Mark Chapter 2 Summary

We get deeper into the story.

The chapter opens with some fairly mundane issues: where did Jesus really live? Was he from Nazareth, really? Aside from Mark telling us that Jesus of Nazareth (a phrase ever so easy to add to a text) appeared on the scene, we have nothing to indicate that he is from Nazareth.

On top of this, we go on about Jesus’ popularity. But then we get the really interesting story of the paralytic. Jesus forgives his sins, outrages the Scribes, and demonstrates that The Son Of Man has the power to forgive sins as well as to heal paralysis. This, incidentally, makes us ask what the connection was between sin and sickness in the thought of First Century Jews.  But the end result is that Jesus has thrown down the gauntlet.

Then more about how popular Jesus was. This will get tiresome.

Jesus calls Levi. This gets interesting. First, it seems like Jesus may be having dinner parties at his house. This definitely moves Jesus up the social scale. Then, there’s the whole idea of consorting with sinners and tax collectors, who are collaborators as well as sinners. But Jesus tells us he was “sent”–by whom unspecified–to call the sinners rather than the just. So Jesus has now stuck his finger in the eye of respectable society and the Scribes. What is he up to?

Then, not content with that, Jesus separates himself from both the Baptist and MSJ, and manages to predict his death while he’s at it. He doesn’t fast like the disciples of John, or the Pharisees. Nor does he feel obliged to follow the rules about the Sabbath. If his disciples are hungry, they can pick the ears of grain. AND–yes, there’s more!–he compares himself to King David.

But he’s still not done. He proclaims that the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. I didn’t mention this in the chapter, but isn’t The Lord (Adonai) the Lord of the Sabbath?  In using this “Son of Man” term twice, Mark has made it clear that it refers to Jesus.

So, in all, Jesus has started taking shots at MSJ as it was being practiced. He is casting off fasting and following the rules of the Sabbath. He is also claiming the mantle of David, which would give him the right to set Judaism onto another course. And Jesus seems to be intent on doing this.  It would also let him step into the penumbra of being recognized as the Messiah. Whether this activity dates back to Jesus, however, is an open question.

So Mark is revealing the identity of this Jesus, step by step.


About James, brother of Jesus

I have a BA from the University of Toronto in Greek and Roman History. For this, I had to learn classical Greek and Latin. In seminar-style classes, we discussed both the meaning of the text and the language. U of T has a great Classics Dept. One of the professors I took a Senior Seminar with is now at Harvard. I started reading the New Testament as a way to brush up on my Greek, and the process grew into this. I plan to comment on as much of the NT as possible, starting with some of Paul's letters. After that, I'll start in on the Gospels, starting with Mark.

Posted on January 5, 2013, in Chapter 2, General / Overview, gospel commentary, gospels, Summary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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