Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gospel of Mark Study (6)

Gospel of Mark Study
Week Six

1.     Jesus in Jerusalem - a potential chiastic structure

A  (11.1) “approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives

            B  (11.11)  “Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple

                                    C  (11.15) “came to Jerusalem…entered the temple and began to drive
      out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and
      overturned the table of the money changers and the seats of
      those who were selling doves” (MONEY)

            D  (11.27)  “came again to Jerusalem…walking in the

·      Challenge: “By what authority are you doing these things?”

E  (12.1-34) Challenge and Counter-challenge

o   Jesus’ challenge à parable (12.1-12)
o   Pharisees and Herodians challenge (12.13-17)
o   Sadducees challenge (12.18-27)
o   One of the scribes’ challenge (12.28-34

                                                            D1 (12.35)  “he taught in the temple

·      Challenge: “How do scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?”

                                    C1 (12.41)  “he sat down opposite the treasury…observing how the
          people were putting money into the treasury”  (MONEY)

            B1 (13.1)  “As he was going out of the temple…”

A1 (13.3)  “As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple…”

1.     Movement into Jerusalem and the temple and then movement back out again.
2.     The center seems to be the challenges of D, E, and D1. 
3.     If I had to pick the exact center I would choose 12.1-12 which is the parable of the vineyard.  This has allusions to Isaiah 5.1-7 and its message of judgment upon God’s people in Jerusalem.  On either side of this center there is teaching about God’s judgment (cursing fig tree—11.12-14, 20-25; discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem (13.3ff).
2.     Scripture used in Mark 11-12[1]

a.     11.9  -  Psalm 118.26
b.     11.17  -  Jeremiah 7.11; Isaiah 56.7
c.      12.1  -  Isaiah 5.1-7
d.     12.10  -  Psalm 118.22-23
e.     12.19  -  Deuteronomy 25.5
f.      12.26  -  Exodos 3.6
g.     12.29-31  -  Deuteronomy 6.4-5; Leviticus 19.18
h.     12.33  -  1 Samuel 15.22
i.       12.36  -  Psalm 110.1

3.     Cursing the Fig Tree (11.12-14; 20-22)

a.     Only destructive miracle

b.     Acted out parable in reference to the coming destruction of Jerusalem

                                               i.     Jesus quotes Jeremiah 7.11 (Mark 11.17) and alludes to Jeremiah 8.11-13 (Mark 11.13)

                                              ii.     Related to Jesus’ action in the Temple (Mark 11.15-18)

4.     Jesus’ Temple action: “cleansing” (reform) or parable of destruction

a.     “…what Jesus is doing in the Temple is cognate with what he is doing to the fig tree.  He has come seeking fruit, and, finding none, he is announcing the Temple’s doom.  The fig tree action is therefore an acted parable of an acted parable.”[2]

b.     “Why would Jesus banish the traders?... I suspect that the answer lies closer to the mechanics of what actually happened in the Temple.  Without the Temple-tax, the regular daily sacrifices could not be supplied.  Without the right money, individual worshippers could not purchase their sacrificial animals.  Without animals, sacrifice could not be offered.  Without sacrifice, the Temple had lost its whole raison d’etre.  The fact that Jesus effected only a brief cessation of sacrifice fits perfectly with the idea of symbolic action.  He was not attempting a reform; he was symbolizing judgment.”[3]

5.     Mark 13: Theme = “Be on the alert/beware”

a.     v. 5: “See to it that no one misleads you”

b.     v. 9: “But be on your guard”

c.      v. 23: “But take heed”

d.     v. 33: “Take heed, keep on the alert”

e.     v. 35: “Therefore, be on the alert”

f.      v. 37: “Be on the alert”

6.     Mark 13:  Judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70

a.     v. 30 “this generation”

                                               i.     cf. Matthew 24.34; Matthew 23.34-39  (v. 36 à “this generation”)

                                              ii.     Usage in Matthew: 11.16; 12. 41, 42, 45; 23.36

                                            iii.     “all these things” (τατα πάντα)

1.     “Although it is sometimes argued that τατα πάντα in v. 30 is limited only to the events prior to v. 24, I do not find this view persuasive in light of the natural progression in the discourse (i.e. from crises to climax).  Often, the reasoning is based on an a priori understanding of vv. 24-27 as a reference to the parousia…. But if v. 30 refers to the entire discourse, vv. 24-27 cannot refer to the parousia,…”[4]

b.     vv. 24-25 à sun, moon, and stars - Language of judgment in OT

                                               i.     Isaiah 13.1, 17, 19 (especially vv. 10-13) - Babylon

                                              ii.     Isaiah 34.3-5 - Edom

                                            iii.     Ezekiel 32.2, 7-8 - Egypt

                                            iv.     Jeremiah 4.11, 23-24, 29 - Jerusalem destroyed by Bablonians

c.      v. 26 - Son of Man coming in the clouds

                                               i.     Daniel 7.13-14

                                              ii.     “clouds” = symbolic of judgment - Isaiah 19.1

                                            iii.     “The ‘coming of the son of man’ is thus good first-century metaphorical language for two things: the defeat of the enemies of the true people of god, and the vindication of the true people themselves.  Thus, the form that this vindication will take, as envisaged within Mark 13 and its parallels, will be precisely the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple… As a prophet, Jesus staked his reputation on his prediction of the Temple’s fall within a generation; if and when it fell, he would thereby be vindicated.”[5]

d.     v. 27 - gathering the elect

                                               i.     “A prediction of restoration immediately after a prophecy of judgment is a common pattern found throughout Israel’s history.  In the OT and postbiblical Jewish literature, no prophecy of judgment, be it apocalyptic or prophetic by nature, is entirely complete without a promise of national unity and vindication… The point to which I would like to draw attention is the fact that the gathering is understood as a recurring event and thus should be interpreted typologically in Mark 13:27.”[6]

                                              ii.     “angels” - “Several scholars have identified these messengers with the preachers of the gospel who will gather the elect through the missionary enterprise.”[7]

                                            iii.     No mention of general resurrection argues against the view that this is the end of history.

7.     Next week: Read Mark 14.1-72 (perhaps a few times)

a.     Consider the amount of space Mark has given to just the last week of Jesus prior to the crucifixion (Mark 11-16).  What does this say about Mark’s focus on the cross?
b.     Approach this chapter meditatively.  What scenes or words particularly stand out to you?
c.      Jesus in Gethsemane (14.32-42).  Meditate on the distress and grief felt by Jesus.  Meditate on his prayer in v. 36—in what ways might this be a model prayer for us?  Some have claimed that other people have met death with more courage than Jesus (i.e., Socrates, soldiers on the battlefield)—what do you think of that, agree, disagree?
d.     For those who want to read about the rooster crowing twice (14.30, 72) instead of once as in the other Gospels:

     [1] Even though he is writing to a predominately Gentile audience Mark assumes that his readers have a basic knowledge of the Old Testament.  “The fact that he does not explain these [references to the OT—rjk] to his readers, whereas in 7:3-5 he does explain the post-OT Jewish rituals of washing, indicates that he assumed these OT materials required no explanation.  His readers must therefore have possessed a fairly extensive knowledge of the OT.”  Robert H. Stein, “Is Our Reading the Bible the Same as the Original Audience’s Hearing It? A Case Study in the Gospel of Mark” JETS 46 (2003), 66.
     [2] N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 1996), 421.
     [3] N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 1996), 423.
     [4] Thomas R. Hatina, “The Focus of Mark 13:24-27: The Parousia, or the Destruction of the Temple?” Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996), 52.
     [5] N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 1996), 362.
     [6] Thomas R. Hatina, “The Focus of Mark 13:24-27: The Parousia, or the Destruction of the Temple?” Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996), 64.
     [7] Thomas R. Hatina, “The Focus of Mark 13:24-27: The Parousia, or the Destruction of the Temple?” Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996), 65.