Mark Week 11

Story Time

At its foundation, the Gospel of Mark is a story. By saying this, I do not mean that Mark is fictional. As any reader of biographies knows, a good story can convey historical facts. The point, however, is that Mark is a story, or a narrative, with a plot and characters. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 10

The End That Is Not The End: Mark 16:1–20

In the 1980s and 1990s, a new kind of young-adult fiction rose in popularity. One series was called Choose Your Own Adventure. The reader of these books would take an active role in determining the outcome of the story.
Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 9

“And They Crucified Him:” Darkness Descends: Mark 15:1–47

I clearly remember the first time I stood on my head as a child. I was fascinated by the way the world looked when I was upside down. The carpet or grass seemed much more intricate and detailed. People’s shoes took on interest, particularly if they came too close to my head. And, until I lost my balance, the upside-down world was a fun, if odd, place to be. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 8

Dinner, Distress, and Denial: Mark 14:1–72

“You know my methods, Watson. There was not one of them which I did not apply to the inquiry. And it ended by my discovering traces, but very different ones from those which I had expected.” Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 7

Teaching at the Temple: Mark 11:1–13:37

In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, a rich heiress named Portia sets a test for her prospective suitors. She will consent to marry whoever passes the test. Three suitors in a row choose between gold, silver, and lead caskets. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 6

The Cross of Discipleship: Mark 8:22–10:52

This week we reach the halfway point of Mark’s gospel. However, Mark sets up the narrative so that it is more like a halfway pivot than a halfway point: this section looks backward to Jesus’ ministry through Galilee, and forward, as we travel to Jerusalem. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 5

Expanding Ministry, Growing Opposition: Mark 6:6b–8:21

For Jews in the first century, there was one primary story that defined their identity and their relationship with God. This story was the narrative of Israel’s exodus from Egypt (Exodus 1–15). Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 4

“Who Then Is This?”: Mark 4:35–6:6a

In 1939, a new character appeared in comic books. This figure had a docile, newspaper-reporter persona by day, and a cloaked, superhero guise by night. While the audience could look at Clark Kent and see that he simply needed to take off his glasses and change clothes to be Superman, even his closest associate and sometime-love-interest Lois Lane could not see the Superman in Clark Kent, or the Clark Kent in Superman. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 3

Purposeful Parables: Mark 3:7–4:34

In our introduction to Mark, we noted how Mark does not always present material in a straightforward manner. Mark encourages his readers to consider the mysteries in the life of a disciple, and the unknown and inconceivable aspects of the way God is working in the world. This emphasis on ambiguity and enigmas is definitely apparent in Mark 3:7–4:34. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 2

Meeting Jesus in Miracles and Debates: Mark 1:16–3:6

Last week, we noted that the introductory section of Mark’s gospel concludes with a summary of Jesus’ preaching. In Mark 1:15, Jesus proclaims that “the time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near; turn around and put your trust in the good news.” Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 1

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1:1–15

Good news. Death and Darkness. Revelation. Misunderstanding. Miracles. Mystery. Authority. Suffering. All of these contrasting terms characterize the vivid portrayal of the good news in the Gospel of Mark. Full reading and audio »