The Gospel of Mark: A Lutheran Gospel (Part 4 of 8)

            As the previous blog posting in this series fleshed out the influence of Paul’s theology of the cross upon Mark, this next portion will be devoted to examining the flow of the dramatic narrative of Mark as a narrative that directs the reader into the heart of Jerusalem where the Son of God would be mocked, beaten and crucified.
R.T. France views Mark’s gospel as a narrative.  He states, “It seems clear, then, that Mark did not write a text in sections, but a single flowing narrative, and that any structure we discern is a matter of our reading of the text, not of Mark’s direction.”[1]   This is not to say that there are no sections within the Gospel of Mark.  Rather the story can be seen as three different ‘Acts’ or ‘Scenes’ that are a part of the unfolding drama of Mark.  From a geographical perspective France points out each of the scenes.  The beginning and introductory portion of Mark hovers around the scenes in the wilderness, the first act is geographically set in the vicinity of Galilee, the second act shifts from Galilee to the journey towards Jerusalem and finally act three then takes the reader to the geographical region of Jerusalem where Jesus encounters the religious circle of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes and is arrested, put on trial and ultimately crucified.[2] 
         Looking at the Gospel of Mark as a dramatic narrative, the story is taking the reader somewhere not only in geography but also towards a climax.  As we arrive to chapter 8 the reader is geographically on their way to Jerusalem, however, we can sense the narrative pulling us into a focal point climatic point as Jesus gives his first prediction of his future suffering and death.  It is almost as the narrative begins to funnel the reader into the upcoming crucifixion story.  R.T. France says that around chapter 8, “the story moves inexorably downhill to Jerusalem where the rejection and death are to take place…”[3] 

[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Mark: The New International Greek Testament Commentary (Eerdmans, 2002), 13.
[2] Ibid, 13-14.
[3] Ibid, 11.