Lectionary Year B
March 5, 2000
Step III: Immediate Context
A. IMMEDIATE CONTEXT
Pre: The pericope immediately preceding the focus text is Mark 8:34-9:1. The genre of this passage represents a sayings tradition of prophetic pronouncements. Interestingly, several consecutive sayings of Jesus are followed by a story whose only clear instruction is the command to listen. In verse 37, Jesus warns that he will be "ashamed" of persons who are "ashamed" of what he says. This warning provides strong impetus to listen to Jesus.
Post: Although verse 9 could be read as a conclusion to 9:2-8 (as in the lectionary), such a decision leaves verse 10 to stand alone, as it does not read like the beginning of a new section. Coupling verses 9 and 10 reveals a brief controversy dialogue. In the first verse, Jesus gives a controversial order; in the second verse, the disciples dialogue about the meaning of Christ's words. Jesus orders them not to tell others about what they have seen "until after" the resurrection. As disciples who are in the "until" rather than the "after" they are obedient.
(ME) Ch. 8 begins with the feeding of the 4000. Then there is the story of only one loaf of bread in the boat. Several other references to food. Next follows the "confession of Peter" and his rebuke by Jesus. There are some geographic problems if you follow the journey here.
(CU) Should the pericope be extended to include v. 10 or v.1?
(JA) There may be some strong arguments for extending the pericope through v. 13 since it includes Elijah.
(CU) Note that if you run the pericope from v. 1 to v. 10 it is bookended by descriptions of "death."
(CU) What happens if you eliminate Ch. 9, v. 13? What is the goal of a gospel writer?
B. COMPOSITIONAL WHOLE
(JR)     Mark 1:11 reads, "You are my beloved Son, in you I was pleased." Mark 9:7 echoes this verse, but in the third rather than the second person, and with the instruction to listen to him rather than the observation of being satisfied with him. Perhaps it is because Jesus has pleased God that God desires him to be heard. Or perhaps it is because Jesus is the beloved one that his words have unique significance for us.
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