Mark the Action Movie

And immediately!

Mark’s Gospel has earned a reputation as the fast-moving, action-oriented Gospel out of the four. It is shorter than the other two Synoptic Gospels and John (cool chart on NT book length here). At times Mark’s urgency in his narrative accounts feels like an action movie. He frequently uses the Greek  εὐθὺς (“at once” or “immediately” in most English translations) as he shifts from scene to scene, especially in his first chapter. And unlike the other Synoptic Gospels of Matthew and Luke, there is no birth story of Jesus, no genealogy. Instead, Mark announces right off the bat what his book is about: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God” (1:1), then quickly brings in John the Baptist to introduce a full-grown Jesus, who begins his ministry preparation by receiving John’s baptism.

And immediately, as he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove, and a voice came from the heavens: ‘You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased” (1:10-11).

And immediately the Spirit compelled him to go into the wilderness” (1:12)….

“And” (Greek  καὶ), “immediately” ( εὐθὺς), and “then immediately” ( καὶ εὐθὺς) are favorites of Mark’s. I once heard someone compare his storytelling style to an excited young kid who really wants to tell you a story: “And then… and then… and then!”  Mark’s enthusiasm, even coming through this one small literary device, is contagious to the reader who is listening to Mark tell about Jesus, the Son of God. Mark seems barely able to catch his breath as he recounts his gospel.

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