Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009
O.T. Quotation Structure - Mark
Mark's Gospel is characterized by brevity. In many ways his abruptness appears harsh to a modern reader, but we must try to appreciate the life and death situation of the first Christian followers. They were hunted, arrested, imprisoned, even tortured and killed for their loyalty to the Messiah.
Mark's Gospel brings a strong message in small pieces but in an organized fashion with a clear plan and purpose.
First Mark introduces John the Baptist, heralded and prophesied in two different books of the Ancient O.T. prophets, Isaiah and Malachi, the first and last prophets in the Synagogue collections.
Then Mark shows that Jesus has already judged via prophecy that the people of Jerusalem are wicked and deserving of death, and will be denied as a nation the great Amnesty promised. They have not prepared themselves nor do they care: They are living a lie, giving lip-service to God, but ignoring His Commandments, which carry a death-penalty.
They remain blinded, and are only given 'parables'. The explanations that lead to Eternal Life are only given to sincere and committed disciples who have heeded the call and left all to follow Jesus.
It is significant that the great example of apostacy that Jesus chooses is the Commandment to Honour your parents, which the Judaeans have avoided by granting themselves loopholes and excuses. Jesus underlines that it is a death-penalty offence.
Then again, Jesus warns them of the damnation of hellfire three times, and finally shows that by abusing the divorce law, they have become a nation of adulterers.
It is remarkable that Jesus lists 5 of the 10 Commandments and also adds "Do not Defraud" (Mk 10:19), something He has just expounded upon regarding how the people have been breaking the "Honour Parents" Commandment!
These teachings of Jesus set the stage and explain the rejection of Jesus and His message by the people, and also explain His role as the Suffering Servant.
Amongst the tragic and painful context of the rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah of the LORD, we see the wonderful CHIASTIC PATTERN which surrounds and beautifully frames the Great Commandments, upon which all the Law and the Prophets hang.
The economy and brevity of Mark's usage of the Old Testament is balanced by his powerful portrayal of the passion and the logic of the sequence of events.
As well, Mark pounds home Jesus' no-nonsense stands on the Ten Commandments, Duty to Parents, Fraud, Adultery, and the consequences of rejection by the people of the Messiah prophesied by the Holy Scriptures, and heralded by John the Baptist.
Those who reject Jesus' message and command to follow Him are utterly cut off from the promised Amnesty of Forgiveness and the Eternal Salvation from the LORD, which is reserved for those who heed Jesus' call in their lifetime and His timely message Announcing the "Acceptable Year of the LORD".
In Mark we note also the typically Hebrew Chiastic Pattern, which later John the Evangelist will imitate and elaborate, in his following supplemental Gospel. The pattern is not meant to be secret, but rather is meant to be discovered in the simple act of listing and contemplating the O.T. quotations that Mark has chosen to punctuate his Gospel story.