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

What is Mark’s theology, where does the overarching structure of the book lead us, where do the individual stories direct us and what can we learn about the titles of Jesus?  The dramatic narrative structure of Mark takes us to the cross.  The increasing conflict of Mark’s Gospel also takes us to the cross.  Furthermore, Mark’s use of the term “Son of God” climaxes at the Cross.  Finally, the controversial ending of Mark’s Gospel, if understood correctly, points us not forward but backwards to the cross.  Mark’s Gospel is about the cross.
     My intent in this blog series was to point out the cross-centeredness of Mark’s Gospel as a basis for reading, preaching and teaching the Gospel of Mark as well as affirming a cross-centered spirituality.  Does this now mean that the Gospel of Mark is very one-sided or narrow in its theology?  Should we label the Gospel of Mark as failing to move beyond the cross to the resurrection?
Herman Sasse in his book We Confess addresses these concerns saying, "Obviously the 'theology of the cross' does not mean that for a theologian the church year shrinks together into nothing but Good Friday.   Rather, it means that Christmas, Easter and Pentecost cannot be understood without Good Friday."[1]  Sasse goes on to state, "Always it is from the cross that everything is understood, because hidden in the cross is the deepest essence of God's revelation."[2]
What this means is that we don't avoid the themes of creation, the work of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection and so forth.  Rather, we embrace these themes while understanding them in the light of the cross and never apart from the cross.  It is the same with the Gospel of Mark.  We understand the second Gospel in light of the cross and never apart from the cross.
Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ κεντυρίων ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὕτως ἐξέπνευσεν εἶπεν, Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος υἱὸς θεοῦ ἦν.

[1] Herman Sasse, We Confess (Concordia Publishing, 1999), 38-39.
[2] Ibid.