The signs of the believers (Mk 16:17-16:17)

“These signs

Will accompany

Those who believe.

By using my name,

They will cast out demons.

They will speak

In new tongues.”

 

σημεῖα δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα παρακολουθήσει, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν, γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς,

 

Only this long Mark addition has these comments about what the disciples of Jesus would be able to do.  This addition to Mark indicated that Jesus said that these signs (σημεῖα) would accompany (παρακολουθήσει) those who believed (δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα) in the name of Jesus (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου).  They would be able to cast out demons (δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν,).  They would also be able to speak in new tongues (γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς).  Certainly, the early Christians believed that these actions would be important among the followers of Jesus.  They would be able to cast out evil spirits and speak in tongues.

Are you the King of the Jews? (Mk 15:2-15:2)

“Pilate asked Jesus.

‘Are you

The King of the Jews?’

Jesus answered him.

‘You say so.’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ Πειλᾶτος Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ λέγει Σὺ λέγεις. 

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:11.  Luke, chapter 23:3, is similar, but there is a longer introduction before Pilate spoke.  In John, chapter 18:33-35 there was a longer discussion between Jesus and Pilate.  Mark said that Pilate asked Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ Πειλᾶτος).  He wanted to know if Jesus was the “King of the Jews (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).”  If Jesus responded that he was, then he could be considered a threat to the ruling Roman authority.  Instead, Jesus had a simple reply (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ λέγει) that if he Pilate had said so, then it must be so (Σὺ λέγεις).  Jesus would only confirm what Pilate had said, without saying it explicitly himself.  Thus, Jesus was identified as the King of the Jews, or leading a political rebellion against the Roman authorities, without saying so himself.  Are you reluctant to speak out?

The parable of the vineyard (Mk 12:1-12:1)

“Jesus began

To speak to them

In parables.

‘A man planted

A vineyard.

He put a fence

Around it.

He dug a pit

For the wine press.

He built

A watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν. ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν, καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee vineyard landowner can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:33, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus began to speak to them in parables or stories (Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν).  This story was about a male landowner who planted a vineyard (ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν).  He then put a fence around this vineyard (καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν).  Then he dug a wine press (καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον), so that it was a very nice vineyard.  This story is reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard from Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land, will cause him a problem.

On the way to Jerusalem (Mk 10:32-10:32)

“They were

On the road,

Going up

To Jerusalem.

Jesus was walking

Ahead of them.

They were amazed.

Those who followed

Were afraid.

He took

The twelve aside again.

He began to tell them

What was to happen

To him.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἀναβαίνοντες εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ἦν προάγων αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο, οἱ δὲ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἐφοβοῦντο. καὶ παραλαβὼν πάλιν τοὺς δώδεκα ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς λέγειν τὰ μέλλοντα αὐτῷ συμβαίνειν,

 

Matthew, chapter 20:17, and Luke, chapter 18:31, have something similar to this.  Mark said that while they were on the road towards Jerusalem (Ἦσαν δὲ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἀναβαίνοντες εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus was walking ahead of them (καὶ ἦν προάγων αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  These followers of Jesus were amazed or astonished, yet at the same time they were afraid (καὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο, οἱ δὲ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἐφοβοῦντο).  Jesus then took his 12 leaders aside again by themselves (καὶ παραλαβὼν πάλιν τοὺς δώδεκα).  They were merely called the 12 “τοὺς δώδεκα,” not distinguishing between apostles and disciples, but clearly indicating the elite 12 apostle leaders.  Jesus began to speak to them (ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς λέγειν) about what was going to happen to him (τὰ μέλλοντα αὐτῷ συμβαίνειν).  In other words, this was not a general proclamation, but a semi-secret saying just for the leaders, the 12, much like a gnostic group with some at the top people knowing more than the others.

Jesus told them not to tell anyone (Mk 9:9-9:9)

“As they were coming down

The mountain,

He ordered them

To tell no one

About what they had seen,

Until the Son of Man

Had been raised

From the dead.”

 

Καὶ καταβαινόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ ὄρους διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ ἃ εἶδον διηγήσωνται, εἰ μὴ ὅταν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ.

 

Once again, we are back at the messianic secret that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:9, Luke, chapter 9:36, and here in Mark that is closer to Matthew.  Jesus and his 3 disciples came down or descended from the mountain (Καὶ καταβαινόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ ὄρους).  He admonished, commanded, instructed, or ordered them (διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς) not to tell anyone about what they had seen (ἵνα μηδενὶ ἃ εἶδον διηγήσωνται) until the Son of Man had been raised from the dead (εἰ μὴ ὅταν ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ).  They would be free to speak about this after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but not before that turning point among the followers of Jesus.

They were astonished (Mk 7:37-7:37)

“They were astonished

Beyond measure.

They said.

‘He has done everything well.

He even makes

The deaf

To hear.

He makes

The mute

Speak.’”

 

καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν, καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν καὶ ἀλάλους λαλεῖν.

 

This unique saying of Mark ends with everyone being astonished or amazed.  Mark said that they were astonished beyond measure (καὶ ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες).  They said that Jesus had done everything well (Καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκεν).  He made both the deaf hear (καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν) and the mute speak (καὶ τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ ἀκούειν).  This was great praise for Jesus.

The man with the unclean spirit worships Jesus (Mk 5:6-5:7)

“When this demoniac

Saw Jesus

From a distance,

He ran

And bowed down

Before him.

He shouted

At the top of his voice.

‘What have you to do

With me?

Jesus!

Son of the Most High God!

I adjure you

By God!

Do not torment me!’”

 

καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν,

καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγει Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ Ὑψίστου; ὁρκίζω σε τὸν Θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:29 and Luke, chapter 8;28, and Mark here, have this demoniac speak to Jesus in somewhat similar words.  Matthew had 2 demoniacs, but Mark and Luke had only one and are closer to each other in this incident.  Mark said that when this demoniac saw Jesus from a distance (καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν), he bowed down before him and worshipped him (καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν).  He cried or shouted out with a loud voice (καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ).  He wanted to know why Jesus had anything to do with him (λέγει Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί).  Then he called Jesus, the Son of God the Most High (Ἰησοῦ Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ Ὑψίστου).  He asked, swearing by God, that Jesus not torment them (ὁρκίζω σε τὸν Θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς).  All three gospel writers have the demonic person or persons recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, not just another faith healer.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as earlier in Mark, chapter 1:23 and 3:11.

The scribes think that this is blasphemy (Mk 2:6-2:7)

“Some of the Scribes

Were sitting there.

They questioned

In their hearts.

‘Why does this man

Speak thus?

It is blasphemy!

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν

Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ; βλασφημεῖ· τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός

 

Luke, chapter 5:21, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Scribes and blasphemy.  Some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room (ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι).  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others (καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν).  These Scribes were the religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed as interpreters of the law in this generally uneducated society.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish culture.  They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way (Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ), since it appeared to be blasphemy (βλασφημεῖ).  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How is Jesus able to forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας), since only God can forgive sins (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός)?  This seems like a legitimate question.

Jesus cures the sick and the possessed (Mk 1:34-1:34)

“Jesus cured many

Who were sick

With various diseases.

He cast out

Many demons.

He would not permit

These demons

To speak,

Because they knew him.”

 

καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις, καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλεν, καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν λαλεῖν τὰ δαιμόνια, ὅτι ᾔδεισαν αὐτόν.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:16, has something similar, but Jesus cast out these demons with merely a word.  Luke, chapter 4:41, is also similar, but there the cast out demons knew and spoke out that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.  Mark said that Jesus cured many sick people (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς κακῶς) having various diseases (ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις), without indicating how this was done.  Jesus also cast out many demons (καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλεν).  However, he would not permit or allow these cast out demons to speak (καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν λαλεῖν τὰ δαιμόνια), because they knew who he was (ὅτι ᾔδεισαν αὐτόν).  Some older texts added that these demons knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah (Χριστὸν εἶναι), as in Luke.  This idea of not telling people that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah has come to be known as the Messianic secret.  Those who knew about the true role of Jesus were told to be quiet about it.

The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 1:23-1:24)

“Just then,

There was,

In their synagogue,

A man

With an unclean spirit.

He cried out.

‘What have you

To do with us?

Jesus of Nazareth!

Have you come

To destroy us?

I know

Who you are!

The Holy One of God!’”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, καὶ ἀνέκραξεν

λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς. οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:29, has something similar, but it was not in a Capernaum synagogue, but in Gadarenes and it was 2 demonic spirits, not one as here.  Mark, chapter 5:7, as well as Luke, chapter 8;28 had these demoniacs speak to Jesus with somewhat similar words.  However, this is closer to Luke, chapter 4:33, where it is almost word for word.  Here Mark and Luke said that just then in their synagogue, (Καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν) a man with an unclean spirit (ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,) cried out or shouted out to Jesus (καὶ ἀνέκραξεν).  He asked Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ) what he had to do with them (λέγων Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί).  Had Jesus come to destroy or kill them (ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς)?  He said that he knew who he was (οἶδά σε τίς εἶ), the Holy One of God (ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew had them say that Jesus had come to torment them, not destroy them, since the time of the final judgment day had not arrived.  This unclean spirit world was alive and active in first century Israelite culture.  The term “Holy One of God” had been applied to the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:9, as another name for a prophet, which was not as strong as the “Son of God,” a more powerful term.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a special person.