This shortest of all New Testament gospels is likely the first to have been written, yet it often tells of Jesus’ ministry in more detail than either Matthew or Luke (for example, the miracle stories at Mk 5:1–20 or Mk 9:14–29). It recounts what Jesus did in a vivid style, where one incident follows directly upon another. In this almost breathless narrative, Mark stresses Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God now breaking into human life as good news (Mk 1:14–15) and Jesus himself as the gospel of God (Mk 1:1; 8:35; 10:29). Jesus is the Son whom God has sent to rescue humanity by serving and by sacrificing his life (Mk 10:45).
The opening verse about good news in Mark (Mk 1:1) serves as a title for the entire book. The action begins with the appearance of John the Baptist, a messenger of God attested by scripture. But John points to a mightier one, Jesus, at whose baptism God speaks from heaven, declaring Jesus his Son. The Spirit descends upon Jesus, who eventually, it is promised, will baptize “with the holy Spirit.” This presentation of who Jesus really is (Mk 1:1–13) is rounded out with a brief reference to the temptation of Jesus and how Satan’s attack fails. Jesus as Son of God will be victorious, a point to be remembered as one reads of Jesus’ death and the enigmatic ending to Mark’s Gospel.
The key verses at Mk 1:14–15, which are programmatic, summarize what Jesus proclaims as gospel: fulfillment, the nearness of the kingdom, and therefore the need for repentance and for faith. After the call of the first four disciples, all fishermen (Mk 1:16–20), we see Jesus engaged in teaching (Mk 1:21, 22, 27), preaching (Mk 1:38, 39), and healing (Mk 1:29–31, 34, 40–45), and exorcising demons (1:22–27, 34–39). The content of Jesus’ teaching is only rarely stated, and then chiefly in parables (Mk 4) about the kingdom. His cures, especially on the sabbath (Mk 3:1–5); his claim, like God, to forgive sins (Mk 2:3–12); his table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners (Mk 2:14–17); and the statement that his followers need not now fast but should rejoice while Jesus is present (Mk 2:18–22), all stir up opposition that will lead to Jesus’ death (Mk 3:6).
In Mark, Jesus is portrayed as immensely popular with the people in Galilee during his ministry (Mk 2:2; 3:7; 4:1). He appoints twelve disciples to help preach and drive out demons, just as he does (Mk 3:13–19). He continues to work many miracles; the blocks Mk 4:35–6:44 and Mk 6:45–7:10 are cycles of stories about healings, miracles at the Sea of Galilee, and marvelous feedings of the crowds. Jesus’ teaching in Mk 7 exalts the word of God over “the tradition of the elders” and sees defilement as a matter of the heart, not of unclean foods. Yet opposition mounts. Scribes charge that Jesus is possessed by Beelzebul (Mk 3:22). His relatives think him “out of his mind” (Mk 3:21). Jesus’ kinship is with those who do the will of God, in a new eschatological family, not even with mother, brothers, or sisters by blood ties (Mk 3:31–35; cf. Mk 6:1–6). But all too often his own disciples do not understand Jesus (Mk 4:13, 40; 6:52; 8:17–21). The fate of John the Baptist (Mk 6:17–29) hints ominously at Jesus’ own passion (Mk 9:13; cf. Mk 8:31).
A breakthrough seemingly comes with Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah; Mk 8:27–30). But Jesus himself emphasizes his passion (Mk 8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34), not glory in the kingdom (Mk 10:35–45). Momentarily he is glimpsed in his true identity when he is transfigured before three of the disciples (Mk 9:2–8), but by and large Jesus is depicted in Mark as moving obediently along the way to his cross in Jerusalem. Occasionally there are miracles (Mk 9:17–27; 10:46–52; 11:12–14, 20–21, the only such account in Jerusalem), sometimes teachings (Mk 10:2–11, 23–31), but the greatest concern is with discipleship (Mk 8:34–9:1; 9:33–50). For the disciples do not grasp the mystery being revealed (Mk 9:32; 10:32, 38). One of them will betray him, Judas (Mk 14:10–11, 43–45); one will deny him, Peter (Mk 14:27, 31, 54, 66–72); all eleven men will desert Jesus (Mk 14:27, 50).
The passion account, with its condemnation of Jesus by the Sanhedrin (Mk 14:53, 55–65; 15:1a) and sentencing by Pilate (Mk 15:1b–15), is prefaced with the entry into Jerusalem (Mk 11:1–11), ministry and controversies there (Mk 11:15–12:44), Jesus’ Last Supper with the disciples (Mk 14:1–26), and his arrest at Gethsemane (Mk 14:32–52). A chapter of apocalyptic tone about the destruction of the temple (Mk 13:1–2, 14–23) and the coming of the Son of Man (Mk 13:24–27), a discourse filled with promises (Mk 13:11, 31) and admonitions to be watchful (Mk 13:2, 23, 37), is significant for Mark’s Gospel, for it helps one see that God, in Jesus, will be victorious after the cross and at the end of history.
The Gospel of Mark ends in the most ancient manuscripts with an abrupt scene at Jesus’ tomb, which the women find empty (Mk 16:1–8). His own prophecy of Mk 14:28 is reiterated, that Jesus goes before the disciples into Galilee; “there you will see him.” These words may imply resurrection appearances there, or Jesus’ parousia there, or the start of Christian mission, or a return to the roots depicted in Mk 1:9, 14–15 in Galilee. Other hands have attached additional endings after Mk 16:8; see note on Mk 16:9–20.
The framework of Mark’s Gospel is partly geographical: Galilee (Mk 1:14–9:49), through the area “across the Jordan” (Mk 10:1) and through Jericho (Mk 10:46–52), to Jerusalem (Mk 11:1–16:8). Only rarely does Jesus go into Gentile territory (Mk 5:1–20; 7:24–37), but those who acknowledge him there and the centurion who confesses Jesus at the cross (Mk 15:39) presage the gospel’s expansion into the world beyond Palestine.
Mark’s Gospel is even more oriented to christology. Jesus is the Son of God (Mk 1:11; 9:7; 15:39; cf. Mk 1:1; 14:61). He is the Messiah, the anointed king of Davidic descent (Mk 12:35; 15:32), the Greek for which, Christos, has, by the time Mark wrote, become in effect a proper name (Mk 1:1; 9:41). Jesus is also seen as Son of Man, a term used in Mark not simply as a substitute for “I” or for humanity in general (cf. Mk 2:10, 27–28; 14:21) or with reference to a mighty figure who is to come (Mk 13:26; 14:62), but also in connection with Jesus’ predestined, necessary path of suffering and vindication (Mk 8:31; 10:45).
The unfolding of Mark’s story about Jesus is sometimes viewed by interpreters as centered around the term “mystery.” The word is employed just once, at Mk 4:11, in the singular, and its content there is the kingdom, the open secret that God’s reign is now breaking into human life with its reversal of human values. There is a related sense in which Jesus’ real identity remained a secret during his lifetime, according to Mark, although demons and demoniacs knew it (Mk 1:24; 3:11; 5:7); Jesus warned against telling of his mighty deeds and revealing his identity (Mk 1:44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26, 30), an injunction sometimes broken (Mk 1:45; cf. Mk 5:19–20). Further, Jesus teaches by parables, according to Mark, in such a way that those “outside” the kingdom do not understand, but only those to whom the mystery has been granted by God.
Mark thus shares with Paul, as well as with other parts of the New Testament, an emphasis on election (Mk 13:20, 22) and upon the gospel as Christ and his cross (cf. 1 Cor 1:23). Yet in Mark the person of Jesus is also depicted with an unaffected naturalness. He reacts to events with authentic human emotion: pity (Mk 1:44), anger (Mk 3:5), triumph (Mk 4:40), sympathy (Mk 5:36; 6:34), surprise (Mk 6:9), admiration (Mk 7:29; 10:21), sadness (Mk 14:33–34), and indignation (Mk 14:48–49).
Although the book is anonymous, apart from the ancient heading “According to Mark” in manuscripts, it has traditionally been assigned to John Mark, in whose mother’s house (at Jerusalem) Christians assembled (Acts 12:12). This Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10) and accompanied Barnabas and Paul on a missionary journey (Acts 12:25; 13:3; 15:36–39). He appears in Pauline letters (2 Tm 4:11; Phlm 24) and with Peter (1 Pt 5:13). Papias (ca. A.D. 135) described Mark as Peter’s “interpreter,” a view found in other patristic writers. Petrine influence should not, however, be exaggerated. The evangelist has put together various oral and possibly written sources—miracle stories, parables, sayings, stories of controversies, and the passion—so as to speak of the crucified Messiah for Mark’s own day.
Traditionally, the gospel is said to have been written shortly before A.D. 70 in Rome, at a time of impending persecution and when destruction loomed over Jerusalem. Its audience seems to have been Gentile, unfamiliar with Jewish customs (hence Mk 7:3–4, 11). The book aimed to equip such Christians to stand faithful in the face of persecution (Mk 13:9–13), while going on with the proclamation of the gospel begun in Galilee (Mk 13:10; 14:9). Modern research often proposes as the author an unknown Hellenistic Jewish Christian, possibly in Syria, and perhaps shortly after the year 70.
The principal divisions of the Gospel according to Mark are the following:
1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God].*
The Preaching of John the Baptist. 2a As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:* b
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
3c A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.’”
4John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 6John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.* He fed on locusts and wild honey. 7And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. 8* d I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”
The Baptism of Jesus. 9e It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.* 11f And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Temptation of Jesus.* 12At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert,g 13and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry. 14h After John had been arrested,* Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: 15i “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
The Call of the First Disciples.* 16j As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. 19He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. 20Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
The Cure of a Demoniac. 21* k Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. 22l The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. 23* In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24* 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!” 25Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” 26The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 27All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” 28His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law. 29m On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. 31He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
Other Healings. 32When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. 33The whole town was gathered at the door. 34He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Jesus Leaves Capernaum. 35n Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” 39So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
The Cleansing of a Leper. 40o A leper* came to him [and kneeling down] begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” 41Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”p 42The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.q 43Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. 44Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”r 45The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
* [1:1–13] The prologue of the Gospel according to Mark begins with the title (Mk 1:1) followed by three events preparatory to Jesus’ preaching: (1) the appearance in the Judean wilderness of John, baptizer, preacher of repentance, and precursor of Jesus (Mk 1:2–8); (2) the baptism of Jesus, at which a voice from heaven acknowledges Jesus to be God’s Son, and the holy Spirit descends on him (Mk 1:9–11); (3) the temptation of Jesus by Satan (Mk 1:12–13).
* [1:1] The gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God]: the “good news” of salvation in and through Jesus, crucified and risen, acknowledged by the Christian community as Messiah (Mk 8:29; 14:61–62) and Son of God (Mk 1:11; 9:7; 15:39), although some important manuscripts here omit the Son of God.
* [1:2–3] Although Mark attributes the prophecy to Isaiah, the text is a combination of Mal 3:1; Is 40:3; Ex 23:20; cf. Mt 11:10; Lk 7:27. John’s ministry is seen as God’s prelude to the saving mission of his Son. The way of the Lord: this prophecy of Deutero-Isaiah concerning the end of the Babylonian exile is here applied to the coming of Jesus; John the Baptist is to prepare the way for him.
* [1:6] Clothed in camel’s hair…waist: the Baptist’s garb recalls that of Elijah in 2 Kgs 1:8. Jesus speaks of the Baptist as Elijah who has already come (Mk 9:11–13; Mt 17:10–12; cf. Mal 3:19; Lk 1:17).
* [1:8–9] Through the life-giving baptism with the holy Spirit (Mk 1:8), Jesus will create a new people of God. But first he identifies himself with the people of Israel in submitting to John’s baptism of repentance and in bearing on their behalf the burden of God’s decisive judgment (Mk 1:9; cf. Mk 1:4). As in the desert of Sinai, so here in the wilderness of Judea, Israel’s sonship with God is to be renewed.
* [1:10–11] He saw the heavens…and the Spirit…upon him: indicating divine intervention in fulfillment of promise. Here the descent of the Spirit on Jesus is meant, anointing him for his ministry; cf. Is 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; 63:9. A voice…with you I am well pleased: God’s acknowledgment of Jesus as his unique Son, the object of his love. His approval of Jesus is the assurance that Jesus will fulfill his messianic mission of salvation.
* [1:12–13] The same Spirit who descended on Jesus in his baptism now drives him into the desert for forty days. The result is radical confrontation and temptation by Satan who attempts to frustrate the work of God. The presence of wild beasts may indicate the horror and danger of the desert regarded as the abode of demons or may reflect the paradise motif of harmony among all creatures; cf. Is 11:6–9. The presence of ministering angels to sustain Jesus recalls the angel who guided the Israelites in the desert in the first Exodus (Ex 14:19; 23:20) and the angel who supplied nourishment to Elijah in the wilderness (1 Kgs 19:5–7). The combined forces of good and evil were present to Jesus in the desert. His sustained obedience brings forth the new Israel of God there where Israel’s rebellion had brought death and alienation.
* [1:14–15] After John had been arrested: in the plan of God, Jesus was not to proclaim the good news of salvation prior to the termination of the Baptist’s active mission. Galilee: in the Marcan account, scene of the major part of Jesus’ public ministry before his arrest and condemnation. The gospel of God: not only the good news from God but about God at work in Jesus Christ. This is the time of fulfillment: i.e., of God’s promises. The kingdom of God…repent: see note on Mt 3:2.
* [1:16–20] These verses narrate the call of the first Disciples. See notes on Mt 4:18–22 and Mt 4:20.
* [1:21–45] The account of a single day’s ministry of Jesus on a sabbath in and outside the synagogue of Capernaum (Mk 1:21–31) combines teaching and miracles of exorcism and healing. Mention is not made of the content of the teaching but of the effect of astonishment and alarm on the people. Jesus’ teaching with authority, making an absolute claim on the hearer, was in the best tradition of the ancient prophets, not of the scribes. The narrative continues with events that evening (Mk 1:32–34; see notes on Mt 8:14–17) and the next day (Mk 1:35–39). The cleansing in Mk 1:40–45 stands as an isolated story.
* [1:23] An unclean spirit: so called because of the spirit’s resistance to the holiness of God. The spirit knows and fears the power of Jesus to destroy his influence; cf. Mk 1:32, 34; 3:11; 6:13.
* [1:24–25] The Holy One of God: not a confession but an attempt to ward off Jesus’ power, reflecting the notion that use of the precise name of an opposing spirit would guarantee mastery over him. Jesus silenced the cry of the unclean spirit and drove him out of the man.
* [1:24] What have you to do with us?: see note on Jn 2:4.
* [1:40] A leper: for the various forms of skin disease, see Lv 13:1–50 and the note on Lv 13:2–4. There are only two instances in the Old Testament in which God is shown to have cured a leper (Nm 12:10–15; 2 Kgs 5:1–14). The law of Moses provided for the ritual purification of a leper. In curing the leper, Jesus assumes that the priests will reinstate the cured man into the religious community. See also note on Lk 5:14.
a. [1:2–8] Mt 3:1–11; Lk 3:2–16.
b. [1:2] Mal 3:1.
c. [1:3] Is 40:3; Jn 1:23.
d. [1:8] Jn 1:27; Acts 1:5; 11:16.
e. [1:9–11] Mt 3:13–17; Lk 3:21–23; Jn 1:32–33.
f. [1:11] Ps 2:7.
g. [1:12–13] Mt 4:1–11; Lk 4:1–13.
h. [1:14–15] Mt 4:12–17; Lk 4:14–15.
i. [1:15] Mt 3:2.
j. [1:16–20] Mt 4:18–22; Lk 5:2–11.
k. [1:21–28] Lk 4:31–37.
l. [1:22] Mt 7:28–29.
m. [1:29–34] Mt 8:14–16; Lk 4:38–41.
n. [1:35–39] Lk 4:42–44.
o. [1:40–44] Mt 8:2–4; Lk 5:12–14.
p. [1:41] 5:30.
q. [1:42] Lk 17:14.
r. [1:44] Lv 14:2–32.
The Healing of a Paralytic. 1* When Jesus returned to Capernauma after some days, it became known that he was at home.* 2Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. 3They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. 5* When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” 6* Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, 7“Why does this man speak that way?* He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”b 8Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? 10* But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”— 11he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” 12He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
The Call of Levi. 13* c Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 14d As he passed by,* he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 15While he was at table in his house,* many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16* Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician,* but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
The Questions about Fasting.* 18The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.e People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast* while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. 21No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. 22Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
The Disciples and the Sabbath.* 23As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.f 24At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”g 25He said to them, “Have you never read what David did* when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? 26How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?”h 27Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man,* not man for the sabbath.i 28* That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
* [2:1–3:6] This section relates a series of conflicts between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees in which the growing opposition of the latter leads to their plot to put Jesus to death (Mk 3:6).
* [2:1] He was at home: to the crowds that gathered in and outside the house Jesus preached the word, i.e., the gospel concerning the nearness of the kingdom and the necessity of repentance and faith (Mk 1:14).
* [2:5] It was the faith of the paralytic and those who carried him that moved Jesus to heal the sick man. Accounts of other miracles of Jesus reveal more and more his emphasis on faith as the requisite for exercising his healing powers (Mk 5:34; 9:23–24; 10:52).
* [2:6] Scribes: trained in oral interpretation of the written law; in Mark’s gospel, adversaries of Jesus, with one exception (Mk 12:28, 34).
* [2:7] He is blaspheming: an accusation made here and repeated during the trial of Jesus (Mk 14:60–64).
* [2:10] But that you may know that the Son of Man…on earth: although Mk 2:8–9 are addressed to the scribes, the sudden interruption of thought and structure in Mk 2:10 seems not addressed to them nor to the paralytic. Moreover, the early public use of the designation “Son of Man” to unbelieving scribes is most unlikely. The most probable explanation is that Mark’s insertion of Mk 2:10 is a commentary addressed to Christians for whom he recalls this miracle and who already accept in faith that Jesus is Messiah and Son of God.
* [2:13] He taught them: see note on Mk 1:21–45.
* [2:14] As he passed by: see note on Mk 1:16–20. Levi, son of Alphaeus: see note on Mt 9:9. Customs post: such tax collectors paid a fixed sum for the right to collect customs duties within their districts. Since whatever they could collect above this amount constituted their profit, the abuse of extortion was widespread among them. Hence, Jewish customs officials were regarded as sinners (Mk 2:16), outcasts of society, and disgraced along with their families. He got up and followed him: i.e., became a disciple of Jesus.
* [2:15] In his house: cf. Mk 2:1; Mt 9:10. Lk 5:29 clearly calls it Levi’s house.
* [2:16–17] This and the following conflict stories reflect a similar pattern: a statement of fact, a question of protest, and a reply by Jesus.
* [2:17] Do not need a physician: this maxim of Jesus with its implied irony was uttered to silence his adversaries who objected that he ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mk 2:16). Because the scribes and Pharisees were self-righteous, they were not capable of responding to Jesus’ call to repentance and faith in the gospel.
* [2:18–22] This conflict over the question of fasting has the same pattern as Mk 2:16–17; see notes on Mt 9:15; 9:16–17.
* [2:19] Can the wedding guests fast?: the bridal metaphor expresses a new relationship of love between God and his people in the person and mission of Jesus to his disciples. It is the inauguration of the new and joyful messianic time of fulfillment and the passing of the old. Any attempt at assimilating the Pharisaic practice of fasting, or of extending the preparatory discipline of John’s disciples beyond the arrival of the bridegroom, would be as futile as sewing a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak or pouring new wine into old wineskins with the resulting destruction of both cloth and wine (Mk 2:21–22). Fasting is rendered superfluous during the earthly ministry of Jesus; cf. Mk 2:20.
* [2:23–28] This conflict regarding the sabbath follows the same pattern as in Mk 2:18–22.
* [2:25–26] Have you never read what David did?: Jesus defends the action of his disciples on the basis of 1 Sm 21:2–7 in which an exception is made to the regulation of Lv 24:9 because of the extreme hunger of David and his men. According to 1 Samuel, the priest who gave the bread to David was Ahimelech, father of Abiathar.
* [2:27] The sabbath was made for man: a reaffirmation of the divine intent of the sabbath to benefit Israel as contrasted with the restrictive Pharisaic tradition added to the law.
* [2:28] The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath: Mark’s comment on the theological meaning of the incident is to benefit his Christian readers; see note on Mk 2:10.
a. [2:1–12] Mt 9:2–8; Lk 5:18–26.
b. [2:7] Is 43:25.
c. [2:13] 4:1.
d. [2:14–17] Mt 9:9–13; Lk 5:27–32.
e. [2:18–22] Mt 9:14–17; Lk 5:33–39.
f. [2:23–28] Mt 12:1–8; Lk 6:1–5.
g. [2:24] Dt 23:25.
h. [2:26] 1 Sm 21:2–7 / Lv 24:5–9.
i. [2:27] 2 Mc 5:19.
A Man with a Withered Hand. 1* Again he entered the synagogue.a There was a man there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. 3He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” 4Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. 5Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored.b 6* The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
The Mercy of Jesus. 7* Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.c A large number of people [followed] from Galilee and from Judea. 8Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. 9He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. 10He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.d 11* And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.”e 12He warned them sternly not to make him known.
The Mission of the Twelve. 13f He went up the mountain* and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. 14g He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him* and he might send them forth to preach 15and to have authority to drive out demons: 16* [he appointed the twelve:] Simon, whom he named Peter; 17James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder;h 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, 19and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
Blasphemy of the Scribes. 20* He came home.* Again [the] crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat.i 21When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”j 22The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,”* and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”k
Jesus and Beelzebul. 23Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. 28Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them.l 29But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit* will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” 30For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Jesus and His Family. 31m His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. 32A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers* [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” 33But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” 34And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35[For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
* [3:1–5] Here Jesus is again depicted in conflict with his adversaries over the question of sabbath-day observance. His opponents were already ill disposed toward him because they regarded Jesus as a violator of the sabbath. Jesus’ question Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil? places the matter in the broader theological context outside the casuistry of the scribes. The answer is obvious. Jesus heals the man with the withered hand in the sight of all and reduces his opponents to silence; cf. Jn 5:17–18.
* [3:6] In reporting the plot of the Pharisees and Herodians to put Jesus to death after this series of conflicts in Galilee, Mark uses a pattern that recurs in his account of later controversies in Jerusalem (Mk 11:17–18; 12:13–17). The help of the Herodians, supporters of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, is needed to take action against Jesus. Both series of conflicts point to their gravity and to the impending passion of Jesus.
* [3:7–19] This overview of the Galilean ministry manifests the power of Jesus to draw people to himself through his teaching and deeds of power. The crowds of Jews from many regions surround Jesus (Mk 3:7–12). This phenomenon prepares the way for creating a new people of Israel. The choice and mission of the Twelve is the prelude (Mk 3:13–19).
* [3:11–12] See note on Mk 1:24–25.
* [3:13] He went up the mountain: here and elsewhere the mountain is associated with solemn moments and acts in the mission and self-revelation of Jesus (Mk 6:46; 9:2–8; 13:3). Jesus acts with authority as he summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.
* [3:14–15] He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him: literally “he made,” i.e., instituted them as apostles to extend his messianic mission through them (Mk 6:7–13). See notes on Mt 10:1 and 10:2–4.
* [3:16] Simon, whom he named Peter: Mark indicates that Simon’s name was changed on this occasion. Peter is first in all lists of the apostles (Mt 10:2; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13; cf. 1 Cor 15:5–8).
* [3:20–35] Within the narrative of the coming of Jesus’ relatives (Mk 3:20–21) is inserted the account of the unbelieving scribes from Jerusalem who attributed Jesus’ power over demons to Beelzebul (Mk 3:22–30); see note on Mk 5:21–43. There were those even among the relatives of Jesus who disbelieved and regarded Jesus as out of his mind (Mk 3:21). Against this background, Jesus is informed of the arrival of his mother and brothers [and sisters] (Mk 3:32). He responds by showing that not family ties but doing God’s will (35) is decisive in the kingdom; cf. note on Mt 12:46–50.
* [3:20] He came home: cf. Mk 2:1–2 and see note on Mk 2:15.
* [3:22] By Beelzebul: see note on Mt 10:25. Two accusations are leveled against Jesus: (1) that he is possessed by an unclean spirit, and (2) by the prince of demons he drives out demons. Jesus answers the second charge by a parable (Mk 3:24–27) and responds to the first charge in Mk 3:28–29.
* [3:29] Whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit: this sin is called an everlasting sin because it attributes to Satan, who is the power of evil, what is actually the work of the holy Spirit, namely, victory over the demons.
* [3:32] Your brothers: see note on Mk 6:3.
a. [3:1–6] Mt 12:9–14; Lk 6:6–11.
b. [3:5] Lk 14:4.
c. [3:7–12] Mt 4:23–25; 12:15; Lk 6:17–19.
d. [3:10] 5:30.
e. [3:11] 1:34; Lk 4:41.
f. [3:13–19] Mt 10:1–4; Lk 6:12–16.
g. [3:14] 6:7.
h. [3:17] Mt 16:18; Jn 1:42.
i. [3:20] 2:2.
j. [3:21] Jn 10:20.
k. [3:22–30] Mt 12:24–32; Lk 11:15–22; 12:10.
l. [3:28] Lk 12:10.
m. [3:31–35] Mt 12:46–50; Lk 8:19–21.
The Parable of the Sower. 1* On another occasiona he began to teach by the sea.* A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.b 2And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, 3* “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. 7Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. 8And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
The Purpose of the Parables. 10And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. 11* He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, 12so that
‘they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.’”c
13* Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?d Then how will you understand any of the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. 17But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, 19but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. 20But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Parable of the Lamp. 21e He said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?f 22For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.g 23Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” 24He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.h 25To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”i
Seed Grows of Itself. 26He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God;* it is as if a man were to scatter seedj on the land 27and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”
The Mustard Seed. 30k He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. 32* But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” 33With many such parablesl he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. 34Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
The Calming of a Storm at Sea. 35* On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.”m 36Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. 38Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”* The wind ceased and there was great calm. 40Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” 41* n They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
* [4:1–34] In parables (2): see note on Mt 13:3. The use of parables is typical of Jesus’ enigmatic method of teaching the crowds (Mk 4:2–9, 12) as compared with the interpretation of the parables he gives to his disciples (Mk 4:10–25, 33–34) to each group according to its capacity to understand (Mk 4:9–11). The key feature of the parable at hand is the sowing of the seed (3), representing the breakthrough of the kingdom of God into the world. The various types of soil refer to the diversity of response accorded the word of God (Mk 4:4–7). The climax of the parable is the harvest of thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold, indicating the consummation of the kingdom (Mk 4:8). Thus both the present and the future action of God, from the initiation to the fulfillment of the kingdom, is presented through this and other parables (Mk 4:26–29, 30–32).
* [4:1] By the sea: the shore of the Sea of Galilee or a boat near the shore (Mk 2:13; 3:7–8) is the place where Mark depicts Jesus teaching the crowds. By contrast the mountain is the scene of Jesus at prayer (Mk 6:46) or in the process of forming his disciples (Mk 3:13; 9:2).
* [4:3–8] See note on Mt 13:3–8.
* [4:11–12] These verses are to be viewed against their background in Mk 3:6, 22 concerning the unbelief and opposition Jesus encountered in his ministry. It is against this background that the distinction in Jesus’ method becomes clear of presenting the kingdom to the disbelieving crowd in one manner and to the disciples in another. To the former it is presented in parables and the truth remains hidden; for the latter the parable is interpreted and the mystery is partially revealed because of their faith; see notes on Mt 13:11 and Mt 13:13.
* [4:13–20] See note on Mt 13:18–23.
* [4:26–29] Only Mark records the parable of the seed’s growth. Sower and harvester are the same. The emphasis is on the power of the seed to grow of itself without human intervention (Mk 4:27). Mysteriously it produces blade and ear and full grain (Mk 4:28). Thus the kingdom of God initiated by Jesus in proclaiming the word develops quietly yet powerfully until it is fully established by him at the final judgment (Mk 4:29); cf. Rev 14:15.
* [4:32] The universality of the kingdom of God is indicated here; cf. Ez 17:23; 31:6; Dn 4:17–19.
* [4:35–5:43] After the chapter on parables, Mark narrates four miracle stories: Mk 4:35–41; 5:1–20; and two joined together in Mk 5:21–43. See also notes on Mt 8:23–34 and 9:8–26.
* [4:39] Quiet! Be still!: as in the case of silencing a demon (Mk 1:25), Jesus rebukes the wind and subdues the turbulence of the sea by a mere word; see note on Mt 8:26.
* [4:41] Jesus is here depicted as exercising power over wind and sea. In the Christian community this event was seen as a sign of Jesus’ saving presence amid persecutions that threatened its existence.
a. [4:1–12] Mt 13:1–13; Lk 8:4–10.
b. [4:1] 2:13; Lk 5:1.
c. [4:12] Is 6:9; Jn 12:40; Acts 28:26; Rom 11:8.
d. [4:13–20] Mt 13:18–23; Lk 8:11–15.
e. [4:21–25] Lk 8:16–18.
f. [4:21] Mt 5:15; Lk 11:33.
g. [4:22] Mt 10:26; Lk 12:2.
h. [4:24] Mt 7:2; Lk 6:38.
i. [4:25] Mt 13:12; Lk 19:26.
j. [4:26–29] Jas 5:7.
k. [4:30–32] Mt 13:31–32; Lk 13:18–19.
l. [4:33–34] Mt 13:34.
m. [4:35–40] Mt 8:18, 23–37; Lk 8:22–25.
n. [4:41] 1:27.
The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac. 1* a They came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. 2When he got out of the boat, at once a man* from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. 3The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. 4In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. 6Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, 7crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me,* Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” 8(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) 9* He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”b 10And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory.
11Now a large herd of swine* was feeding there on the hillside. 12And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” 13And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned. 14The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened. 15As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. 16Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. 17Then they began to beg him to leave their district. 18As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. 19But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home* to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” 20Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
Jairus’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage.* 21When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.c 22One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.d Seeing him he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her* that she may get well and live.” 24He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
25There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. 28* She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” 29Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” 31But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32And he looked around to see who had done it. 33The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”e
35* While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” 36Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” 37He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39* f So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. 41* He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” 42The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded. 43He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
* [5:1] The territory of the Gerasenes: the reference is to pagan territory; cf. Is 65:1. Another reading is “Gadarenes”; see note on Mt 8:28.
* [5:2–6] The man was an outcast from society, dominated by unclean spirits (Mk 5:8, 13), living among the tombs. The prostration before Jesus (Mk 5:6) indicates Jesus’ power over evil spirits.
* [5:7] What have you to do with me?: cf. Mk 1:24 and see note on Jn 2:4.
* [5:9] Legion is my name: the demons were numerous and the condition of the possessed man was extremely serious; cf. Mt 12:45.
* [5:11] Herd of swine: see note on Mt 8:30.
* [5:19] Go home: Jesus did not accept the man’s request to remain with him as a disciple (Mk 5:18), yet invited him to announce to his own people what the Lord had done for him, i.e., proclaim the gospel message to his pagan family; cf. Mk 1:14, 39; 3:14; 13:10.
* [5:21–43] The story of the raising to life of Jairus’s daughter is divided into two parts: Mk 5:21–24; 5:35–43. Between these two separated parts the account of the cure of the hemorrhage victim (Mk 5:25–34) is interposed. This technique of intercalating or sandwiching one story within another occurs several times in Mk 3:19b–21; Mk 3:22–30 Mk 3:31–35; 6:6b–13; 6:14–29; 6:30; 11:12–14; 11:15–19; 11:20–25; 14:53; 14:54; 14:55–65; 14:66–73.
* [5:23] Lay your hands on her: this act for the purpose of healing is frequent in Mk 6:5; 7:32–35; 8:23–25; 16:18 and is also found in Mt 9:18; Lk 4:40; 13:13; Acts 9:17; 28:8.
* [5:28] Both in the case of Jairus and his daughter (Mk 5:23) and in the case of the hemorrhage victim, the inner conviction that physical contact (Mk 5:30) accompanied by faith in Jesus’ saving power could effect a cure was rewarded.
* [5:35] The faith of Jairus was put to a twofold test: (1) that his daughter might be cured and, now that she had died, (2) that she might be restored to life. His faith contrasts with the lack of faith of the crowd.
* [5:39] Not dead but asleep: the New Testament often refers to death as sleep (Mt 27:52; Jn 11:11; 1 Cor 15:6; 1 Thes 4:13–15); see note on Mt 9:24.
* [5:41] Arise: the Greek verb egeirein is the verb generally used to express resurrection from death (Mk 6:14, 16; Mt 11:5; Lk 7:14) and Jesus’ own resurrection (Mk 16:6; Mt 28:6; Lk 24:6).
a. [5:1–20] Mt 8:28–34; Lk 8:26–39.
b. [5:9] Mt 12:45; Lk 8:2; 11:26.
c. [5:21] 2:13.
d. [5:22–43] Mt 9:18–26; Lk 8:41–56.
e. [5:34] Lk 7:30.
f. [5:39–40] Acts 9:40.
The Rejection at Nazareth. 1a He departed from there and came to his native place,* accompanied by his disciples. 2* When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! 3b Is he not the carpenter,* the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4* c Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” 5So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,* apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. 6He was amazed at their lack of faith.
The Mission of the Twelve. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching. 7d He summoned the Twelve* and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. 8* He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. 9They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. 10* He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. 11Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” 12So they went off and preached repentance. 13* They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sicke and cured them.
Herod’s Opinion of Jesus.* 14King Herod* heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying,f “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”g 15Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”h 16But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
The Death of John the Baptist.* 17Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.i 18John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”j 19Herodias* harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. 20Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. 21She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. 22Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” 23He even swore [many things] to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”k 24She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 26The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. 27l So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. 28He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
The Return of the Twelve. 30The apostles* gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.m 31* He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.n 32So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.o 33People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand. 34When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35* By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. 36Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” 38He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” 39So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. 40* The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. 41Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [his] disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.* 42They all ate and were satisfied. 43And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. 44Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men.
The Walking on the Water.* 45Then he made his disciples get into the boatp and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,* while he dismissed the crowd. 46* And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. 47When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. 48Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.* He meant to pass by them. 49But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. 50* They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” 51He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were [completely] astounded. 52They had not understood the incident of the loaves.* On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.q
The Healings at Gennesaret. 53r After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. 54As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. 55They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.s
* [6:1] His native place: the Greek word patris here refers to Nazareth (cf. Mk 1:9; Lk 4:16, 23–24) though it can also mean native land.
* [6:2–6] See note on Mt 13:54–58.
* [6:3] Is he not the carpenter?: no other gospel calls Jesus a carpenter. Some witnesses have “the carpenter’s son,” as in Mt 13:55. Son of Mary: contrary to Jewish custom, which calls a man the son of his father, this expression may reflect Mark’s own faith that God is the Father of Jesus (Mk 1:1, 11; 8:38; 13:32; 14:36). The brother of James…Simon: in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5. The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.
* [6:4] A prophet is not without honor except…in his own house: a saying that finds parallels in other literatures, especially Jewish and Greek, but without reference to a prophet. Comparing himself to previous Hebrew prophets whom the people rejected, Jesus intimates his own eventual rejection by the nation especially in view of the dishonor his own relatives had shown him (Mk 3:21) and now his townspeople as well.
* [6:5] He was not able to perform any mighty deed there: according to Mark, Jesus’ power could not take effect because of a person’s lack of faith.
* [6:7–13] The preparation for the mission of the Twelve is seen in the call (1) of the first disciples to be fishers of men (Mk 1:16–20), (2) then of the Twelve set apart to be with Jesus and to receive authority to preach and expel demons (Mk 3:13–19). Now they are given the specific mission to exercise that authority in word and power as representatives of Jesus during the time of their formation.
* [6:8–9] In Mark the use of a walking stick (Mk 6:8) and sandals (Mk 6:9) is permitted, but not in Mt 10:10 nor in Lk 10:4. Mark does not mention any prohibition to visit pagan territory and to enter Samaritan towns. These differences indicate a certain adaptation to conditions in and outside of Palestine and suggest in Mark’s account a later activity in the church. For the rest, Jesus required of his apostles a total dependence on God for food and shelter; cf. Mk 6:35–44; 8:1–9.
* [6:10–11] Remaining in the same house as a guest (Mk 6:10) rather than moving to another offering greater comfort avoided any impression of seeking advantage for oneself and prevented dishonor to one’s host. Shaking the dust off one’s feet served as testimony against those who rejected the call to repentance.
* [6:13] Anointed with oil…cured them: a common medicinal remedy, but seen here as a vehicle of divine power for healing.
* [6:14–16] The various opinions about Jesus anticipate the theme of his identity that reaches its climax in Mk 8:27–30.
* [6:14] King Herod: see note on Mt 14:1.
* [6:17–29] Similarities are to be noted between Mark’s account of the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist in this pericope, and that of the passion of Jesus (Mk 15:1–47). Herod and Pilate, each in turn, acknowledges the holiness of life of one over whom he unjustly exercises the power of condemnation and death (Mk 6:26–27; 15:9–10, 14–15). The hatred of Herodias toward John parallels that of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus. After the deaths of John and of Jesus, well-disposed persons request the bodies of the victims of Herod and of Pilate in turn to give them respectful burial (Mk 6:29; 15:45–46).
* [6:19] Herodias: see note on Mt 14:3.
* [6:30] Apostles: here, and in some manuscripts at Mk 3:14, Mark calls apostles (i.e., those sent forth) the Twelve whom Jesus sends as his emissaries, empowering them to preach, to expel demons, and to cure the sick (Mk 6:13). Only after Pentecost is the title used in the technical sense.
* [6:31–34] The withdrawal of Jesus with his disciples to a desert place to rest attracts a great number of people to follow them. Toward this people of the new exodus Jesus is moved with pity; he satisfies their spiritual hunger by teaching them many things, thus gradually showing himself the faithful shepherd of a new Israel; cf. Nm 27:17; Ez 34:15.
* [6:35] See note on Mt 14:13–21. Compare this section with Mk 8:1–9. The various accounts of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, two each in Mark and in Matthew and one each in Luke and in John, indicate the wide interest of the early church in their eucharistic gatherings; see, e.g., Mk 6:41; 8:6; 14:22; and recall also the sign of bread in Ex 16; Dt 8:3–16; Ps 78:24–25; 105:40; Wis 16:20–21.
* [6:40] The people…in rows by hundreds and by fifties: reminiscent of the groupings of Israelites encamped in the desert (Ex 18:21–25) and of the wilderness tradition of the prophets depicting the transformation of the wasteland into pastures where the true shepherd feeds his flock (Ez 34:25–26) and makes his people beneficiaries of messianic grace.
* [6:41] On the language of this verse as eucharistic (cf. Mk 14:22), see notes on Mt 14:19, 20. Jesus observed the Jewish table ritual of blessing God before partaking of food.
* [6:45–52] See note on Mt 14:22–33.
* [6:45] To the other side toward Bethsaida: a village at the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
* [6:46] He went off to the mountain to pray: see Mk 1:35–38. In Jn 6:15 Jesus withdrew to evade any involvement in the false messianic hopes of the multitude.
* [6:48] Walking on the sea: see notes on Mt 14:22–33 and on Jn 6:19.
* [6:50] It is I, do not be afraid!: literally, “I am.” This may reflect the divine revelatory formula of Ex 3:14; Is 41:4, 10, 14; 43:1–3, 10, 13. Mark implies the hidden identity of Jesus as Son of God.
* [6:52] They had not understood…the loaves: the revelatory character of this sign and that of the walking on the sea completely escaped the disciples. Their hearts were hardened: in Mk 3:5–6 hardness of heart was attributed to those who did not accept Jesus and plotted his death. Here the same disposition prevents the disciples from comprehending Jesus’ self-revelation through signs; cf. Mk 8:17.
a. [6:1–6] Mt 13:54–58; Lk 4:16–30.
b. [6:3] 15:40; Mt 12:46; Jn 6:42.
c. [6:4] Jn 4:44.
d. [6:7–11] Mt 10:1, 9–14; Lk 9:15; 10:4–11.
e. [6:13] Jas 5:14.
f. [6:14–29] Mt 14:1–12.
g. [6:14–16] Lk 9:7–8.
h. [6:15] Mt 16:14.
i. [6:17] Lk 3:19–20.
j. [6:18] Lv 18:16.
k. [6:23] Est 5:3.
l. [6:27–28] Lk 9:9.
m. [6:30] Lk 9:10.
n. [6:31] 3:20; Mt 14:13; Lk 9:10.
o. [6:32–44] Mt 14:13–21; Lk 9:10–17; Jn 6:1–13.
p. [6:45–51] Mt 14:22–32; Jn 6:15–21.
q. [6:52] 4:13.
r. [6:53–56] Mt 14:34–36.
s. [6:56] 5:27–28; Acts 5:15.
The Tradition of the Elders.* 1Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him,a 2they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. 3(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands,* keeping the tradition of the elders. 4And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles [and beds].) 5So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders* but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” 6He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:b
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
7In vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.’
8You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” 9He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’c 11Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’* (meaning, dedicated to God), 12you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. 13You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.” 14d He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. 15Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” 16*
17* e When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. 18He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19* f since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20“But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. 21g From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. 23All these evils come from within and they defile.”
The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith. 24h From that place he went off to the district of Tyre.* He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. 25Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.i 27He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.* For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” 28She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” 29Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
The Healing of a Deaf Man. 31j Again he left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. 32And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; 34then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) 35And [immediately] the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. 36* He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. 37They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and [the] mute speak.”k
* [7:1–23] See note on Mt 15:1–20. Against the Pharisees’ narrow, legalistic, and external practices of piety in matters of purification (Mk 7:2–5), external worship (Mk 7:6–7), and observance of commandments, Jesus sets in opposition the true moral intent of the divine law (Mk 7:8–13). But he goes beyond contrasting the law and Pharisaic interpretation of it. The parable of Mk 7:14–15 in effect sets aside the law itself in respect to clean and unclean food. He thereby opens the way for unity between Jew and Gentile in the kingdom of God, intimated by Jesus’ departure for pagan territory beyond Galilee. For similar contrast see Mk 2:1–3:6; 3:20–35; 6:1–6.
* [7:3] Carefully washing their hands: refers to ritual purification.
* [7:5] Tradition of the elders: the body of detailed, unwritten, human laws regarded by the scribes and Pharisees to have the same binding force as that of the Mosaic law; cf. Gal 1:14.
* [7:11] Qorban: a formula for a gift to God, dedicating the offering to the temple, so that the giver might continue to use it for himself but not give it to others, even needy parents.
* [7:16] Mk 7:16, “Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear,” is omitted because it is lacking in some of the best Greek manuscripts and was probably transferred here by scribes from Mk 4:9, 23.
* [7:17] Away from the crowd…the parable: in this context of privacy the term parable refers to something hidden, about to be revealed to the disciples; cf. Mk 4:10-11.34. Jesus sets the Mosaic food laws in the context of the kingdom of God where they are abrogated, and he declares moral defilement the only cause of uncleanness.
* [7:19] (Thus he declared all foods clean): if this bold declaration goes back to Jesus, its force was not realized among Jewish Christians in the early church; cf. Acts 10:1–11:18.
* [7:24–37] The withdrawal of Jesus to the district of Tyre may have been for a respite (Mk 7:24), but he soon moved onward to Sidon and, by way of the Sea of Galilee, to the Decapolis. These districts provided a Gentile setting for the extension of his ministry of healing because the people there acknowledged his power (Mk 7:29, 37). The actions attributed to Jesus (Mk 7:33–35) were also used by healers of the time.
* [7:27–28] The figure of a household in which children at table are fed first and then their leftover food is given to the dogs under the table is used effectively to acknowledge the prior claim of the Jews to the ministry of Jesus; however, Jesus accedes to the Gentile woman’s plea for the cure of her afflicted daughter because of her faith.
* [7:36] The more they proclaimed it: the same verb proclaim attributed here to the crowd in relation to the miracles of Jesus is elsewhere used in Mark for the preaching of the gospel on the part of Jesus, of his disciples, and of the Christian community (Mk 1:14; 13:10; 14:9). Implied in the action of the crowd is a recognition of the salvific mission of Jesus; see note on Mt 11:5–6.
a. [7:1–23] Mt 15:1–20.
b. [7:6] Is 29:13.
c. [7:10] Ex 21:17; Lv 20:9; Dt 5:16; Eph 6:2.
d. [7:14–23] Mt 15:10–20.
e. [7:17] 4:10, 13.
f. [7:19] Acts 10:15.
g. [7:21] Jer 17:9.
h. [7:24–30] Mt 15:21–28.
i. [7:26] Mt 8:29.
j. [7:31–37] Mt 15:29–31.
k. [7:37] Mt 15:31.
The Feeding of Four Thousand.* 1In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,a he summoned the disciples and said, 2“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” 4His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” 5Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied. 6* He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. 7They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. 8They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets. 9There were about four thousand people.
He dismissed them 10and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
The Demand for a Sign. 11* The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him,b seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.c 12He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
The Leaven of the Pharisees. 14d They had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15* He enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. 17When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?e 18Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember,f 19when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” 20“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered [him], “Seven.” 21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
The Blind Man of Bethsaida.* 22When they arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?”g 24Looking up he replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” 25Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. 26Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”
Peter’s Confession about Jesus.* 27Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.h Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” 29And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.” 30Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
The First Prediction of the Passion. 31i He began to teach them that the Son of Man* must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. 32He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
The Conditions of Discipleship. 34He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said* to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.j 35For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel* will save it.k 36What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 37What could one give in exchange for his life? 38Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”l
* [8:1–10] The two accounts of the multiplication of loaves and fishes (Mk 8:1–10; 6:31–44) have eucharistic significance. Their similarity of structure and themes but dissimilarity of detail are considered by many to refer to a single event that, however, developed in two distinct traditions, one Jewish Christian and the other Gentile Christian, since Jesus in Mark’s presentation (Mk 7:24–37) has extended his saving mission to the Gentiles.
* [8:6] See note on Mk 6:41.
* [8:11–12] The objection of the Pharisees that Jesus’ miracles are unsatisfactory for proving the arrival of God’s kingdom is comparable to the request of the crowd for a sign in Jn 6:30–31. Jesus’ response shows that a sign originating in human demand will not be provided; cf. Nm 14:11, 22.
* [8:15] The leaven of the Pharisees…of Herod: the corruptive action of leaven (1 Cor 5:6–8; Gal 5:9) was an apt symbol of the evil dispositions both of the Pharisees (Mk 8:11–13; 7:5–13) and of Herod (Mk 6:14–29) toward Jesus. The disciples of Jesus are warned against sharing such rebellious attitudes toward Jesus; cf. Mk 8:17, 21.
* [8:22–26] Jesus’ actions and the gradual cure of the blind man probably have the same purpose as in the case of the deaf man (Mk 7:31–37). Some commentators regard the cure as an intended symbol of the gradual enlightenment of the disciples concerning Jesus’ messiahship.
* [8:27–30] This episode is the turning point in Mark’s account of Jesus in his public ministry. Popular opinions concur in regarding him as a prophet. The disciples by contrast believe him to be the Messiah. Jesus acknowledges this identification but prohibits them from making his messianic office known to avoid confusing it with ambiguous contemporary ideas on the nature of that office. See further the notes on Mt 16:13–20.
* [8:31] Son of Man: an enigmatic title. It is used in Dn 7:13–14 has a symbol of “the saints of the Most High,” the faithful Israelites who receive the everlasting kingdom from the Ancient One (God). They are represented by a human figure that contrasts with the various beasts who represent the previous kingdoms of the earth. In the Jewish apocryphal books of 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra the “Son of Man” is not, as in Daniel, a group, but a unique figure of extraordinary spiritual endowments, who will be revealed as the one through whom the everlasting kingdom decreed by God will be established. It is possible though doubtful that this individualization of the Son of Man figure had been made in Jesus’ time, and therefore his use of the title in that sense is questionable. Of itself, this expression means simply a human being, or, indefinitely, someone, and there are evidences of this use in pre-Christian times. Its use in the New Testament is probably due to Jesus’ speaking of himself in that way, “a human being,” and the later church’s taking this in the sense of the Jewish apocrypha and applying it to him with that meaning. Rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes: the supreme council called the Sanhedrin was made up of seventy-one members of these three groups and presided over by the high priest. It exercised authority over the Jews in religious matters. See note on Mt 8:20.
* [8:34–35] This utterance of Jesus challenges all believers to authentic discipleship and total commitment to himself through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it…will save it: an expression of the ambivalence of life and its contrasting destiny. Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.
* [8:35] For my sake and that of the gospel: Mark here, as at Mk 10:29 equates Jesus with the gospel.
a. [8:1–10] 6:34–44; Mt 15:32–39.
b. [8:11–13] Mt 12:38–39; 16:1–4.
c. [8:11] Lk 11:16.
d. [8:14–21] Mt 16:5–12; Lk 12:1.
e. [8:17] 4:13.
f. [8:18] Jer 5:21; Ez 12:2.
g. [8:23] 7:33; Jn 9:6.
h. [8:27–30] Mt 16:13–20; Lk 9:18–21.
i. [8:31–38] Mt 16:21–27; Lk 9:22–26.
j. [8:34] Mt 10:38–39; 16:24–27; Lk 14:26–27.
k. [8:35] Jn 12:25.
l. [8:38] Mt 10:33; Lk 12:8.
1* a He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power.”
The Transfiguration of Jesus.* 2After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.b And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 5* Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. 7Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;* then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 8Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
The Coming of Elijah.* 9As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.c 10So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. 11d Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? 13But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”e
The Healing of a Boy with a Demon.* 14When they came to the disciples,f they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. 15Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. 16He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. 18Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” 19He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” 20They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. 21Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “Since childhood. 22It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” 24Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” 25Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” 26Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!” 27But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. 28When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29* He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
The Second Prediction of the Passion. 30g They left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it.h 31He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” 32But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
The Greatest in the Kingdom.* 33They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”i 34But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. 35Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”j 36Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, 37“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”k
Another Exorcist.* 38John said to him,l “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” 39Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. 40For whoever is not against us is for us.m 41Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.n
Temptations to Sin. 42o “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna,* into the unquenchable fire. 44* 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, 48where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’p
The Simile of Salt. 49* “Everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”q
* [9:1] There are some standing…come in power: understood by some to refer to the establishment by God’s power of his kingdom on earth in and through the church; more likely, as understood by others, a reference to the imminent parousia.
* [9:2–8] Mark and Mt 17:1 place the transfiguration of Jesus six days after the first prediction of his passion and death and his instruction to the disciples on the doctrine of the cross; Lk 9:28 has “about eight days.” Thus the transfiguration counterbalances the prediction of the passion by affording certain of the disciples insight into the divine glory that Jesus possessed. His glory will overcome his death and that of his disciples; cf. 2 Cor 3:18; 2 Pt 1:16–19. The heavenly voice (Mk 9:7) prepares the disciples to understand that in the divine plan Jesus must die ignominiously before his messianic glory is made manifest; cf. Lk 24:25–27. See further the note on Mt 17:1–8.
* [9:5] Moses and Elijah represent respectively law and prophecy in the Old Testament and are linked to Mount Sinai; cf. Ex 19:16–20:17; 1 Kgs 19:2, 8–14. They now appear with Jesus as witnesses to the fulfillment of the law and the prophets taking place in the person of Jesus as he appears in glory.
* [9:7] A cloud came, casting a shadow over them: even the disciples enter into the mystery of his glorification. In the Old Testament the cloud covered the meeting tent, indicating the Lord’s presence in the midst of his people (Ex 40:34–35) and came to rest upon the temple in Jerusalem at the time of its dedication (1 Kgs 8:10).
* [9:9–13] At the transfiguration of Jesus his disciples had seen Elijah. They were perplexed because, according to the rabbinical interpretation of Mal 4:1, Elijah was to come first. Jesus’ response shows that Elijah has come, in the person of John the Baptist, to prepare for the day of the Lord. Jesus must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt (Mk 9:12) like the Baptist (Mk 9:13); cf. Mk 6:17–29.
* [9:14–29] The disciples’ failure to effect a cure seems to reflect unfavorably on Jesus (Mk 9:14–18, 22). In response Jesus exposes their lack of trust in God (Mk 4:19) and scores their lack of prayer (Mk 4:29), i.e., of conscious reliance on God’s power when acting in Jesus’ name. For Matthew, see note on Mt 17:14–20. Lk 9:37–43 centers attention on Jesus’ sovereign power.
* [9:29] This kind can only come out through prayer: a variant reading adds “and through fasting.”
* [9:33–37] Mark probably intends this incident and the sayings that follow as commentary on the disciples’ lack of understanding (Mk 9:32). Their role in Jesus’ work is one of service, especially to the poor and lowly. Children were the symbol Jesus used for the anawim, the poor in spirit, the lowly in the Christian community.
* [9:38–41] Jesus warns against jealousy and intolerance toward others, such as exorcists who do not follow us. The saying in Mk 9:40 is a broad principle of the divine tolerance. Even the smallest courtesies shown to those who teach in Jesus’ name do not go unrewarded.
* [9:43, 45, 47] Gehenna: see note on Mt 5:22.
* [9:44, 46] These verses, lacking in some important early manuscripts, are here omitted as scribal additions. They simply repeat Mk 9:48 itself a modified citation of Is 66:24.
* [9:49] Everyone will be salted with fire: so the better manuscripts. Some add “every sacrifice will be salted with salt.” The purifying and preservative use of salt in food (Lv 2:13) and the refinement effected through fire refer here to comparable effects in the spiritual life of the disciples of Jesus.
a. [9:1] Mt 16:28; Lk 9:27.
b. [9:2–13] Mt 17:1–13; Lk 9:28–36.
c. [9:9] 8:31.
d. [9:11–12] Is 53:3; Mal 3:23.
e. [9:13] 1 Kgs 19:2–10.
f. [9:14–29] Mt 17:14–21; Lk 9:37–43.
g. [9:30–32] 8:31; Mt 17:22–23; Lk 9:43–45.
h. [9:30] Jn 7:1.
i. [9:33–37] Mt 18:1–5; Lk 9:46–48.
j. [9:35] Mt 20:27.
k. [9:37] Mt 10:40; 18:5; Jn 13:20.
l. [9:38–41] Nm 11:28; Lk 9:49–50; 1 Cor 12:3.
m. [9:40] Mt 12:30.
n. [9:41] Mt 10:42; 1 Cor 3:23.
o. [9:42–47] Mt 5:29–30; 18:6–9; Lk 17:1–2.
p. [9:48] Is 66:24.
q. [9:50] Lv 2:13; Mt 5:13; Lk 14:34–35; Col 4:6.
Marriage and Divorce. 1He set out from there and went into the district of Judea [and] across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. 2* The Pharisees approached and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him.a 3He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” 4They replied, “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.”b 5But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.c 7For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife],d 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” 10In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. 11e He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Blessing of the Children. 13f And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.g 14When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child* will not enter it.”h 16Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
The Rich Man. 17i As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?* No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’”j 20He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23* Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”k 24The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to pass through [the] eye of [a] needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” 28Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. 31But many that are first will be last, and [the] last will be first.”l
The Third Prediction of the Passion. 32m They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him. 33“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles 34who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.”
Ambition of James and John. 35n Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36He replied, “What do you wish [me] to do for you?” 37They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” 38* o Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. 42* Jesus summoned them and said to them,p “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. 43But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; 44whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. 45For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Blind Bartimaeus.* 46They came to Jericho.q And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. 47On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” 48And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” 49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” 50He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 52Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
* [10:2–9] In the dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees on the subject of divorce, Jesus declares that the law of Moses permitted divorce (Dt 24:1) only because of the hardness of your hearts (Mk 10:4–5). In citing Gn 1:27 and 2:24 Jesus proclaims permanence to be the divine intent from the beginning concerning human marriage (Mk 10:6–8). He reaffirms this with the declaration that what God has joined together, no human being must separate (Mk 10:9). See further the notes on Mt 5:31–32; 19:3–9.
* [10:15] Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child: i.e., in total dependence upon and obedience to the gospel; cf. Mt 18:3–4.
* [10:18] Why do you call me good?: Jesus repudiates the term “good” for himself and directs it to God, the source of all goodness who alone can grant the gift of eternal life; cf. Mt 19:16–17.
* [10:23–27] In the Old Testament wealth and material goods are considered a sign of God’s favor (Jb 1:10; Ps 128:1–2; Is 3:10). The words of Jesus in Mk 10:23–25 provoke astonishment among the disciples because of their apparent contradiction of the Old Testament concept (Mk 10:24, 26). Since wealth, power, and merit generate false security, Jesus rejects them utterly as a claim to enter the kingdom. Achievement of salvation is beyond human capability and depends solely on the goodness of God who offers it as a gift (Mk 10:27).
* [10:38–40] Can you drink the cup…I am baptized?: the metaphor of drinking the cup is used in the Old Testament to refer to acceptance of the destiny assigned by God; see note on Psalm 11:6. In Jesus’ case, this involves divine judgment on sin that Jesus the innocent one is to expiate on behalf of the guilty (Mk 14:24; Is 53:5). His baptism is to be his crucifixion and death for the salvation of the human race; cf. Lk 12:50. The request of James and John for a share in the glory (Mk 10:35–37) must of necessity involve a share in Jesus’ sufferings, the endurance of tribulation and suffering for the gospel (Mk 10:39). The authority of assigning places of honor in the kingdom is reserved to God (Mk 10:40).
* [10:42–45] Whatever authority is to be exercised by the disciples must, like that of Jesus, be rendered as service to others (Mk 10:45) rather than for personal aggrandizement (Mk 10:42–44). The service of Jesus is his passion and death for the sins of the human race (Mk 10:45); cf. Mk 14:24; Is 53:11–12; Mt 26:28; Lk 22:19–20.
* [10:46] See notes on Mt 9:27–31 and 20:29–34.
a. [10:2–12] Mt 19:3–9.
b. [10:4] Dt 24:1–4.
c. [10:6] Gn 1:27.
d. [10:7–8] Gn 2:24; 1 Cor 6:16; Eph 5:31.
e. [10:11–12] Mt 5:32; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10–11.
f. [10:13–16] Mt 19:13–15; Lk 18:15–17.
g. [10:13] Lk 9:47.
h. [10:15] Mt 18:3.
i. [10:17–31] Mt 19:16–30; Lk 18:18–30.
j. [10:19] Ex 20:12–16; Dt 5:16–21.
k. [10:23] Prv 11:28.
l. [10:31] Mt 19:30; Lk 13:30.
m. [10:32–34] 8:31; Mt 20:17–19; Lk 18:31–33.
n. [10:35–45] Mt 20:20–28.
o. [10:38] Lk 12:50.
p. [10:42–45] Lk 22:25–27.
q. [10:46–52] Mt 20:29–34; Lk 18:35–43.
The Entry into Jerusalem.* 1When they drew near to Jerusalem,a to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone should say to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ reply, ‘The Master has need of it and will send it back here at once.’” 4So they went off and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. 5Some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They answered them just as Jesus had told them to, and they permitted them to do it. 7So they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:b
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
10Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!”
11He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.c
Jesus Curses a Fig Tree.* 12The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.d 13Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. 14And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.
Cleansing of the Temple.* 15They came to Jerusalem,e and on entering the temple area he began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 16He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area. 17Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”f
18The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19When evening came, they went out of the city.g
The Withered Fig Tree. 20h Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. 21Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. 23Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.i 24Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.j 25When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”k 26*
The Authority of Jesus Questioned.* 27They returned once more to Jerusalem.l As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him 28and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.” 31They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say, ‘[Then] why did you not believe him?’ 32But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”—they feared the crowd, for they all thought John really was a prophet. 33So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
* [11:1–11] In Mark’s account Jesus takes the initiative in ordering the preparation for his entry into Jerusalem (Mk 11:1–6) even as he later orders the preparation of his last Passover Supper (Mk 14:12–16). In Mk 10:9–10 the greeting Jesus receives stops short of proclaiming him Messiah. He is greeted rather as the prophet of the coming messianic kingdom. Contrast Mt 21:9.
* [11:12–14] Jesus’ search for fruit on the fig tree recalls the prophets’ earlier use of this image to designate Israel; cf. Jer 8:13; 29:14; Jl 1:7; Hos 9:10, 16. Cursing the fig tree is a parable in action representing Jesus’ judgment (Mk 11:20) on barren Israel and the fate of Jerusalem for failing to receive his teaching; cf. Is 34:4; Hos 2:12; Lk 13:6–9.
* [11:15–19] See note on Mt 21:12–17.
* [11:26] This verse, which reads, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your transgressions,” is omitted in the best manuscripts. It was probably added by copyists under the influence of Mt 6:15.
* [11:27–33] The mounting hostility toward Jesus came from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders (Mk 11:27); the Herodians and the Pharisees (Mk 12:13); and the Sadducees (Mk 12:18). By their rejection of God’s messengers, John the Baptist and Jesus, they incurred the divine judgment implied in Mk 11:27–33 and confirmed in the parable of the vineyard tenants (Mk 12:1–12).
a. [11:1–10] Mt 21:1–9; Lk 19:29–38; Jn 12:12–15.
b. [11:9–10] 2 Sm 7:16; Ps 118:26.
c. [11:11] Mt 21:10, 17.
d. [11:12–14] Mt 21:18–20; Lk 13:6–9.
e. [11:15–18] Mt 21:12–13; Lk 19:45–46; Jn 2:14–16.
f. [11:17] Is 56:7; Jer 7:11.
g. [11:19] Lk 21:37.
h. [11:20–24] Mt 21:20–22.
i. [11:23] Mt 17:20–21; Lk 17:6.
j. [11:24] Mt 7:7; Jn 11:22; 14:13.
k. [11:25] Mt 6:14; 18:35.
l. [11:27–33] Mt 21:23–27; Lk 20:1–8.
Parable of the Tenants.* 1He began to speak to them in parables.a “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.b 2At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. 5He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. 6He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9What [then] will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. 10Have you not read this scripture passage:c
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes’?”
12They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.
Paying Taxes to the Emperor. 13* They sent some Phariseesd and Herodians to him to ensnare hime in his speech.* 14They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” 15Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” 16They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” 17So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him.f
The Question about the Resurrection.* 18Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and put this question to him, 19saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’g 20Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. 21So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. 22And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. 23At the resurrection [when they arise] whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” 24Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? 25When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. 26As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, [the] God of Isaac, and [the] God of Jacob’?h 27He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”
The Greatest Commandment.* 28One of the scribes,i when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” 29Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’j 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”k 32The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ 33And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”l 34And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.m
The Question about David’s Son.* 35As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,n “How do the scribes claim that the Messiah is the son of David? 36David himself, inspired by the holy Spirit, said:
‘The Lord said to my lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.”’o
37David himself calls him ‘lord’; so how is he his son?” [The] great crowd heard this with delight.
Denunciation of the Scribes.* 38In the course of his teaching he said,p “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, 39seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. 40They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
The Poor Widow’s Contribution.* 41He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.q Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 43Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. 44For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
* [12:1–12] The vineyard denotes Israel (Is 5:1–7). The tenant farmers are the religious leaders of Israel. God is the owner of the vineyard. His servants are his messengers, the prophets. The beloved son is Jesus (Mk 1:11; 9:7; Mt 3:17; 17:5; Lk 3:22; 9:35). The punishment of the tenants refers to the religious leaders, and the transfer of the vineyard to others refers to the people of the new Israel.
* [12:13–34] In the ensuing conflicts (cf. also Mk 2:1–3:6) Jesus vanquishes his adversaries by his responses to their questions and reduces them to silence (Mk 12:34).
* [12:13–17] See note on Mt 22:15–22.
* [12:18–27] See note on Mt 22:23–33.
* [12:28–34] See note on Mt 22:34–40.
* [12:35–37] Jesus questions the claim of the scribes about the Davidic descent of the Messiah, not to deny it (Mt 1:1; Acts 2:20, 34; Rom 1:3; 2 Tm 2:8) but to imply that he is more than this. His superiority derives from his transcendent origin, to which David himself attested when he spoke of the Messiah with the name “Lord” (Ps 110:1). See also note on Mt 22:41–46.
* [12:38–40] See notes on Mk 7:1–23 and Mt 23:1–39.
* [12:41–44] See note on Lk 21:1–4.
a. [12:1–12] Mt 21:33–46; Lk 20:9–19.
b. [12:1] Is 5:1–7; Jer 2:21.
c. [12:10–11] Ps 118:22–23; Is 28:16.
d. [12:13–27] Mt 22:15–33; Lk 20:20–39.
e. [12:13] 3:6.
f. [12:17] Rom 13:7.
g. [12:19] Dt 25:5.
h. [12:26] Ex 3:6.
i. [12:28–34] Mt 22:34–40; Lk 10:25–28.
j. [12:30] Dt 6:4–5.
k. [12:31] Lv 19:18; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8.
l. [12:33] Dt 6:4; Ps 40:7–9.
m. [12:34] Mt 22:46; Lk 20:40.
n. [12:35–37] Mt 22:41–45; Lk 20:41–44.
o. [12:36] Ps 110:1.
p. [12:38–40] Mt 23:1–7; Lk 11:43; 20:45–47.
q. [12:41–44] Lk 21:1–4.
The Destruction of the Temple Foretold.* 1As he was making his way out of the temple area one of his disciples said to him, “Look, teacher, what stones and what buildings!”a 2Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the End. 3* As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple area, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,b 4“Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be when all these things are about to come to an end?” 5Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one deceives you.c 6Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many. 7When you hear of wars and reports of wars do not be alarmed; such things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. 8Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes from place to place and there will be famines. These are the beginnings of the labor pains.
The Coming Persecution. 9d “Watch out for yourselves. They will hand you over to the courts. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will be arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them. 10But the gospel must first be preached to all nations.* 11When they lead you away and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say.e But say whatever will be given to you at that hour. For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy Spirit. 12Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
The Great Tribulation. 14f “When you see the desolating abomination standing* where he should not (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains,g 15[and] a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house,h 16and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak. 17Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days. 18Pray that this does not happen in winter. 19For those times will have tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of God’s creation until now, nor ever will be.i 20If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect whom he chose, he did shorten the days. 21If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah! Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect. 23Be watchful! I have told it all to you beforehand.
The Coming of the Son of Man. 24j “But in those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,k
25and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26* l And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, 27and then he will send out the angels and gather [his] elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
The Lesson of the Fig Tree. 28m “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. 29In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. 30Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Need for Watchfulness. 32“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33n Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.o 35Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. 36May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
* [13:1–2] The reconstructed temple with its precincts, begun under Herod the Great ca. 20 B.C., was completed only some seven years before it was destroyed by fire in A.D. 70 at the hands of the Romans; cf. Jer 26:18; Mt 24:1–2. For the dating of the reconstruction of the temple, see further the note on Jn 2:20.
* [13:3–37] Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple (Mk 13:2) provoked questions that the four named disciples put to him in private regarding the time and the sign when all these things are about to come to an end (Mk 13:3–4). The response to their questions was Jesus’ eschatological discourse prior to his imminent death. It contained instruction and consolation exhorting the disciples and the church to faith and obedience through the trials that would confront them (Mk 13:5–13). The sign is the presence of the desolating abomination (Mk 13:14; see Dn 9:27), i.e., of the Roman power profaning the temple. Flight from Jerusalem is urged rather than defense of the city through misguided messianic hope (Mk 13:14–23). Intervention will occur only after destruction (Mk 13:24–27), which will happen before the end of the first Christian generation (Mk 13:28–31). No one but the Father knows the precise time, or that of the parousia (Mk 13:32); hence the necessity of constant vigilance (Mk 13:33–37). Luke sets the parousia at a later date, after “the time of the Gentiles” (Lk 21:24). See also notes on Mt 24:1–25:46.
* [13:10] The gospel…to all nations: the period of the Christian mission.
* [13:14] The participle standing is masculine, in contrast to the neuter at Mt 24:15.
* [13:26] Son of Man…with great power and glory: Jesus cites this text from Dn 7:13 in his response to the high priest, Are you the Messiah? (Mk 14:61). In Ex 34:5; Lv 16:2; and Nm 11:25 the clouds indicate the presence of the divinity. Thus in his role of Son of Man, Jesus is a heavenly being who will come in power and glory.
a. [13:1–2] Mt 24:1–2; Lk 21:5–6.
b. [13:3–8] Mt 24:3–8; Lk 21:7–11.
c. [13:5] Eph 5:6; 2 Thes 2:3.
d. [13:9–13] Mt 24:9–14; Lk 21:12–19.
e. [13:11–12] Mt 10:19–22; Lk 12:11–12.
f. [13:14–23] Mt 24:15–22; Lk 21:20–24.
g. [13:14] Dn 9:27; Mt 24:15.
h. [13:15] Lk 17:31.
i. [13:19] Dn 12:1.
j. [13:24–27] Mt 24:29–31; Lk 21:25–27.
k. [13:24] Is 13:10; Ez 32:7; Jl 2:10.
l. [13:26] 14:62; Dn 7:13–14.
m. [13:28–32] Mt 24:32–36; Lk 21:29–33.
n. [13:33–37] Mt 24:42; 25:13–15.
o. [13:34] Mt 25:14–30; Lk 19:12–27.
The Conspiracy against Jesus. 1* The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread* were to take place in two days’ time.a So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death. 2They said, “Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people.”
The Anointing at Bethany.* 3When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper,b a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. 4There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? 5It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. 6Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. 9Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
The Betrayal by Judas. 10c Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. 11When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
Preparations for the Passover. 12d On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,* his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water.* Follow him. 14Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” 16The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
The Betrayer. 17e When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. 18* And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, “Surely it is not I?” 20He said to them, “One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. 21For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,* but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
The Lord’s Supper. 22* While they were eating,f he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed* for many. 25Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26Then, after singing a hymn,* they went out to the Mount of Olives.g
Peter’s Denial Foretold.* 27Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.’h
28But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” 29Peter said to him, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.” 30Then Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” 31But he vehemently replied, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all spoke similarly.
The Agony in the Garden. 32* Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,i and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”j 33He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. 34Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” 35He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; 36he said, “Abba, Father,* all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” 37When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38* Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.k The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” 39Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. 40Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. 41He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. 42Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus. 43l Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” 45He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. 46At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. 48Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? 49Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the scriptures may be fulfilled.” 50And they all left him and fled. 51Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, 52but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.
Jesus before the Sanhedrin. 53* m They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none. 56Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57* Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, 58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.’”n 59Even so their testimony did not agree. 60The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” 61* But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?” 62Then Jesus answered, “I am; and
‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”o
63At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses? 64You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as deserving to die. 65Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards greeted him with blows.p
Peter’s Denial of Jesus. 66q While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids came along. 67Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68* But he denied it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” So he went out into the outer court. [Then the cock crowed.] 69The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70Once again he denied it. A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, “Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.” 71He began to curse and to swear, “I do not know this man about whom you are talking.” 72And immediately a cock crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” He broke down and wept.r
* [14:1–16:8] In the movement of Mark’s gospel the cross is depicted as Jesus’ way to glory in accordance with the divine will. Thus the passion narrative is seen as the climax of Jesus’ ministry.
* [14:1] The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread: the connection between the two festivals is reflected in Ex 12:3–20; 34:18; Lv 23:4–8; Nm 9:2–14; 28:16–17; Dt 16:1–8. The Passover commemorated the redemption from slavery and the departure of the Israelites from Egypt by night. It began at sundown after the Passover lamb was sacrificed in the temple in the afternoon of the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan. With the Passover supper on the same evening was associated the eating of unleavened bread. The latter was continued through Nisan 21, a reminder of the affliction of the Israelites and of the haste surrounding their departure. Praise and thanks to God for his goodness in the past were combined at this dual festival with the hope of future salvation. The chief priests…to death: the intent to put Jesus to death was plotted for a long time but delayed for fear of the crowd (Mk 3:6; 11:18; 12:12).
* [14:3] At Bethany on the Mount of Olives, a few miles from Jerusalem, in the house of Simon the leper, Jesus defends a woman’s loving action of anointing his head with perfumed oil in view of his impending death and burial as a criminal, in which case his body would not be anointed. See further the note on Jn 12:7. He assures the woman of the remembrance of her deed in the worldwide preaching of the good news.
* [14:12] The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread…the Passover lamb: a less precise designation of the day for sacrificing the Passover lamb as evidenced by some rabbinical literature. For a more exact designation, see note on Mk 14:1. It was actually Nisan 14.
* [14:13] A man…carrying a jar of water: perhaps a prearranged signal, for only women ordinarily carried water in jars. The Greek word used here, however, implies simply a person and not necessarily a male.
* [14:18] One of you will betray me, one who is eating with me: contrasts the intimacy of table fellowship at the Passover meal with the treachery of the traitor; cf. Ps 41:10.
* [14:21] The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him: a reference to Ps 41:10 cited by Jesus concerning Judas at the Last Supper; cf. Jn 13:18–19.
* [14:22–24] The actions and words of Jesus express within the framework of the Passover meal and the transition to a new covenant the sacrifice of himself through the offering of his body and blood in anticipation of his passion and death. His blood of the covenant both alludes to the ancient rite of Ex 24:4–8 and indicates the new community that the sacrifice of Jesus will bring into being (Mt 26:26–28; Lk 22:19–20; 1 Cor 11:23–25).
* [14:24] Which will be shed: see note on Mt 26:27–28. For many: the Greek preposition hyper is a different one from that at Mt 26:28 but the same as that found at Lk 22:19, 20 and 1 Cor 11:24. The sense of both words is vicarious, and it is difficult in Hellenistic Greek to distinguish between them. For many in the sense of “all,” see note on Mt 20:28.
* [14:26] After singing a hymn: Ps 114–118, thanksgiving songs concluding the Passover meal.
* [14:27–31] Jesus predicted that the Twelve would waver in their faith, even abandon him, despite their protestations to the contrary. Yet he reassured them that after his resurrection he would regather them in Galilee (Mk 16:7; cf. Mt 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16; Jn 21), where he first summoned them to be his followers as he began to preach the good news (Mk 1:14–20).
* [14:32–34] The disciples who had witnessed the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus (Mk 5:37) and the transfiguration of their Master (Mk 9:2) were now invited to witness his degradation and agony and to watch and pray with him.
* [14:36] Abba, Father: an Aramaic term, here also translated by Mark, Jesus’ special way of addressing God with filial intimacy. The word abba seems not to have been used in earlier or contemporaneous Jewish sources to address God without some qualifier. Cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6 for other occurrences of the Aramaic word in the Greek New Testament. Not what I will but what you will: note the complete obedient surrender of the human will of Jesus to the divine will of the Father; cf. Jn 4:34; 8:29; Rom 5:19; Phil 2:8; Heb 5:8.
* [14:38] The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak: the spirit is drawn to what is good yet found in conflict with the flesh, inclined to sin; cf. Ps 51:5, 10. Everyone is faced with this struggle, the full force of which Jesus accepted on our behalf and, through his bitter passion and death, achieved the victory.
* [14:53] They led Jesus away…came together: Mark presents a formal assembly of the whole Sanhedrin (chief priests, elders, and scribes) at night, leading to the condemnation of Jesus (Mk 14:64), in contrast to Lk 22:66, 71 where Jesus is condemned in a daytime meeting of the council; see also Jn 18:13, 19–24.
* [14:57–58] See notes on Mt 26:60–61 and Jn 2:19.
* [14:61–62] The Blessed One: a surrogate for the divine name, which Jews did not pronounce. I am: indicates Jesus’ acknowledgment that he is the Messiah and Son of God; cf. Mk 1:1. Contrast Mt 26:64 and Lk 22:67–70, in which Jesus leaves his interrogators to answer their own question. You will see the Son of Man…with the clouds of heaven: an allusion to Dn 7:13 and Ps 110:1 portending the enthronement of Jesus as judge in the transcendent glory of God’s kingdom. The Power: another surrogate for the name of God.
* [14:68] [Then the cock crowed]: found in most manuscripts, perhaps in view of Mk 14:30, 72 but omitted in others.
a. [14:1–2] Mt 26:2–5; Lk 22:1–2; Jn 11:45–53.
b. [14:3–9] Mt 26:6–13; Jn 12:1–8.
c. [14:10–11] Mt 26:14–16; Lk 22:3–6.
d. [14:12–16] Mt 26:17–19; Lk 22:7–13.
e. [14:17–21] Mt 26:20–24; Lk 22:21–23; Jn 13:21–26.
f. [14:22–25] Mt 26:26–30; Lk 22:19–20; 1 Cor 11:23–25.
g. [14:26–31] Mt 26:30–35; Lk 22:34, 39; Jn 13:36–38.
h. [14:27] Zec 13:7; Jn 16:32.
i. [14:32–42] Mt 26:36–46; Lk 22:40–46.
j. [14:32] Jn 18:1.
k. [14:38] Rom 7:5.
l. [14:43–50] Mt 26:47–56; Lk 22:47–53; Jn 18:3–11.
m. [14:53–65] Mt 26:57–68; Lk 22:54–55, 63–65, 67–71; Jn 18:12–13.
n. [14:58] 15:29; 2 Cor 5:1.
o. [14:62] 13:26; Ps 110:1; Dn 7:13; Mt 24:30.
p. [14:65] Lk 22:63–65.
q. [14:66–72] Mt 26:69–75; Lk 22:56–62; Jn 18:16–18, 25–27.
r. [14:72] Jn 13:38.
Jesus before Pilate. 1a As soon as morning came,b the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council.* They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”* He said to him in reply, “You say so.” 3The chief priests accused him of many things. 4Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” 5Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
The Sentence of Death.* 6Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested.c 7A man called Barabbas* was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. 8The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. 9Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” 10For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what [do you want] me to do with [the man you call] the king of the Jews?” 13* They shouted again, “Crucify him.” 14Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.” 15* So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.
Mockery by the Soldiers. 16* d The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. 17They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. 18They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. 20And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.
The Way of the Cross. 21They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian,* who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.e
The Crucifixion. 22f They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull). 23They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24* g Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. 25It was nine o’clock in the morning* when they crucified him. 26* The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left.h 28* 29* Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,i “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save yourself by coming down from the cross.” 31Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.j
The Death of Jesus. 33At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”* which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”k 35* Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” 36One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” 37Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38* The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. 39* l When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” 40* There were also women looking on from a distance.m Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. 41These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
The Burial of Jesus. 42n When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathea,* a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. 45And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.
* [15:1] Held a council: the verb here, poieō, can mean either “convene a council” or “take counsel.” This reading is preferred to a variant “reached a decision” (cf. Mk 3:6), which Mk 14:64 describes as having happened at the night trial; see note on Mt 27:1–2. Handed him over to Pilate: lacking authority to execute their sentence of condemnation (Mk 14:64), the Sanhedrin had recourse to Pilate to have Jesus tried and put to death (Mk 15:15); cf. Jn 18:31.
* [15:2] The king of the Jews: in the accounts of the evangelists a certain irony surrounds the use of this title as an accusation against Jesus (see note on Mk 15:26). While Pilate uses this term (Mk 15:2, 9, 12), he is aware of the evil motivation of the chief priests who handed Jesus over for trial and condemnation (Mk 15:10; Lk 23:14–16, 20; Mt 27:18, 24; Jn 18:38; 19:4, 6, 12).
* [15:6–15] See note on Mt 27:15–26.
* [15:7] Barabbas: see note on Mt 27:16–17.
* [15:13] Crucify him: see note on Mt 27:22.
* [15:15] See note on Mt 27:26.
* [15:16] Praetorium: see note on Mt 27:27.
* [15:21] They pressed into service…Simon, a Cyrenian: a condemned person was constrained to bear his own instrument of torture, at least the crossbeam. The precise naming of Simon and his sons is probably due to their being known among early Christian believers to whom Mark addressed his gospel. See also notes on Mt 27:32; Lk 23:26–32.
* [15:24] See notes on Mt 27:35 and Jn 19:23–25a.
* [15:25] It was nine o’clock in the morning: literally, “the third hour,” thus between 9 A.M. and 12 noon. Cf. Mk 15:33, 34, 42 for Mark’s chronological sequence, which may reflect liturgical or catechetical considerations rather than the precise historical sequence of events; contrast the different chronologies in the other gospels, especially Jn 19:14.
* [15:26] The inscription…the King of the Jews: the political reason for the death penalty falsely charged by the enemies of Jesus. See further the notes on Mt 27:37 and Jn 19:19.
* [15:28] This verse, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘And he was counted among the wicked,’” is omitted in the earliest and best manuscripts. It contains a citation from Is 53:12 and was probably introduced from Lk 22:37.
* [15:29] See note on Mt 27:39–40.
* [15:34] An Aramaic rendering of Ps 22:2. See also note on Mt 27:46.
* [15:35] Elijah: a verbal link with Eloi (Mk 15:34). See note on Mk 9:9–13; cf. Mal 3:19. See also note on Mt 27:47.
* [15:38] See note on Mt 27:51–53.
* [15:39] The closing portion of Mark’s gospel returns to the theme of its beginning in the Gentile centurion’s climactic declaration of belief that Jesus was the Son of God. It indicates the fulfillment of the good news announced in the prologue (Mk 1:1) and may be regarded as the firstfruit of the passion and death of Jesus.
* [15:40–41] See note on Mt 27:55–56.
* [15:43] Joseph of Arimathea: see note on Mt 27:57–61.
a. [15:1–5] Mt 27:1–2, 11–14; Lk 23:1–3.
b. [15:1] Jn 18:28.
c. [15:6–15] Mt 27:15–26; Lk 23:17–25; Jn 18:39–40.
d. [15:16–20] Mt 27:27–31; Jn 19:2–3.
e. [15:21] Mt 27:32; Lk 23:26.
f. [15:22–38] Mt 27:33–51; Lk 23:32–46; Jn 19:17–30.
g. [15:24] Ps 22:18.
h. [15:27] Lk 23:33.
i. [15:29] Jn 2:19.
j. [15:32] Lk 23:39.
k. [15:34] Ps 22:2.
l. [15:39–41] Mt 27:54–56; Lk 23:47–49.
m. [15:40] 6:3; Lk 8:2–3.
n. [15:42–47] Mt 27:57–61; Lk 23:50–56; Jn 19:38–42.
The Resurrection of Jesus.* 1When the sabbath was over,a Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.b 2Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. 3They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. 5On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed.c 6He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. 7But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”d 8Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
The Appearance to Mary Magdalene. [9e When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10f She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. 11When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
The Appearance to Two Disciples. 12g After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. 13They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.
The Commissioning of the Eleven. 14h [But] later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. 15i He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. 18They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”j
The Ascension of Jesus. 19So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.k 20But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.]l
[And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.]
* [16:1–8] The purpose of this narrative is to show that the tomb is empty and that Jesus has been raised (Mk 16:6) and is going before you to Galilee (Mk 16:7) in fulfillment of Mk 14:28. The women find the tomb empty, and an angel stationed there announces to them what has happened. They are told to proclaim the news to Peter and the disciples in order to prepare them for a reunion with him. Mark’s composition of the gospel ends at Mk 16:8 with the women telling no one, because they were afraid. This abrupt termination causes some to believe that the original ending of this gospel may have been lost. See the following note.
* [16:9–20] This passage, termed the Longer Ending to the Marcan gospel by comparison with a much briefer conclusion found in some less important manuscripts, has traditionally been accepted as a canonical part of the gospel and was defined as such by the Council of Trent. Early citations of it by the Fathers indicate that it was composed by the second century, although vocabulary and style indicate that it was written by someone other than Mark. It is a general resume of the material concerning the appearances of the risen Jesus, reflecting, in particular, traditions found in Lk 24 and Jn 20.
The Freer Logion: Found after v 14 in a fourth-fifth century manuscript preserved in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, this ending was known to Jerome in the fourth century. It reads: “And they excused themselves, saying, ‘This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things dominated by the spirits [or, does not allow the unclean things dominated by the spirits to grasp the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal your righteousness now.’ They spoke to Christ. And Christ responded to them, ‘The limit of the years of Satan’s power is completed, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who sinned I was handed over to death, that they might return to the truth and no longer sin, in order that they might inherit the spiritual and incorruptible heavenly glory of righteousness. But….’”
* [16:20] The Shorter Ending: Found after Mk 16:8 before the Longer Ending in four seventh-to-ninth-century Greek manuscripts as well as in one Old Latin version, where it appears alone without the Longer Ending.
a. [16:1–8] Mt 28:1–8; Lk 24:1–10; Jn 20:1–10.
b. [16:1–2] Mt 28:1; Lk 23:56.
c. [16:5] Jn 20:12.
d. [16:7] 14:28.
e. [16:9–20] Mt 28:1–10; Jn 20:11–18.
f. [16:10–11] Lk 24:10–11; Jn 20:18.
g. [16:12–14] Lk 24:13–35.
h. [16:14] Lk 24:36–49; 1 Cor 15:5.
i. [16:15–16] 13:10; Mt 28:18–20; Lk 24:47; Jn 20:21.
j. [16:18] Mt 10:1; Lk 10:19; Acts 28:3–6.
k. [16:19] Lk 24:50–53.
l. [16:20] 1 Tm 3:16.