell about receiving God’s Kingdom like such as children after which a wealthy man wants to know what he has to do to inherit eternal life and Jesus tells him to sell all and give to the poor. Next, Jesus tells the disciples how hard it is to get into the kingdom to which Peter claims they have left all to follow Him to which He reminds them that eternity is theirs in spite of their sacrifices. Then the disciples got amazed and the crowds got afraid as Jesus began to show and then tell them that He was on His way to be executed. Next, James and John asked for privileged positions in eternity and Jesus told them they didn’t know what they were requesting of one about to be crucified. Finally, in this block of verses, Jesus differentiates between His coming to serve and to give His life as a ransom for all.

Post - Mark 11 is the Palm/Passion Sunday narrative with the cursing of the fig Tree, the cleansing the temple of commercialism and Jesus’ teaching/explaining, re: the cursing of the fig tree. Finally, in this chapter, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders in the temple confront Him asking by what authority He teaches, heals and curses. He assures them that He would not answer their question at that time.

B. Organization of Compositional Whole

(JFC) As recently essayed, these data have appeared previously in Bi 216 on line. “Mark’s objective is to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God”, Sweizer notes. Chapters 1-9 of Mark’s Gospel collect traditions of Jesus’ life, preaching, teachings and healings. The accounts read as if they were compiled rapidly. Some seem almost unrelated if not detached from one another. Some commentators find forecasts of Jesus’ passion in such passages as of John’s arrest in 1:15 and his execution in 6:14-29 and the Pharisees’ opposition to Jesus in 3:6. Vincent Taylor’s The Gospel According to Saint Mark has the most detailed “Plan and Arrangement of the Gospel”, where it identifies the Introduction as in 1:1-13, the Galilean Ministry from 1:14 to 6:13, the Ministry Beyond Galilee from 6:14 to 8:26, the Caesarea Philippi: the Journey to Jerusalem from 8:27 to 10:52, the Ministry in Jerusalem from 11:1 to 13:37 and the Passion and Resurrection narratives conclude the outline. From the plot to arrest Jesus to the entombment, we get much more detailed descriptions. Jesus’ passion and death seem to be the goal toward which this Gospel aims. Mark’s Gospel, as briefly as it records Jesus’ encounters, does tell of the emotions the people have to Him and His ministries. Therein we read of sorrow, pity, fear, anger, amazement and grief. Furthermore, Lamar Williamson, Jr., in the Interpretation commentary series says, “The Gospel of Mark is . . . a combination of traditions about Jesus presented in story form, a narrative constituting good news about God and his kingdom, and a writing which occupies a place of fundamental importance in the scriptures of the church.”

C. Issues of Authorship

(JFC) Also as previously reported, the Gospel of Mark was probably “the first of the Gospels committed to writing,” as C. E. Mann says in the Anchor Bible. Although Taylor has no doubt that “Mark, the attendant of Peter . . . the John Mark of the Acts and the companion of Paul” wrote this Gospel, the author is really unknown. That John Mark in Acts, Philemon, Colossian and II Timothy, only might be the author. It was probably written in Rome. The Roman context seems to be supported by Latin expressions, although such extractions were found in much literature of that era. Other places that might have generated this Gospel include Antioch in Syria, Alexandria or anywhere in Italy according to James L. Price’s Interpreting the New Testament. 7:3f indicate that this Gospel was written for Gentile readers. And, we recall that we have seen in these pages before, “In the MacArthur Study Bible, the following quote from Papias, the Bishop of Hieropolis, written around 140 CE, ‘And the Presbyter [the apostle John] said this: “Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, the exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ”.” Some date in the 60’s is likely since there is no direct mention of Jerusalem’s destruction in 70.

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