The Magic Kingdom of Mark
Of the four Gospels, Mark would appear to devote the least attention to either the
birth or death and resurrection of Jesus, beginning with reference to his baptism
by John, and referencing the trial and crucifixion only sparingly, with the resurrection
scarcely mentioned at all. Shorter than the other Gospels, it is more centered on the
public life and teachings of Jesus. Mark may also put more stress on the wonders
and parables of Jesus than the other gospels do.
Following his baptism by John and forty days in the wilderness, Jesus calls four
fishermen to follow him, but then Mark's narrative turns to the miraculous. In
Chapter One, he heals a leper and in the next chapter, a paralytic. In Chapter Three,
he cures 'many' and in the following one, he calms the wind and sea. The Fifth
Chapter describes Jesus healing a madman and a hemorrhaging woman before
he seems to bring a dead child back to life.
There is, in this chapter, an interesting comment about his 'powers.' A woman
who believes in his ability to heal touches his clothing, and he feels the power go out.
This was the hemorrhaging woman who was cured by touching his cloak.
Chapter Six has Jesus beginning to give his miraculous powers to his disciples
just before he feeds the multitudes gathered to hear him teach. He also once again
calms a storm and the sea, and even walks on the water. But then, here again we
hear how people who touch his cloak are healed, although this is on their belief
that it would happen.
And among the events of the following chapter, Jesus cures a deaf and dumb man,
while in the Eighth Chapter he again feeds a multitude with just a few 'loaves and
fishes,' and concludes by returning sigh to a blind man.
Chapter 9 transfiguration of Jesus
cures a boy of convulsions
Chapter 10 a blind beggar receives his sight
Chapter 11 Jesus withers a fig tree by cursing it
The tenor of Mark seems to change at that point. Jesus has been portrayed as
teaching in parables prior to this, but now that becomes much more extensive,
and Jesus not only amazes, but quiets his 'adversaries' with his words and
Jesus is also beginning to prophecy at this juncture; in Chapter 13, about the end
times. The final three chapters turn to consideration of the Passover and Passion,
with the rather brief last chapter very quickly telling us that Jesus has risen from
That final part of Mark returns to the miraculous again. The disciples will be able to
heal the sick, speak in tongues, handle snakes, and drink poison. It concludes
with the disciples going out to teach and spread the word after Jesus has been
'taken up' into heaven.