In my previous post I pointed out that Jesus’ mother (and brothers) don’t seem to know who he really is in Mark.  This is part of a broader theme distinctive to Mark’s Gospel, a theme that is considerably downplayed in the other Gospels (and almost completely done away with in John).  Mark wants to emphasize, repeatedly, that no one seemed to understand who Jesus was throughout his entire ministry.  Here is what I say on the theme in my textbook on the New Testament, in the chapter on Mark.


Jesus The Misunderstood Son of God

One way to establish “misunderstanding” as a Markan theme is to read carefully through the first half of the Gospel and ask, “Who realizes that Jesus is the Son of God?” The answer may come as a bit of a surprise. Clearly God knows that Jesus is his Son, because he himself declares it at the baptism (1:11). And since this declaration comes directly to Jesus (“You are my beloved Son”), the reader can assume that he knows it as well. In addition, the evil demons recognize Jesus as the Son of God; on several instances they scream it out when they encounter him (3:11, cf. 1:24). Who else knows? Oddly enough, only two other persons: the author of the Gospel, who recounts these various tales, and you the reader, who reads them.


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