Gospel

Jesus sometimes tells demons not to reveal who he, Jesus, is. Find three examples of this, citing the words the demon(s) say, as well as giving chapter and verse. Speculate a bit (in a paragraph) on why Jesus would do this, if his job is to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God.

There are several instances in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus deals directly with demons. Jesus not only casts out the demons but He also makes sure to tell them that they do not reveal his true identity as the Son of God. The reasons why Jesus ensures the secrecy of his messianic nature is complex. At this point, Jesus knows that he is upsetting the authority of the high priesthood. He is concerned only with bringing the message of gospel and God to the people and does not want to cause any trouble with the authorities. This is the main reason Jesus requests that His identity be kept silent.

In Mark 1:21-24, Jesus drives out an impure spirit from a man in Capernaum. "When the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!;" Jesus drives out the spirit but Mark notes, "Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was."

In Mark 1:44 Jesus continues, "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." He says this to the leper.

In Mark 5:1-18, Jesus encounters another man possessed by a demon and drives out that demon. Mark notes that Jesus also "gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat." (5:43). Finally, in Chapter 9, Mark describes the incidence in which Jesus heals a young boy who is possessed by a demon. Here, Jesus drives out the demon but he does not command absolute silence. At this point in the gospel account, Jesus is becoming certain that pronouncing the coming of the Kingdom of God is the only righteous way to proceed.

2. What are the names of Jesus' brothers in the text. Does he have sisters also? What does his family seem to think of him (both chs 3 & 6 have information relevant to this question). Cite lines (give both the words and the chapters and verses) indicating what his townspeople think of him. Be thorough.

In Mark 3:31-35, we learn about Jesus's family. At this point in the gospel of Mark, Jesus refers to his sisters and brothers in a metaphoric way. Jesus hints that his "brothers and sisters" are the whole human race and not just his blood family. The author writes, "Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, 'Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you,'" (Mark 3:31-32). To this Jesus responds cryptically, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"(Mark 3:33). The question comes across as being a rhetorical one, to make the case that Jesus's family has expanded to include his spiritual family. Emphasizing his intention of clarifying the meaning of family, Jesus looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother," (Mark 3:34-35).

However, we do learn some concrete facts about Jesus's family in the Gospel of Mark. In Mark 6:3, the blood relatives of Jesus are mentioned explicitly as a means to identify Jesus when He begins to teach in the synogogue. "Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" (Mark 6:3). The disdain they have for Jesus is evident in this passage for two reasons. For one, "they took offense at him" because Jesus was bold enough to bring his teachings to the formal arena of the synagogue (Mark 6:3). Secondly, though, mentioning Jesus's brothers and sisters serves to humanize Him. Jesus is frequently referred to as the Son of Man in the Gospel of Mark and here it becomes clear that disbelievers do not view Jesus as the anointed one. Mentioning his brothers and sisters by birth shows that they see Jesus as an ordinary human being.

3. Take note of 1:15, which sums up the role of Jesus, preaching that "the kingdom of God is at hand." In the minds of Jews of Jesus' time, this kingdom was announced in the Book of Daniel, which says that "one like the Son of Man" will come with the clouds of heaven . . . "and was given dominion [power] and glory." (Dan 7:13-14). The coming of this kingdom earlier includes mention of angels. Identify at least two places in Mark's gospel where at least three of these precise nouns are given together. [You can use the "find" function for this.]

The Gospel of Mark is peppered with instances in which Jesus mentions the Kingdom of God and his being the Son of Man who ushers in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is in full possession of his power and glory, which give Him the ability to establish the new order on earth. Mentions of the Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Mark include the following: 3;24, 4:11, 4:26, 4:30, 9:1, 9:47, 10:14, 10:15, 10:23-25, 11:10, 12:34, and 14:25. The word glory is mentioned explicitly three times, in Mark 8:38, 10:37, and 13:26.

Notable among these passages is Mark 4:30-32, in which Jesus relates the parable of the mustard seed: "Again he said, 'What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade."

In Mark 9:47, Jesus states, "And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out: it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell." In Mark 10:14, He states, "Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God." Also notable is Mark 13:26, in which the power and the glory are explicit: "At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."

4. Some have claimed that Mark did not think highly of those we call the Apostles. Find and cite lines that might justify such a conclusion.

Mark first lists the twelve apostles upon Jesus's appointing them in 3:13. The main instance in which Mark hints derision for the apostles is in 4:34. Mark writes, "He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything." Here, Mark is suggesting that the apostles somehow received preferential treatment.

In Chapter 6, the disciples are portrayed as being stingy and unenlightened, perhaps even haughty. Mark notes, "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught," (Mark 6:30). It is as if they can hardly wait to tell Jesus of what they had done rather than attribute credit to the Christ. Jesus, however, has mercy on them and simply states, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest," (Mark 6:31). The disciples do go away by themselves, and a crowd of believers then recognizes them as those who deliver the message of Christ. The crowd then gathers around the disciples. This passage represents one of the most telling signs that Mark does not think highly of the apostles, as Jesus describes the crowd as being "like sheep without a shepherd," (Mark 6:34). Jesus, in Mark's eye, did not believe that his apostles possessed the ability or power to lead. If the apostles could lead, Jesus would have commended their symbolic "shepherding" abilities. Instead, Jesus sends away the apostles again.

Mark also describes the apostles as being stingy in Chapter 6. The apostles state, "Send the people away so that they can go…