Book Of Mark Essay, Research Paper
To truly understand the Bible takes a lot of research. One process used to interpret scripture is OIAP. OIAP stands for observation, interpretation, application, and praxis. This process helps you to understand scripture in its text. The passage that is going to be researched in this paper is Mark 14:32-42. My intent through this research is not only to understand the text, but also know how to apply its meaning to today’s society. I hope to know more about who Jesus was during His time here on earth. I want to research the human aspect of Christ. It is impossible to understand what Jesus actually felt without understanding his human side. I hope to find out how much of his godliness he retained when he came to earth as a man.
In observation we analyze the scripture with no help from outside sources. We also stay within the book of Mark, trying not to use what we already know about future events in the Bible. It is easier to understand how the characters in scripture felt if we immerse ourselves in the text. “That, I concluded, is the problem with most of our writing and thinking about Jesus. We read the Gospels through the flash-forward lenses of church councils like Nicea and Chalcedon, through the churches studied attempts to make sense of him”(Yancey, 24). While observing the text we need to act as if we were never taught anything about Jesus or the Bible.
The characters mentioned in this text are Jesus, the disciples, Abba Father (God the Father), and Jesus’ betrayer. Peter, James, and John are specifically mentioned. The betrayer is not mentioned by name in this scripture, but is named as Judas later in the book of Mark. God the Father is only mentioned in Jesus’ prayer.
The main characters repeatedly mentioned are Jesus, Peter, James, and John. This scripture focuses on Jesus and who he sees and speaks to. The rest of the disciples are mentioned, but not present after the first verse. God the Father never responds to Jesus as far as the author states.
This text takes place in Gethsemane, around the time of Jesus’ death. It is a time that Jesus wishes to be alone to pray before his upcoming hardships. He finally gets away from the crowds to a quiet place.
This scripture begins with Jesus taking Peter, James, and John with him to a quiet place. Jesus then asks them to stay and watch as he goes a little farther to pray alone. He then prays to God the Father asking if he’ll let the hour pass from him. Jesus then comes down to the three disciples and finds them sleeping. Jesus lectures Peter and then goes back to pray. He comes back a second time and finds them sleeping again. On the third time of his return he finds the three sleeping still. He tells them that he is done and “the hour has come” and that “the betrayer is at hand.”
The author seems to speak from an omniscient point of view. He uses the third person, never mentioning himself in the text. I don’t believe he knew everything that was happening though. I think he was an omniscient implied author, not an omniscient person that knows everything that’s happening. He never reveals anything about Jesus prayers following the first time he returns to the three sleeping disciples, other than he spoke the same words. It is assumed that the readers know where Gethsemane is, or at least the relative area of this event.
Some key terms to look at in this text are “the hour might pass from Him” as well as “take this cup away from me.” Also two phrase to learn from later would be “not what I will, but what you will”, and “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus repeatedly catches his disciples sleeping, but still does nothing harsh to discipline them or keep them awake. He only tells them to pray so that they will not enter into temptation. This also has foreshadowing of Jesus death and betrayal. In this text Jesus says he is sorrowful before he goes to pray to God. When he returns he seems ready to accept his death. We are not told in Mark what changes Jesus’ attitude.
The main relationship discussed in this passage is between Jesus and his Father when Jesus prays to him, though the author actually does not focus much on it. He only writes about Jesus asking for help. Two brothers, James and John are mentioned, but their relationship has little relevancy to this text. Another aspect is the three not doing the job they were asked to do. It’s like hiring guards that never do their job, because they’re always sleeping.
This scripture mentions Jesus’ prayer to God and foreshadows Jesus’ betrayal and death. The main focus is on Jesus’ fear and the sleeping disciples. The author spends a lot of time talking about the three disciples. I’m not yet sure of the importance of the sleeping disciples. More importantly what I’m interested in is Jesus’ request for God the father to change his mind. Doesn’t Jesus know why he has to go through his suffering? If he does know the reason for his own sacrifice, why would he ask God to take the cup from him? These are the questions that I wish to discuss in interpretation.
The questions asked in observation cannot be answered for sure. This is a question that deals with the deity of Jesus Christ. How much Godliness did Jesus give up to become human? There are many theories behind the reason that Jesus asks for God to change his mind. First we have to show that Jesus was both God and man.
The Gospel according to John provides proof of Jesus being God. John 1 “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”(Stafford, 1100). This passage shows that God became a man, which is later in John to be shown as Jesus Christ. So if Jesus was God why did he fear his upcoming trials in Mark.
The first theory is that it was the human side of Jesus that feared his upcoming suffering and death. Many times in the Gospel Jesus shows emotion and human qualities. Jesus cries, gets tired and mad, and is tempted. So maybe the flesh aspect of Jesus feared death, an experience God would be unfamiliar with. At the same time the following argument is stated in reference to Jesus’ sorrow: “The shadow of the cross had fallen upon him. It was not fear of the agony, or fear of the death, for he bore all, when the moment came, so sublimely that a heathen officer exclaimed, ‘surely he must be the son of a god.’ I doubt whether it is possible for a mortal to comprehend the mystery of his suffering, but I think the key is found in the declaration, ‘He was made sin for us’”(Johnson). So another thought is that Jesus feared having sin put on him. Even if this is the case why would Jesus ask God to change his mind? Didn’t he know that this sacrifice was necessary to save mankind?
With that question we ask was Jesus omniscient? We know that God is omniscient, but is that one of the things Jesus gave up to become man? Jesus seems to know a lot in the Gospels, but this may have been information that God the Father chose to give him. “At times He spake from within as God. At other times He spake as man, or the body of God”(Manuwal). Was Jesus speaking from within as God, or was he just revealing to us what God the father revealed to him. Mark also shows an example of Jesus not being omniscient in his human form, Mark 13:32 “No one knows about the day or hour, not even angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”(Stafford, 1054). This shows us that Jesus did not know everything while on earth. He still may have had some insight from his godly form though. There really is no way to know for sure.
If Jesus wasn’t omniscient then maybe he was only aware of his death and not the necessity of it. He then may ask God the Father to “ ‘remove this cup from me,’ referring to Jesus’ suffering and death”(Metzger, 118). Not being sure of what is to happen to him in the future is a fear that all man faces. “The ‘cup’ is now revealed as the Way of the cross, and Jesus encounters it with genuine human terror, not contemplative detachment”(Myers, 189). According to Myers it was the human aspect that feared the unknown.
As stated above maybe Jesus was terrified of the affects of sin being placed on him. If this is the case then perhaps it was the God side of Jesus speaking out. Jesus had never been separated from God, and therefore may not be able to know what to expect when this event occurs. Sin is a separation from God, and “the Holy one of God” was about to have sin placed on him. This was surely something that the mortal side of Jesus could not comprehend, but could the God side comprehend it either. God is Holy and therefore without sin, so how could God truly know what was going to come of having sin put on him. Maybe it was the God aspect of Jesus crying out to God to really think about the repercussions of this event.
Either way it is lucky for us that God sent down his angel to comfort Jesus as stated in Luke 22:43 “then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength”(Metzger, 118). Jesus chose God’s will and not his own. Something humans have a difficult time doing. “Jesus’ inner turmoil alludes to the anguish of Jonah, a reminder that God’s ‘will’ is redemption of those who ‘do not know right from left’”(Myers, 189). In other words when Jesus found himself unsure he leaned on his father to make the right decision.
We may never be able to understand Jesus’ fear for this event, but we do know that Jesus experienced the separation from God. Mark 15:34 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Stafford, 1058). For his sacrifice we have been able to enter into the kingdom of God.
One of the hardest things to understand is the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. It’s hard to comprehend how a father could sacrifice his only son. In the time of Jesus a father son relationship was extremely important in family status. The eldest son was to inherit a father’s estate, and in royalty a son inherited the entire kingdom from his father. In those times it was evident how important a son was to his father.
There was also a spiritual connection between Jesus and His Father. This is an aspect of their relationship mankind of that time could not possibly comprehend. Humans still don’t fully understand this concept in today’s society. It was a connection through their godhood. It is some times known as the trinity. The trinity is the understanding that God is one being in three forms, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. This is a connection that makes it even harder to believe that God the Father could sacrifice His Son.
Another aspect of the text in question is the sleeping disciples. Why did Mark focus so much on this subject? I think it was an example of how man can not even do such a simple task as staying awake to guard for an hour. “Peter, James, and John soldiers placed on duty in an hour of dreadful peril and bidden to watch”(Johnson). I have been told that in those days if a soldier was found sleeping they may have been put to death. Derelict of duty was a serious offence to many armies then as well as now. If you cannot even stay awake to do your job then what good are you? On the other hand though Jesus shows mercy on them.
The Bible shows many examples of how man fails almost immediately after boasting about his walk with God. “Peter, who moments ago was boasting of his courage, does not have the ‘strength to stay awake one hour’”(Myers, 189). Myers shows peter failing Jesus almost immediately after boasting about his courage and faith. We again later see Peter fail again when asked if he was one of Jesus’ followers. We never see Jesus fail God. Though he may have feared his fate he stilled followed God’s will.
The summary of my findings is that there are many theories to Jesus’ fear, but that’s all they are “theories”. We will probably never know the extent of Jesus’ power while he was here on earth, but we can be sure that he went through much pain and sorrow for us. As for the disciples, they are a good example for us to learn from. They show us exactly what not to do, and how pathetic it is when you get caught by someone, especially God, messing up.
In the time of Jesus it was almost impossible to understand the deity of Jesus Christ. Today I believe the churches focus too much on the Jesus of Revelation. Many people forget the trials Jesus went through as a man. The people in the book of Mark have a good understanding of how much Jesus suffered for mankind. The people of this time have forgotten His suffering.
I think the churches need to focus more on what Jesus did for us as a man, not as God. The church spends a lot of time teaching what Christ is going to do for mankind instead of what he already did. A lot of times I have seen that Christians strengthen their walk when they realize what Jesus actually went through for their salvation. The church needs to teach not only the physical suffering Jesus went through, but also the spiritual suffering he endured. To understand the separation Jesus felt from God the Father is obviously beyond our comprehension, but we can still realize that Jesus did suffer more than any person on earth.
Not only did Jesus suffer, but also I’m sure that God the Father was being torn as well. If Christians tried to put themselves in the same mind set of sacrificing their child maybe they could have some understanding of the pain felt by God the Father. It is hard enough for mankind to see a loved one die, but to know that you can stop it at any time would be even more difficult. This is another aspect of Mark I believe has been left out by the churches.
Many of the Christians in today’s society have little knowledge of the deity of Jesus. As I went through the research in the interpretation portion of this project I found that few people knew about the deity of Jesus. Most of this evidence came from speaking to Christians on the campus. People understood that Jesus was both fully man and fully God, but they never but any thought into it. I believe this is mostly due to our churches not teaching enough about the deity. How can Christians have a strong walk with Christ if they don’t even completely understand what he went through for them? The deity, trinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ are all founding beliefs of Christianity, so all of them should be taught with equal importance.
Not only should churches begin teaching more about the deity of Jesus, but individuals should begin investigating this part of their religion as well. Through investigating this aspect of their belief they will be able to draw closer to Jesus. Understanding that Jesus didn’t have to sacrifice himself for us is important. To know that Jesus chose to die for us shows his sacrifice to be more meaningful. This is an understanding I came to realize in my research and I believe should be explored by all Christians.
Through my research I realized that my church spent little time discussing the true sacrifice Jesus made for us. I go to Holy Rosary Catholic Church and I thought it important for the priest to know my position on this. I decided to write a letter to the church that I have not yet sent. I stated that the church should spend more time discussing the suffering Jesus went through for or salvation instead of what he will do for us in the Second Coming. It also states that the church should spend some time relating the relationship between God the Father and Jesus to our own families. This would better help people to understand the dilemma that God the Father was placed in. It also would help children to understand why Jesus chose to listen to his father in this situation.
I haven’t decided if I want to send this letter or go and discuss it with my priest instead. I believe discussing the matter with the priest would allow him to better understand how I feel about this situation. It would also allow us to discuss the subject at hand if he didn’t understand my letter. Until the time I can speak with my priest I will continue my research into this topic.
Through my research I discovered many aspects of Jesus I was not yet aware of. I already knew about the deity of Jesus Christ, but I didn’t yet understand exactly what that deity entailed. I learned that Jesus was fully God, but some of His Godlike abilities had to be set aside. The verses I studied helped me to realize that Jesus wasn’t omniscient and therefore had to rely on God for knowledge of his upcoming death.
This research also showed me of the suffering that God the Father may have went through as well. It helped me to understand that Jesus was suffering in a spiritual sense as well. Not only did he suffer physically, but he also went through extreme spiritual separation that I could never fully comprehend. Through all this research I discovered that I need to spend more time learning who Jesus was in the time of the Gospels. I also came to realize that my church should spend some time doing the same. This research also helped me to understand how to interpret the Bible with more accuracy and efficiency. In all it was an important learning experience about the Word of God
1. Johnson, B.W. The People’s New Testament. Copyright 1891. (http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/bjohnson/hgl/PNT01-26)
2. Manuwal, Lewis E. “Pearls of Pentecost the Circle of Proof.” (http://www.pearls-of-pentecost.org/dual.htm)
3. Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford University Press, Inc., New York, NY, 1989.
4. Myers, Ched, Say to This Mountain, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY 1996
5. (NKJV) New King James Version. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1997
6. Stafford, Tim and Yancey, Philips. The Student Bible, New International Version. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996.
7. Yancey, Philip. The Jesus I Never Knew. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995