The Gospel According to Mark – 2018.02.25
The reading for today is pure distillation of mythological tropes common among the Hebrew people.
It carries forward some a set of theological themes that very important in the first century.
It also situates the early Jesus Movement clearly within Rabbinical Judaism, which is otherwise known as Pharisaical Judaism.
Jesus is presented as a Pharisee, a Jew of the Synagogue, his followers address him as Rabbi, and the central concern among the actors in the text: Jesus, Peter, James, and John, concerns the foretelling that Jesus will rise from the dead.
In ancient Judaism, only the Pharisees taught the resurrection of the dead.
Beyond these immediate concerns the writers of Mark’s Gospel were also interested in conveying the message that their teachings were in total alignment with historical Judaism, therefore they depict Jesus as another Abraham, who was also visited by divine messengers, and they show him changed, as Moses was changed on the mountain; furthermore, they show him being given the endorsement of Moses, and also of the prophet Elijah.
This trope is a concrete expression of the faith of the Jesus Movement that their teaching was in alignment with the Patriarchs, the Law Giver, and the Prophets.
In Jesus, the whole history of the people was complete.
This is the message that the periscope intends to convey, and it should be remembered that it is a fiction, these events never happened, they are a literary invention.
It does not transmit a historical truth about the Life of Jesus, but rather a historical truth about what people believed concerning Jesus roughly fifty years after his death.
This is my Son, the Beloved
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.
2nd Sunday of Lent