Structure of Mark`s Gospel

Fr. Randy Soto, SThD
Kenrick Seminary
General Aspects
Mark is the Creator of the genre
called Gospel: i.e., Theological
Reinterpretation of the Dicta et Facta
Composition Date
Terminus A quo 60
Terminus ad quem 64
Circa 60
Author: Johannes Markus,
Acts 12:12,25; 13:5, 13;
15:37,39; Col. 4:10; 2Tim 4:11;
Phlm 24; 1Peter 5:13.
The Lion’s Book
Part A:
Ministry in
The Lion of
Preaching of John
the Baptist
Mk 1:1-8
Forming the
School and
1:14 – 3:35
The Baptism of
Jesus: Theophany
Mk 1:9-11
Teaching in
Parables and
4:1 – 5:43
The Temptations:
silence (40 days)
Mk 1:12-13
The fighting beast.
healings, feedings
6:1- 8:21
Part B:
What kind of Lion
is this Creature?
1st. Prediction,
Peter’s Conf.
8:27 – 9:29
2nd. Prediction
Teachings on
9:30 – 10:31
3rd. Prediction
Service and love
Hinge Passage: Healing of Bartimaeus,
a blind man 10:46-52, which is also a baptismal motif
Opening Triptych:
Baptismal Motive
The Lion is the Son
of God, Jesus
Hinge Passage: Healing of the blind man 8:22-26,
which is also a baptismal motif
Structure of Mark
Part C:
The Lion’s lair
or robber’s den?
The Lion is the
Risen Christ
Entrance and
12:1 – 13:37
The Angel
16: 4-7
14:1 – 15: 47
Fear and silence
Mk 16:9-20 is an attempt to finish what appears to be un unfinished story. It was added later but the Church has
always considered this addition as Canonical.
1. Confessions, and Theophanies:
a) Jesus Son of God
Mark himself in the title (Mk 1:1)
The Father talking to the Son (Mk 1:11);
b) Jesus Son of the Blessed One
Peter in Caesarea Philippi (Mk 8:27ff),
The Father’s address to Peter, James and John at the
Transfiguration (Mk 9:7);
c) Truly this man is the Son of God
The Centurion at the Cross (Mk 15:39).
Jesus reveals his own identity (Mk 14:62),
The angel reveals the Good News of Resurrection to the holy
women (Mk 16:6).
Christology 2
2. Messianic Secret: (Mk 1:22-25; 5:3-5); on Peter who
confesses him as the Messiah (Mk 8:30; 9:9); on those whom
he has healed (1:40-45; 5:21-43; 7:31-37; 8:22-26). Only Jesus
can reveal his identity (Mk 14:62), and when finally he
revealed it no one hears about it for the women were in fear
(16:8). Mark’s intention in presenting Christ’s identity in
such an intriguing way was to captivate the audience’s
attention (literary device), but also to defend Christology
from deviations, as there were some heresies circulating
among the first Christians (theological device). He who wants
to know the true identity of Jesus must become his follower
(acolyte), his disciple, so that Jesus himself may reveal his
Christology 3
– a) proclaiming the coming of God’s Kingdom with Authority
(exousia) (Mk 1:14-15),
– b) summoning disciples (Mk 1:16-20; 3:13-19),
– c) predicting events (Mk 8:31 - 11:10),
– d) performing gestures (Mk 11:1-11.15-18),
– e) experiencing rejection (Mk 2:1 – 3:6.20-25; 6:1-6a; 7:1-2;
11:27-33; 14:1ff).
Beloved Son
– Says the Father (Mk 1:11; 9:7); J
– Says the Parable (Mk 12:1-12);
– Says a Pagan (Mk 15:39).
Christology 4
– who constantly is reaching out to his disciples and the
crowds, preaching in parables (Mk 1:21; 2:13; 4:1ff; 6:2.34;
9:33 – 10:12; 12:1ff; 13:33-37).
– (Mk 2:17) who cured Peter’s Mother in Law “to be” (Mk
1:29-31), the leper (Mk 1:40-45), the paralytic (Mk2:1ff), the
man with a withered hand (Mk 3:1ff), the Gerasene (Mk
5:1ff), Jairus’ daughter and the woman with a hemorrhage
(Mk 5:21ff), all the sick at Gennesaret (Mk 6:53ff), the deaf
man (Mk 7:30-37), the blind man (Mk 8:22ff), the possessed
boy (Mk 9:14ff), Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46ff).
Christology 4
Innocent Condemned
in order to forgive all of us
Pay attention to the dynamics between Jesus and
Peter (e.g. 14:53-72)
The trial of Jesus: Jesus is falsely accused, He
confesses the truth, and is
condemned for it.
The trial of Peter: In Peter all humanity is rightly
accused, lies under oath, and is
acquitted for it.
1. Discipleship
This is the theme more preponderant in Marks’s
Ecclesiology. Mark seems to always present
Jesus in the company of someone; right form the
start Jesus’ first action was to choose the first
four disciples (1:16-20). Discipleship is to follow
only Christ .
Mark does not dissimulate their obtuseness of
mind and heart (8:31-33; 14:50) for only women
follow him to Calvary (15:40-41). Paradoxically
the 12 are never introduced as models of faith
and discipleship, but rather a model for
faithlessness (9:14-29).
Preferred Scene: The Boat in the
Mark seems to be much at home at the Sea and
particularly aboard a boat.
The sea represents the entire order of creation and
the boat is the Church in it. Sometimes the sea is
agitated (human sins introduced chaos into
creation), making therefore difficult to cruise, that
is why Christ’s assistance and much faith in his
power is needed. The ministry began at the Sea
and there the disciples will be called again Mk
1:16; 2:13; 3:7; 4:1ff.35ff; 5:1ff.21ff; 6:32ff.53ff;
7:31ff; 8:10.13.22; 16:7.
Use in Liturgy
1. Mark is used in the Weekday Reading
Cycle for the first 9 weeks in Ordinary Time.
2. In the Sunday Reading Cycle Mark
corresponds to the B Cycle and it is
repeated every three liturgical years.
Authenticity and Canonicity
 1. John Mark
– Tradition has been unanimous in identifying Mark with John
Mark (Acts 12:12.25; 13:5-13; 15:37-39; Col 4:10; Phlm 24;
2 Tim 4:11).
– He was a companion of Paul who later became Peter’s
coworker (1Pe 5:13). “Mark, having become Peter’s
interpreter, wrote down accurately whatever he
remembered of what was said or done by the Lord, however
not in order” (Eusebius, HE 3.39.15).
 3. The Church has always considered the
Gospel canonical.
– This includes the second ending (Mk 16:9-20) that based on
the style and content is obviously a glossa (later addition)
written by someone else.
Place and Date of Composition
Traditionally Rome (1Pe 5:13)
around the time of Peter’s death (67 AD).
In Lk 1:1 we see sources of people who had
written about Jesus.
Also, Matthew depends heavily on Mark’s Gospel plan.
Therefore, Matthew would have used Mark to write his and
Luke would have consulted them both. This brings Marks
Gospel to an earlier date of composition. Currently there is no
My personal opinion is 60 AD.
– This date seems to me more logical for it gives a couple of
years to circulate, to be read by Matthew (64 AD) and by
Luke (67 AD).
No question about the intended recipients of
Mark’s Gospel: the cosmopolitan Christian
community of Rome, which was composed
mainly of Gentile Christians and of some
Jewish Christians and. The Gospel is also
written for people who have not received the
Gospel, therefore the invitation to follow Christ
in the Church.
Mark in the Art

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