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A:Mark's Gospel was the first New Testament gospel to be written and the events in this gospel can most easily be viewed and compared within the framework structure that the author developed the gospel around. This structure is a parallel sequence in which an opening set of events is contrasted with another set of events that mirrors the first, using context and association for emphasis and to develop themes that would not otherwise be apparent, as can shown in the following summary: A John explains the coming of Jesus (Mark 1:1-8) B The baptism of Jesus (1:9) C The voice of God from heaven, "Thou art my beloved son" (1:11) D The forty days in the wilderness as an allusion to Elijah and Moses (1:13) E The people were astonished at what Jesus taught (1:22) F Jesus casts out an unclean spirit (1:23-26) G Pharisees took counsel with the Herodians how they might destroy Jesus (3:6) H Demons, whenever they see Jesus, fall down and say that he is the Son of God.

Jesus commands that they tell no one of this (3:11-12) I Jesus calls the 12 disciples (3:13-19) J Jesus rejects his own family: he has a new family, his followers (3:31-35) K Jesus rebukes the wind (4:36-41) L The demoniac, wearing no clothes (5:15), cries out that Jesus not torment him and Jesus sends out the demons (5:1-20) M Jesus comes into his own country (6:1)

- Where he was brought up N The people misunderstand Jesus and he can do no mighty work (6:2-6) O Jesus sends out the disciples and curses those who will not receive them (6:7-11)

- in sending the disciples with authority and expecting all to receive them, Jesus is asserting his own authority P Herod thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead (6:14) Q Herodias and her daughter conspire to kill John the Baptist (6:16-29) R Feeding the thousands, and related miracles and discourses (6:33-8:21) S Who do people say that I am (8:27) T Peter affirms faith in Jesus as the Christ (8:29) U Whosoever shall be ashamed of me: of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed (8:38) V The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes (8:31a) W Be killed and after three days rise again (8:31b) X Prophecy of second coming (9:1) - Jesus tells the disciples that some of them would not taste death until they saw the kingdom of God coming with power. B' The Transfiguration of Jesus (9:2-3) C' The voice of God from heaven, "This is my beloved son" (9:7) D' Jesus talks to Elijah and Moses then to the disciples about Elijah (9:4-13) E' A great multitude was amazed at Jesus (9:15) F' Jesus cast out a dumb spirit (9:17-27) G' They shall kill the Son of man and he shall rise on the third day (9:31) H' Jesus clarifies his divine status, saying that he is not God: "Why call me good? There is none good but God" (10:18) I' Peter says the disciples have left all and followed Jesus (10:28) J' Those who have left their family for Jesus have a new family: all Jesus' followers (10:29-30) K' Jesus rebukes the 'sons of thunder', James and John (10:35-45 - cf 3:17) L' Blind Bartimaeus cries out for mercy and casts off his clothes, then Jesus heals him (10:46-52) M' Jesus comes into Jerusalem (11:1-10)

- Where he will die N' Jesus misunderstands the fig tree that can provide no fruit (11:13-14) O' Jesus casts out them that sold and bought in the Temple and curses them for making the Temple a den of thieves (11:15-17)

- Jesus is asserting his authority P' Jesus asks whether the baptism of John is from heaven or of men, and the priests, scribes and elders can not answer (11:30-33) Q' Parable of husbandmen who conspire to kill the vineyard owner's son (12:1-9) X' Prophecy of second coming (chapter 13) - on clouds of glory, within the lifetimes of some of those to whom he was speaking R' The Last Supper (14:17-25) S' Art thou the Christ, Son of God (14:61) T' Peter denies Jesus three times (14:66-72a) U' And when he thought thereon, Peter wept (14:72b) V' The chief priests, elders and scribes delivered Jesus to Pontius Pilate (15:1) - Delivering Jesus is a similar concept to rejecting him.

- Both parts of the pair involve chief priests, elders and scribes W' Jesus dies and on the third day rises again (15:37, 16:6) A' The young man explains the departure of Jesus(16:6-8)

In the above table, event R includes the feeding of the five thousand, the feeding of the four thousand, walking on water and the Greek woman seeking help for her daughter, because they are closely related narratives with at least ten references or allusions to food and an underlying theme of the disciples not understanding. The references or allusions to food are:

  • Jesus and the disciples had no leisure so much as to eat, so they went into a desert place
  • Feeding the 5000
  • When Jesus walked on water the disciples were amazed, for they considered not the miracle of the loaves
  • Pharisees complain about the disciples eating with unwashed hands
  • Discourse - what goes into a man goes into his belly and does not defile
  • Greek woman metaphorically begs for crumbs from the table
  • Feeding the 4000
  • Disciples are hungry and have only one loaf of bread
  • Jesus warns the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and they reason, "It is because we have no bread," showing they do not understand
  • Summary by Jesus of the two feasts, asking again, "Why is it that ye do not understand?"

From this we can see that the issue in the story of Jesus walking on water is not that he walked on water, but that the disciples were amazed that he did so, for they considered not the miracle of the loaves. This, then, looks backwards to the feeding of the five thousand and forwards to Jesus asking again, "Why is it that ye do not understand?" This one miracle creates a dramatic sense of the disciples not understanding even the greatest of miracles, so leading forward, along with the remainder of event R, to the Last Supper and the failure to understand what Jesus says.

The events of the last twenty four hours in the life of Jesus are covered in eight intervals of just three hours each. This provides a greater level of detail for these crucial events:

  1. We start with the celebration of the Passover Feast, which becomes the Last Supper. It began "when it was evening" (Mark 14:17), or when the sun went down: approximately 6 pm. Mark knew that the duration of the Passover meal was three hours and that it concluded with the singing of a hymn, so the first thing Jesus did was to sing a hymn with his disciples. Then Mark says, "And when they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives". It was about 9 p.m.
  2. Mark then has Jesus and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray. He suffered alone and in agony, asking God that, if possible, he take this cup (his destiny to be crucified) away from Jesus. Meanwhile his disciples, Peter, James and John, were not able to remain awake. "Could you not watch one hour?" Jesus asked. The process was repeated two more times. The disciples could not watch one, two or three hours. It was now midnight.
  3. The betrayal of Jesus, the darkest deed in human history, came next, occurring at the stroke of midnight.
  4. At 3:00 a.m., Jesus was led away for a trial before the high priest and other senior priests and elders. It was on the basis of his messianic claim that he was judged to be worthy of death.

    The watch of the night between 3 am and 6 am was called cockcrow. Peter's threefold denial of Jesus, once each hour until the cock crowed, marked the end of that phase of the night. That makes it 6 am.

  5. "As soon as it was morning", which would be 6 am, Jesus was led by the chief priests, scribes and elders to Pontius Pilate for judgement.
  6. "It was the third hour when they crucified him," that is, 9 o'clock.
  7. When "the sixth hour had come" (12 noon), darkness covered the whole earth, reflecting the betrayal at 12 midnight. After three hours of darkness, at 3 p.m., Jesus cried out and gave up the ghost. He has suffered alone and in agony, just as in the Garden of Gethsemene, and his last words reflect anguish at the failure of his prayer in the Garden, when he asked if it were possible that this fate be taken from him: "My God. My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?".
  8. Joseph of Arimathea then asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, so that he could be buried before the Sabbath began. Jesus was buried in the final period from 3 to 6 pm, before the sun went down.

The resurrection appearances of Jesus are also major events in the version of Mark used today, but the gospel originally ended at verse 16:8 (event A' in the framework chiastic structure), when the young man explained the departure of Jesus and the women fled in terror, telling no one.

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Mark's Gospel was the first New Testament gospel to be written and the major events in this gospel can most easily be viewed and compared within the framework structure that the author developed the gospel around. This is called a parallel structure, a literary sequence in which an opening set of events is contrasted with another, parallel set of events that mirrors the first, using context and association for emphasis and to develop themes that would not otherwise be apparent, as can shown in the following summary: A . John explains the coming of Jesus (Mark 1:1-8)

B .The baptism of Jesus (1:9)

C . The voice of God from heaven, "Thou art my beloved son" (1:11)

D . The forty days in the wilderness as an allusion to Elijah and Moses (1:13)

E . The people were astonished at what Jesus taught (1:22)

F . Jesus casts out an unclean spirit (1:23-26)

G . Pharisees took counsel with the Herodians how they might destroy Jesus (3:6)

H . Demons, whenever they see Jesus, fall down and say that he is the Son of God.

-- Jesus commands that they tell no one of this (3:11-12)

I .. Jesus calls the 12 disciples (3:13-19)

J .. Jesus rejects his own family: he has a new family, his followers (3:31-35)

K . Jesus rebukes the wind (4:36-41)

L . The demoniac, wearing no clothes (5:15), cries out that Jesus not torment him and Jesus sends out the demons (5:1-20)

M . Jesus comes into his own country (6:1)
-- Where he was brought up

N . The people misunderstand Jesus and he can do no mighty work (6:2-6)

O . Jesus sends out the disciples and curses those who will not receive them (6:7-11)
-- in sending the disciples with authority and expecting all to receive them, Jesus is asserting his own authority

P . Herod thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead (6:14)

Q . Herodias and her daughter conspire to kill John the Baptist (6:16-29)

R . Feeding the thousands, and related miracles and discourses (6:33-8:21)

S . Who do people say that I am (8:27)

T . Peter affirms faith in Jesus as the Christ (8:29)

U . Whosoever shall be ashamed of me: of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed (8:38)

V . The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes (8:31a)

W . Be killed and after three days rise again (8:31b)

X . Prophecy of second coming (9:1)- Jesus tells the disciples that some of them would not taste death until they saw the kingdom of God coming with power.

B' .The Transfiguration of Jesus (9:2-3)

C' .The voice of God from heaven, "This is my beloved son" (9:7)

D' . Jesus talks to Elijah and Moses then to the disciples about Elijah (9:4-13)

E' .A great multitude was amazed at Jesus (9:15)

F' .Jesus cast out a dumb spirit (9:17-27)

G' .They shall kill the Son of man and he shall rise on the third day (9:31)

H' .Jesus clarifies his divine status, saying that he is not God: "Why call me good? There is none good but God" (10:18)

I' . Peter says the disciples have left all and followed Jesus (10:28)

J' . Those who have left their family for Jesus have a new family: all Jesus' followers (10:29-30)

K'. Jesus rebukes the 'sons of thunder', James and John (10:35-45 - cf 3:17)

L' .Blind Bartimaeus cries out for mercy and casts off his clothes, then Jesus heals him (10:46-52)

M' .Jesus comes into Jerusalem (11:1-10)
-- Where he will die

N' .Jesus misunderstands the fig tree that can provide no fruit (11:13-14)

O' .Jesus casts out them that sold and bought in the Temple and curses them for making the Temple a den of thieves (11:15-17)
-- Jesus is asserting his authority

P' .Jesus asks whether the baptism of John is from heaven or of men, and the priests, scribes and elders can not answer (11:30-33)

Q' .Parable of husbandmen who conspire to kill the vineyard owner's son (12:1-9)

X' .Prophecy of second coming (chapter 13)

-- on clouds of glory, within the lifetimes of some of those to whom he was speaking

R' .The Last Supper (14:17-25)

S' .Art thou the Christ, Son of God (14:61)

T' .Peter denies Jesus three times (14:66-72a)

U' .And when he thought thereon, Peter wept (14:72b)

V' .The chief priests, elders and scribes delivered Jesus to Pontius Pilate (15:1)

-- Delivering Jesus is a similar concept to rejecting him.
-- Both parts of the pair involve chief priests, elders and scribes

W' .Jesus dies and on the third day rises again (15:37, 16:6)

A' .The young man explains the departure of Jesus(16:6-8)


In the above table, event R includes the feeding of the five thousand, the feeding of the four thousand, walking on water and the Greek woman seeking help for her daughter, because they are closely related narratives with at least ten references or allusions to food and an underlying theme of the disciples not understanding. The references or allusions to food are:

  • Jesus and the disciples had no leisure so much as to eat, so they went into a desert place
  • Feeding the 5000
  • When Jesus walked on water the disciples were amazed, for they considered not the miracle of the loaves
  • Pharisees complain about the disciples eating with unwashed hands
  • Discourse - what goes into a man goes into his belly and does not defile
  • Greek woman metaphorically begs for crumbs from the table
  • Feeding the 4000
  • Disciples are hungry and have only one loaf of bread
  • Jesus warns the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and they reason, "It is because we have no bread," showing they do not understand
  • Summary by Jesus of the two feasts, asking again, "Why is it that ye do not understand?"

From this we can see that the issue in the story of Jesus walking on water is not that he walked on water, but that the disciples were amazed that he did so, for they considered not the miracle of the loaves. This, then, looks backwards to the feeding of the five thousand and forwards to Jesus asking again, "Why is it that ye do not understand?" This one miracle creates a dramatic sense of the disciples not understanding even the greatest of miracles, so leading forward, along with the remainder of event R, to the Last Supper and the failure to understand what Jesus says.

The events of the last twenty four hours in the life of Jesus are covered in eight intervals of just three hours each. This provides a greater level of detail for these crucial events:
  1. We start with the celebration of the Passover Feast, which becomes the Last Supper. It began "when it was evening" (Mark 14:17), or when the sun went down at 6 pm. Mark knew that the duration of the Passover meal was three hours and that it concluded with the singing of a hymn, so the first thing Jesus did was to sing a hymn with his disciples. Then Mark says, "And when they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives". It was about 9 pm.
  2. Mark then has Jesus and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray. He suffered alone and in agony, asking God that, if possible, he take this cup (his destiny to be crucified) away from Jesus. Meanwhile his disciples, Peter, James and John, were not able to remain awake. "Could you not watch one hour?" Jesus asked. The process was repeated two more times. The disciples could not watch one, two or three hours. It was now midnight.
  3. The betrayal of Jesus, the darkest deed in human history, came next, occurring at the stroke of midnight.
  4. At 3:00 am, Jesus was led away for a trial before the high priest and other senior priests and elders. It was on the basis of his messianic claim that he was judged to be worthy of death.
    Peter's threefold denial of Jesus, once each hour until the cock crowed, marked the end of that phase of the night. That makes it 6 am.
  5. "As soon as it was morning", which would be 6 am, Jesus was led by the chief priests, scribes and elders to Pontius Pilate for judgement.
  6. "It was the third hour when they crucified him," that is, 9 o'clock.
  7. When "the sixth hour had come" (12 noon), darkness covered the whole earth, reflecting the betrayal at 12 midnight. After three hours of darkness, at 3 p.m., Jesus cried out and gave up the ghost. He has suffered alone and in agony, just as in the Garden of Gethsemene, and his last words reflect anguish at the failure of his prayer in the Garden, when he asked if it were possible that this fate be taken from him: "My God. My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?".
  8. Joseph of Arimathea then asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, so that he could be buried before the Sabbath began. Jesus was buried in the final period from 3 to 6 pm, before the sun went down.

The resurrection appearances of Jesus are also major events in the version of Mark used today, but the gospel originally ended at verse 16:8 (event A' in the framework structure), when the young man explained the departure of Jesus and the women fled in terror, telling no one.
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Q: What are major events in Mark's Gospel?
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