The humble divinity of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel vol 1

The link in the comments below is to an article which gives a really excellent account of this book. It is a little lengthy compared with the normal practice on this website, so I will also provide a shorter account here.

There are two volumes, this, the first, looking at episodes from Mark chapters 1 to 9; in fact volume 2 does the same but also turnsto ch 16. Daniel gives an introduction to Mark’s gospel before considering 5 passages: Mark 2:1-12, the healing of the paralytic let down through the roof; 5:1-20, the possessed man out of whom came the Legion; 6:30-44, where the bread is multiplied; 8:27-33, in which Jesus announces his Passion; 9:2-8, the account of the transfiguration.

In his introduction, Daniel stresses that he will be looking constantly at the way Jesus’ divinity is made apparent by Mark. The following is essential, I think – “If we have difficulty today perceiving the divinity of Jesus, it seems to me this is because he is humble, and in our eyes humility is incompatible with the glory of divinity. It’s certainly true that Jesus is humble, and I would say doubly so, humble in his humanity as well as in his divinity because God himself is humble. This is unacceptable to anyone who thinks that God cannot be both glorious and humble. What exactly though is glory? If the most glorious of kings combines pride with his glory, the pride will tarnish the glory and diminish it. However, if he is humble, his humility embellishes and enhances his glory. Humility combines wonderfully with glory. To say that God is humble takes away nothing from his glory; on the contrary, it elevates and makes it still more magnificent. The perfect humility of Jesus beautifies his humanity and his divinity as well. On this basis, we mustn’t be given pause by Jesus’ humility but should rather welcome it as a quality which both hides and reveals his divinity.” The introduction proceeds to show a few places where Jesus’ divinity is most plainly stated before settling into demonstrating his divinity at work in our passages.

One focus of the first passage is on Jesus’ forgiveness of the man’s sins – a prerogative of God. Clearly, then, Jesus is God! The unseen God is also present – but it is indeed unseen and  humbly that he heals.

The account of the Gadarene demonstrates God’s infinite care for this one man, separated from both God and human society yet still crying out for help. Daniel sees, after the man is delivered, Jesus (God) and the man sitting silently, contemplating each other.

The multiplication of the loaves opens with Jesus conducting a retreat: “Come apart and rest a while.” The passage, in which Jesus’ actions are contrasted with Elish (2 Kgs 4) is seen to be linked to Communion in the way He broke the bread, prefiguring his passion, his death, as announced in chapter 8. Here, Daniel discusses a couple of theological issues, but the focus remains the same:  “In his great reserve and modesty, in his unfathomable humility, Jesus contents himself with saying that ‘the Son of Man is come to give his life a ransom for many.’ He goes no further, preferring to be silent. But what infinite love there is in the silence . . . After hearing Jesus announce his death to them, the disciples were silent too. Jesus had no need to speak further; each knew himself involved; each understood that it was for him that Jesus was giving his life.

The Transfiguration is such an amazing passage it is hard to know what to say. “Hear Him!”

2 thoughts on “The humble divinity of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel vol 1”

    1. Thank you very much for the link! I have manipulated it so that it opens in a new tab. The review encapsulates much of what Daniel says. RW I am in fact going a step further and am adding the excellent article here in case it becomes inaccessible for some reason via the link.

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