Friday, January 20, 2012

Mark 15

     Good Friday in Mark's gospel. Jesus is taken to Pontus Pilate who is the Roman Governor. Judea has a Roman Governor because the puppet King (one of Herod the Great's sons) had to be removed because of his brutality and because he could not keep the peace. I've often imagined how bad the king had to be for Pilate to be considered an upgrade.
     Verse 16 is describing an ancient roman military game called the "King's game" there are drawings and documents that suggest that the soldiers amused themselves by mocking political prisoners in this way. Remember, because Jesus claimed kingship (even if his kingdom is not of this world) under Roman law he has set himself up as a rival to the emperor. Jesus was sent to Pilate by the Sanhedrin for religious reasons. He was crucified for political reasons. The charge "King of the Jews" in Roman understanding means "treason".
     Verse 21 -- notice Simon of Cyrene "the father of Alexander and Rufus" seems an odd detail. Reasonable conjecture would be that Alexander and Rufus are known members and leaders in the Christian community that John Mark (the author) is a part of. They are included here to remind the listen (reader) that the facts of Simon's carrying Jesus' cross can be verified by asking Simon's sons.
     Verse 34 -- eloi eloi lema sabach'thani? My God my God why have you forsaken me? This statement by Jesus has led to an unusual amount of commentary. How has God forsaken him? Does he feel cut off from his Father for the first time in his life? Why does he feel this? Now at the end of the story, when the work is soon to be accomplished, does Jesus feel alone? My current favorite thought is this: in the ancient world the Psalms were not numbered as they are in your bibles. The psalms were remembered by the first line of the Psalm. They would not say, for example, "Psalm 23" but Psalm beginning "the Lord is my shepherd". To quote the first line was to invoke the rest of the psalm. I mention this because "My God, My God why have you forsaken me" is opening line of Psalm 22 -- you might want to check out the rest of the Psalm.
     Note that at the foot of the cross is Mary Magdalene, a disciple of Jesus and "Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses and Salome." -- that would be Mary, the mother of Jesus.
   Monday, Resurrection day as per Mark.
   I will also be posting over the weekend my introduction to the Epistle to the Romans.


reagan family said...

What is the significance of this certain young man wearing only a linen sheet in verse 51? Is this only a "recorded event" from the memory of Mark or is there something more I'm missing? In v.52 he escaped in naked haste- is this symbolic somehow (considering the rest of the scattering disciples)? Who was this young man? Was he man; was he angelic? Better question still, does any of this even MATTER considering the upcoming events about to take place?!

Dr. B.J. Norrix said...

Most scholars suggest the man in question is John Mark (the author)and it is inserted here as an autobiographical note. Much as the author of John refers to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved". Obviously people have a great time speculating but the simplest answer is often the best.