The startling authority of Jesus in Mark 1 video

The gospel lectionary reading for Epiphany 4 in Year B is Mark 1.21–28, Mark’s account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It is, like all the early parts of Mark, highly compressed, but it is packed full of fascinating detail which begins to set the agenda for Mark’s portrayal of Jesus.

The episode is striking within the gospels, in that it is the only one which is included in Luke (Luke 4.31–37) but not included in Matthew. Luke positions his account following Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth, which Mark postpones to chapter 6, whilst in Mark it immediately follows the call of the first disciples, which Luke postpones until the miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5. The effect of this in Mark is to suggest that the disciples were immediately thrown into the dynamic of Jesus’ ministry.

You can find full discussion of the text in my earlier post on the passage. In this video, I discuss all the main points made in the article—though the article gives more detail and includes all the references.

Any feedback on the video welcomed in the comments.

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14 thoughts on “The startling authority of Jesus in Mark 1 video”

  1. love your videos… such clear teaching. Also note the improvements in the visual elements with the greek and the verses which are all very helpful. My wife and I really enjoyed this this morning because we’re working our way through the Pillar commentary on Mark and have just finished chapter 1 so it was very timely.

    One thing that commentary suggests quite convincingly though is that Mark wrote for readers in Rome i.e. not those familiar with Hebrew tradition. In that case, I’m not sure about your comment on his use of vav. If Mark did use it to create affinity with the orginal construction of the Hebrew scriptures, it would arguably be lost on Gentile Roman Christians … as it was in fact lost on this Gentile Christian!

    • So glad you enjoyed it!

      I don’t disagree that Mark might well have been written *in* Rome—but the work of Richard Bauckham and others, in ‘The Gospel for All Christians’, demonstrates that the gospels were not written *for* specific communities. Of course, Bauckham’s specific theory is that John was written for those who have specifically already read and are familiar with Mark.

      But communication was frequent, and the old assumptions (which support the discipline of Form Criticism amongst other things) that the stories about Jesus were passed on orally within specific, defined communities, has no evidence to support it.

      It is striking that Paul assumes, for example, that gentile Corinthians are now familiar with the Jewish scriptures, and that they have become their own. So it is not unreasonable to suppose that Mark’s readers feel the same.

    • (Also worth noting that arguments that eg Mark was written for Romans are usually based on the text itself, not on external evidence. When it comes to commentating on the text, statements such as ‘Because this was written for Romans, the text must mean…’ therefore become entirely circular…)

  2. Form critics; isn’t a substantial underging of that particular school of thought the gospels were a creative product of the community, perhaps of faith, with no basis in historical fact, eye and ear witness evidence accounts, testimony.
    And, I particularly appreciated the point, which to me was clearer in your talk, than in writing, that Mark was emphasising the authority of his writing as scripture!
    And that is a parallel point, a double emphasis on Authority, of scripture pointing to the one with and in Authority.
    And, to be encouraging, I found this video to have a quiet authority, despite the noisy distraction of the background wall of books!
    And a final observation, it was well lit, something to which too little attention is paid, in these days of the democratisation of photography.

  3. Thanks Ian, what do you make of the unclean spirit response to Jesus: I know who you are. Have you come to destroy us? That is, the singular and plural. Is the unclean spirit a spokesperson on behalf of…who?

    • I think the unclean spirit is speaking on behalf of all such spirits, and it is part of a recognition, throughout the gospel, by the ‘forces of darkness’ as to who Jesus really is. I found it fascinating to discover that these spiritual forces use distinctive forms of address to Jesus.

  4. I appreciate your video. Nicely done, informative, and engaging. And, I saw things that I had not seen before. Thank you so much! I look forward to more.

  5. Dear Ian, I came across an (old) video of you discussing “Jesus’ startling authority in Mark 1”.
    You make the claim that the demon’s rebuke to Jesus (“What’s it to you…”) is the same as Jesus’ rebuke to Mary in John2 (the wedding at Cana). I’ve checked my interlinear Greek-English NT & the words used don’t appear to be exactly the same.
    However my knowledge to NT Greek is that of the beginner! Can you therefore give me a bit of guidance here.
    Much appreciated! Rob Shaw.


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