Summary of Mark’s Gospel
The Gospel According to Mark has no story of Jesus’s birth. Instead, Mark’s story begins by describing Jesus’s adult life, introducing it with the words, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1). Mark tells of John the Baptist, who predicts the coming of a man more powerful than himself. After John baptizes Jesus with water, the Holy Spirit of God recognizes Jesus as his son, saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved” (1:11). Jesus goes to the wilderness, where Satan tests him for forty days, and Jesus emerges triumphant.
Jesus travels to Galilee, the northern region of Israel. He gathers his first disciples, Simon and Andrew, two Jewish brothers who are both fishermen. Jesus asks them to follow him, saying that he will show them how to fish for people rather than for fish. Simon and Andrew, as well as James and John, drop their nets and follow him. Jesus exhibits his authority in Galilee, where he cleanses a leper (1:40–45). Mark reports that Jesus heals a paralytic, Simon’s sick mother-in-law, and a man with a withered hand. The miracles cause the crowds that gather to watch Jesus to become bewildered, fearful, and antagonistic. The Pharisees and followers of Herod begin plotting to kill Jesus. Jesus stays focused on his ministry.
Jesus’s ministry attracts many followers. The miracle stories become increasingly longer and more elaborate, emphasizing the supernatural power of Jesus’s authority. Mark says that “even wind and sea obey him” (4:35–41). Simultaneously, Jesus becomes increasingly misunderstood and rejected, even by his own apostles. Jesus notes his disciples’ frequent misunderstandings of his message. Jesus’s power continues to reveal itself in his control over nature: he calms a storm, cures a man possessed by a demon, and revives a dead young girl. Despite his successes, however, he continues to be reviled in his own hometown of Nazareth.
The story of Jesus’s ministry reaches King Herod...