Mark’s readers need to be convinced that Jesus is the apocalyptic Son of God,

11/02/2014

and not an apolitical charismatic, mercyful healer. With their miracle-working, the healers of Antiquity legitimized the political and radical status quo, and in doing so secured for themselves economic and political privileges. This is altogether the opposite of the Messianic practice on which the carpenter from Nazareth insists. If Jesus had been an apolitical charismatic, a wandering healer, of whom in Antiquity in the Middle >East there were far too many, there would have been no reason whatsoever for the unprincipled coalition of Herodians and Pharisees to conspire against him, as related in the first fifth of the Gospel (Mark 3:6). In that first fifth, Jesus exorcises an unclean spirit from a man in Capernaum, heals several people from disease, and summons a few disciples, openly violating certain taboos and bringing into question the social stratification in ritual cleansing. Immediately after the conspiracy Jesus consolidates his community of radical equals by declaring ideological warfare on the political and religious elite who oppose his mission (Mark 3:20-35). Surrounded by a multitude of followers, Mark’s Jesus is aware of the impact of his own mission which must move from the margins of society (the desert and the villages of Galilee) to the center (Jerusalem), in which the final confrontation will happen with the corrupt representatives of the Temple and the urban elite who will, with the Roman occupying forces, be responsible for his being put to death. Ideological warfare is declared through a simple parable and examples from the life of those that till the soil (Mark 4:!-34), which Jesus’ audience could readily understand. Mark’s commentaries on Jesus’ parables are inspirational because they address the community of readers, meaning us, today.

gunjević, god in pain.

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