Tag Archives: gospel of mark

Exploration of the Trinity – Part 6 – Mark’s Jesus and the Uniqueness of YHWH

Introduction:

Last week, among other things, we began to examine how the NT writers saw Jesus.

  • Specifically, how they saw him within a specific Biblical landscape.
  • A landscape that blurs the lines between a visible and invisible YHWH.
  • A landscape that rabbis identified as a threat to the authority and uniqueness of YHWH.

 

It is within this Biblical landscape that the NT writers:

  • (1) Identified Jesus as God explicitly.
    • For example, John 20:28 – “My Lord and My God”.
  • (2) Identified Jesus as God implicitly – through their messaging.

 

Today, we explore the implicit messaging of the NT writers.

  • Messaging that identifies Jesus with God.

 

And as we anticipated last week:

  • This type of identification will prove to be every bit as explicit as John 20:28.

 

In fact, our examples will demonstrate something of great importance to our study.

  • How Jesus is identified with, and as participating in, the uniqueness of YHWH.

 

 

Gospel of Mark:

All of today’s examples will come from the Gospel of Mark.

  • We will deal with some very important “others” next week.

 

Why Mark?

  • Mark’s Christology is generally considered to possess a “low” Christology.
  • In other words, Unitarians use Mark to support their case that Jesus, early on, was portrayed as “a mere human being, even if a highly exalted prophet or messianic figure” – Daniel Johansson.
  • This is the divinely appointed human agency we talked about last week.
    • Exemplified by Moses.

 

Scholar Daniel Johansson takes issue with this view.

“The common opinion that the Gospel of Mark espouses a ‘low’ Christology and presents Jesus as a merely human being needs to be reassessed” – Daniel Johansson.

 

Why reassessed?

  • The “low” view overlooks the implicit messaging that pervades the Gospel of Mark.
  • Messaging that identifies Jesus with the uniqueness of God.

 

Johansson says that “for Mark, Jesus is considerably more than” an exalted human prophet and Messiah.

  • Jesus is identified “with the God of Israel” – Daniel Johansson.
  • And, more than that, the Markan view of Jesus overlaps “with that of YHWH”.

 

To put this within the ancient Jewish monotheism framework we have been working under:

  • Mark provides us with an ever-growing number of Biblical landscape features.
  • And Mark’s “landscape features” identify Jesus with a uniqueness that belongs to YHWH alone.
    • All of which is best explained by the Trinity.

 

BTW – The source of this study is Daniel Johansson’s doctoral thesis.

  • Its title – “Jesus and God in the Gospel of Mark: Unity and Distinction”
  • Larry Hurtado supervised the thesis at the University of Edinburgh.
  • I am only presenting Johansson’s conclusions.
  • For his in depth exegesis, I refer you to his thesis.

 

 

Mark 1:1-3 – The Divine Name:

Mark 1:1–3 (ESV) — 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ”

 

Mark’s opening verses are crucial for understanding his Christology for three reasons.

  • (1) They are “important indicators of [Mark’s] own understanding of Jesus” – Johansson.
  • (2) This in turn is “significant for how the audience will interpret the story that unfolds” – Johansson.
  • (3) They establish at the onset “a close linking of Jesus to Israel’s God” – Johansson.

 

Mark begins by telling us immediately about whom he is speaking.

  • Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.
  • In other words, Marks opening is about who Jesus is.

 

Mark then tells us, “as it is written in Isaiah”, and quotes the OT.

  • Interestingly, Mark actually draws from a number of OT texts.
  • This is not unusual and citing Isaiah indicates that it takes priority in Mark’s messaging.
  • “He sees the Isaiah text as the most important one in this context” – Johansson.

 

The OT texts that Mark draws from are:

  • Isaiah 40:3 (ESV) — 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
  • Malachi 3:1a (ESV) — 1a “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.”

 

In their OT context these verses are anticipating a time when:

  • A messenger prepares the way for YHWH’s coming.

 

So what is the point Mark is making by citing these texts?

 

For Mark, the messenger – the “one crying in the wilderness” – is John the Baptist.

  • There really isn’t any disagreement about this.
  • After all, verse 4 tells us, “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness…
  • “There is no doubt that Mark identifies the messenger and voice of the wilderness with John the Baptist” – Johansson.

 

And “the Lord” from verse 1:3 – whom John the Baptist is preparing the way for – is clearly Jesus.

  • Mark 1:9 (ESV) — 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

 

It is a straight-forward observation, and not a controversial one, that:

  • The OT “biblical texts, which in their original contexts refer to YHWH, are applied to Jesus” – Johansson.
  • “The promises of God’s own coming in Mal. 3:1 and Isa 40:3 are now being fulfilled in Jesus” – Johansson.

 

The million-dollar question is does Mark intend to make a closer connection between Jesus as Lord and Isaiah’s Lord of the OT…YHWH?

 

Rikki Watts thinks so:

“The application of these texts to Jesus suggests that he is to be identified in some way…with none other than the ‘Lord’ and ‘YHWH’ of Malachi, and, in terms of Isaiah 40:3, the presence of Yahweh himself.”

 

Johansson agrees.

  • “The significance of Mark’s explicit identification in 1.2 of the original context of his citation [Isaiah’s YHWH/Lord] must not be overlooked here” – Johansson.

 

One reason has to do with the fact that Mark cites the LXX version of the OT.

  • The LXX translates “YHWH” as “kyrios”.
  • This means that, contextually, Mark 1:3 links Jesus directly to the divine name of “kyrios”.
    • Prepare the way of the Lord [kyrios]” – who is Jesus.
  • Yet, “kyrios” is also the Isaiah LXX’s YHWH.

 

Knowing this, (and other observations from Johansson) the messaging of Mark is fairly clear.

  • “‘Kyrios’ refers to both God and Jesus and, consequently, links Jesus to the God of Israel” – Johansson.

“Mark explicitly cites passages about YHWH with reference to Jesus, seeing the fulfilment of these in Jesus and applying the divine name [kyrios] to Jesus. The application of the ‘kyrios’ of Isa. 40:3 to Jesus, in particular, suggests more than a mere functional overlap between Jesus and God. In a unique way, and unparalleled in the early Jewish literature, Mark associates Jesus with Israel’s God and the presence of YHWH himself” – Johansson.

  • Was there any figure in the OT to whom the divine name was applied?

 

What about agency?

  • Mark’s messaging is certainly consistent with divine agency.
  • But, like we saw last week, this truth is irrelevant to Jesus’ divinity.
  • And the language of Mark goes well beyond divine agency.

 

Remember, Moses was never identified with the divine name “YHWH”.

  • He was called an “elohim” not “YHWH”.

 

And more than that:

  • “Elohim” was a statement of Moses’ function (what), not his identity (who).
  • Just as God gave words to Moses, Moses would give words to Aaron.

 

Mark, on the other hand, is telling us who Jesus is.

  • He is telling us why we need to pay attention to what he is saying about Jesus.
  • Jesus is the “Son of God” (1:1) and the visible “kyrios” from Isaiah 40:3.

 

 

Markan Implication:

There is one final implication of Mark’s connection of Jesus to the divine name of YHWH (kyrios).

  • Mark does this at the very beginning of his Gospel.
  • Immediately, Mark “links Jesus in the closest possible way to the God of Israel” – Johansson.
  • Therefore this, “…identification of Jesus with ‘kyrios’ in Isa. 40:3 and Mal. 3:1 provides the reader with a hermeneutical key to the Christology of Mark” – Johansson.

 

And we are about to see that Mark has much more to say.

  • Throughout his Gospel, he regularly portrays Jesus as participating in the uniqueness of YHWH.
  • And sharing in the divine name of YHWH (no time to cover these examples but there are quite a few).

 

 

Mark 1:13 – With the Animals:

Mark 1:13 (ESV) — 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

 

What does this have to do with identifying Jesus with the uniqueness of YHWH?

 

Johansson says we need only look at Isaiah 43 again – as we did with the verses 1-3.

  • Isaiah 43:19–20 (ESV) — 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,

 

Johansson makes this observation.

  • 43:19 alludes to Isa. 40:3 via the use of the “make a way in the wilderness” language.
  • 40:3, as we just saw, is the text Mark used in 1:1-3 to link Jesus to the divine name, Lord (YHWH).

 

Moreover, it seems fairly obvious that Jesus is doing what is attributed to YHWH in Isaiah 43.

  • Jesus is certainly bringing “water” to His chosen people.

 

But, Isaiah goes on to say of YHWH that:

  • the wild beasts will honor” him (43:20).

 

Mark 1:13 actually alludes to this part of the Isaiah passage:

  • And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him” (1:13).

 

What is the significance?

 

The idea here is that “the animals are aligned with the angels in their honoring service of Jesus” – Johansson.

  • The “wild animals” are, like the angels, on the side of Jesus.

 

So, as with Mark’s opening verses, this event is yet another that identifies Jesus with the uniqueness of YHWH.

  • In Isaiah – It is YHWH that is bringing water to the wilderness.
  • And only YHWH is worthy to be honored as Creator by His creatures (animals).

 

In Mark – Jesus is inserted into the place of YHWH.

  • It is only Jesus bringing water to the wilderness.
    • Bringing water to the wilderness is creation language – an allusion to Genesis.
  • Therefore, it is only Jesus who is worthy to be acknowledged by the animals and angels.

 

Johansson sums it up this way:

“This may…be Mark’s way of saying that the wild beasts recognize Jesus’ true identity, just as the demons will do later in the narrative (1:24; 3:11; 5:7). If this is correct, then Jesus is…acting in the capacity of the creator himself.”

 

 

Mark 2:5-7 – Forgives Sins:

Mark 2:5–12 (ESV) — 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

 

The question here is by whose authority does Jesus forgive sins.

  • Unitarians have an opinion.
  • Trinitarians have an opinion.
  • We will deal with the Trinitarian view first.

 

The Trinitarian view is simple enough.

  • “The Markan Jesus does not claim that he has been given authority (cf. Matt 28:18) to forgive sins, but that he, as does God, has this authority.” – Johansson.

 

And more than this:

  • “Jesus forgives the paralytic’s sins, not merely announces God’s forgiveness” – Johansson.
    • Your sins are forgiven” (vs. 9)
  • These words, “ascribe to Jesus himself power to forgive sins in an absolute sense” – Johansson.

 

Johansson supports these claims in numerous ways…one way is as follows:

“…the parallel between the healing, effectuated by a word of Jesus, and the absolution of the man implies that Jesus personally has forgiven the man. The word of forgiveness (2:5) and the word of healing (2:11) must both be understood as creative words accomplishing what they say” – Johansson.

 

In other words…Jesus healed and Jesus forgave.

  • He didn’t announce healing – He healed.
  • He didn’t announce forgiveness – He forgave.

 

And finally:

“The Markan text states unambiguously that only God can forgive sins (2:7)…There is thus no reason to believe that the first readers would qualify what the Markan scribes say. On the contrary, they would agree with them: Only God can forgive sins. It seems clear, then, that Jesus is assuming a role which belonged to Israel’s God alone” – Daniel Johansson.

 

This is yet another Markan example of Jesus being identified with the uniqueness of YHWH.

 

 

Unitarian Objections:

It has been pointed out by Unitarians that “human agents” can forgive sins if given the authority to do so.

  • Such as 2 Samuel 12:13 and when Jesus sent out the disciples.

 

They suggest this is the simple explanation for what Jesus did in Mark 2:5.

  • Jesus as an agent of God – as non-God – was given the authority to forgive sins.
  • Jesus is simply announcing the forgiveness that comes from the Father.

 

Given this, Unitarian Dale Tuggy says this about Mark 2:

  • “Note that at the end of the Mark passage, the people glorify God for what he’s [God] done [forgave sins – agency action] through Jesus. This is the norm through Mark – God is someone other than Jesus.”

 

Three things must be noted.

 

First:

  • William Hasker argues that there are three things a Trinitarian can mean by “God”.
  • The most common usage (for the Bible and us) is that “God” is a referent to the Father.

 

So…yes, God (The Father) “is someone other than Jesus” (Tuggy).

  • So…yes, the people glorified the Father because of the Son.
  • Trinitarians do this as well.

 

Second, we already established two shortcomings of the agency argument last week:

  • (1) Assigning Jesus to the “divinely appointed human agent” category does not preclude His sharing in the divine nature.
    • Agency is a neutral claim.
  • (2) The force of the “agency only” critique is grounded in the “Jewish law of agency”.
    • This has nothing to do with the agency in the Bible and is 200 years later than the NT.

 

Third, even Jewish scholar Alan Segal…

  • Concedes that Jesus was claiming to have authority within Himself to forgive sins.
  • “One of the things which, according to the NT, most upsets the Jews about Jesus is precisely that he does claim the power to forgive sins” – Alan Segal.

 

And then Segal notes the rabbis’ “Two Power” aversion to Jesus’ authority/power to do so:

  • “The forgiving of sins…was enough for the rabbis to conclude that the principal figure of the heretics was supposed to be more than an angel. Or it might have involved the belief that the angel participated in God’s divinity by appropriating one of His names” – Alan Segal.

 

For Jesus’ critics, Jesus was a competitor to YHWH’s uniqueness not His agent.

  • This is precisely the “two authority/two power” idea that the rabbis fought against.

 

This makes perfect sense.

  • Because the blasphemy Jesus was accused of means, “arrogation of divine prerogatives for oneself” – Johansson.
  • So by their charge of blasphemy, Jesus’ critics understood, “…that Jesus in various ways claimed a divine status. In their view, these claims were blasphemous and threatening God’s uniqueness” – Johansson.

 

 

Wrap-Up:

Mark’s messaging says far more than Jesus was just a divinely appointed human agent forgiving sins on the Father’s authority.

  • As Johansson already pointed out, Mark has already set the tone for his Gospel.
  • He has identified Jesus with the divine name of God – “kyrios/YHWH”.
  • And by forgiving sins, Mark, once again, identifies Jesus with the uniqueness of YHWH.

 

 

Mark 4:35-41 – Calms the Storm:

Mark 4:35–41 (ESV) — 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

 

Only 4 chapters in, we have Jesus doing something remarkable – calming a storm.

  • Once again, the question is, “is Jesus, in Mark’s view, acting in the role of Israel’s God, perhaps even being his visible manifestation on earth, or is he merely portraying Jesus as man uniquely endowed with divine power?” – Johansson.

 

The answer is found in the answer to this question, “Who can calm storms?”

 

“The OT is unambiguous. There is only one whom sea and wind obey: the God of Israel” – Daniel Johansson.

  • Psalm 89:8–10 (ESV) — 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? 9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. 10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
  • Psalm 147:18 (ESV) — 18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.

 

God made it; God controls it.

  • “…according to the Hebrew Bible, it is a prerogative of the God of Israel to control the wind and the sea” – Johansson.

 

 

Small Rabbit Trail:

Our study of Joshua some time ago provides us with an ancient Near Eastern context for this story in Mark.

  • In other words, the cultural context that really drives home what is happening in Mark 4.

 

As we saw then, water:

  • Played “an important role in the cosmogony [how the world came to be] of the ancient Near East” – John Currid.
  • “Water [was] the stuff and material of creation” in just about all the major ANE cultures – John Currid.

 

Specifically, at the beginning of creation, the waters were seen “as chaotic” in ANE cosmogony.

  • They “represented a hostile power” – Joseph Lam.

 

Creation was therefore the act of overcoming the “hostile power”.

  • It was the act of bringing order to its chaos – John Currid.
  • Something done only by God/gods.

 

We see this play out in the OT.

  • Psalm 74:12–17 (ESV) — 12 Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 15 You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. 16 Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. 17 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.

 

 

The Point:

Mark presents us with a scene containing chaotic waters and a great windstorm.

  • And the water’s waves were “breaking into the boat” filling it with water.

 

So Mark is describing for us a scene of aNE water chaos.

  • Order is under attack by chaos.
  • And this chaos can only be defeated by the creative power of god – YHWH.

 

Knowing all of this, Mark drops this bomb:

  • And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (verse 39).

 

The disciples then asked a question with only one answer.

  • Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (verse 41)
  • Answer – the Markan Jesus that has already been identified with the divine name and uniqueness of YHWH.

 

Johansson sums up the significance of this story:

“The disciples’ question can just have one answer: there is only one whom sea and wind obey in the OT and the early Jewish literature, the God of Israel. This would suggest that Jesus somehow is the visible presence of YHWH on earth. It is simply not sufficient to say that Jesus possesses the power of God. There are no parallels of humans being given this power, at least not in the Jewish tradition. Furthermore, authority over stormy waters is not just any divine power. It is precisely this power which at numerous places and in different contexts demonstrates that the God of Israel is the only true God” – Daniel Johansson.

 

 

Mark 9:2-13 – Transfiguration:

Mark 9:2–4 (ESV) — 2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.

 

The transfiguration is a weird and tantalizing passage.

  • The question for us is, “What is ‘the message it communicates to its audience’ about Jesus identity”? – Johansson.

 

A typical approach is that Jesus is being seen as fulfilling a Moses typology.

  • But, for many reasons, Johansson argues that, “…the evidence points in another direction, namely that Mark more than anything else presents Jesus as acting in God’s role in the Exodus accounts” – Johansson.

 

Johansson makes his case as follows:

  • The key to understanding Jesus’ identity is the presence of both Elijah and Moses.
  • And specifically, the link they share in the transfiguration story.

 

A couple of OT texts will show us what they had in common – their link.

  • Exodus 24:15–18 (ESV) — 15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
  • 1 Kings 19:8–11 (ESV) — 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. 9 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

 

So what is the link?

  • Both Moses and Elijah, “encountered God on a high mountain, Moses on his two ascents of Mt. Sinai and Elijah on Horeb…” – Johansson.

 

How does this identify Jesus with the uniqueness of YHWH?

 

We need to see that, “Jesus is not acting in a role similar to [Moses or Elijah] or being compared to them” – Johansson.

  • (1) Jesus does not speak with God like Moses and Elijah did.
  • (2) The glory of God didn’t surround Jesus; it was Jesus.
    • And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them” (vs. 3-4).

 

This means Jesus is cast in a different role!

  • The two points above help us uncover it.

 

The importance of point (1) is that it exposes a parallel Mark is making with these words:

  • And there appeared to them, Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus” (vs. 4).

 

Elijah and Moses were on the new Sinai.

  • But instead of Moses and Elijah speaking to God the Father (as they were in the OT), they were speaking with…Jesus.

 

Johansson explains the significance of this scene:

“[Mark’s] point is precisely that Moses and Elijah now speak to Jesus as they spoke to God in the past. For Mark, then, Jesus is acting in the place of God in this ‘new Sinai’ theophany. What once took place on Sinai and Horeb is now repeated, but with some significant variations” – Daniel Johansson.

 

The importance of point (2) is that it reveals another point Mark is making about Jesus:

  • “Jesus’ glorious appearance is neither limited to the face nor the result of an encounter with God. Jesus is transfigured before God appears on the scene. Thus…Jesus’ glory is ‘intrinsic to himself’” – Johansson.

 

The point here is that Jesus shares in “the divine glory” His Father.

  • Mark has already told us that Jesus shares the divine name – YHWH/kyrios.
  • Now, he is showing us that Jesus shares in divine glory.
  • John 17:5 (ESV) — 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

 

What about when the Father makes his “appearance”?

  • Mark 9:7 (ESV) — 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

 

This gives us a significant and important difference between this scene and the Sinai/Horeb scenes.

“What is said of the God of Israel alone in the Exodus accounts is split between Jesus and God in the present narrative: God appears in the cloud and speaks from the cloud (Exod 24:16-17); at the same time Jesus manifests the glory of YHWH, and Moses and Elijah see and speak to him (Exod 33-34; 1 Kgs 19:8-18).

 

In other words, at the transfiguration:

  • The Father is the invisible YHWH.
  • Jesus is the visible YHWH.

 

Johansson suggests that this “splitting” of YHWH’s uniqueness between Jesus and the Father is exactly what Paul does in 1 Corinthians 8:6.

  • A text that inserts Jesus into the Shema.
  • A text we will deal with next week.

 

 

Mark Conclusion:

The Biblical landscape that Mark presents us with concerning the identity of Jesus is dense.

  • Jesus is identified as sharing the divine name – YHWH/kyrios – from Isaiah.

 

Jesus is associated with the uniqueness of YHWH who alone:

  • The wild beasts honor.
  • Has the authority to forgive sins.
  • Has the power to control nature.
  • Appears on Sinai to his chosen agents.

 

BTW – There are many more examples in which Mark identifies Jesus with the uniqueness of YHWH:

  • Jesus’ power over death.
  • Jesus’ walk on water.
  • Jesus’ healing miracles.
  • Jesus’ role in Mark’s parables.
  • , etc., etc.

 

Mark’s identification of Jesus is clear.

  • He has articulated, “Jesus’ unique and intimate association with YHWH” – Johansson.
  • An association that “…is communicated within an OT/Jewish framework of a maintained Jewish monotheism, and with the language of the OT and Jewish concepts and categories” – Johansson.
  • The implicit messaging and identification we talked about last week.

 

The question is this:

  • How is Mark’s messaging about Jesus best understood?

 

Given the divine plurality that runs throughout the Biblical landscape we have uncovered…

  • And the context it provides for the Gospel of Mark…
  • It certainly makes sense to see Jesus’ identity on the God side of the God/Non-God divide.
  • Mark’s Jesus is not presented as just a creaturely agent.

 

For one to see Jesus as a mere creaturely agent on the non-God side of things would require:

  • (1) An appeal to the two Unitarian presuppositions we discussed last week.
  • (2) A subsequent flattening of the Biblical landscape and messaging we have learned about thus far.