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In scanning chapter five quickly, readers will note two interesting, almost buried, observations: first, Jesus instructed the healed Gerasene demoniac to go home and tell his friends "how much the Lord has done for you" (19), but the outcome is that he went to the Decapolis and proclaimed "how much Jesus had done for him" (20); the second observation is that Jesus instructs those looking on to the raising of the twelve year old girl from death that they are to give her food, pointing to the fact that she has been restored to life physicallly and is not a ghost (5:43) since spirits do not eat (NISB Notes). Readers will recall that Jesus has himself proclaimed "the good news of God" and not himself. Michael Turton points out the parallel to Elijah 4 as well as calls attention to the motif of silence <http://www.michaelturton.com/Mark/GMark05.html> . The physical restoration certainly carries theological overtones. This is certainly Matthew Henry's interpretation:
Believe the resurrection, then fear not. He raised the dead child to life by a word of power. Such is the gospel call to those who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins. It is by the word of Christ that spiritual life is given.
Summary of Chapter Five
Jesus performs two acts in Mark five: he heals the Gerasene demoniac and raises Jairus' daughter from the dead. The Gerasene demoniac has long dwelt in tombs, restrained by shackles and chains; he immediately recognizes Jesus as "Son of the Most High God." From here, Jesus proceeds to the other side of the sea, a great crowd gathered around him, to be approached by Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He says, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." Jesus goes with him. Inserted into this story is the account of the woman with a hemorrhage. Having suffered from the disease for twelve years, she is desperate to touch the garments of Jesus in hopes of being healed. Jesus is immediately aware of her touch:
30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" 31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ " 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
By the time Jesus reaches Jairus' daughter, she is dead. Jesus tells the mourners the little girl is not dead but sleeping and is laughed at; stung, perhaps, by the lack of faith, Jesus proceeds alone, says, "Little girl, get up!" 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. This is followed then by the admonition not to tell anyone what has been witnessed. Practical, Jesus tells them to give the little girl something to eat.
It should not be surprising that Mark follows Jesus' instruction on parables and their use with three great acts: a second exorcism (of four --Mark 1:34, 4:39, 5:7, and 5:9), and the two accounts of a twelve year old girl restored to life and a woman with a hemorrhage of twelve years, both speaking to God's power and to life itself. Nor should it be surprising to find Jesus on the "other side of the sea" for his exorcism: the sea , a natural boundary symbolically suggesting Jesus crossing over from one ethnos to another--Jews to gentiles:
v14: Galilee: Except for Jesus' prediction of where he will return to after his resurrection in 14:28 and 16.7, all other instances of this word occur in verses apparently created by the writer of Mark. Since 14:28 and 16.7 are obviously Markan creation as well, and 6:21 is about Herod, not Jesus, there is no reason to assume from the evidence in Mark that Jesus and Galilee have a connection. Again, nowhere does "Galilee" occur in a place where scholars think the writer of Mark was working off of an earlier source. Here are the mentions of Galilee in Mark (all cites RSV):
Note that of these ten mentions, two are supernatural in nature and are historically meaningless, being creations of the author or his source (a few exegetes think one or both are interpolations). Of the remaining eight, one relates to Herod (6:21), and one refers back to the ministry in Galilee in a retrospective (15:41). Of the six left, four instances occur in Chapter 1. "Galilee" in Mark is essentially a feature of Mark 1.
The problem of instances of "Galilee" in verses created by the writer is sharpened by the existence of a strong basis for creation off the OT: Isa 9:1.
Isa 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan- (NIV)
Note the mention of important themes in Mark, including the sea (in the gospel of Mark, the narrative function of the Sea of Galilee is to divide the Jews and the Gentiles. When Jesus crosses it, he is crossing from one ethnos to the other), gentiles, and the Jordan. In the Gospel of Matthew this association is made plain in Mt 4:15. Additionally, the rest of Isaiah 9 provides the writer of Mark with the motivation to place Jesus in Galilee:
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.(NIV)
Isaiah appears to predict that the Davidic Messiah will honor Galilee in the future. A minor piece of support for this is that the writer has Jesus preaching in "their" synagogues, implying some degree of separation between the writer and Galilee. Synagogues are unknown in the archaeological record for this period from Galilee. Another interesting piece of support for this is the fact that Jesus is never called Jesus of Galilee in Mark, but rather, Jesus the Nazarene (Peter, however, is identified as a Galilean). The writer of Mark is vague on Galilean geography and never mentions its two major cities, Sepphoris and Tiberias. Finally, the Pauline letters are silent on Jesus' association with Galilee, as are important early writings such as Barnabas and 1 Clement. Given the key role played by the Old Testament, especially Isaiah, in the formation of the Gospel of Mark, it seems most probable that Jesus' association with Galilee is a creation of that author using the Old Testament.
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At this point, in a work clearly addressing structure in Mark, it should be clear that a structure of theology is emerging: the introduction of Jesus and his mission, "to proclaim the good news of God, his baptism and the incisive vortex of energy coming to rest in his person--the Spirit of God; preparation for the mission, early healings and teaching in synagogues, emerging controversies (fasting, sabbath) about the centrality of the Temple and purity rituals, clear demarcation of "insiders and outsiders" to the "good news of God," several messages about the evolving Kingdom, a widening mission in the appointment of twelve delegates, a growing isolation of the Teacher, a couple of recognitions (demons) in response to Jesus' presence as embodiment of God's message, rampant misunderstanding and a clamor for actions/signs, and a crescendo in demonstration of life-power. The question still remains relative to the artful mix of history and theology--and ultimate purpose, to return listeners/readers to the original quest of knowing who Jesus is--with knowing the identity related to gaining power over the person .This may be an appropriate point to urge the question asked of the disciples, "But who do you say I am" (8:29) followed by Peter's not fully realized recognition that he "is the Messiah." What follows, as everyone knows, is the impending suffering and death of the rejected messenger of the Kingdom of God, and there is the final and sad note emphasizing terror, amazement, and fear for "those who are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified" (16:6-8).One may well wonder what the Church is about in interpreting Jesus as sending out through Peter and the other delegates "from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation" (shorter ending added in the fourth century). Can it be that the Church has, and continues, to misunderstand the "good news of God" proclaimed by a crucified, historical Jesus?
This may also be a good point to return to the nature of Jesus' self-designation as the Son of Man, the shape drawn by Michael Turton, who describes it as functioning as a reference for "human being," a designation left out of church confession:
v10: Son of Man. The first appearance of the phrase in the Gospel, where it is used in three ways: (1) as a general reference for "human being;" (2) as a solemn title suggesting Jesus is more than just a man; and (3) as a messianic title. The phrase appears in ancient Jewish literature that long predates Mark. For example, Ezekiel refers to himself that way. Psalm 8:4 uses it as a term for "human being":
4: what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?
Slater (1995) notes that in every instance of the phrase's occurrence in the canonical and extracanonical literature, the phrase refers to earthly and human beings.
In Dan 7:13 the Son of Man receives the dominion from the "Ancient of Days." A number of scholars have argued that this tradition is based on a larger Middle Eastern tradition of Primal Man (Slater 1995). In 1 Enoch, an apocryphal text popular around the time of Jesus, the Son of Man is a pre-existent heavenly figure with the power to judge both human and divine beings (Donahue and Harrington 2002, p26). Note, however, that all of these are hotly disputed and some scholars see the "Son of Man" in Daniel and 1 Enoch as a figure who stands for a human collective (see Borsch 1991 for a review).
Further, many scholars interpret the phrase "But you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" as an authorial aside to the reader (Donahue and Harrington 2002, p96) since the Greek reads more smoothly that way. Note that in Mark Jesus does not say "I am the Son of Man, therefore I can forgive sins." He just states that the Son of Man can forgive sins and leaves the reader/hearer to draw their own conclusions.
Discussing the fourteen Son of Man sayings, Boring (1999) writes:
"...Even more striking: no statement continues the suffering-dying-rising schema to affirm that this same Son of Man will come on the clouds at the eschaton...There are no 'pre-existent' sayings. The Son of Man has a 'post-existent' glory, but there is no indication of a pre-existent glory; the 'chronology' begins with the story of the earthly Jesus and proceeds to heaven, not vice versa."(p454)
Fletcher-Louis (2003) argues persuasively that Mark 1-6 presents Jesus as a High Priest, based on a priestly reading of Dan 7:13, where the Danielic Son of Man is given the authority to behave as a priest. Texts such as Exodus 28:36-38 and Lev 10:17 are straightforward OT precedents for the authority of the priest to remove sins.
Whether Jesus, or anyone else, ever referred to himself as "Son of Man" in some titular, messianic sense is controversial. The phrase never occurs in Paul, nor did it ever become part of the Church's confession about Jesus.
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Theology is most at issue with the pre-existence and post-existence nature of Jesus as Christ; readers recall that the "Son of God" of Mark 1:1 is suspected of being a later interpolation and that the meanings of "Son of Man" and "Son of God" have been reversed in post-Hebrew thought to equate to human and divine rather than the original designation of divine and human.
To this point in Mark, all the controversy about Jesus has erupted from associations: the man with the unclean spirit, the sick and possessed with demons, the leper, the paralytic, tax collectors and sinners, the man with a withered hand, the Gerasene demoniac, the dead girl, and a hemorrhaging woman; he has been accused of being out of his mind and as being from Beelzebul (3); his family has tried to restrain him, but Jesus has assembled delegated to his mission of the "good news of God." In the next chapter, he returns to his hometown and to the synagogue only to be rejected. Theologically, too, in this chapter, Jesus is identified as "the son of Mary" (3), Jewish lineage usually noted through the father; of course, Joseph has disappeared in Mark by chapter three (31); Jesus also has brothers and sisters. This gives pause to the argument that much of Mark consists of theological interpolation and redaction; why would this issue of "perpetual virginity" not have been addressed; of course, readers recognize, too, that Mark has bypassed altogether the nativity and birth of Jesus.
More than one critic has suggested the potential for Mark being structured as Greek tragedy: Stephen Smith, for example, has said that "it is the Gospel of Mark whose structure has been found to conform more closely than any other biblical work to dramatic literature" ("A Divine Tragedy: Some Observations on the Dramatic Structure of Mark's Gospel," Novum Testamentum, Vol. 37, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 1995), pp. 209-231, Published by: BRILL, Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1561221). The argument runs generally that Mark consists of a prologue, tripartite structure (opening, complication, and recognition), has dramatic elements (plot, denouement, epilogue). Stephen points out that people begin to recognize the distinctiveness of Jesus from the beginning of his mission (1:27-28), that the disciples are privy to "inside" teachings (4:6-12; 7:17-23; 8:14-21) and signs (1:29-31; 4:35-41; 5:35-43; 6:45-52); that opportunity is provided in each episode to recognize Jesus, but disciples fail to do so; that Jesus becomes increasingly exasperated (4:13, 40; 7:18; 8:17-21). Stephen finally lays out the following structure:
Smith also says that Mark would have had access to" inferior Roman imitations that abounded" in his day.