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Jesus Speaking to the Apostles

The Messiah in the Gospel of Mark

            Mark gave minimal attention to editing his Gospel for grammar and rhetoric. Often, the text runs like someone telling a friend a story over coffee with tangents, random commentaries on events, and even uses “immediately” like a crutch word. However, this is not to say that Mark does not use clever motifs. His favourite one is irony which he uses to deliver important points about the identity of Jesus, the Messiah.

The Messiah in the World of Spirits

            Introducing his Gospel in the wilderness where Jesus and John begin their ministry, Mark is showing how the wilderness, where the Israelites were lost, is the birthplace of God’s kingdom. Additionally, Jesus’ ministry is intimately related to the world of spirits. For example, the Spirit exorcises Jesus into the wilderness where Satan, a fallen spiritual being, tempts Him. Then angels, serving spirits, serve Him (Mark 1: 12-13). The first of Jesus’ miracles involves Him exorcising an unclean spirit (Mark 1: 21-28). Jesus, led by the Spirit, exorcises evil spirits which ironically are the only beings that recognize that He is the Holy One of God.

The Crucified Messiah

Throughout the Gospel, Mark presents Jesus’ family, disciples, and followers as ignorant of His identity. Even Peter confesses that He is the Messiah without recognizing Him as Son of God (Mark 8:27). Whether Peter or possessed men, Jesus commands them to keep quiet about Jesus’ sublime identity.

            As Jesus is on the Cross, He calls to His Father “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” meaning “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34). The Son of God speaks as one abandoned by God though the Jews assume He is calling on Elijah.

Furthermore, no Jewish man or woman recognizes Jesus as God’s Son. It is only when Jesus dies that, once again ironically, the Gentile centurion proclaims His divine identity saying, “truly, this was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39). This proclamation comes immediately after the tearing of the curtain of the temple; the curtain which stood as a divider between the holy of holies of Jewish temple life and the world. Therefore, it is no surprise that a Gentile, who has been illuminated by the light of the true Holy of Holies Who hangs on the cross, would be the first person not tormented by demons to recognize Jesus for who He truly is.  


Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on my soul that doubted Your desire to reveal Yourself to all. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, tear away whatever divides me from the learning of Your knowledge like the curtain of the temple in old times. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, tear away whatever divides me from my brothers and sisters for within them lies Your Holy of Holies that I long to see. Remembering the hiding of Your identity for a time, I beseech You to make my heart Your hiding place. Remembering the eventual revealing of Your identity, I beseech You to manifest Yourself through me.

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