Wise Words For Today

A central theme in Mark’s gospel is “the way.” He announces it at the beginning of his gospel: it is about “the way of the Lord.” Then, in a carefully structured central section of his gospel, the “way of Jesus” is the story of Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Three times in the course of the journey, Jesus speaks of his impending death and resurrection. Each of these three predictions of the passion, as they are called, is paired with a teaching about following Jesus…..Thus for Mark, “the way” of Jesus leads from Galilee to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the destination of the journey, is the place of death and resurrection, of endings and beginnings, where, to use an old word-play, the tomb becomes a womb. For Mark (and for Matthew and Luke, who repeat and amplify this pattern, the way, the path of personal transformation, is the path of death and resurrection.

Strikingly, Mark frames this central section with stories of blindness and seeing. It begins with the blind man of Bethsaida gradually gaining his sight and ends with blind Bartimaeus, his sight restored, throwing of his cloak and following Jesus. The framing suggests that seeing, having one’s sight restored, involves seeing that following Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem is “the way” – the path of transformation leads to and through death and resurrection.

Marcus Borg

(from The Heart of Christianity)

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