Study Guide

Gospel of Mark Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. (NRSV 4:22)

For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. (KJV 4:22)

Jesus envisions a future characterized by absolute transparency—i.e., no secrets. Watch out, Hollywood.

And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. (NRSV 4:24-25)

And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (KJV 4:24-25)

In this vision of the future, it looks like total equality. Kind of bold, huh?

But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come. (NRSV 4:29)

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (KJV 4:29)

The future coming of the kingdom of God is likened to a harvest. Weeds, beware!

Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (NRSV 8:38)

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV 8:38)

The vision of the future here shows Jesus returning with angels and doling out justice. This has yet to happen, but plenty of people think it's on its way.

And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." (NRSV 9:1)

And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. (KJV 9:1)

Is Jesus saying that kingdom of God will arrive within the first generation of followers? What are we supposed to make of this, thousands of years later, when it still hasn't happened? How is it different for people reading Mark as divine revelation and those reading it as literature?

What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. (NRSV 12:9)

What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. (KJV 12:9)

We're pretty sure the owner's destruction of the vineyard is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem's temple by the Romans in the year 70. But when will the transfer of the vineyard occur and who are these "others"  One possible answer: the transfer will happen when Jesus returns and these "others" are his followers (check out 13:26-27). But feel free to disagree as long as you've got the texts to back up your opinion.

Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (NRSV 13:26-27)

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (KJV 13:26-27)

This sounds a lot like 8:38 when we hear that Jesus comes with the angels. It also reminds us of 12:9, when we hear that the owner of the vineyard "will come" and give the vineyard to others. Why are these all so similar? Because they're all references to Jesus's second coming (a.k.a. the "parousia").

Therefore, keep awake—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. (NRSV 13:35)

Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. (KJV 13:35)

It's like Han Solo saying to Luke, "Don't get cocky."

Jesus said, "I am; and 'you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,' and 'coming with the clouds of heaven.'" (NRSV 14:62)

And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (KJV 14:62)

Here's another reference to Jesus's return. This time, it's a threat to anyone who condemns him. Mark see this future as good news for the "elect" (13:27) and bad news for the Jewish leaders (14:62; also, 12:9, 40).

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