The books of Mark, Mathew and Luke are recognized as the “synoptic gospels” because of their similarities. It is because of the common feature that makes them be read together. It is worth identifying those not only are the books similar, but also agree in many instances. The is best explained by sharing a literary source. However, it should be identified that these disagree and scholars must account for it. The synoptic problem can be defined as the objective of trying to explain the similarities, as well as the differences between the gospels. This study is a reflection on chapters five, six and seven of the gospel according to Mark.
The gospel according to Mark gives the suffering of Jesus, as the Son of God. The book has been written in Jewish perspective. The author asserts that Jesus was meant to be the Christ. This is equivalent to the Hebrew term ‘messiah’. The title was only meaningful to the Jews. During the first-century different view was given concerning the Messiah. In this case, some of the Jews believed that their Messiah would be a king. Some believed that he would become a cosmic judge. For this reason, it is evident that all notions presented Jesus as all-powerful. However, the problem arises because of the paradox of Jesus as a suffering Messiah. According to Mark, all the religious leaders opposed Jesus room the start. It is due to this antagonism that Jesus was executed. Despite all the animosity, Jesus never opposed Judaism a religion. The crucifixion of Jesus starts from being misunderstood. According to Mark, even the closest disciples did not understand who he was. After colliding with most religious leaders, the suffering of Jesus as the Son of God started (Ehrman, 2011).
In the gospel, it can be noticed that Jesus predicts his death three times. On the other hand, the latter part of the Mark’s gospel focuses on the passion of Jesus. According to the author, it is due to the fact Jesus is the Messiah that he must die. His death acts as a sacrifice that atones for human sin. At the end of the gospel, it is not even vivid to the disciples the identity and mission of Jesus. One of his disciples, Judas betrays him. Additionally, Peter denies Jesus and other disciples scatter in order to avoid arrest. Jesus is left to die, and people wonder if God had abandoned him. Through the whole story, Mark implies that through Jesus ‘death, all people have direct access to God. There is the use of irony in the book. For instance, the people who are closest to Jesus do not recognize his Mesianship (Ehrman, 2011).
A close resemblance of the three gospels, Mathew, Mark and Luke cause the synoptic problem. For this reason, there have been a number of hypotheses trying to explain the interdependence of the books. One of the oldest hypotheses was founded on the church tradition. It asserted that the first gospel was Mathew, which was later followed by Luke. On the other hand, the hypothesis asserts that the book of Mark was written as a summary that was based on both Mark and Luke. However, one of the most accepted hypotheses today is that Mark was the first gospel. It acted as the source for the writing of both Mathew and Luke together with some additional materials. One of the most, frequent arguments about this is the fact that the only time that Mathew and Luke agree is only when their sequential stories agree with Mark. From this agreement area, the historical course of events was identified. However, in the 20th century it was identified that the sequence of Mark was theological and artificial. In this case, it had a very little relationship to the actual ministry of Jesus Christ.
Evidently, the gospel according to Mark does not give an account of Jesus’ birth. Rather, it starts describing his adult life. Throughout his ministry, Jesus performed many miracles. However, the disciples did not seem to understand the significance of his actions. Only Peter seems to understand the divine nature of Jesus. Jesus then foresees his crucifixion but does not stop his ministry. Instead, he travels to different parts. However, he changes his attention from performing miracles to actual preaching (Ehrman, 2011).
Chapter 7 introduces Jesus as the saviour of the world. Throughout this chapter, a comparative method for studying the Gospels has been applied. The gospel illustrates the birth, life, death and resurrections. The gospel traces the spread of Christianity through the empire. Mark describes Jesus as a Hellenistic miracle-working individual. He is expected to be the messiah and king who are expected to save the Jew.
All the Christians that existed during Mark’s time expected the messianic return of Jesus. It can be identified Mark recognizes the messianic secret. Jesus secrecy concerning his identity as the Messiah is one of the major themes that Mark applies. This can be identified from the parables, silencing of the demons as well as the holding of the truth from the disciples. Mostly, this arose from the tension that existed between the church and the messianic belief, as well as the reality of Jesus as the king. The use of the phrase “son of God” is pertinent because it illustrates Jesus as the king adopted by God as his son. Through the name, Jesus is identified as the ruler of the Jews (Ehrman, 2011).
However, it is worth mentioning that the gospel according to Mark argues against the ‘son of David’ messiah. It favours the Hellenistic understanding of ‘son of God’. Through the mission, involving suffering, death and resurrection the messianic objective is acquired. Throughout the Mark’s gospel, God’s salvation is available to the whole world through accepting Jesus as the saviour and the son of God. Unlike other gospels such as Luke, Mark does not give the genealogy of Jesus. The traces of Jesus are not identified in any part of the gospel. Unlike Luke’s’ Jesus, who presents himself as a prophet knowing he will die as one, Marks Jesus questioned his fate until the last moment.
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