Years ago, when teaching through the book of Mark in Uganda, I became convinced that the key story to the first half of the book (Mark 1:1-8:26) is Mark 4:35-41. After Jesus calms the storm, the disciples, in utter disbelief, exclaim, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the waves obey him?” This question is posed to the readers, demanding an answer from each of this. Who do we say that this Jesus is?
The answer Mark wants us to reach, the one practically shouting at us from the pages of Scripture, is that this Jesus is God.
When we look at the pages of Mark, we see that Jesus is credited with authority that is only ascribed to God throughout the rest of Scripture.
Jesus has authority:
to call disciples (1:16-20; 2:13-17)
in teaching (1:21-22, 35-39)
to cast out demons (1:23-28; 5:1-20)
to heal the sick (1:29-34; 3:1-6; 6:5, 53-56)
over uncleanliness (1:40-45; 5:21-34)
over paralysis (2:1-12)
to forgive sins (2:5-12)
over the Sabbath (2:18-22, 23-28)
over nature (4:35-41; 6:45-52)
over death (5:35-43)
to send out apostles (6:7-13)
concerning limitations of food (6:30-44; 8:1-10)
concerning Gentiles as well (7:24-30)
over deafness (8:31-37)
over blindness (8:22-26)
What is remarkable is that in the first half of Mark, we see how authoritative Jesus is, reaching the conclusion that Jesus has to be God. This sets the stage for the unbelievable contrast that is found in the second half of the book, where the one with all the authority in the world chooses the path of a suffering servant that ends with his substitutionary death on the cross.