The humble divinity of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel vol 2

This volume stands alone but does also continue from vol. 1. Daniel provides the same introduction as before, so the theme is the same; here it is pursued as he looks at the following passages – Mk 4:35-41, the calming of the storm, 5:23-34, the woman with the issue of blood, 5:21-24 and 35-43, which is the portion of the same account concerning Jairus, 9:14-29, the healing of the boy with the unclean spirit following the transfiguration, and 16:1-8, the resurrection (and in Daniel’s view, the gospel closes here at verse 8).

It’s a little difficult to know what to say, which details to point to, there being so many that are worthwhile as we meditate Jesus’ divinity, his humble divinity as discovered by Mark and progressively by the disciples.

Perhaps in the passage on the calming of the sea, we could point to the change Daniel points to in the disciples from having no faith (said by Jesus) to “great fear.” Here they question, “Who is this whom the wind and the sea obey?” Later, when he walks on the water, Jesus gives them the answer which is here left implicit; “I am,” he says.

“Very evident in the calming of the storm is the astonishing change in the disciples from the absence of faith to great awe, a change which evidences the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Though the disciples’ condition was without faith, as Jesus tells them, the Holy Spirit suddenly brought faith to birth in them so filling them not merely with awe but with “great awe,” uniquely in this gospel. The disciples knew this reverence, this holy fear many times (6:50; 9:32; 10:32), but never great fear as here, a fear reflecting the great miracle which turned a “great storm” into a “great calm.” Mark structured his account around these three realities, the great storm, the great calm and the great fear.”

One nice emphasis among many in the account of the healing of the woman in chapter 5 is Jesus’ humility in attributing the healing to her faith.

“After allowing the depth of his love to be seen, now Jesus evidences how humble this love is. What humility this is, to have saved the woman but now efface himself totally before her and tell her that in the end it wasn’t he that saved her but she herself. He is a humble savior, effacing himself and attributing the healing to the woman’s faith.”

When it comes to Jairus, Daniel draw attention to something Jairus would have been well aware of – the contrast between the healing of his daughter and the passages in 1 and 2 Kings when the prophets raise the dead.

“First of all, Jesus had invited him to enter the young girl’s room, in contrast to Elijah and Elisha who had allowed no one in. That Jesus had Jairus come in doubtless included the thought that he would see the differences between his and the actions of the two prophets, and so have his faith enlightened.

Jairus must have noticed the ease, the facility with which Jesus performed the miracle. With Jesus, the miracle took place “immediately.” With Elijah, it took three efforts to obtain the miracle (1 Kgs 17:21), and with Elisha, two (2 Kgs:34ff). Further, for Jesus it was enough just to take the young girl by the hand, and this act alone was decisive, while Elijah and Elisha both acted much more extravagantly. There could be no doubt that Jesus had something more than the prophets.

Then, and this is still more decisive, Elijah like Elisha had said nothing to the child. Neither of them spoke to the dead child; they spoke only to God (1Kgs 17:20,21 and 2 Kgs 4:33) meaning that the miracle was done by God himself and not by his servants. This is very evident in the two prophetic accounts, showing that God alone is able to revive the dead. What happened at the house of the synagogue leader? Jairus saw very clearly that Jesus had not prayed, had not called on God, had not even lifted his eyes to heaven. He had not asked God for the miracle but had done it himself. This could not have escaped this leader of a synagogue.”

There are many beauties Daniel brings out we might otherwise so easily pass over.

Daniel is quite clear that the boy in Mark 9 was not an epileptic! No, he had an unclean spirit, a particularly vicious one. Of greatest interest to me was Daniel’s explanation as to why the disciples were unable to “cast him out.” This, the reader will need to discover for him or herself!

Lastly, then, the Resurrection.

Daniel greatly admires Mark the contemplative and he exemplifies this in a contrast with Matthew:

“As did Matthew for his part, Mark might have transformed the metaphor by narrating a meeting between Jesus and the women, and this would perhaps have been a pedagogically sound way of approaching the reality of the resurrection. However, this is not what he did, no doubt because he understood that Jesus’ appearance is deeper and more inexpressible than any narrative, and that there was therefore no better way than by metaphor to give it expression. Matthew was right and the women had indeed met Jesus, but it went much deeper than he says, so his account is accurate but also highly reductive. What his account does not say, and which no account could ever say, is that the women had contemplated Jesus present before them but also within them, in their hearts. It is this that is beyond telling: Jesus both outside and inside the women. Matthew gives only the external, without being able to say that Jesus was at the same time present to their hearts, present as only God can be present to us while still also outside.”

Daniel focuses on this metaphor that conveys the indescribable.

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