Exegesis the Gospels of Mark Term Paper

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Jesus warns not just Peter but all of "them" about not boasting about the messiah in Mark, Matthew, and Luke too. Jesus's warning comes immediately after the miraculous healing of the blind man (Mark 8:30; Matthew 16:20; Luke 9:21). Interestingly, the Gospel of Matthew is more emphatic about Peter's future role as the "rock" of the Church of Christ: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven," (Matthew 16:18-19). In the Gospel of Matthew, the author is ultimately concerned with the establishment of a new and formal covenant with God. The seeds of Christianity have been planted in the soil of the Jewish faith, then watered by the political rifts taking place between the Romans and the Jews. Mark wrote perhaps slightly too early to denote the importance of Peter in the process of differentiation, whereas Luke was not even a Jewish author. A Greek gentile, Luke was writing to a less politically charged audience. The Gospel of Luke was therefore "written to confirm teachings already held," (Johnson 1991, p. 3).

Mark, Matthew, and Luke all write about one of the most difficult passages in the Bible: that of Jesus predicting his own death. "He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him," (Mark 8:32). What is remarkable about Mark's account is that the author lends tremendous insight into Jesus's relationship with his disciples. "But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns," (Mark 8:33). The same chain of events is recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, with similar fervency. In the Gospel of Matthew, "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus responds: "Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns," (Matthew 16:22-23).

All three authors relate Jesus's teachings of the way of the Cross in ways that solidify Christian doctrine. The way of the cross is retold in nearly identical diction and phrasing in each of the three gospels, signifying their unity. Therefore, Luke's elimination of the specific scolding of Peter is remarkable. Luke actually eliminates any doubt or consternation expressed after Jesus predicts his own death. Luke simply has Jesus saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life," without having Peter becoming emotional in response (Luke: 9:22). Peter has become stricken from the record; Luke does indicate that Peter declared Jesus the Messiah but Jesus does not utter the words, "Get behind me, Satan!" Unlike Mark and Matthew, Luke does not anticipate much resistance to the teachings or miracles of Christ. By the time of Luke, a Christian Church was on the horizon.

In fact, this is the key issue that differentiates the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Luke's matter-of-fact storytelling seems almost dry in comparison with the gospels of Mark and Matthew. Mark and Matthew both write about a politically-charged environment in which both the Romans and the Jews were struggling with the idea of messianism. By the time Luke delivers his Gospel, the teachings of Jesus had become more well-known and entrenched in the cultural consciousness of Europe.


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Donahue, J.R. & Harrington, D.J. (2002). The Gospel of Mark. Collegeville: Liturgical Press.

"The Gospel of Mark" (n.d.). Retrieved online: http://www.abu.nb.ca/courses/ntintro/mark.htm

Harrington, D.J (1991). The Gospel of Matthew. Collegeville: Liturgical.

Jacquier, J.E. (1911). Gospel of St. Matthew. In the Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved November 30, 2010 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10057a.htm

Johnson, L.T. (1991). The Gospel of Luke. Collegeville: Liturgical.

Kirby, P. (2006). Gospel of Luke. Early Christian Writings. 2 Feb 2006. Retrieved online: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/luke.html

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