I began answer the question of “What Is the Messianic Secret?” – a term used to describe that distinctive feature of Mark’s Gospel, that Jesus repeatedly tries to hush up anyone who starts to know or realize he is – first by explaining what the traditional views of the messiah were in ancient Judaism (anything *but* a person who would be publically humiliated and tortured to death by his enemies – just the opposite: he was to be a figure of grandeur and power who destroyed the enemies) and then by laying out how Mark portrays Jesus as someone whom no one really understands. What’s behind that interesting feature of Mark’s Gospel? Why does he develop that idea?
Mark himself, of course, understands Jesus quite well. Jesus is the messiah who has to suffer and die. I was about to simply to indicate that I’ve said this on the blog before a few years ago, but I’ve decided that to make my point more emphatically and make sense of my answer to the question about the Messianic Secret (coming in the next post), I really need to say it again, at a bit of length, in an entire post. Here is how I explain the matter in my discussion of Mark in my textbook on the New Testament
In many ways, Mark’s Gospel is all about the death of Jesus. One scholar, long ago, called Mark a “Passion Narrative with a long introduction.”
Throughout the early portions of Mark’s Gospel the reader is given several indications that Jesus will have to die (e.g., 2:20; 3:6). After Peter’s confession, however, Jesus begins to be quite explicit about it. Even though he is the Christ, the Son of God—or rather because he is—he must suffer death. Three times Jesus predicts his own impending Passion in Jerusalem: he is to be rejected by the Jewish leaders, killed, and then raised from the dead. Strikingly, after each of these “Passion predictions” Mark has placed stories to show that the disciples never do understand what Jesus is talking about.
We have already seen the …
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