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The theological purpose of writing the gospel of Mark

Jesus the true Son of God
One of the main reasons why Mark wrote his book was to present Jesus as the true son of God. In the opening verses of Mark’s gospel, he wrote the following; “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” In other words Mark was trying to establish Jesus Christ's sonship from the very beginning. At the end of his gospel, Mark again confirmed the Sonship of Jesus when the Centurion said, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”

Messiah-ship of Jesus to manifest after his death
Another reason Mark wrote his book was to show that before the mystery surrounding the Messiahship of Jesus can be truly understood, he must have died on the cross. In order to achieve this, Mark gave accounts of people who were not able to perceive the true person of Jesus. For example, in “his own country”, among his people, it did not dawn on them that he was the Messiah; therefore they took offence when he preached to them in the synagogue. They saw him as an ordinary person, the Carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon. In the estimation of these people, Jesus could not have been speaking with such authority.

Not even Jesus’ own disciples could perceive who he really was even after being with them for a period of time. Jesus asked his disciples “Who do men say that I am?”. Some of the disciples said he was John the Baptist, others said he was Elijah and yet others also said, he was one of the prophets. Mark’s aim was that the Messiahship of Jesus should be realized only after his death and resurrection.

Messianic secret
Linked to the previous point is the fact that Mark portrayed Jesus as hiding his messianic identity. He did not want people to know that he was the Messiah until he had gone through his suffering and death on the cross. For example, in Capernaum, a man with an unclean spirit proclaimed the Messiahship of Jesus but he silenced him by saying, “Be silent and come out of him!”

To proclaim the good-news
Mark’s purpose was also to show that the salvation that was promised in the Old Testament has been fulfilled in the proclamation of the good-news in the New Testament. The New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy started with the work of John the Baptist and was taken over by Jesus Christ. After the death of Jesus, his disciples took over the mantle. Then after the disciples phased out, the church to take over and spread the good-news to the rest of the world.

Linking the Kingdom with Jesus
Mark’s gospel was aimed at linking the Kingdom of God to the person of Jesus Christ. Mark’s aim was to show the Kingdom of God as inseparable from the person of Jesus, the one proclaiming it.

1. Outline the theological purposes for the writing of the gospel of Mark.

2. Why did mark write his gospel? 

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