A Cartoonist’s Guide to the Gospel of Mark

Click on the references in this interactive image to dive into visual commentaries, download PowerPoints, and find more online resources to study Mark. 

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A Brief Introduction to Mark

Mark’s gospel has a very different feel than Matthew’s. In Mark, Jesus comes out of the gates running and never stops until the end. Jesus is either healing someone, giving a short lesson, having a confrontation with the Pharisees, or performing a miracle. Mark’s account of Jesus’ ministry is virtually all action with very little commentary. It’s as if Mark said, “I’ll show you the game film and you can come up with your own conclusions about why and what.” (wouldn’t it be nice if sports commentators had this attitude towards games on television!)

Mark’s gospel can be divided into three basic sections.

Part 1: Ministry in Galilee | Mark 1:1-8:26

During this phase of Jesus’ ministry, He spent all His time in the northern region of Galilee and performed more miracles than He spent time teaching. In a sense, He was authenticating His claim to be the Messiah through action more than words. Jesus, the Son of God, is in an epic struggle against the forces of evil in the world.

Part 2: Traveling to Jerusalem | Mark 8:27-10:52

Peter proclaims that Jesus is, “The Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and then Jesus is transfigured on the mountain top. Once these events had taken place it was time to finish his business in Jerusalem. He set His sights on Jerusalem, He turned to the crowds and said, “boo!” and told them that if anyone wanted to follow Him they must take up their cross daily and give up their lives. On His way to Jerusalem things got intense between Him and the Pharisees. They tried to trap Him with legal questions. He eluded their traps and, in so doing, condemned them as inept shepherds of God’s people.

Part 3:  In Jerusalem | Mark 11:1-16:8 (or 20)

Jesus enters Jerusalem. The fickle crowds that once shouted “Hosanna!” turned on Jesus and screamed out, “Crucify Him!” After the Last Supper, a final plea of release in the garden, an arrest, and trial, Jesus was crucified. In the final chapter, He rises from the dead and the women that found Him were told to tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee. As with the rest of the book, little fanfare is given to these events; just the facts.

More Mark Resources

Join the Narrative Lectionary Facebook Group

Enter the Bible A resource from Luther Seminary.

The Text this Week an ecumenical collection of resources.

The entire Gospel of Mark presented theatrically by Max McLean

An Example of How to Use Digital Media to Engage a Congregation in the Narrative Lectionary

The last encounter with Mark in the Narrative Lectioanry happened in 2016. I served as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Grace Lutheran Church in Andover, MN at the time. We created an online learning center in which members of the congregation were invited to watch videos, access resources, and interact in discussion forums about the text for the week.

The site no longer exists and I no longer serve that congregation. However, the YouTube playlist below may provide encouragement for how you could engage your congregation around a preaching series.

Mapping Out Mark Readings

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