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Fear and courage in Mark’s Gospel

I recently reread the Gospel of Mark and noticed, with appreciation, how many of the people in this Gospel, including Jesus’ closest disciples, are shown as confused, uncomprehending, and fearful. Fear, then, became a theme for me in this rereading, partly prompted by Rowan Williams’ book, “Meeting God in Mark“.

I made the lists below, using David Bentley Hart’s translation of the New Testament. I’ve listed all persons who are depicted, in this Gospel of few words, as showing fear, courage, or some mixture of both.


Perhaps fearful:

Not too afraid to approach Jesus:

Parents approaching Jesus on behalf of their own children appear a few times in the list above:  Jairus, the Syrophoenician mother, the father whose boy has a deaf-mute spirit, and the parents seeking Jesus’ touch.

Not afraid when Jesus approaches:

Not too afraid to do something for Jesus or in his name:

Honorable mention to the disciples of John the Baptist who come and take away his body and bury him (6:29).

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