Don't even ask. Don't even make a remark. I know I've totally neglected my little blog. "Blog? What blog?" I know.......
Mark is a good place to pick back up...simply because its where we are. :)
Mark isn't unique in its gospel. There are only 4 paragraphs that appear here that aren't in Matthew and Luke. .....meaning everything else is covered in Matthew and Luke that is here in Mark. That doesn't discredit it though as a mere duplication. Each gospel writer adapts his material to his own particular purpose. So none is dispensable. Mark shows Jesus in action; convincing us by the things he does that his claim to be the Son of God is true!!!
chapter 1 Jesus is teaching....but they are learning that he is a teacher that can heal! Capernaum is Jesus' headquarters. The first recognition of Jesus as "the Holy One of God" comes from a man possessed, and Jesus immediately tries to keep his identity secret. He exercises his power for good over the forces of evil.
chapter 2 a paralyzed man walks.....this is Jesus' actions demonstrating his power on both physical and spiritual realms. When he says the word, the man is healed. When he says the word, the man is forgiven. In both cases....something REALLY happens.
chapter 3 Jesus choose an inner circle of 12....three were especially close....Peter, James, and John. Four from Galilee were partners in a fishing business (Peter and his brother Andrew; James and his brother John). One, Matthew, was a tax collector serving the Romans. Simon, at the other extreme of the Romans, belonged to the nationalist guerrilla group, the Zealots. We don't know much about Judas (other than he betrayed Jesus) and little about Bartholomew...but is is often identified with the Nathanael of John 1. Thaddaeus of Matthew and Mark's gospels is that same as "Judas, son of James." The group was a very eclectic group and not one was from the religious establishment.
chapter 4 "The kingdom of heaven is like...." these parables are drawn from farming and are about growth and the coming of God's kingdom.
chapter 5 here we have a madman in the graveyard. The man sheltering among the burial caves is a pitiful sight--a fragmented personality at the mercy of a hundred conflicting impulses; totally incapable of a normal life. But Jesus has authority over wild elements and wild people.....this is total transformation. The exorcism is followed by mischief and disturbance as the herd of pigs runs headlong into the lake.....a sight which must have convinced the man that the tormentors were really gone for good. Then in this chapter Jairus' daughter and the women who touched Jesus' cloak were healed by their faith.
chapter 6 Jesus was rejected in his own hometown of Nazareth and then (!) the King has John the Baptist beheaded. All of this because people were questioning who Jesus is. Jesus feeds the 5,000 and Jesus walks across the lake....again, in both cases, Jesus demonstrates his supreme power over creation....he is Lord of wind and water.
chapter 7 "the tradition of the elders"washing rituals had to do with being clean...no simply hygiene or table manners, but to be clean in heart and mind before the Lord.
chapter 8 food for 4,000: a demand for a sign -- the disciples lack of spiritual discernment disappoints Jesus. They are so taken up with the bread supply, they cannot see that he is warning them against the ever present dangers of religious hypocrisy and materialism.