Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    David Schnasa Jacobsen draws together the strengths of two exegetical approaches to the Gospel of Mark in this volume of the Fotress Biblical Preaching Commentaries series. Jacobsen takes a broad thematic approach to the first Gospel, while at the same time giving exegetical and homiletical insights about individual pericopes in their narrative context. By helping preachers and students make connections between the various lections from Mark throughout Year B in their sermons and studies, they and their parishioners will have a deeper appreciation of Mark's unique interpretation of the Christ Event and how that influences their approach to living the Christian faith in today's world. With liturgical sensitivity and exegetical skill, Jacobsen provides a unique preaching resourcde that will build biblical literacy by assisting both preachers and listeners in understanding Mark's Gospel as narrative-theological whole, not just as a collective of loosely related stories.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-3094-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)

    A preacher who seeks to be creative, exegetically up to date, hermeneutically alert, theologically responsible, and in-touch with the moment is always on the hunt for fresh resources. Traditional books on preaching a book of the Bible often look at broad themes of the text with little explicit advice about preaching individual passages. Lectionary resources often offer exegetical and homiletical insights about a pericope with little attention given to broader themes and structures of the book from which the lection is taken.Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentariesprovide the preacher with resources that draw together the strengths of these two approaches...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    David Schnasa Jacobsen
  5. Readings from Mark in the Revised Common Lectionary in Order of the Liturgical Calendar, Year B
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Readings from Mark in the Revised Common Lectionary in Order of Mark’s Narrative
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    Week in and week out churches in many North American denominations hear the reading of a Sunday lection from the Gospels. It has become so routine that we may not ever really think how much we owe this to the writer we Christians customarily call Mark. Mark’s was the first Gospel with this now common designation. It was in all likelihood the first of the four written in the Bible. It even begins its narrative at 1:1 with a title calling attention to its purpose: “The beginning of the good news (euaggelion= gospel) of Jesus Christ, [Son of God]”...

  8. 1 Prologue to Mark’s Gospel (1:1-15)
    (pp. 23-34)

    With his Gospel in the apocalyptic mode (see Introduction), Mark wants to shake up the reader’s world before the story even starts. The prologue does just that, setting the stage for the coming apocalyptic drama. Instead of beginning with a narrated story, Mark’s Gospel begins in v. 1 with a title that announces “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” It quickly moves from the title to the sounding of a series of scriptural voices culminating with the appearance of John the Baptist who proclaims the coming of a stronger one in vv. 2-8. This latter announcement serves among...

  9. 2 The Gospel’s Promising Beginnings in Galilee (1:16—3:6)
    (pp. 35-56)

    With this first major section of Mark, we see Jesus in his “Galilean spring.” His gospel ministry has begun and meets with impressive results. Yet because his gospel has an apocalyptic tinge, even the springtime is not all blossoms and blooms. Jesus meets up with an unclean spirit, sickness, and yes, a stretch of controversy, too. In fact, by the end of this opening section Jesus’ opponents will begin to coalesce into an early conspiracy against him. As we shall see in Mark’s unfolding Gospel, the gospel is not proclaimed without opposition either. In that respect, even this Galilean spring...

  10. 3 The Gospel Mystery Deepens—The Word of Promise in Wider Fields (3:7—6:6a)
    (pp. 57-86)

    In this next major section of Mark, the scope of Jesus’ ministry, the gospel that is himself (1:1) and the reign of God (1:14-15) is sown across wider fields. The promising beginnings of that gospel ministry in Galilee set the stage, both for a powerful apocalyptic pushing back against anti-divine forces and a revelation of the growing opposition to Jesus. Yet with this extension of Jesus’ gospel reach, the apocalyptic mystery of the promise goes deeper, too. The problems with which this gospel meets poses questions: why does this gospel embody God’s apocalyptic power, but also meet with failure? Jesus...

  11. 4 The Rocky Way—The Word of Promise and The Disciples’ Misunderstanding (6:6b—8:26)
    (pp. 87-116)

    Having established the mystery of Jesus’ word of promise as encompassing apocalyptic disclosures and rejection by those closest to Jesus, the narrative now turns to highlight Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. The ones whom he called to follow were to be the very ones who did the will of God and those who would constitute his new family (3:31-35). With the rejection of his hometown still ringing in his ears, Jesus now makes a new move and invites his disciples to a journey of risky following. This rocky way will lead to a mountaintop disclosure that will only underline the...

  12. 5 Gospel Interlude—Revelation on the Way (8:27—9:13)
    (pp. 117-128)

    Much like the prologue, this brief section serves as a revelatory reflection in relation to the unfolding narrative. If throughout most of the narrative the relation of Jesus’ identity and gospel proclamation of the divine reign prompts rhetorical questions and amazement, here the language broaches mystery not with such indirection, but with openness, address, and even apocalyptic symbolic depiction on a mountain. As mentioned in the introduction, Jesus’ baptism, transfiguration, and crucifixion are all portrayed as key revelatory moments at the beginning, middle, and end of this narrative. The material around the transfiguration story—with its use of gospel language,...

  13. 6 Teaching and More Misunderstanding on The Way (9:14—10:52)
    (pp. 129-158)

    This next section then highlights the juxtaposition of what has just been revealed with the struggle to understand on the disciples’ way through Galilee and Judea. Mark invites us to live this paradox with Jesus, whose identity and reign-of-God ministry are fraught with the same conflicts. This section explores those conflicts as moments ofteachingand the disciples’ continued misunderstanding even while moving forward “on the way.” As we begin this part of the narrative, Jesus’ title as teacher becomes more prominent. For the first time since 4:38, Jesus is addressed as “teacher” (didaskale) in 9:17 and subsequently in 9:38,...

  14. 7 The Gospel in Jerusalem (11:1—12:44)
    (pp. 159-182)

    With Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, Mark’s Gospel arrives at its climax, too. We know this is the case narratively because Mark very carefully slows down the action from here until the end in chapter 16. Jesus has been moving with rapidity and immediacy through the landscape of Galilee with the occasional foray into gentile territory. In the previous chapter, he has moved deliberately toward Jerusalem ever since Caesarea Philippi and the revelatory interlude on the mountain of transfiguration. In this final part of Mark’s Gospel, the last few chapters are really devoted to seven days of action, each one carefully...

  15. 8 An Apocalyptic Farewell Address (13:1-37)
    (pp. 183-194)

    This is one of the briefest chapters of this commentary, comprised of a single chapter of Mark’s Gospel. Yet it is also one of the most important. We have mentioned that much of this narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry needs to be read in light of later first-century realities, especially the destruction of the temple. In this chapter, it is as if the narrated Jesus speaksdirectlyto that late first-century context. After a brief narrated introduction with Jesus and some of the Twelve coming out of the temple, we have in essence one of Jesus’ most extended speeches...

  16. 9 The Passion of Mark’s Gospel (14:1—15:47)
    (pp. 195-220)

    Until this point we have been careful to place individual lectionary pericopes in close relationship to Mark’s theologically driven narrative. While the section introductions were careful to integrate every pericope, whether it appears in the lectionary or not, into the overall Markan vision, here in this centrally important section of Mark, we step back from the trees just a bit to glimpse the forest. Mark 14:1—15:47 represents an important macro unit of Mark: the passion narrative. Here, more than any other place in Mark, it makes sense to stand back and appreciate the “whole.” Much as one might step...

  17. 10 Epilogue: Mark 16
    (pp. 221-230)

    With this final section, Mark’s Gospel of the gospel comes to its apocalyptic conclusion. Consistent with the rest of Mark’s text, it is not a full-blown apocalypse, but a Gospel in an apocalyptic mode. What Mark does differently, however, is to make sure there is at least some element of mystery here. Something important is indeed disclosed after Jesus’ death, even as the narrative continues to point forward promisingly in ambiguity. While most of the Gospels we know end with resurrection appearances, Mark ends with quite a bit less: an empty tomb, a commission to tell and call the disciples...

  18. Appendix: Further Preaching Resources on Mark’s Gospel
    (pp. 231-233)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 234-234)