Since the end of the first century or at the beginning of the second century after Christ, there were texts stating that the second Gospel was the work of Mark. He had accompanied Peter to Rome where he also met Paul and he faithfully put Peter’s teaching into writing.
Any reader comparing this gospel with those of Matthew and Luke will see immediately Mark does not say anything about the birth of Jesus and the years he spent in Nazareth. If we look carefully at the last paragraph of the gospel (Mk 16:9-20
), we will be surprised to see that Mark’s early text concluded with the discovery of the empty tomb and it did not mention the appearances of the risen Jesus. In other words, Mark’s gospel seem to be stripped of its beginning and normal end.
However, this is not the case. Mark gave his work the same perimeters that the apostles had assigned to the first documents that determined the catechesis of the Church. Believers were not told all that they would have liked to know but they were given the essence of what Jesus had said and done (Acts 1:21-22
The Gospel of Mark consists of two parts. Each one of them starts with a divine manifestation: in the first one, it is the word of God at Jesus’ baptism by John and in the second one, it is the Transfiguration. The first part of the Gospel unfolds in Galilee, the province of Jesus and the second one takes us to Judea and Jerusalem, the heart of the Jewish nation. These two parts are like the two sides of the same adventure. The first part shows us the power and the newness of Jesus: the impact of his teachings on the crowds. Then disillusionment sets in and we have the second part. The crowds are no longer following as Jesus refuses to be what they wanted him to be. Finally, we have his death on the cross that seems to cancel his entire mission.
When Jesus died on the cross, the Roman officer admitted that the crucified one was truly the Son of God (Mk 15:39
). And this is all that Mark says. It is now up to the evangelizer to give witness to the resurrection and proclaim Jesus Christ as savior, beginning with the scandal of the cross.
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