Reading Mark chapters 7 thru 9, we make great strides toward his goal and purpose. We found 8 of The 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message very early on when we employed The New Testament Literacy Tool. So much, so far, has been to depict persons as #7, believing upon the Savior, Jesus Christ; as well as a good many who would not. The call to one is to #6, repent and become the other! Mark’s means of doing so is by relating many accounts of Jesus’ divine wonder-working power, showing Himself to be God come in the flesh for his Roman readers.
From chapter 7 we learn of God’s opinion of man-made religious traditions in verses 1 thru 13. Those who engage in them think they please God by means of them, but in fact, God actually hates such things, as He never commanded them! Put such things far from you! From verses 14 thru 23, our individual sinfulness comes from within our own hearts! These make us unclean, and no human religious traditions can cleanse us from these sins! The chapter then goes to 2 more accounts of Jesus’ miraculous powers. He delivers a foreign woman’s daughter of an evil spirit, and heals a deaf/mute, both because of faith.
Chapter 8 begins to get to the heart of Mark’s Gospel. It’s 5 parts, with the Feeding of the 4,000 in verses 1 thru 13. The account ends with Pharisee unbelief, and verses 14 thru 21 is Jesus’ warning to His disciples against their teachings. With verses 22 thru 26, Jesus gives sight to a blind man. Beginning with verse 27, Jesus asks His Disciples who it is that they say that He is. Peter speaks up, declaring Jesus to be the Messiah! From that, we get the first mention of the 2 elements of #5, the Gospel, of how that ‘Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead‘ in verse 31. We have now found 9 of the 10 Elements.
Chapter 9 furthers Mark’s purpose. We first have Christ’s Transfiguration before Peter, James and John in verses 1 thru 13. But it ends by His again telling them of #5, the Gospel of His suffering and resurrection with verses 9 and 12. Coming down from the Mount, they are met with a man whose son was possessed. As with all such accounts, this one, too, revolved around #7, faith and unbelief. After delivering the lad, Jesus again tells His Disciples of the #5, Gospel matters of His death and resurrection for a 3rd time! With the end of chapter 9, we find for the first time, the very serious matter of #3, severe judgment and punishment in hell! We also learn of where Jesus derived His belief and teaching of it; from the very last verse of Isaiah, 66:24. Verses 42 thru 49 are rich! We have #7 belief in Christ, #2 sin, and #3 judgment in verse 42. Verses 43 thru 47, with their self-mutilation is depicting #6, repentance as essential to avoid the #3, severe judgment of hell. Verse 48 also brings us #10, the Kingdom of God. With 5 of The 10 Essential Elements of the Real New Testament Message in this passage alone, and having finally found #3, judgment; we now have all 10. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell