The Gospel of Mark opens without fanfare—certainly nothing befitting literary greatness. There is no lofty imagery like the Gospel of John, no impressive genealogies like the Gospel of Matthew, and no historical narrative like the Gospel of Luke. Instead, Mark flashes rapidly through events that build on one another. John the Baptist’s prophecy is followed by short summaries of Jesus’ baptism and His temptation by Satan. After calling His first disciples, Jesus begins healing and preaching both near and far—all within the first chapter. The unadorned, clipped prose communicates something urgent.
Mark’s narrative captures the coming kingdom that will erupt with a power only some can see. It imparts a sense of urgency to those who know they are needy.
Mark portrays the advancing kingdom through the person and work of Jesus, who draws people. The crowds at Capernaum seek Him out (Mark 2:2), as do those marginalized by society (Mark 1:40; 2:3). Al…