The Gospel of Mark offers insights into the life of Jesus and his reluctant revelation as the Messiah. This Gospel further gives insight into the Jewish customs that Jesus grew up in, and it offers several Aramaic expressions suggesting that the writings were intended for the Gentile converts living in Rome; while giving crucial details about the life of Christ. And so, for many, this post answers the question – How is Jesus portrayed in the book of Mark?
The Gospel of Mark portrays Jesus Christ as an authoritative figure, miracle worker, healer, exorcist, and supernatural being with a strong sense of mission and purpose. He is further depicted as a teacher, a compassionate and empathetic man that was always there to help.
The Gospel of Mark reveals much more about Jesus Christ, and this post gives an in-depth view. So, what are the characteristics of Jesus according to Mark? What is the main lesson in the Gospel of Mark? How is Mark’s point of view different from the other Gospel books? Does the Gospel of Mark portray Jesus as God or as a human? What is the role of Jesus in the book of Mark? Keep reading to find out!
What are the characteristics of Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark?
Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel of Mark, is depicted as a great teacher and supernatural being that performed many great deeds. But before we look at some of the characteristics associated with Jesus, it’s important to note that while Mark is the shortest of the Gospels, and the first commentary on the Gospel wasn’t out there until the 6th century, as much as 90% of stories in the Gospel of Mark also covered in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. As a result, one of the early fathers of the church, Augustine, regarded this Gospel as an abbreviation for the two Gospels – Matthew and Luke.
The other notable thing about this Gospel is that it appears rougher and not deemed much of a literary form as are the others – in elegance and thematic structure. But even with these and the fact that the Gospel of Mark features more ‘problem passages’ than others have today, it made the Gospel of Mark the most studied Gospel.
According to the Gospel of Mark, here are some ways that Jesus Christ is depicted.
Messiah/ Son of God
It is implied in Mark 1:18-30 that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the Son of God. This narrative aimed to confirm the identity of Jesus Christ. In this Gospel, there isn’t much about the birth of Jesus Christ and his Childhood, unlike the descriptions of Jesus Christ given in Luke and Matthew since Mark plunges into the ministry of Jesus directly. The Gospel of Mark talks about Jesus preparing for his ministry and how John the Baptist was Messiah’s forerunner. It also covers Jesus’ baptism by John and also His temptation when he was out in the Wilderness – implied in Mark 1:1-13.
The Gospel of Mark characterizes Jesus Christ as a figure of authority, with the key word throughout the first half of this Gospel being authority. This is because he is depicted as one with great authority, as His announcement of God’s kingdom implies it as a form of extraordinary authority. By mentioning the ‘Kingdom’ of God, Jesus is believed to imply His sovereign authority and power over all the things on earth, both as a King and a Creator. Jesus is described as the Lord of all earth.
Additionally, Jesus’ authority is depicted through his public ministry as implied in Mark 1:16-20 when he called out to 4 fishermen, asking them to drop everything and become his disciples. This authoritative command portrayed Jesus as the most powerful and authoritative figure in the Bible. His authority was also depicted in Mark 2:10 upon healing a lame man and in Mark 4:39 and 41 when he quietened the storm.
Jesus is characterized as authoritative and also as a miracle worker. Throughout the Gospel of Mark, his miraculous and wondrous works are displayed majestically as He feeds thousands with just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread – Mark 6:30-44, when he raises a girl from death as implied in Mark 5:35-43 when he cures a man ailing from a chronic illness in Mark 5:25-34, and also when he casts out legions of demons in Mark 5:1-20.
In Mark 6:45-56, it is implied that Jesus Christ performed a divine act of walking on water, an act that was implied in the Old Testament in Job 9:8, which suggested that only God would be able to tread safely on the sea’s waves. These actions point to a man who is Godly and mysterious.
In Mark 8:33, it’s suggested that Jesus Christ rebuked and defeated evil, which pointed to the fact that Jesus Christ was more than a mere mortal, but a mysterious godly being that could rebuke and defeat Satan.
Jesus addressed the tax collectors, the fishermen, local men and women on the market and streets, and his disciples. In many ways, he taught men and women more about God, his authority, and God’s authority, not to mention his plan and purpose.
What is the main lesson in the Gospel of Mark?
While there are several themes rounded up from the Gospel of Mark, the most outstanding teaching from this Gospel is the fact that Jesus Christ, the son of God the Father, came to earth with a lot of authority and power. This was evident from the first chapters in the Gospel of Mark, signifying the start of Jesus’ ministry. In many ways, therefore, the Gospel of Mark is a declaration of Jesus’ divinity.
The Gospel of Mark also emphasizes the importance of being and living as a whole being, as demonstrated by the many people that Jesus Christ healed. It is implied that Jesus healed many because he desired to make them whole again.
Other lessons from the Gospel of Mark include the Power of Faith in God – Mark 2:5, especially the importance of having little faith over having no faith (Mark 9:22-24).
How is Mark’s point of view different from the other Gospel books?
Unlike the other Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, Mark wasn’t as concerned with the small details about the life of Jesus. However, he was more focused on humanity’s ability and power to take action, hence Mark’s implicit conclusion that it is a call to action.
Also, Mark’s writing of the Gospel didn’t receive any commentary; out of the 4 Gospels, it is the shortest one. Many also argue that Mark’s writing is rougher and not as elegant as the writings of Luke or Matthew. The writing structure for the themes is also no match for the outline seen in the Gospel of Matthew. And finally, his Gospel incorporated many more of what is deemed as problematic passages about the statements and actions of Christ – these are things that Luke and Matthew smoothened out.
But even with these differences, the Gospel according to Mark has been studied intently in recent days, with many scholars deeming Mark’s points of view and writing as an actual first account of the Gospel written, and was, therefore, the primary source for the writing of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This conclusion was drawn from the fact that Mark’s writing was energetic and powerful in literary style and full of color, mystery, and drama. And he offered unique insights into who Jesus Christ was.
Does the Gospel of Mark portray Jesus as God or as a human?
According to Mark, the Gospel portrays Jesus Christ as God, or rather, the son of God, but only on the Cross. This means that although Mark wrote about Jesus Christ being the Son of God at the start of his Gospel, he Vividly portrays Christ as a healer, exorcist, miracle worker, and great teacher. It wasn’t until the end of the Gospel that he acknowledged Jesus as God – Mark 1:2 (also suggested in Malachi 3:1).
Mark still portrayed Jesus as a greater being and a God, implying that Christ was greater than Elijah, Elisha, David, and all other great names. He was, still, a God in the most human form.
What is the role of Jesus in the book of Mark?
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ role is portrayed as a servant of God or the suffering servant of Jesus Christ. The role of Jesus Christ is deemed to have been a revelation of the other side of Christ – his humanity. The Gospel emphasizes his teachings concerning the true meaning of discipleship to show the rest of humankind that the life led by Jesus can be a life that any other human being can live.
Therefore, according to this Gospel, Jesus Christ died on the Cross to model the right way of life. His humanity, in many ways, made Jesus Christ relatable to the rest of humankind.
Lessons from the Gospel of Mark
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.