THE WOMEN OF PASSION PARALLELED
(The King James Version)
© 2009 by K.L.M. Kathel
All Rights Reserved
Mark, Chapter 6
1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Mark, Chapter 3
31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Matthew, Chapter 13
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Omitted: We are forced to use Luke's Genealogy instead.
Omitted: We are forced to use John's Logos instead.
The 'Son of Mary' Analyzed
Mark's Gospel Analyzed:
What we are never told, either in chapter 3 or in chapter 6 is the name or the occupation of Jesus's father. This is important because Mark's copiest Matthew does and we do have to wonder why. But before we get to Matthew's version, we must point out that Mark, chapter 6 and previously in Mark, chapter 3 are the only two places in Mark's Gospel where Jesus' mother is ever mentioned.
In fact, you could search through all 16 chapters ane you will not find a genaeology of any kind. This sort of thing tells us one of two things: 1) Jesus' parents were not important to Mark's narrative; or 2). not much was known about Jesus' early childhood when Mark wrote his Gospel. It may also tell us that in those days, the 'life of Jesus' was just not as important as it now is. You see---Mark was not writing about a Christian Christ-Messiah, but was giving us an historical view of what took place in his own lifetime and from a Jewish point of view. He is not embellishing a story but merely giving us the facts as he knew them to be: Jesus was a carpenter by trade and his mother's name was Mary. He had four brothers and at least two sisters and possibly more.
The fact that Mark's Gospel does not describe Jesus as the son of Joseph is also very revealing. We also are not told his father's name or trade. Either his father was not alive, not present, or his mother was more important to the storyline in this one episode. I choose to believe all three because it appears to this writer as if someone is speaking on his behalf as if she were a widow. If this were so, then Mary was not remarried and was not being claimed by another man to be his wife. If Mary was remarried, or claimed by another man is questionable. In short, we do not know who fathered the siblings mentioned by name in Mark, chapter 6. No doubt it was this sort of idle speculation that caused so much concern for early writers about the legitimacy of Jesus's birth. And for all we know, the man speaking for Mary in chapter 6 could have been a priest or a pharisee with no relation to Mary whatsoever. Clearly though, Mary (or the man speaking for her) had at lest six children and seven were we to include Jesus. Out of those seven, we are not told if Jesus were the first born or the last. In other words, we do not know if Jesus were an only child by Mary and his biological father. But rest assured, Mark's Gospel is as forthright and down to earth as any of the three remaining gospels. It does not bespeak of an impregnation by the Holy Spirit nor does it describe an immaculant conception! Nay---In Mark's Gospel, clearly Jesus was born of a woman, because we read, Jesus the 'son of Mary'. He is not the son of Joseph and neither is he the son of God, but is presented to the reader as Jesus the man who was a carpenter by trade. This one point alone is huge because it decries the conclusions reached during the 3rd century Church Council in which Jesus was proclaimed the trinity and the 'son of God' by the Early Church Fathers.
It is also clear that in both chapters a rejection of sorts is taking place. In chapter 3 Jesus has rejected his mother and brethren and in chapter 6 they are rejecting him. What is not clear, or perhaps we should say, what might have caused the controvery for subsequent writers is the usage of the term 'brethren' in chapter 3 and the term 'brothers' in chapter 6. On the surface, this seems more like a family quarrel or a simple matter of looking for a son who has not returned home as he should; but below the surface something much greater is taking place. We can speculate all we want and not reach any conclusion especially if we insert the narratives from the other gospel versions. But were we to beam in on just Mark alone, we can see that Jesus was rebelling against his mother's wishes by not heeding her call to return home. And so, like any loving mother, by the time we get to chapter 6, she apparently got another man to speak in her behalf. It could have been a relative or it could have been a local priest or a pharisee but whomever he was he seemed to speak with some authority. This does not mean it was her husband. Neither does it mean that another man claimed her to wife. All that it means, is that someone took up her cause and was demanding that Jesus not associate with sinners and tax collectors and that he not practice the art of healing inside of the synagogue on the sabbath. What becomes clear in both accounts is that Jesus was on a mission and was in the process of starting his ministry. He did not want to become a carpenter, for example; and was not about to return to his mother's home.
Yet for centuries, Matthew's geneaology has held sway over Mark's Gospel by theologians and scholars alike because the book of Matthew was accepted as the authority and not the other way around. They reasoned saying that Mark omitted important material that had already been revealed to us by Matthew. By rejecting the 'Priority of Mark' theologians and scholars alike have set up a new foundation and one not grounded in fact. Now, this is an important descrepency and one that should not be overlooked because it details for us the mind-think of the day as well as the impact it has had on all future generations. Namely, Mark did not omit, but rather, the author of Matthew's version added on. For example, in Matthew chapter 1 we read: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily." (Mt 1:18-19). These inserted geneaological passages may have embellished a story but they do not get us any closer to the historical truth.
What we have not done in the table above is to display Matthew's genealogy by comparing it to Mark's Gospel. For that you would have to read Matthew chapters one, two and three to get a more complete picture of his geneaology. (See the Four Gospels Paralleled ) In it, you will see that the author of Matthew has tried to manipulate his narrative by inserting his genealogy in chapter one of his gospel version. That geneaology not only includes the indentity of Jesus's father but it sets up the premise for his kingship. In other words, Matthew has a more grandiose purpose. And were we to include it here, we would be downplaying the importance of Mark's Gospel. Mark, chapter 6 and chapter 3 are not about who his mother was or who his father was. It's about who his mentor was and why he had left his home to be baptized by him. It's all about John the Baptist and about Jesus' mission to replace him. It's about John's following and about Jesus as the follower!
But let us not get side-tracked by a heady theological debate. Let us stick to the narrative at hand. Besides job description of either father or son, we also notice something very strange about this narrative. It would appear as if, Jesus is being reprimanded for something, because we are told, they were "offended." Mark's Gospel says they were offended "at" him, and Matthew's version says they were offended "in" him. But who are they who were offended and why? In both Mark and Matthew it would appear as if two groups had been forming; those who were with Jesus and those who were not. Those who were not, were his mother, brothers and sisters. Because we are told, "are not they [standing] with us." As if to say that Jesus were going against his family's wishes. We are led to believe, because he was healing inside of the synagogue on a Sabbath. And being taken aback, Jesus responds by saying, "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." And because of their unbelief he could not perform any miracles on this day, except that he healed a few.
In all fairness to John, however, we do have to point out that Mary the mother of Jesus is mentioned by name as being at the foot of the cross during the passion scene. (Jn 19:25). He is the only gospel writer to do this. But since none of the synoptic three include her name among the many women who followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, we must reject John's claim as purely bogus. Why? Because according to the 'Priority of Mark' Jesus' mother as well as his four brothers and sisters had rejected him and were standing alongside of those who did not believe in him as either healer or teacher. He was merely to them, the carpenter, the son of Mary. Were she more important to his narrative Mark would have told us. But since he does not mention her again, we can assume and rightly so, that Mary the mother of Jesus never leaves her Galilean home and does not travel with Jesus to Jerusalem.
That having been said, were we to isolate the phrase the 'son of Mary' and compare Matthew to Mark, we see that the Matthewian author tried to reduce the importance of this passage by placing the Marcan narrative in his chapter 13. This tells us that he was trying to hide her rejection or at least to reduce it to a non-issue. At the same time, he must prop up her importance by introducing his reader to a geneaology and he does so at the very beginning of his gospel version. Oh, it was not neccessarily for her sake that he does this, but that a father might be seen. All this, we do suppose to give Jesus more legitimacy. He did this by referring to her by using the phrase, 'the husband of Mary' (Mt 1:16). But nowhere in Mark's Gospel are we ever told that Mary was married. We certainly are not told this in Mark, chapter 6. This does not mean that Mary was never married because Jesus had at least 6 siblings. And for all we know, Mary might have had more than one husband. In other words, his siblings might very well have been half brothers and/or sisters but from another marriage. We simply do not know and never will. What we do know is that according to Jewish law, if a man die and leave behind a wife and children, it was lawful for his brother to claim the surving widow and take her to wife as his own. Again, we do not know if this were the case for Jesus' mother.
However, if we backtrack to the previous Marcan chapter, we find a curious passage in which Jesus rejects his mother and brethren who were calling to him when he says: Who is my mother, or my brethren? (Mk 3:33). Then he adds, whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (Mk 3:35). This scene takes place while inside of the home of Levi the tax collector and only after he had called the twelve and ordained them to be his disciples. Seen in this light, we can begin to see the reason why his mother, brothers and sisters were trying desperately to stop him from associating with sinners and/or those who did not adhere to the will of the priests and pharisees and scribes. And so we have to ask: was this an attempt to convince his mother and brothers and sisters to stand alonside of them in their attempt to reject his calling to replace John the Baptizer and his ministry (Mk 6:12). Why else do we read within the very same chapter, " And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him" (Mk 6:14). Clearly, Jesus' mission was akin to that of John the Baptist the man to whom was recently beheaded by king Herod. What is not clear, is if Jesus' mother and family were rejecting his new mission out of love or out of fear or perhaps both. In any event, the rejection of mother stands, as well as the rejection of a son toward his mother.
Bottom line is, after returning to Galilee, Jesus did not go home, nor did he return to his carpenter's trade. Instead he started his ministry based upon the teachings and miracles of John the Baptist. In other words, Jesus had a conversion into the Essenic Way. That conversion probably happened when he was baptized by John. But after John was beheaded, Jesus walked in the shadow and in the footsteps of his beloved savior and mentor. The feeding of the 5,000 which is described in Mark, chapter 6 could only have happened if those 5,000 were patrons of John the Baptist, or those who gathered at his funeral procession. And that is the importance of Mark, Chapter 6 when seen in its totality.