Blogging the Bible 259 – Mark 1-3 – Immediately

Having just finished reading Matthew’s gospel, the first thing that strikes me on beginning Mark is the urgency with which he tells the story. In Matthew’s first chapter he gives us Jesus’ genealogy and tells of his birth. By the end of his first chapter, Mark has told us of John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism and temptation, the proclamation of the kingdom, the calling of the first disciples, teaching, casting out an unclean spirit, healing the crowds (and Peter’s mother in law), preaching throughout Galilee and cleansing a leper.
There are many stories and (even in Mark’s pared-down style) details, of course. When Mark tells the same stories of Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees over the sabbath that we read in Matthew, he includes the sweeping and radical statement that sums up so much of Jesus’ teaching on ‘religion’.
The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath. (2:27)
I find myself wondering, though, how I would tell the story of Jesus as concisely and urgently as possible. What would I want to be sure to include? And how could I tell this story with the same kind of clarity and urgency that Mark managed?

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