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by Dr. D ~

The ‘Supernatural’ in The Gospel of Mark 

Nearly half of the 45 verses in Mark- Chapter One, are connected with some kind of ‘supernatural’ event. 

Why is this important you ask?  Critics of the New Testament have long held that the Gospels were written long after the events, by second generation Christians who embellished the scriptures with ‘supernatural’ events in order to make Jesus look more important.  Yet, the Gospel of Mark is recognized by scholars–conservative, liberal, & secular alike-to be the earliest Gospel, written well within the lifetime of those who were there, and it actually emphasizes those very ‘supernatural’ deeds & actions.

The following are things that you don’t see every day (what those of us in the western world would refer to as ‘supernatural’)–in Mark-Chapter One:

Verses 7-8:  -Prophetic declaration

Verses 10-11:  -Open Heaven

-Spirit descending as a dove

-Voice from Heaven

Verses 12-13:  -Spirit sent/inspired

-Personally tempted by Satan himself

-Wild animals didn’t harm him

-Angels attended to him

Verse 15:  Prophetic statement

Verse 16:  "Come follow me…", invitation accepted–they actually leave their work!

Verses 23-25:  Evil spirit expelled

Verses 29-31:  Peter’s mother-in-law healed

Verses 32-34:  Healed many & cast out demons

Verse 39:  Preaching & driving out demons

Verses 40-45:  Leper healed

These are events that those of us, in the secular ‘modern’ world, would consider exceptional.  However, in the life and ministry of Jesus & his Apostles, our exceptions were their norm.  Our world view is markedly different from those in the first century. 

Those of us who have read these verses many times, & heard about them in Sunday School as children, really have a hard time engaging the text.  Stop and think for a second; if you were actually there, how would you react?  Probably far different than you did when you read about it. 

These events were real, and they really did happen to real people!  Think about it.  If a stranger came to your office tomorrow and said to you- "Come follow me…" -would you go?  The fact that Peter, Andrew, James, & John-all left their jobs behind immediately-demonstrates that something extraordinary was going on.  If someone in the local mall started healing every sick or disabled person he saw, what would happen?  Would anybody listen to what he had to say?

Jesus proclaimed everywhere he went (verse 15): 

"The Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the Good News!" 

What did that declaration mean to those who heard it in the first century?  The Jewish people at the time were hoping for the Messiah to come & kick out the Romans.  The OT prophets foretold of a time at the end of history, when the Kingdom of God would be established, and there would be no more sickness, hunger, poverty, or death. 

When Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, & miraculously fed thousands; he was demonstrating tangibly who he was & is–when you are near Jesus–"The Kingdom of God is near".  Even today, when you are a friend of Jesus, the hope & the reality of the Kingdom, and rule of God is near.

We plan on beginning each lesson with a notation of the ‘supernatural’ events and acts in each chapter followed by the ‘notes and commentary’ on the verses.

-Read chapter one for the next lesson.

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