Jesus in the gospel of Mark
This year, for our gospel readings on Sundays, we will mainly be hearing stories from the Gospel of St Mark. His symbol is the winged lion.
The Church of England has harmonised its Sunday readings cycle so that all major Christian churches all over the world will be having the same gospel readings at the same time. This year we will be getting to know what special things Mark remembered about Jesus.
Thank God that we have four different gospels! Because all the different things that Jesus wanted to achieve could not possibly have been contained in just one gospel. Mark is by far the shortest gospel of the four. Half of it tells the story of Jesus’ passion, his crucifixion and his death and resurrection (chapters 8 to 16). In Mark’s gospel we are not spared to notice from the beginning that the way that Jesus had to go was the path of suffering for a world that did not understand him or even notice him.
In Mark’s gospel Jesus is often misunderstood by his closest friends, Jesus is often seen alone, deserted even by his disciples. And on the other hand: unimportant and un-named figures pop up in the story, understand him and follow him. In Mark’s gospel Jesus is often most critical of religious hypocrisy and of established religion in general.
In Mark’s gospel Jesus proclaims a healing freedom from fear and oppression. Last year we heard from Matthew, and how he remembered Jesus as a teacher and preacher. The Jesus of Matthew addresses the world with his challenging teaching (Sermon of the Mount etc).
But the Jesus of Mark addresses the Church: we are supposed to be his closest followers, and yet – sometimes perhaps – we have made the church cosy, rather than open and responsive to the suffering and longing around us.
Bernhard Schünemann – the Vicar
10 June 2018