Mark: Exegetical Notes

Return to Index

Notes on Chapters 1-16
A summary of some major and minor triads in Mark

My own research has led me to detect three structural elements in Mark.
(1)  A use of the Wise-Powerful-Well-born humanity-defining  pattern governing the overall  presentation of the witness to Jesus and the calling of the disciples (see
Mark & Wisdom, Power and Wellbeing);
(2)  Related to the above, a repeated sequence of
relationships as one-to-one, one-to-some, one-to all (see the  provisional triadic outline of Mark 1.16-8.26 in Gospel Prologues and Their Function), and
(3)  A correlation of Mark's sections as defined by the Codex Vaticanus  with the triennial lectionary of the Palestinian synagogue (see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary).

All three of these are reflected in  the notes below and in a non-technical fashion in the St Mark's Day Sermon.   Many of my insights were sparked off by Eduard Schweizer's article,  'Mark's Contribution to the Quest of the Historical Jesus', NTS  10 (1963-64), 421-432.  

Three books by R. H. Lightfoot, History and Interpretation in the Gospels (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1937), Locality and Doctrine in the Gospels (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1938), and The Gospel Message of St Mark (OUP, 1950), opened my eyes to taking seriously the Synoptic Gospels, and Mark in particular, as careful authors, controlling their vocabulary and structuring their narrative.

NOTE:  The materials in these notes are not meant to be a full commentary.   They basically are supplementary to such commentaries as those by V. Taylor, D. Nineham and E. Schweizer.  Materials readily found there are not generally repeated here unless especially pertinent to arguments in these notes..

Go to Chapter:  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Chapter 1
     Prologue (not 1.1-13, as commonly held - see Gospel Prologues and Their Function), ending with Jesus going into Galilee, as the raised Lord does in 16.7 (cf. 14.28), proclaiming the gospel .
This is the outline of the whole gospel in miniature, probably based on an expanded form of the OT confessional pattern as found in its fullness in Nehemiah 9.6-38:

  Neh. OT Pattern Mark  
A. 9.6 Creation motif 1.1 'beginning'
B. 9.7-8 Israel & promise of the scriptures (including John as forerunner) 1.2-11 Scriptures quoted, way prepared, Jesus (as Israel) called as God's Son. 
  9.16-22 Wilderness testing 1.12-13 Jesus tested in Wilderness.
C. 9.9-15 Passover/Exodus motifs 1.14 John's passion as prefiguring Jesus' passion, the Messianic Exodus
D. 9.23-38 Entrance into the Promised Land, disobedience and God's patience, renewal of covenant. 1.15 Jesus' entry into Galilee (Galilee of the nations, Isa.9.1), proclaiming the Gospel of God (for all people).

1.1-8        John, in garb of Elijah (Mal. 4.5 & 2 Kings 1.8).  See § 1, Mark and the Triennial Lectionary.  John's ministry of repentance as Elijah, preparing way for Jesus, who will baptize with Holy Spirit and be 'stronger' than John.
1.2, 3:  ὁδός , 'way' - this term is pregnant with meaning in Mark, encomposing overall the way of  discipleship, the following of Jesus in his way, which is the way of the cross 2.23; 4.4, 15; 6.8; 8.3, 27; 9.33, 34; 10.17, 32, 46, 52; 11.8; 12.14.
1.7           ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου, 'the one stronger than I': motif of 'strength' (= power) runs through Mark, with Jesus ultimately being the 'strong' one in his apparent weakness  (Gethsemane & the cross: Christ crucified as the wisdom & power of God, 1 Cor 1.24). - cf. Note at 1.40.
1.8        Baptize with Holy Spirit:  Contrast this adaptation by Mark to  (Christian) baptism with the (more original) judgemental threshing imagery of Matt 3.11-12 & Luke 3.16-17.
1.9-11    Jesus' baptism as God's wellborn Son (= Israel's calling, Exod 4.22-23)  See 
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, § 2. 
            General: Jews felt selves to be 'cut off' from direct access to God, since there were no more prophets.  Viewed the sky as symbol of barrier between themselves & God.  Expected and hoped God would rend the heavens & speak to them directly again, as in Testament of Levi & Testament of Judah (Likely date ca. 100 BCE), when God would send his spirit.
1.10    εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς, 'he saw the heavens rent': σχιζ- root used in Mark only three times; here it conveys aspect of access; in 2.21a patch of new cloth on an old garment will cause a tearing (σχίσμα ), a loss theme, in parallel with the loss theme in the same verse of  the bursting of old wine skins filled with new (still fermenting) wine; the third; in 15,38 it is the rending (σχίσμα ) of the veil of the temple from top to bottom in two pieces, immediately followed by the centurion's confession, this signifying both the loss of the Shekinah from the physical temple and the access of  the Gentiles. 
water // water of Flood (Gen 8.1)
            heavens opened // inversion of heavens closed at end of Flood (Gen 8.1)
            'he saw' - in Mark this experience is Jesus' alone (the one-to-one relationship); not seen or heard by others as in Matt & Luke.
      'Spirit // spirit (wind) God sends to drive back waters at Flood (Gen 8.1)
            'like a dove' // dove Noah sends out (Gen 8.8) (only occurrence of  'dove' in Mark)
1.11    'voice came from heaven' - cf. Test. Levi & Test. Judah - Jewish expectation
            '"Thou art my son the beloved"': Gen 22.1 LXX (Isaac as Abraham's 'beloved son' to be bound as sacrifice - cf. Test. Levi 18.); Exod 4.22 (Israel as God's Son); Ps 2.7 (Davidic King as
God's adoptive Son).  Here God sets Jesus apart as wellborn (he will be set apart as wise at Tranfiguration, 9.7, and powerful in the cross, 15.39 - cf.  Mark & Wisdom, Power and Wellbeing).  Also 1.11 is a one-to-one relationship: God to Jesus; 9.7 (Transfiguratiion) is a one-to some/nucleus of Church relationship: God to the disciples; 15.39 (Cross)  is a one-to-all relationship: Centurion to whole world.
     ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα, '"with you I am well pleased"' - cf. Isa 42.1 (Servant song: LXX: προσεδέξατο αὐτὸν ἡ ψυχή μου, 'my soul readily accepts him'); Gen 33.10 (Esau well-pleased with Jacob: εὐδοκήσεις με).
            Comment: We see combined here apparently Jesus' role as God's Son (as righteous remnant of one of Israel) and as the true Davidic King) and as the Suffering Servant of Deutero-Isaiah (this last is a possibility, not a sure thing, especially in light of Gen 33.10 where Esau is 'well-pleased' with Jacob).  On Davidic Messiah as called God's Son cf. 2 Sam 7.11-14, Nathan's prophecy, as applied to the Messiah at Qumran in 4Q Florilegium 10-14.  There is an element of necessity about Jesus accepting John's baptism of repentance.
: it presents Jesus as the totally dependent one, not claiming 'a leg of his own to stand on'.
1.12-13  Temptation in the Wilderness: Adam/Israel typology.  'Wilderness' is a theological locality (place of testing).  General Jewish outlook is that one does not become wise unless one has been tested.  This is consonant with the Spirit casting him out (ἐκβάλλει) into the Wilderness.
1.14-15:  'Now after John was arrested (παραδοθῆναι - handed over): This parallel's Jesus' passion; everything said about John is repeated about Jesus - cf.
John and Jesus in parallel in Mark.
           ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, 'Jesus came into Galilee': just as he goes before the disciples into Galilee ('of the nations/Gentiles', Isa 9.1) in 16.7; cf. 14.28.
1.16-20:  Calling the four principal disciples.  These are highly stylized accounts: (a) Jesus in motion, (b) his electing look, (3) he calls them, (4) they leave old life behind and follow him.   Peter and Andrew leave behind their livelihood (i.e., means of support), while James and John leave behind their father's authority for a new Father, God.  It is part of Mark's presentation of discipleship as involving dependence upon God through Christ.   This is the calling of the nucleus of Israel: see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §4.
1.16:   Καὶ παράγων παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας, ‘And passing by along the  Sea of Galilee’: παράγειν, ‘to pass by’: As Ernst Lohmeyer has shown, the ‘passing by’ marks the onset of an epiphanous, even theophanous situation, here in 1.16, also 2.14 (call of Levi), and 6.48 (walking on the water, where the verb used is  παρέρχομαι).  See 'Passing by' in the GospelsSea of Galilee: invariably called 'Sea' (not 'Lake') in Mark, it represents the chaotic world, as in the chaotic, unordered sea of Gen 1.2, which is why Jesus calls the disciples to be 'fishers of men' in the next verse.
1.17:  ποιήσω ὑμᾶς γενέσθαι ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, '"I will make you fishers of men"'  V. Taylor notes the metaphor as a judgemental one in  Jer 16.16: 'Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them'; he adds  further references to Amos 4.2; Hab 1.14-17; Ezek 29. 4 f.,  which use fishing metaphors for judgement. 
Teaching in synagogue on Sabbath; encounter with unclean spirit.  See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §5a.
1.21: 'they enter Caparnaum'; likewise 2.1 and 9.33; here he enters synagogue to teach; in 2.1 & 9.33 he is 'in house' (cf. 2.1).
1.23-26:  Encounter with one unclean spirit. (1) Mark has both demons and unclean spirits.  Only unclean spirits ever speak, and they do so three times: here one-to-one: one unclean spirit: "I know who you are: the Holy One of God"; one-to-some: 3.11 unclean spirits (plural): "Son of God"; one-to-all: 5.7 legion in Decapolis (mixed Jewish-Gentile territory): "Son of God Most High!" (with 'God Most High' sitting more naturally on Gentile lips than Jewish ones). Note that both demons and unclean spirits know who Jesus is (and are told to be silent), while the disciples continuously misunderstand.
1.25-26:  Jesus: 'Hold your peace and come out!'; unclean spirit 'came out', not 'cast out' like demon; cf. 5.8; 6.7; 9.25-26. 
1.27-28:  'new teaching with authority', whereas the scribes were repeaters of received tradition. - Pentecost setting, but there is no 'teaching' here. -
see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §5b.  As we shall see, although Mark uses 'teaching' (διδαχή, 5x) and 'to teach' (διδάσκειν , 17x) numerous times, the only time any content is given, it is the necessity of going in the way of the cross, 8.31: 'he began to teach them' (ἤρξατο διδάσκειν αὐτοὺς ).
Healing of Simon's mother-in-law  (πενθερά) - continuation of Pentecost  setting -
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §6 
1.29:  'they came into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John' (ἦλθον εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν Σίμωνος καὶ Ἀνδρέου μετὰ Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωάννου ). 'Into the house' or 'in house' (ἐν οἴκῳ) in Mark consistently indicates the gathered church (as versus those 'outside', as in 3.31 and 4.11).  
1.30:  Note intercessory prayer: they tell Jesus about her.  
1.31:  Jesus raises her (ἤγειρεν αὐτὴν )into new life, and, healed, she serves them (i.e., one is healed in order to serve).  
1.32-39:  Note the time sequence, which echoes a passion-entombment-resurrection-mission sequence: 1.32: even, sunset (entombment time); 1.35: morning, before daybreak, he rose up  (resurrection time); 1.36-37: Simon and others follow him; 1.38-39: preaching and casting out devils in Galilee.
1.39:  'And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.' (Markan summary)  (Does the 'their' imply that we have our synagogues?)
1.40-45:  Encounter with leper -
see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §8.
1.40:  "You are able" (δύνασαί) - leper attributes power to Jesus as a wonder-worker (not recognizing his dependence upon God).  Cf. 2.10.  Note: All occurrences of ἰσχῦρός, 'strong', and ἰσχύειν , 'to be strong' are loaded significantly around the question of who is the truly strong one?  (Answer:  Jesus when he prays, depending wholly on the Father.)  Many, but not all, uses of δυνάσθαι , 'to be able, to have power to', are similarly loaded.
1.41:  'moved with anger' (ὀργισθείς with NEB, not σπλαγχνισθείς as in Nestle-Aland, RSV/NRSV) - because leper is wrong about Jesus.  [Although Matthew and Luke emphasize Jesus as compassionate and merciful, yet in re-writing this passage neither speaks of Jesus as 'being filled with compassion', which means they probably read 'being angry' and omitted it.]
1.43:   'he sternly charged [ἐμβριμησάμενος] him  to say nothing'  - a strong command, which Matthew (9.30) in like manner uses for Jesus' charge to two blind men of inadequate faith who then disobey.`
1.44:   Levitical cleansing as per Lev 12.1-13.28 (see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §8a).
1.44:  'See!' (Ὅρα) - ὁράω: 1.45; 8.15, 24; 9.4; 13.26; 14.62; 16.7 - all concerned with seeing Son of God in cross and in mission to all people; note that disciples' eyes are opened re way of cross.
1.44:  '... that you say'' - cf. 15.39.
1.44:  '... nothing to no one!' (μηδενὶ μηδὲν ) - cf. 15.39; 16.8; 1.24, 34, etc..

1.45:  Healed man disobeys Jesus' express command - i.e., wrong kind of faith (see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §8b).
Chapter 2
2.1-12:  Healing of the Paralytic.  I believe this story has Gentile overtones:  they break in through the roof, i.e., force their way into the already gathered church; Jesus sees their faith; healed man sent to his own house, whereas (Jewish) disciples are chosen to be with Jesus (cf. 3.14). 
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §9).
2.1:  'in house' (ἐν οἴκῳ): in Mark 'in house' means the gathered church as versus those 'outside', 3.31; 4.11.
2.5:  'Jesus, seeing their faith' - i.e., faith of those who brought him
2.10:  Jesus' reponse to scribes: the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins': first occurrence of  'Son of Man'; note it is 'authority' (ἐξουσία), something conferred on him, not 'power' (δύναμις), which might be viewed as inherent in the person.  Cp. 1.40.
2.13-17:  Call of Levi.
2.14:  'passing by' (παράγων ) - cf. 1.16. - cf. 1.16-20.
2.15: 'in house' - cf. 2.1.
2.17: 'Those who are strong [οἱ ἰσχύοντες ] have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners.'  Note equating of 'strong' with 'righteous, 'weak' with 'sinners'. Cf. 1.40 Note.
2.18-22:  The question about fasting:   V. Taylor on 2.18: 'The only fast enjoined by  the Law was that of the Day of Atonement (Lev. xvi. 29; cf. ἡ νηστεία in Ac. xxvii. 9), but additional fasts were observed by the Pharisees, twice in the week, on Mondays and Thursdays (cf. Lk. xviii. 12, νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου).  Traditional fasts, commemorative of historical events (e.g. the Great Fast of the 9th of Ab (August)), were also observed.'  Gibbs: In our lectionary setting, we are no more than two weeks before the 9th of Ab, which may possibly bear on the locating of this pericope, but this is conjecture.  Note that this material includes an  allusion to the coming passion:
'the sons of the bride-chamber ... when the bridegroom is taken from them ... they will fast in that day.'
2.21: new un-shrunk patch on old garment: worse rent (σχίσμα ) is made. - cf.  1.10.
2.22:  new wine for fresh skins;  I.e., new Spirit-filled community calls for new disciplines/practices.
2.23-28:  Plucking ears of grain on the Sabbath: 
2.25-26:  Note Davidic reference and 'House of God': Close to 9th of Ab (fast mourning loss of temple).
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §13a)
2.28:  Jesus' response to Pharisees: 'so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath' (reply to Pharisees)
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §13b)   Second 'Son of Man' passage.
Chapter 3
3.1-6:  Healing of man with withered hand.
3.1:  'And he entered again into the synagogue': 'again' used to link to previous story.
3.2:  'And they watched him intently' - ready to catch him out.
3.3:  Jesus inaugurates the challenge by telling man to stand forth, and then
3.4:  directly challenges Pharisees: Lawful on Sabbath to do good or ill, save life or kill?, but they don't answer, since any answer would put them in the 'wrong'.
3.5:  Jesus looked about with anger (judging look), grieved at their hardened hearts, tells man to stretch out his hand, which is restored.
3.6:  'And the Pharisees went out, and straightway with the Herodians, took counsel against him, how they might destroy him.'  - Note the going out as opposed to being inside with Jesus - cf. 3.21.  Herodians (a Quisling party, hobnobbing with Romans?) mentioned with Pharisees in 12.13. regarding paying taxes to Caesar.   Otherwise in NT only in the letter story in Matt 22.16.
Jesus heals the multitudes. 
3.7-8:  from all the Jewish areas.
3.9:  'a little boat' (πλοιάριον ) - To be in a boat or ship (πλοῖον )in Mark is to be going into mission; cf. 4.1, 36, 37; 5.2, 18, 21; 6.32, 45, 47, 51, 54; 8.10, 13, 14.
3.11:  'Unclean spirits ... cried out, "You are the Son of God."' - cf. 1.23-26 above.
3.13-19a  The Call of the Twelve  - see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §16a.
3.13:  'And he goes up to the mountain, and summons those who he willed.' 
3.14:  Twelve [= 12 Tribes of Israel] 'to be with him, and to be sent out to preach,
3.15:  and have authority  to  cast out demons.'  - cp. 5.18-19; 6.7.
3.19b-22:  Accusations against Jesus
3.19b:  'And he enters a house.'
3.21:  'those by him ... went out to seize him'
3.22:  Scribes from Jerusalem: "He is possessed by Beelzebul, ..."
3.23-30:  A house divided.
3.27:  'But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house. ['house' = Jerusalem temple, cf. 11-15-19]  Cf. Note at 1.40.  (
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §16b).
3.28:  The sons of men forgiven all sins
3.29:  but blasphemy against Holy Spirit [i.e. calling the obviously good 'bad']
3.30:  'for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."'
3.31-35:  Jesus' true relatives.
3.31-32:  'And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. ... "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you" [implied rejection of Jesus by own family, who do not go in house]
3.34-45:  'And looking around at those who sat about him [i.e. 'in  house'], "Here aree my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother."'  [Note: no 'father' in list: only 'Father' is God.]
Chapter 4
4.1-34a:  Parables of the Kingdom.
4.1:  Chapter basically addressed to those 'near and far', including Gentiles - cf. Ps 65.5.
:  The parable of the sower.
4.3: "Listen!"
4.8:  "... thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold." - increasingly fruitful.  Contrast Matt. 13.8: 100 - 60 - 30.  I.e., Marcan version is expecting many converts; Matthaean community is experiencing decreasing number of converts, and this is reflected in the predominately second person singular imperatives in Matthew.
4.9: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
- see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §17.
4.10-12:  The reason for speaking in parables.
4.10:  'And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables.'  [i.e., 'in house' type of situation.]
4.11:  'And he said to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again and be forgiven."' (Isa. 6.9-10).
- see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §18  Only one mystery in Mark (see Matthaean parallel with 'mysteries' in Matt 13.11): the necessity of going in the way of the cross.
4.13-20:  Interpretation of parable of the sower.
4.13:  'And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable?  How then will you understand all the parables?"'  [4 types of soil/hearers where in THE WORD is sown = 4 types who hear/study Torah in Mishnah, Aboth ('The Fathers'), 5.12, 14, 15 (Danby's enumeration) - cf. also the four sons as seen in Mark 12.13-37 as detected by David Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, and 1 Cor 10.1-15 (see end of  1 Corinthians and the Observance of Passover).]
4.20  Good soil: those who hear, accept, bear fruit, 30x, 60x, 100x (i.e., 'understanding' encompasses fruit-bearing).
4.21-25:  The purpose of parables.
4.21:  Lamp for lampstand, not to be hidden.
4.22:  Nothing hidden except to come to light.
4.23:  "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
4.24:  "Take heed what you hear; ..."
4.25:  "For to him who has will more be given; ..."  (cp. 9.24)
4.26-29:  Parable of the seed growing secretly.
4.30-32:  Parable of the mustard seed.
4.33-34:  Jesus' use of parables.
4.33:  'With many such parables he spoke THE WORD to them, as they were able to hear it;
4.34:  he did not speak to them without a parable, but  privately to his own disciples he explained everything.  (i.e., 'in house').
4.35-41:  The stilling of the storm.
4.35:  "Let us go across to the other side."  (from Jewish territory/mission to Gentile territory/mission - R. H. Lightfoot, Locality and Doctrine in the Gospels)
4.35:  Jesus asleep in helmsman's place (the sleep of trust - see Nineham, loc. cit. &
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §19a.)
4.39:  "Peace!  Be muzzled!"  (cf. 1.25 re commands to unclean spirit)
4.40:  '"Why are you timid?  have you no faith yet?"  And they feared a great fear, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"'  (cf. 1.27)
Order out of chaotic sea: Pss 89.8, 9; 93.3, 4; 106.8, 9; Isa 51.9b-10.
Disorder symbolized by storm: Pss 69.1, 2, 14, 15; 18.16.
Trust in God in midst of storm, etc.: Isa 43.2; Pss 46.1-3; 65.5; 107.23-33.
Sleep as sign of trust: Prov 3.23-23; Pss 3.5; 4.8; Job 11.18-19; Lev 26.6 (T2).
Israelites not trust God, ask him to 'awake': Ps 44.23, 24.
Stilling of storm, followed by fear: Jonah 1.15-16.
[Boat = Ark of Church, cf. 1 Pet 3.20-21; cp. Mark 6.45-52, Jesus walking on water]
4.41:  The disciples 'feared a great fear'  (See
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §19b.)
Chapter 5
5.1-20:  The Gerasene with a legion of unclean spirits.
5.1:  'They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.'  (i.e. Gentile territory)    (See
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §19c.)
5.2:  A man with an unclean spirit met him.
5.3:  No one was able to bind him any more  (cf. 3.27 re binding the strong man)
5.4:  'And no one  was strong [enough] to subdue him.'
5.7:  '"Jesus, Son of the Most High God!  I adjure you, do not torment me."'  (cf. adjuration of Lev 5.1)  (parallel confession: 15.39).
5.8  "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"
5.9:  "My name is Legion: for we are many."
5.15, 16, 18:  'the demonized one' in reference to the healed man (instead of 'unclean spirit')
5.18:  'The man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. [cf. 3.14 ]
5.19-20:  'But he refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and announce to them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."'  (Cp. 7.24-30, especially 7.28).  (I.e., this Gentile convert, unlike Jewish ones, is sent away.  I believe this is part of a Marcan attempt to maintain a Jewish-Christian teaching leadership in the church.)
5.21-43:  Jairus' daughter and the haemorrhaging woman.
5.21:  Back in Jewish territory.
5.22:  Ruler of synagogue, i.e. upstanding Jew.
5.25-34:  Bleeding woman: different style of Greek, therefore probably Marcan insertion.
5.28-30:   Ritually unclean woman  (see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §21) touches Jesus' garment, but instead of spreading uncleanness to Jesus, power (δύναμις ) goes from Jesus to her to heal.  (Probably signifies abrogation of written and oral Law on uncleanness.)
5.34:  "Daughter, your faith has made you well [or 'saved you']; go in peace, and be healed of your scourge."  (This appears to be a direct counter to Moses' plague which brought blood in Egypt, Exod 7.19-21. - see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §21.)
5.35-43:  Healing of Jairus' daughter after she is reported dead.
5.35:  "Your daughter is dead...."
5.36:  Jesus to Jairus; "Fear not, only believe!"
5.39:  "The child is not dead but sleeping." [Christian dead as 'sleeping', awaiting resurrection: cf. 1 Thess 4.14; Matt 27.52.]
5.41, 42:  "Arise!"  The girl arose.  [Verb used for resurrection.]
Here the unclean enters into salvation and life before the upright Jew, cp. Matt 21.31: "The tax collectors and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you."
Chapter 6
6.1-6: Jesus is rejected in his own country.
6.1:  'He ... came to his own country.'
6.2:  'And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this?  What mighty works are wrought by his hands!
6.3:  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary ...?"  And they took offence at him.
Note: Rejection of his wisdom ('all this'), power ('mighty works'), and wellbeing ('son of Mary').  (see
Mark & Wisdom, Power and Wellbeing).
6.4:  'And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."'  [Own country: 6.1-3; own kin: 3.31-32; own house: 3.21.  Thus 6.4 appears to be a closing summary of the rejections of 3.7-6.4 in reverse order.]  (see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §22. - it would appear that we have Joseph-typology here.)
6.6:  'And he marvelled because of their unbelief ' (ἀπιστία ).
6.6-13:  The sending out of the twelve.
6.7:  'And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.' (Cp. 3.15)  [They are sent two-by-two since Jewish jurisprudence requires two witnesses to make a case.]
6.12:  'So they went out and preached that men should repent.'  [Note: like John in 1.4, not like Jesus in 1.15.]
6.13:  'And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.'  [Note: still only exorcizing demons despite 6.7; cf. 9.14-29.]
6.14-16:  Herod thinks Jesus is John raised.
[Here are guesses as to Jesus' identity and status.  This material is inserted here to make plausible the insertion at this point of the 'flashback' narrative (the only one in Mark) of John's passion.]
6.14:  'And King Herod heard of it, ... and [some] said, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead, and that is why these powers are at work in him."
6.15:  But others said, "It is Elijah."  And others said, like one of the prophets of old."'  [This list is repeated in 8.27c-28 as opinions of (mere) men.  There was an intertestamental expectation of a coming prophet based on Deut 18.15.]
6.16:  .But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."'  [1 Kings 18.17: Ahab to Elijah:  "Is it thou, thou troubler of Israel?"]
6.17:  Herodias vs John because of adultery/incest.  [1 Kings 19,2: Jezebel seeks Elijah's life because he killed prophets of Baal.]
6.17-29:  The death of John.
[The form here has apparently been influenced by the story of Elijah's dealing with Ahab and Jezebel, 1 Kings 18 ff; for Mark John = Elijah, cf. 9.11-13.  Every detail of the story is paralleled in Jesus' passion -
John and Jesus in parallel in Mark.  John’s passion is the paralleling precursor to Jesus’ passion.  Here it immediately precedes the Messianic Passover feeding, as the slaying of the lamb precedes the Passover meal, which is impossible in the passion narrative itself.   Thus here we have the Paschal sacrifice and then the Passover Meal (normal order), whereas in the passion narrative we inevitably have first the Passover Meal and then the Paschal sacrifice (i.e., Jesus on the cross).]   (see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §24. - it would appear that we have Joseph-typology here.)
6.30-44: The return of the twelve (6.30-33) and the Feeding of the 5.000 (6.34-44).
Note that this is the Messianic Passover Feeding -  see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §25.  This feeding is to be compared and contrasted with the Feeding of the 4,000 (8.1-19).
6.21, 32, 35:  'desert place' or 'wilderness' (where Israel was fed with manna, Exod 16).
6.32:  'And they went away in the boat [πλοῖον ] to a desert place apart.' - cf. 3.9 re boats.
6.34:  'As he landed he saw a great crowd [πολὺν ὄχλον ], and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.'  ['crowd', ὄχλος , in Mark and Matthew = 'those who will be the Church eventually'; compassion - cf.8.2; the only explicit content of Jesus' 'teaching' in Mark is re the cross, as in 8.31; 9.31; 'shepherd' motif: 14.27 f.; 16.7.
6.36:  Disciples to Jesus: '"Send them away..."'  [I.e., don't want the problem themselves and don't think Jesus can handle it; they do not 'understand' or trust]
6.37:  '"You give them something to eat!"'  [1st imperative, followed by disciples' incredulity:]
'"Shall we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat!?"'
6.38:  '"How many loaves have you? Go!  See!"' [2nd & 3rd imperatives, only after which they begin to obey:]
6.38:  'And when they had found out, they said, "five, and two fish."'  [Linking of two primitive eucharistic symbols?  5, 12 and 70 as numbers representing the Jews: Cf. Gen 47.2 (Joseph's 5 brothers before Pharaoh); 46.8-27 (Jacob's 12 sons); 46.27 (70 persons in all).  Note that  '5 brothers' = Jews in Luke 16.28.]
6.39:  'to sit down ... upon the green grass.'  [i.e., springtime, season of Passover; cp. motifs of bread and leaven after feeding of 4,000 in 8.14-21; cf. John 6.4.]
6.41:  'and gave them to the disciples to set before them' [i.e., disciples participate in Jesus' ministry here]
6.42-3:  'And they all ate and satisfied.  And they took up 12 baskets of broken pieces and of the fish.'  [12 = 12 tribes of Israel; κόφινοι , 'baskets' of a type used by poor Jews in Rome acc. to Juvenal XIII,14 & VI,542.  Cf. 2 Kings 4.42-44, Elisha's feeding of 100 with a surplus left over, apparently with 'bread of the firstfruits', v. 42, i.e. at Passover time.]
6.44:  'And those who ate were 5,000 men [ἄνδρες ].'  [On 5 cf. on 6.38; Jews only counted males as making up the necessary number for a Passover company or of the ten men needed for a synagogue; cp. 4,000 of 8.9, sex unspecified.]
-8.26: The Marcan Greater Interpolation concerning the Gentile Mission.
Mark 6.45-8.26 and the Gentile Mission and Mark 6.45-8.26 in parallel with Joshua.
6.45-52:  The walking on the water.
6.45:  'Immediately he forced his disciples to get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida ....'  [boat = ark of Church in the world, going into mission; 'go before him' - cf. 1.2 & cp. Jesus going before disciples to Galilee, 14.27-28; 16.7.  Obedient disciples follow their master, and these have been recalcitrant and still are; 'forced', ἠνάγκασεν - only time verb used in Mark; disciples probably too 'deaf' to obey a command; Bethsaida - not reached until 7.31 & 8.22.]
6.46:  'And after he took leave of them, he departed to the mountain to pray.'  [Mix of Gethsemane & Passion, Ascension/Exaltation, & intercession of Rom 8.34, perhaps?]
6.47:  'When even was come ...' [cf. 13.35.]
6.48ab:  'And he saw that they were distressed in rowing, for the wind was against them.  And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.'  [4th watch - Roman reckoning: 3-6 a.m. (resurrection time); walking on the sea - of God: Job 9.8; Ps 77.19; Isa 43.2, 16; note Isa 43.2-7 is appropriate to Gentile mission.  Wisdom likewise 'walks in the depths' of the sea: Ecclus 24.5f.
6.48c:  'He willed to pass by them
6.49:  but when they sae him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;
6.50:  for they all saw him and were terrified.  But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Be of  good cheer, I AM, fear not!"  [Joshua 1.5 f., 9, 17 f.; Deut 1.29 f.; 7.21; 20.3 f.; 31.6-8 - note that all of these refer to entry into the Promised Land = 'Galilee of the Gentiles/Nations' in Mark; Isa. 41.13 f.; 43.1-3; 35.3 f.. - cf. Mark 6.48b.  Note Isa 43.1-7(-13) is a 'programme' for bringing in all the people of Israel and the nations.  In late OT and intertestamental period there is evidence that 'I AM' was used as a name for God.  Thus Jesus is clearly presented in post-Easter Yahweh-typology here as Church is being pushed into mission.]
6.51:  'And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased.'  [cp. 4.35-41]
'And they were utterly astonished,
6.52:  for they did not understand about the loaves, for their hearts were hardened.
6.53-56: Healings at Gennesaret.
6.53:  [Gennesaret 3-4 miles south of Capernaum, thus not reached by crossing over, and still 'Jewish' territory.]
6.56:  'besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment ...'  [cf. 5.28: 'Unclean' Jews again, probably.]
Chapter 7
7.1-23:  What defiles a man.
7.1:  Pharisees and some scribes from Jerusalem.
7.8:  '"Leaving the commandment of God, you hold fast the tradition of men."'  [Note continuing contrast between ways of God and ways of men - cf. e.g. 8.33b; 10.27.]
7.14:  '"Hear me, all of you, and understand."'
7.17:  in a house.  [i.e. gathered church]
"Are you [disciples] also non-understanding?"'
7.19b:  'Thus he declared all food clean.'  [i.e., Jews may eat with Gentiles.]
7.20-21:  'And he said, "What comes out of a man defiles a man."' (Vice list)  [i.e., problem lies within man, not outside him.]
7.23:  '"All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."'  [Note: Versus Pharuisees and some scribes from Jerusalem, 7.1.]
7.24-30:  The Syro-phoenician woman.
7.24a:  'And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre.'  [Nineham, p. 200:  'Gentile territory only in a very limited sense.'  I.e., could expect some mix of Jews and Gentiles in 8.1-10.]
7.24b:  'And he entered a house and would not have anyone know it; yet he could not be hid.'  [? reluctance to spread to Gentiles at this point?]
7.25:  'But immediately a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.'  [in house]
7.26:  'Now the woman was a Greek, a Syro-phoenician by birth.  And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.'  [cp. 'unclean spirit', v. 25; does this imply that her daughter's condition is worse than she knows?  But seev. 30: demon had come out. 7.29, 30  - only times demon ever said to 'come out'.]
7.27:  'children' = Jews; 'dogs' = Gentiles; i.e. salvation is of the Jews (John 4.22).
'children's bread' - I heard J. Duncan M. Derrett (at an Oxford Congress) explain that dogs were fed on a  coarse bread, with the fine flour reserved for bread for humans.
7.28a:  "Yes, Lord."  [i.e., acknowledges this and confesses Jesus as 'Lord'.]
7.28b:  "Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."  [i.e, Gentiles come to Jesus by mercy and grace, not by right.]
7.29:  'And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way;  the demon has left your daughter"' 
7.30:  'And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.'  [Note: daughter healed at distance and Gentile returns home; cp. 3.14; 5.18-20.]
7.31-37:  The healing of the deaf-mute (with spit).
7.31:  'And again, having departed from the regions of Tyre, he came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the midst of the district of Decapolis.'  [See Nineham, p. 203.   If follow Wellhausen's suggestion that 'Sidon' is amis-rendering of Saidan, variant form of Bethsaida, then have further link with 8.22-26.  Bethsaida means 'House of hunter/fisher/provider', and here is where Jesus provides for disciples to 'hear' and to 'see'.]
7.33:  Healed privately. [akin to 'in house'.]
7.35:  'And his ears were opened, his tongue was unfettered, and he spoke correctly.'  [Note complete narrative parallels in 8.22-6, blind man of Bethsaida.]
7.36:  'And he charged them to tell no one; but the mor4e he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.  ['to proclaim, κηρύσσειν , verb for proclaiming gospel.  Does this correspond to the 'before the time' of Matt 8.29?  Cp. Mark 8.30.]
7.37a:  'And they were astonished beyond measure,'  [i.r., no ordinary miracle.]
7.37b:  'saying, "He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."'  (cf. Isa 35.5)
Chapter 8
8.1-10:  The feeding of the four thousand.
[Cf. Nineham, p. 206, for parallels between 6.35-37 and 8.1-26.]
8.1a:  '... when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat.'  ['again' - reference back to Feeding of 5,000, 6.35-44.  Decapolis implied, since no movement indicated in between.]
8.1b:  'he called his disciples to him, and said to them,
8.2:  "I have compassion on the crowd because  they have been with me three days [cf. Exod 15.22] and have nothing to eat;
8.3:  and if I send them away hungry to their homes [cp. 3.14; 5.18; 7.30] they will faint on the way; and some of  them have come a long way."'  [Cp. Mal 1.11; cf. Matt 8.11; Luke 13.29; note: 'some', not 'all' - i.e. probably signifies a mix of Jews and Gentiles]
8.4:  'And his disciples answered him, "How can one feed these with bread here in the desert?"  [vv. 3-4: cf. Ps 107.3-6.  NOTE: disciples confess impotence; they do not run from the task.]
8.5:  'And he asked them, "How many loaves have you?"  They said, "Seven"  [See on v. 8 below.  NOTE: they are immediately ready; no imperatives used.  They can 'hear'.]
8.6-7:  {Feeding with loaves and fishes, disciples assisting.  NOTE: no verb 'to command' used in v. 7 as RSV/NRSV implies.]
8.8:  seven baskets of fragments left  ['seven': cf. vv. 5 & 6; Gentile world traditionally divided  into seventy nations; cf. Deut 7.1: 'seven nations' (Gentiles) cast out that Israel may enter Promised Land; 'baskets', σπυρίδες , a type common to all people in contrast to the κοφίνοι of 6.43.]
8.9:  4,000 people  [1 Chron 23.5: 4,000 who shall offer praise in the temple?;  NOTE: no gender mentioned, unlike 5,000 males in 6.44.  Thus Feeding of 4,000 makes most sense geographically and theologically as a feeding of Jews and Gentiles.]
8.10:  Departure by boat with disciples.  [Since Pharisees next on scene, probably 'Dalmanutha' means clearly Jewish territory.]
8.11-3:  The Pharisees seek a sign.
[Exod 16.2-end is the feeding of Israel with manna in the wilderness.  Exod 17.1-7 is Israel putting Moses & Yahweh to the test.  Exod 17.2b:  Moses says, "Why do you find fault with me?  Why do you put the LORD to the proof?"]

8.11:  'The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. 
8.12:  And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign?  Amen, I say to you, no sign shall be given this generation."
8.13:  And having left them and again embarked, he departed to the other side.'
8.14-21:  A discourse on leaven (in the boat).
[This is the last part of the showing forth of Jesus in his ministry and his rejection by all and sundry.  The first to be blind to him were the Pharisees (3.6), the last the disciples (here).  Does this explain why 8.11-3 and 8.14-21 are placed together here, i.e., as a summary of all rejections?]
8.14:  'Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them inn the boat.'  [i.e., (1) they have bread, but (2) it is not enough in itself.]
8.15:  'And he cautioned them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leven of Herod."'  [cf. 3.6; 12.13 for Pharisees linked with Herodians.  Possibly P. & H. are meant to stand for conventional religion and conventional worldliness respectively.]
8.16:  'And they discussed it with one another, saying, "We have no bread."'  [totally obtuse!?!]
8.17b-18  Jesus: "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread?  Do you not yet perceive or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?  And do you not remember?  [ Cf., e.g., Ps 78.11: 'They forgot what he had done, and the miracles that he had shown them.']
8.19:  '"...five loaves ... 5,000, how many baskets [
κοφίνοι ] ... did you take up?"  "Twelve."'
8.20:  '"And the seven for 4,000, how many baskets [
σπυρίδες ] ... did you take up?"  "Seven."
8.21:  'And he said top them, "Do you not understand?"'  [cp. Ps 78.20b;  'Can he also give bread , or provide meat for his people?'   'provide' sayid; see Beth-sayid-ah, 'House of provision' in next verse.]
8.22-26:  The healing of a blind man (with spit) in two stages at Bethsaida.  [cp. 7.31-7]
8.22:  'And they came to Bethsaida.'  They [unspecified] brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him.'  [cp. 2.1-12, the paralytic brought by four people; 8.22: blind man brought to Jesus in contrast to blind Bartimaeus, who throws off his cloak, springs up, and comes to Jesus, 10.50.]
8.23:  Healed privately.  [like deaf-mute in 7,33, and akin, again, to 'in house'.]
8.24:  First stage: "I see men (τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ); but they look like trees walking." {Cp, Judges 9.7-15,
Jotham's parable, the only OT passage where trees travel, looking to anoint a king over themselves; three candidates (olive tree, fig tree, vine) decline; fourth candidate, the bramble, accepts on condition they
really mean it.; to Judges 9.15 cp. Mark 15.17 f., the crowning of Jesus.]
8.25:  Second stage:  'and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.'  [This stage will be reached with Bartimaeus, 10.46-52.]
8.16:  'And he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."'  [Akin to a Gentile?  I.e., akin to Gentile centurion of 15.39?  Note: healed man not a native of the village.]
(This is the end of the interpolation.)
8.27-33:  The (1st stage) confession at Caesarea Philippi and the first statement of the necessity of the passion, with Peter's lack of understanding.
8.27-28:  Resumé of men's total misunderstanding of Jesus: same three options as in 6.14-16: John, Elijah, one of the prophets, parallel to olive tree, fig tree, and vine of Jotham's parable (cf. above on 8.24).
8.28:  Peter: "You are the Christ." [1st
stage, cp. 10.47: Bartimaeus' confession.]
8.31:  'And he began to teach them that the Son of  man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  [ 'after three days': repeated in 9.31 and 10.34.  Cf. Jonah 1.17-2.10: in fish three days and three nights, deliverance from waters of chaos; but this is really Exodus typology here, viz: Exod 3.18; 5.13: let us go three days' journey"; Exod 13.21 f.: ... day ... night ... day   . night ... day ... night (i.e. three whole days journey after slaying of lamb/first-born).  Then on fourth day: Exod 14.19: 'night passed', people passed through sea; 14.24: 'in the morning' Egyptians discomfited.  Exod 15.1-18: Moses' song about Red Sea and waters of chaos.  See Mark 16.1-8.  'he began to teach them': here we have content of teaching for first time.]
8.32:  'And he said this plainly (παρρησίᾳ ).  And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
8.33:  ... "Get behind me, Satan!  For you are not on the side of God but of men."  ["Get behind me, Satan!": (1) Peter is in Stan's position, tempting Jesus (as in 1.13); (2) Peter is to get behind Jesus and follow him.]
8.34-9.1:  The conditions of discipleship: The one-to-one relationship and source of wellbeing.
8.34a:  'And having called together the crowd with the disciples, he said to them:  [Note that what follows this is for the disciples and all future disciples, unlike 9.31 and 10.32, the 2nd and 3rd episodes concerning the necessity of the way of the cross,  which are addressed to disciples only.]
8.34b:  If any one wills to come behind me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me."
8.37:  "For what can a man [ἄνθρωπος - emphatic, and over against God] give in return for his life?" [cf. 10.27.]
8.38:  "For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words ..., of him will the Son of  man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Chapter 9
9.2-8:  The transfiguration: Jesus as God's wise Son  (cf. note on 1.11 re 9.7 & 15.39)
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §37a.
9.2:  'After six days' Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a high mountain by themselves.  ['after six days' - cf. Exod 24.16 in 24.12-18, glory on mountain; Exod 25 ff. - details for tabernacle.
9.4:  'Elijah with Moses ... talking with Jesus''  [The order 'Elijah with Moses' probably indicates them as suffering prophets, thus pointing forward to Jesus as a suffering prophet, but they also represent the Prophets and the Law]
9.5:  Peter's three booths: only put Jesus on same level as Moses and Elijah.
9.6:  For he did not know what to answer [phrase repeated by disciples in 14.40 in Gethsemane].
for they were very afraid [ἔκφοβοι - disciples are afraid when going into mission (in boat), going in way of cross.]
9.7:  "This is my beloved Son, hear him!"
[Jesus as Wisdom/Wise one, God's Torah]
9.8:  Jesus very emphatically alone to be seen, i.e. superseding Law & Prophets as written.
9.9-13:  The coming of Elijah
9.9b:  '... he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead.'
9.12b:  '... and how is it written of the Son of man, that he shgould suffer many rhings and be treated with contempt?'  [Isa 53.3?]
9.13:  'But I say to you that Elijah [= John then Baptist, cf. 1.1-8] has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, ...'  [Again, placing Jesus as Son of man in parallel with John as Elijah.]
9.14-27:  An epileptic boy healed
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §37b.  Paradigm of Gethsemane, Passion & Resurrection, and of man's salvation - the 'undoing' of Gen 3.
9.17:  'And one of the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a speechless spirit; ...
9.18b:  and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not strong [enough]." [οὐκ ἴσχυσαν ]
9.19:  'And he answered them, "O faithless [ἄπιστος ] generation, how long am I to be with you? Bring him to me."'  [parallel to those brought to Jesus in 2.1-12 (paralytic) and 7.32-37 (deaf-mute).]
9.20:  '... when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy ...
9.21:  ... "How long has he had this?"  And he said, "From childhood." [Cf. Gen 3.]
9.22:  "And it has often ... [tried] to destroy him; but if you are able, help us, have compassion on us!"
9.23:  'And Jesus said to him, "If you are able!!! All things are possible [] to him who believes." [Τὸ Εἰ δύνῃ – πάντα δυνατὰ τῷ πιστεύοντι. ]
9.24:  "I believe; help my unbelief." [Πιστεύω· βοήθει μου τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ ]
9.25:  (Before crowd gathers, i.e. privately?)  '... he rebuked the unclean spirit, sayingf to it, "Speechless and dfeaf spiritI, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again."  [This is the one and only explicitly permanent cure in gospel.]
9.26:  '... convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead."  [ cp, Jesus' death on cross.]
9.27:  'But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him, and he arose.'  [ cp. Jesus' resurrection; cp. raising of of Simon's mother-in-law (1.31) and raising of Jairus' daughter (5.41 f.).]
9.28-29:  Only prayer gives strength.
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §38. 
9.28  'And when he had entered a house, his disciples privately asked him, "Why could we not cast it out?" 
9.29  And he said to them, "This kind is able to come out by nothing [ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν] except prayer."'  [Thus Jesus is the truly 'strong' one in Gethsemane (14.32-42) and on the Cross (15.39).]
9.30-32:  The second statement of the necessity of the passion and the disciples' lack of understanding.
9.30:  'They went on from there and passed through Galilee.  And he would not have anyone know it [i.e., maintaining privacy]; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men [ἄνθρωποι , and they will kill him, and when he is killed, after three days he will rise."  But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.'
9.33-50:  Way of discipleship.
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §40. 
9.33-37:  The dispute about greatness; the one-to-some/fellow disciples relationship.
9.33:  'And they came to Capernaum; and being in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing in the way?"'
9.35:  'And he sat down [position for teaching] and called the Twelve; and he said to them, "If anyone wills to be first, he is to be last of all and servant of all."
9.36:  'And having taken a child, he stood him in their midst [i.e., in the Church], and when he had embraced him
9.37:  he said to them, "Whoever receives one of such children in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me."'
9.38-41:  The strange exorcist.
9.38:  'John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name who does not follow us, and we were forbidding  him because he does not follow us."  But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for there is no one
9.39:  who will do [future tense] a mighty work [δύναμις ] in my name and will be able [δυνήσεται - pun?] soon after to speak evil of me."'  [Rules for future Church.  If disciples only exorcize as yet, then non-disciple equals them re faith up to this point.]
9.41:  '"... because you exist in Christ's name."'
9.42-48:  On temptations (discipleship)
9.42:  "... one of these little ones [ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ] who are believing ..."
9.49-50:  Concerning salt (discipleship)
9.50:  "be at peace with one another."
Chapter 10
10.1-12:  Marriage and divorce (in Judaea)
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §41. 
[versus Pharisees and written commandment of Moses]
10.10:  'And in the house again the disciples asked him about this.'
10.11:  Jesus' answer: rule for the community?
10.13-16:  'Suffer little children' (discipleship)
10.14b-25:  Need to receive the Kingdom of God as a little child if one is to enter it.  I.e., like circumcision on the 8th day, when one becomes bar berith, 'son of  the covenant' by grace, when one takes on the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than bar mitzvah, 'son of the commandment', at age 13, when one takes on the yoke of the Law and the works of the Law.
10.17-31:  The rich young man (discipleship)
10.17-18:  Jesus says no one is 'good' (ἀγαθός ) except God; i.e., Jesus, as the totally dependent one, does not claim 'a leg of his own to stand on' and he has no 'merit'.
10.19:  Commandments -
ee Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §42a. 
10.23:  'And Jesus looked around and says to his disciples, ...' [cp. 3.34]
10.24:  'And the discples were amazed at his words.'
'And they were exceedingly astonished [ἐξεπλήσσοντο ], saying tio themselves, "Then who is able [δύναται ] to be saved?"'  [ἐκπλήσσω , a verb used only with reaction to Jesus' teaching, cf. 1.22; 6.2; 7.37; 11.18.]
10.27:  'When he looked at them, Jesus says, "With men [παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ]: impossible [ἀδύνατον ], but not with God.  For all things are possible [πάντα γὰρ δυνατὰ ] with God."'
10.29 f.:  '"... no one who has left ... father, ... for my sake and the gospel's, who will not receive ... in this time [100-fold of everything except a father!], and in the age to come eternal life."'
10.32-34:  The third statement of the necessity of the passion and the disciples' lack of understanding.
10.32:  'They were in the way, going up to Jerusalem, and going before them was Jesus [mark of shepherd; cf. 14.27 f., 16.7]; and they were amazed, and those following were afraid.  And taking again the Twelve, he began to say to them the things that were to happen to him, 
10.33-34:  "Lo, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man will be delivered ... Gentiles ...after three days he will rise." [Cp. changes from 8.31: rejected by elders, chief priests, and scribes, and killed; 9.31: delivered into the hands of men (ἄνθρωποι ) and they shall kill him; 10.33: delivered to chief priests and scribes who condemn him to death  and  shall deliver him unto the Gentiles.]
10.34:  spitting and scourging -
ee Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §42b. 
10.35-45:  Jesus and the sons of Zebedee: the one-to-all relationship
10.37:  "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."  [see below on v. 40.]
10.38b:  "Are you able [δύνασθε ] to drink the cup that I drink [14.23, 36; 15.36], or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" [Rom 6.3: 'baptized into his death'; cf. Mark 16.1-8:
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §62.; baptism = cross, death and rising.]
10.39:  "We are able [δυνάμεθα ]"  [You will indeed drink and be baptized ...]
10.40:  "... but to sit on my right and on my left is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."  ['right' and 'left': only here (vv. 37, 40) and in 15.27 of the two thieves flanking his cross; i.e., Jesus is in his glory on the cross as in John 17.1.]
10.42:  "... those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them ...."
10.43:  "... great among you ... your servant [διάκονος ],
10.44:  ... first among you ... slave [δοῦλος ] of all."  [Sequence: 'lord it', servant, slave.]
10.45:  "For [i.e., 'because' - Jesus as exemplar] the Son of man also came not to be saved but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  [
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §42c.]
10.46-52:  The healing of blind Bartimaeus outside Jericho.  [cf. 8.22-26, 27-33.]
10.46:  '... the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, sat by the way'  [Possibly Timaios is abbreviation for Timotheos, a Greek name meaning 'honoured of God', which would fit here and correspond to Matthew's re-write of Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi,. where, unlike in Mark, Peter truly confesses and is called 'blessed', Matt 16.17.]
10.47:  '"Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!"'  [corresponds to Peter's "The Christ", 8.29; i.e., first stage of restored sight.]
10.48:  'And many rebuked him that he should be silent,'  [cp. 4.39, Jesus rebuked wind and said to sea, "Be muzzled!", followed by disciples': "Who is this?", 4.41.]
10.49:  'And Jesus, having stopped, said, "You call him!" and they called the blind  one, saying to him, "Be of good cheer! [cf. 6.50 at water-walking] Arise! [cf. 5.41 at storm-stilling]  He is calling you."  NOTE: Church ("You call") taking up Jesus' ministry ("He calls").
10.50:  'And he, casting away his garment [cp. 14.51 f., 'young man' who shed garment and then turns up clothed in tomb, 16.5 - i.e. baptismal candidate , baptized into Christ's death and raised in his resurrection; thus hint of baptism here, 10.50], having sprung up, came to Jesus. [unaided]
10.51:  'the blind one ..., "Rabboni, let me see again."
10.52:  'Depart! [Ὕπαγε ] Your faith has saved you." [cp. 5.34: "Depart" (Ὕπαγε ) to Syro-Phoenician woman; cf. also 8.33: "Depart (Ὕπαγε ) after me" to Peter]
'And immediately he saw again and followed him in the way' [to the cross.  I.e., second stage of healing 'blindness' now complete.]
Chapter 11
11.1-10:  The entry into Jerusalem.
[Feast of Dedication on 'lectionary time' - see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §44a.  Mark's 'lectionary time is Dedication, although his narrative time is near Passover; note combination of Dedication, Temple and Christ in John 10.22 f.; cp. John 2.13-22: 'cleansing' of Temple at Passover as in Mark.  Mark's lectionary and narrative times will coincide at the Last Supper, for his lectionary time is moving much more rapidly than his narrative time.]
11.1:  'at the Mount of Olives' [Zech 14.4, concerning the Coming of the Lord, is only OT passage to mention  'Mount of Olives' - the Lord shall stand on it - cf. Mark 13.3, where Jesus sits on Mount of Olives (in judgement) over against the Temple. -
see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §44b.] 
11.1-2:  'He sent     two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the ..."' [// 14.13]
11.2:  'a colt ... on which no one has ever sat' [cf. Zech 9.9 concerning the coming of the King; note that Mark only alludes to this passage, but Matt 21.5 quotes it to make the matter clear -
see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §44c.]
11.3:  '"The Lord has need of it."  [For Mark's audience 'the Lord' = Jesus, especially on basis of 11.1 above, although if said historically, it would have been ambiguous and probably taken to mean God.]
11.4:  'And they ... found'  [Mark's emphasis on Jesus' foreknowledge - vs Matt 21.6: 'The disciples went and did as Jesus has directed them' -emphasis on disciples' obedience.]
11.4:  'open street' [ἄμφοδον ] close to ἄμπελον. 'vineyard', Gen 49.11: colt tied to vine, the colt of Judah, the lion and  ruler.
11.9-10:  Note Marcan emphasis on 'kingdom' compared to Matt 21.9 )'Son of David@) and Luke 19.38 ('the King') - i.e. Ma
rk maintaining 'Messianic secret'.]
11.10c:  Ps 118.1: 'Hosanna' = 'Save now!'
'in the highest' = 'from heaven' (as vs 'from earth') - cf. Mark 11.30.  Thus R. H. Lightfoot (The Gospel Message of St Mark, p. 62 and n.): 'May God save Israel from heaven!'
11.11:  Jesus in the Temple.
N.B.: It would be usual for such an entry into a West Asian city to end with a visit to a temple (as even many Indian politicians do today).
11.11b:  'when he had looked round at everything'  [cf. Ps 11.4b - this is the 'judging look of God'; cp. Luke 22.61: Jesus 'looking round at' Peter in judgement at Peter's third denial.]
11.11c:  'as it was already late' [// Jesus' arrest at night, and see with 11.12-24.]
11.12-14:  The cursing of the fig tree [= barren Israel]
11.12:  'On the following day [//  15.1: morning delivery to Pilate for condemnation/judgement.]
11.13a:  'And seeing a fig tree' - see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §45a.]
11.13b:  'it was not the season for figs' - i.e., this is to be taken metphorically (= unfruitful Israel/temple), not literally.
11.14a:  Judgement against barren temple (see next part)
11.14b:  'And his disciples heard it.'  [cp. 11.18.  I.e., discernible only to disciples/Church.  On metaphorical, allegorical fig tree see Jer 8.12; Joel 1.7; Ezek 17.24; Mic 7.1-6; Hos 9.10, 16 f.]
11.15-19:  The cleansing/ravaging of the temple (in the Court of the Gentiles)
[This is a prophetic act pointing forward to the desolating of the Jerusalem Temple in 15.38, q.v., as is indicated by this being bracketed by the cursing of the barren fig tree, 11.12-14, and its withered state the next day, 11.20-21. - 
see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §45b.]
11.15-16:  Cf. 3.27: binding the strong man and plundering his house.
11.17:  'And he taught ... "a house of prayer for all the nations/Gentiles"' (Isa 56.7)
11.18:  'And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him, for they were afraid of him, because the crowd was spellbound by his teaching.'  [Note: (1) This prophetic event is the 'last straw' for the chief priests and scribes.  (2) Now they are explicitly out to kill him.  (3) They fear him because of his teaching and its effects.  (Matthew makes this point even more emphatically.)  Compare their fear with Herod's fear of John, 6.20, both lead to a death.]
11.20-21:  The fig tree withered to the root.
 [See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §45c.]
11.22-24:  Faith in God  through prayer.  (deleting not only 11.26, but also 11.25)
[H. F . D. Sparks has convincingly argued for the deletion of 11.25 in  'The Doctrine of the Divine Fatherhood in the Gospels', Studies in the Gospels ed. by D. E. Nineham (Oxford, 1955), 241-262.  (a) 11.25-26 are on the same subject (forgiveness), use same phrase, and are found together in Matt 6.14 f.; (b) Matt 21.2-27 reproduces Mark 11.29-33 verse by verse except for 11.25 f. and thus they were missing in Matthew's copy of Mark; (c) Mark 11.25 suddenly changes subject of 11.22-24 (faith and prayer) to forgiveness; (d) 'your Father which is in heaven' is a Matthaean, not a Marcan phrase.]
11.23:  'this mountain'  [I suspect that the reference is to Mount Sion as the site of the Jerusalem temple, which is to be abrogated in 15.38.]
11.27-33:  Chief priests, scribes and elders question Jesus' authority; he questions them about John's and they stay mute.
Chapter 12
12.1-12: Jesus' parable to them about a vineyard.
12.13-37: The four types of sons
(detected by David Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism [London, 1956]
The Torah in four passages requires the father to tell his son about the Passover. These were taken to refer to four different kinds of sons. It was then extended to sons in general in their attitude to the Torah.  These occur here in Mark in the Passover season as follows.
Addressed to the wise son (cf. Deut. 6.20: ‘What mean … commanded  you?’).
12.13:  'And they [= chief priests, etc. of 11.27] sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said.'
12.14c: '"Is is lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?"'  [If Jesus says, 'Yes' he will lose Jewish support; if he says ,'No', he will be arrested by Roman authorities.]
12.15c:  '"Bring me a denarius, and let me see it."'  [A Roman coin which they handle.]
12.16b:  '"Whose image [εἰκών ] is this, and whose title?"'
12.16c:  'They answered, "The emperor's".
12.17:  'Jesus said to them, "Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's"'  [Since the coin bears the emperor's image, it belongs to the emperor, but human beings are the image [εἰκών ] of God, and hence belong wholly to God.  It is men and women in their visible physical stature that are the image of God.  Ancient rulers set up statues of themselves or inscribed pillars to show that they owned and ruled a given territory.  In Gen 1.27 God sets a peripatetic biped, human beings, to be the symbol of his ownership and sovereignty.  Thus Jesus wins both sides of the toss: pay taxes but worship and serve God alone.  That his questioners understand this is shown by their response.  They are not puzzled, but rather:]
12.17c:  'And they were utterly amazed at him.'

Addressed to the scoffing son (cf. Exod. 12.26: ‘What is this service to you?’).
12.18:  'Some Sadducees [for whom the Torah, Gen to Deut, alone was binding], who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question...'
112.19-23:  Question of Levirate marriage in relation to resurrection, hoping to have a laugh at Jesus' expense by pitting Torah against the Prophetic tradition.  
12.24-27:  Jesus confutes them by a passage from Exodus. 3.6.  See
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §47a.
12.28-34a:  Addressed to the tam or derek ’erets, the simple upright man, giving a  simple explanation leading to upright behaviour  (cf. Exod. 13.14: ‘What is  this?’).
12.28:  '... one of the scribes ..., seeing that he answered them well, ... asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?"
12.29-31:  Jesus replies with Deut 4.5 (love God) and Lev 19.18 (love neighbour).  [Rabbis posed question: If someone said, "Teach me Torah while I stand on one foot", i.e., the heart of the Torah, what would one teach?  Lev 19.18 was a prime candidate; Jesus chooses two, with the second being the inevitable corollary of the first.]
12.32-33:  'Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher. ..."
12.33a:  'When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."'
12.34b-37:  : 
The son who is too simple to ask (cf. Exod. 13.8: ‘And thou shalt tell…).
12.34b:  After that no one dared to ask him any question.  [So Jesus initiates the discussion, which, by implication, leads to 'Son of God' superseding 'Son of David' as title and status for 'the Christ'.]
[The same four sons in the order simple to wise occur in a Passover setting in 1 Cor 10.  See 
1 Corinthians and the Observance of Passover.]
12:38-40:  Jesus' attack on the scribes who seek preference and rob widows.
12.41-44:  Jesus commends the widow who gives all that she has.
Chapter 13
13.1-36:  The Marcan Apocalypse.
13.1-2:  Disciples admire stones of temple; Jesus says they will be thrown down.
13.3-4: Jesus, sitting [in judgement] on Mount of Olives, is asked by Peter, James, John and Andrew privately, when this will be '"and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?"'  [Note: the inner band in what is apparently their order of precedence (cp. 9.2, which names only the first three); the sign is the 'desolating sacrilege' of 13.14.]
[Generally speaking, apocalyptic writing looked forward to a time when God would break in cataclysmically into a totally deteriorating (usually oppressive) situation, and would establish a new order for all the good people (see the 'birth pangs' that begin in 13.8).  As we shall see, Mark signals in 13.35 that for the Christians the breakthrough has already occurred in Jesus' passion.  Thus he defuses what we may call the 'otherworldliness'  and pessimism of apocalyptic expectation.  We Christians are already in a new ball game!  I believe that Mark has intentionally gathered these materials here, just before the Passion narrative itself, to make this point.]
[Matthew makes this 'breakthrough' even more explicit, by adding at Jesus' death the earthquake and the raising of the saints (27.51-53), plus the descent of the angel (28.28.2) and meeting 'the Lord in the air' on the mountain (28.16) thus fulfilling all the expectations  of the apocalytptic catena of 1 Thess 4.15-17 except for the trumpet, which Matthew keeps for the future final in-gathering (24.31).]

13.14:  'the desolating [masculine adjective] sacrilege [neuter noun]' is a person; this is Jesus crucified, as we shall see in 15.38.
13.19:  ἔσονται , 'There will be' (future indicative).
13.20:  καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολόβωσεν κύριος τὰς ἡμέρας, οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ. ἀλλὰ διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἐκολόβωσεν τὰς ἡμέρας : 'And except the Lord  shorten the days, no flesh would be saved, but for the sake of the elect whom he chooses, he shortens the days.'  [The verbs are all aorist, and hence by themselves simply indicate an event without time reference (even though the NRSV, like preceding versions, translates with a perfect tense, i.e., as an event completed in the past, even though  13.19 is in the future tense).  I believe the shift to the aorist is significant.  I would suggest that  'the elect' includes Jesus in his passion (see the early darkness of 15.33 at the sixth hour and the early death at the ninth hour, 15.34and Pilate's reaction at 15.44; cp. John 19.33) and also the (present? and) future suffering of the disciples in the apparently increasingly straitened circumstances of the Marcan community.]
13.30:  '"Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things things have taken place."'  [i.e., in the passion.]
13.31:  "Heaven and earth will pass away...'" [completing the 'birth pangs' of 13.8, and ushering in a
(re-)new(ed) creation, as in 2 Cor 17 and Gal 6.15.]
'"... but my words will not pass away."' [since Jesus is God's Wisdom as the truly wise, powerful, well-born one.]

13.35-37:  '"Watch therefore - for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.   And what I say to you I say to all: Watch!"'  [R. H. Lightfoot (The Gospel Message of St Mark) noted that these are three-hourly intervals, which match in sequence the Supper (evening -14.17-25), Gethsemane, arrest and trial  (midnight - 14.26-65), cockcrow for Peter (14.66-72), second (illegal) council (dawn - 15.1), crucifixion (third hour - 15.25), darkness (sixth hour - 15.33), Jesus dies (ninth hour - 15.34), burial (evening - 15.42).  God's great break-in has already occurred: it is in Jesus' passion.  The double Watch! (γρηγορεῖτε) matches Exod 12.42, which defines this night as a night of  'watchings' (plural); cf. 14.34, 37.]
Chapter 14
14.1-2:  Passover and Unleavened Bread coming: originally two feasts, now coalescing.  Chief priests and scribes seek to take Jesus with subtlety to kill him, but not during the feast.
14.3-9:  At meal in Simon the leper's house, Jesus' head is anointed before his burial (v. 8) by a woman with an alabaster jar of myrrh
See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §51.
14:10-11:  Judas goes to chief priests [representatives of the people], offering to betray Jesus.  Here is Judas' denial of Jesus to all; at Supper his denial of Jesus to church/disciples (14.18-21), and at arrest his denial directly to Jesus, one-to-one.
14.12-16:  Preparation for what Mark emphasizes is the Passover meal (vv. 12, 14, 16).
14.17-26:  Passover meal - see
Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §53.
14.26:  'When they had sung a/the hymn(s) [ὑμνήσαντες ], they went out to the Mount of  Olives.' [hymn(s):  the Hallel, Pss. 113-118.]
14.27-28:  'And Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' [Zech 13.7]  But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."'  [see 'shepherd' passage, 6.34, and the 'going ahead of you to Galilee', 16.7, plus 1.15.]
14.32-42: Gethsemane, where Jesus is the 'strong one' through prayer, as per 9.28-29.

14.34: '"My soul is exceeding sorrowful [περίλυπος] even unto death"' 
[See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §54.]
14.35-41:  v.36 - "Abba, Father" - one-to-one; vv. 37-38 - disciples and Simon - one-to-church; v. 41 - "the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners" - one-to-all.
14.43-50:  The arrest.
14.43:  'Immediately, while he was still speaking [ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλούντος|], Judas, one of the twelve, arrived ...' 
[See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §55a.]
Judas: "It is the one whom I shall kiss" (φιλεῖν, to kiss, 14.44).  [In Gen 29.13: 'Laban embraced and kissed Jacob.'  See Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §55b.  In the Passover supper when Deut 26.5 ff. is recited, ('A wandering Aramaean ....') the unpointed Hebrew could be, and was, vocalized as, 'A Syrian [Laban] tried to kill our father [Jacob], and he went down and sojourned in Egypt.'  They then commented that Pharaoh was bad, but Laban worse, with no place in the life to come because he 'tried to kill all of us off in the loins of our father Jacob'.  Hence Judas is depicted as Laban, as detected by Frank Kermode in The Genesis of Secrecy (Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge Mass., 1979).  This same model probably lies behind the depiction of Herod's slaying of the innocents, Matt 2.16-18, followed by the flight into Egypt, Matt 2.19-20.]
14.51-52:  The following young man [νεανίσκος] who leaves the linen cloth and frees naked is a baptismal candidate, who ends up in 16.1-8.  νεανίσκος is used as a quasi-technical term -
see Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §62b, and especially on 1 John 2.12-14 and its discussion in the Johannine passages in Wisdom, Power and Well-being
14.53-15.47:  This passion material, §§56-61 in Codex Vaticanus, Ruddick suggests were the readings for the days of what we would call  'Holy Week'
, since the lectionary sequence moves straight from §55 to §62 (16.1-8).
14.57-58:  I believe there is an ironic distinction intended by Mark between bearing 'false witness' (i.e., against Jesus) and what is actually said in v. 58, which is 'true' for the Church in its content, even if not said by Jesus.  See also 14.62.
14.58:  '"We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple [ναός ] that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands'".'  See, e.g., 1 Cor 3.16 f.; 6.19; John 2.19-21; Acts 7.48; 17.24; 2 Cor 5.1.
14.61:  'Again the high priest asked him, and said to him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?".'  [There was nothing wrong per se in claiming to be the Messiah.  As for 'Son the Blessed', the Qumran text, 4Q Florilegium 10-14, which succinctly summarizes the prophecy of Nathan in 2 Sam 7.10b-14, shows that 'Son of God' was coming into use, even if not widespread, as a messianic designation in Palestinian Judaism.  Thus Jesus could answer simply, 'Yes', without being accused of blasphemy.  But that is not what he answers.]
14.62:  'And Jesus said, "I AM [Ἐγώ εἰμι ];and you shall see 'the Son of Man seated at right hand of the Power' [Ps 110.1; cf. Acts 7.56], and 'coming with the clouds of heaven' [Dan 7.13]."'  [If  there are grounds for the high priest's charge of blasphemy, I believe it lies in Ἐγώ εἰμι , i.e. the claim, held in the Marcan church, that Jesus' status is that of God; cf. Ἐγώ εἰμι in 7.50, plus its absolute use in such a passage as John 8.58.]
14.63:  'Then the high priest tore his clothes [διαρρήξας τοὺς χιτῶνας αὐτοῦ ], and said, "... You have heard his blasphemy! ..."'  [Tearing ones clothes was the expected response to hearing blasphemy.  God will do a counter-charge of blasphemy in 15.38 over the abomination of desolation, Jesus crucified.]
14.64:  'worthy of death'  [the penalty for blasphemy, cf. Lev 24.16.]
14.66-72:  Peter's denials.  These are denials in the one-to-one (maid to Peter, vv. 66-68), one-to-some (maid to bystanders, vv. 69-70a), one-to-all (vv. 70b-72) pattern.
14.70b-72:  '... the bystanders again said to Peter, "Truly [ἀληθῶς ], you are one of them, for you are a Galilean."  But he began to curse, and he swore an oath.  "I do not know this man [τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοῦτον ] ..."  [The only other occurrences of 'truly' (ἀληθῶς) and 'this man' (τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοῦτον ) are in 15.3.9, the Centurion's
confession, the inversion of this denial: 'Truly, this man was God's Son' (Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος υἱὸς θεοῦ ἦν.).]
Chapter 15
15.1:  'As soon as it was morning...'  [Since Jewish reckoning of the day is from sundown to sundown, this  judicial session is on the same day as the late night session.  Jewish jurisprudence required two sessions on different days to condemn, thus this is an 'illegal' session.]
'They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the field [ἀγρός], to carry his cross [ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ ]; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.'   [In the early 1960s Kenneth Woolcombe (in  G.W.H. Lampe and K.J. Woollcombe, Essay on Typology [Studies in Biblical Theology # No. 22; SCM, London; Alec R. Allenson Inc., Naperville, Illinois]) noted the (Binding of) Isaac typology of this passage, since Isaac was the father of Jacob (a striving man, ἀλεξ-ἀνήρ) and Esau (a red man, ούφος).  I am convinced that there is much more to be said about this verse: (1) I believe this is the proleptic (i.e., before the time) restoration of Simon Peter into the way of the cross, which would correspond to his restoration in John 21.15-19 .  'Field', ἀγρός , I suspect means ‘mission field’.  ‘Of Cyrene ’ I think probably refers to a belief that Simon had worked there.   'To carry his cross': whose cross? Simon's (cf. 8.34) or Jesus' or, in effect, both.
15.27:  'two bandits, one on his right and one on his left' [cf. notes on 10.37; Jesus is in his 'glory' (δόξα ) as he reigns from the cross (just as in John 12.20-23, which involves Greeks who would see Jesus, the lifting up in the cross, and Jesus being glorified).]

15.38:  'And the curtain of the temple was torn [ἐσχίσθη ] in two from top to bottom.'  [There is a rending (σχίζειν ) or rent (σξίσμα )only at the baptism (1.10: heavens rent - an access theme), the new patch on an old garment (2.21 - a loss theme), and here in 15.38 where the veil is rent.  Thus 15.38 represents access of Gentiles (15.39 - Gentile centurion's confession), loss of the Shekinah, the cloud of God's presence, from the temple, and (taking 15.38 with 13.14, the abomination of desolation, and 14.63 f., the high priest tearing his clothes
) God's counter-charge of blasphemy against the Jews and Gentiles who have crucified God's Son.  Cf. 8.31 (Jewish leaders), 9.31 (men, ἄνθρωποι ), 10.33 (Gentiles) and 14.41 (sinners) - the four passion 'predictions' concerning who will kill the Son of Man.]
15.39:  'Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "
Truly, this man was God's Son" (Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος υἱὸς θεοῦ ἦν.).  [1) In the Roman Caesar cult the emperor was being hailed as filius dei, 'Son of God', thus the significance of it being a figure representing Roman might who, instead, recognizes the true power of Jesus on the cross.  2) This Sonship is proclaimed by a Gentile to the whole world, thus completing the one-to-one relationship of the wellborn one at Jesus' baptism (1.11), the one-to-some relationship of the wise one at Transfiguration (9.7), and now the one-to-all relationship of the powerful one at the cross.  3) Because of the sentence order, υἱὸς θεοῦ can be taken as 'the Son of God' rather than simply as 'a Son of God'.]
15.47:  Named women note location of tomb.  [Thus combating any rumour that women went to wrong tomb?]

Chapter 16
ee Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §62.
16.3:  '"Who shall roll away the stone...?"' (Τίς ἀποκυλίσει ... τὸν λίθον )  [S
ee Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §62a.]
16.5:  'young man', νεανίσκος  [S
ee Mark and the Triennial Lectionary, §62b.]
16.7:  '"Go tell his disciples and Peter ..."'  [Although Peter is singled out, he is mentioned second: putting him in his place as befitting his threefold denial?]
16.7:  '"... he is going a head of you to Galilee; there you will see him.'"  [cf. 1.15; 14.28, and 
St Mark's Day Sermon.]
16.8:  'for they were afraid', ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ .  [For years many scholars objected that one could not end a writing with γάρ, but finally one was found (I don't remember the details).  I believe the women's fear is the fear proper to disciples who must go into continuing mission and the way of the cross; cf. 4.41; 6.49; 9.32; 10.32.  I would hazard that a further force of  'ending' with γάρ is that there is no ending to the gospel - it carries on in the mission to all people.  The 'rounding off' endings of some manuscripts blunt the raw impact of this open-ended ending.  Is it possible that they were inspired perhaps in part by a desire to 'tame' the gospel as per the Grand Inquisitor in
The Brothers Karmazov?]

A summary of some major and minor triads in Mark
Probability:  ***Certain  **Highly probable   *Likely   ?Needs scrutiny

Subject A-Affirm or
1 to one 1 to some 1 to all
*** God A
a. Baptism-God to Jesus 1.11
b. Transfig.-God to discs. 9.7
c. Cross-Centurion to all (on basis of how Jesus died) 15.39
*** Unclean spirits A
a. sing.: 'Holy One of God' 1.24
b. plur.: 'The Son of God' 3.11
c. legion: 'Son of God Most High' 5.7
? Men in proximity (cf. 6.4) D
a. those by him in house 3.19b-21
b. his relatives 3.31-35
c. his countrymen 6.1-3
*** Necessity of Passion, followed by way of discipleship A
a. anyone following Jesus 8.38-39
?      a' deny self (8.34b-35a)
?      b' my sake & gospel's (8.35b)
?      c' gain whole world (8.36)
b. relations to one another (but see 9.43-49) 9.33-50
c. sons of Zebedee: cup, baptism, Gentiles, all, many 10.35-45
? The beginning of the consummation A/D
a. 'No one lead you astray' 13.5
b. 'Take heed to yourselves...' councils, synagogues, governors, kings 'bear testimony before them' 13.9
c. 'You will be hated by all for my name's sake' 13.13
? 'The consummation' itself A
a. One 13.15-16
b. 'The Elect' 13.17-23
c. 'they (= all?) 13.24-27 cf. v. 26
* Jesus in Gethsemane
Jesus to Father 15.36
Jesus to disciples about them 15.37-38
Jesus: Son of Man into hands of sinners 15.41-42
** Judas' betrayal of Jesus D
c. Judas to chief priests of the people 14.10-11
b. Last Supper: Jesus to disciples about Judas 14.20
a. Judas to Jesus with kiss 14.44-45
** Jesus before Sanhedrin D
c. Chief priests & whole council 14.55
b. many..., some, standing, bore false witness 14.57-59
a. The high priest (twice, 14.60
a. 2nd time standing) 14.61b-63a
b. 'we' 14.63b-64
c. 'all' 14.64b
b. 'some' (transition to Peter?) 14.65
*** Peter's denials D
a. maid, with look, to Peter 14.67
b. maid, with look, to bystanders 14.69
c. bystanders to Peter (Galilean = Gentile motif; 'Truly of them you are'  14.71: 'I do not know this man'  Cp. 15.39: 'Truly this man was God's Son.') 14.70-71
*? The crucifixion D/D/A
a. passers-by to Jesus 15.29-30
b. chief priests to one another 15.31-32a
b' those crucified with him 15.32b
c. Jesus' death, 'forsaken', "Eloi..." Centurion to world: 'God's Son!' 15.34-39