173. Who are the “Elect” (eklektoi) in Mark 13:20?

Despite the notoriety of the idea of ‘the elect’ within systematic and historical theology, the corresponding Greek term eklektos only occurs twenty-three times in the New Testament, ten of which occur in the Gospels. Twice it defines the Messiah as “God’s … Continue reading

172. What Kind of thlipsis Is Jesus Talking About in Mark 13:19-20?

This blog-article is longer than normal. The explanation is simple — the question is complex and so requires more detailed discussion. However, I trust you will enjoy it. It might surprise you to learn that the phrase “great tribulation (megalē … Continue reading

168. Jesus’ Response to the Pharisees’ Testing (Mark 8:12 anastenazō )

The only writer in the New Testament to use the compound verb anastenazō is the author of Mark’s Gospel (8.12). He uses it in the narrative to describe Jesus’ response  to the demand from the Pharisees that he show them … Continue reading

144. Understanding Peter’s Denial (aparneomai) Mark 14:30-31,72; 8:34.

One of the most disturbing incidents in the Synoptic Gospels occurs as Jesus is on his way to Gethsemane. He prophecies regarding Peter that “today, in this night, before a rooster crows twice, three times you will deny (aparnēsēi) me” … Continue reading

143. The Reaction of the Rich Man to Jesus’ Command (stugnazō) Mark 10:22

According to Mark’s Gospel the young man who seeks Jesus’ prescription for eternal life leaves saddened or distressed (Mark 10:22). Mark also adds the note that “the man’s face fell (stugnasas),” at least this is how the NIV renders it. … Continue reading

135. Shaking off the Dust (ektinazein) (Matthew 10:14)

In the second discourse Jesus presents in Matthew’s Gospel he prepares his disciples for  a mission to Israel. Among the many instructions is one that defines how the Twelve should act if a household or village “does not receive you … Continue reading

127. phragmos (Mt. 21:33; Mk. 12:1; Luke 14:23; Eph. 2:14).

In Ephesians 2:14-22 Paul describes God’s great project for a new people, which required the cross, the resurrection and the ascension. Jesus Messiah’s sacrificial actions served to re-create the family of God, incorporating Jew and non-Jew equally, based upon his … Continue reading

124: “Do not Defraud” — the Rich Man’s Challenge (aposterein) (Mark 10:19)

When Jesus responds to the question of the rich man in Mark 10:18-19, he reviews five of the ten commandments. However, where we would expect the wording of the tenth commandment to occur (“do not covet”), Mark’s narrative incorporates entirely … Continue reading

113. The Spirit is Willing (promuthos, Mark 14:38/Matthew 26:41)

One of the last things that Jesus says to some of his disciples prior to the cross is found in Mark 14:38/Matthew 26:41. The text is identical in both Gospels. Jesus has just finished the Passover meal with his disciples, … Continue reading

107. What’s the Difference? Diastolē in Paul’s Letters and Diastellō in Mark’s Gospel.

Three times in his letters Paul used the noun diastolē (Romans 3:22; 10:12; 1 Corinthians 14:7). This noun is translated in the New International Version (NIV) as “difference” or “distinction” The cognate verb diastellō occurs more frequently in the New … Continue reading

103. “Lording it Over” (katakurieuō) in Mark 10:42 and 1 Peter 5:3

When you read Jesus’ words in Mark 10:42-45 you probably think that Jesus is contrasting the abusive leadership of national leaders with the serving leadership he demands in his Kingdom. However, it is probable that Jesus is not commenting on abusive leadership, per se, but rather the absolute power of lordship that national leaders had and is contrasting that with the serving, slave-minded attitude of his Kingdom leaders. Continue reading

101. Jesus’ Sorrow in Gethsemane (Mark 14:33-36)

Jesus’ actions in Gethsemane hold many mysteries. Expositors normally account for Jesus’ grief and sorrow by relating it directly to his personal angst over the imminent horror of the crucifixion. I have no doubt that the cross contained more then … Continue reading

100. The “Spirit (pneuma) of Jesus” in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 2:8; 8:12)

The Gospel writer, Mark, used psychological terms sparingly and carefully in reference to Jesus. For example, the word kardia is never applied to Jesus because the human heart is “evil” (Mark 7:19,21), “hardened” (3:5; 6:52; 8:17) and “disputatious” (2:6,8; 11:23), … Continue reading

93. “Astonishment” or “Bewilderment” – ekstasis in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 5:42; 16:8)

Mark 16:8 is regarded by many as the closing verse of that Gospel, with verses 9-20 considered a later addition to bring Mark’s story of Jesus into conformity with those written by Matthew and Luke, i.e. to include stories of resurrection and … Continue reading

91. Transformation – The Sense of metamorphoomai (Mark 9:12; Matthew 17:2)

The most astounding event in Jesus’ ministry, apart from his resurrection, has to be his so-called “Transfiguration.” Both Mark and Matthew describe what happened to Jesus by using the verb metamorphoomai. As the NIV translates, Jesus “was transfigured (metemorphthē) before … Continue reading

79. Casting Out Demons – A New Authority (ekballō Mark 1:34)

Ten times (twelve if we add the references in 16:9,17) Mark’s Gospel describes the exorcisms accomplished by Jesus or his follows as “casting out (ekballein) a demon (or demons).”1 In a short note Graham Twelftree2 says that this is “the … Continue reading

2.   Split Skies and Ripped Curtains (schizein)

At the beginning (1:10) and the end (15:38) of his Gospel Mark describes the splitting of the skies and the ripping of the temple curtain by the same word. Within the story this verb schizein only occurs in these two … Continue reading

1.   Jesus: Messiah, Son of God, Yahweh.

Titles carry great significance in the Bible. As Mark begins his Gospel account he applies to Jesus three titles, each filled with implications. First, he identifies Jesus of Nazareth as “Christ” or “Messiah”. This man from the obscure Galilean town … Continue reading