Introduction to the Gospel of Mark-Part II
There are several characteristics unique to the Gospel of Mark when we compare it to the other synoptics. The first one is the chronology of the gospel as agreed upon by most scholars would make this work unique in that it is the first literary work that was composed (or at least the first one that was preserved) to narrate the events of the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The chronological primacy of Mark would explain why the other synoptics contain much of its contents (along with “Q”, the other source in the two-source hypothesis), since it would have been available to the authors to expand, rearrange, edit, etc. Another obvious difference is that it is much shorter than Luke and Matthew. Except for chapter 13, Mark doesn’t contain any extended speeches by Jesus (no sermon on the mount!). Mark uses more direct language, more blunt in descriptions (Jesus in Mark is a carpenter, in Mat he’s the carpenter’s son). Mark shows Jesus’s emotions in a direct way.
A major emphasis in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus faces much opposition. In Mark 2:6 from the Scribes, the Scribes of the Pharisees in 2:16, the pharisees in 2:24, the Pharisees and Herodians in 3:6 are narrated as plotting to destroy him. This emphasis on deadly opposition, along with the rapid pace of the narrative, seemingly the faster to reach the end at the events of the passion, death and resurrection would seem to indicate that the author might have written the Gospel as a reflection of the horrific persecution his community was suffering. The resurrection of Jesus would then be a way to provide hope for a community that was persecuted, just as the Risen Christ was, and along with him, one could expect a final victory.