The Portrayal of Jesus in the Gospels of Mark and John

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In the gospels of Mark and John, both showed a vivid portrait of Jesus in their writing. Mark’s gospel describes much more of Jesus' life, miracles, and parables as suffering servant. However, John’s gospel was written to convince people to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Nonetheless, both John and Mark present many of the crucial events of Jesus' life, including his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.

At the very beginning of the gospels the authors make their representation of Jesus known to the reader, but they rely upon different methods. Mark focuses on Jesus’ role as a servant is apparent as he quotes the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my messenger, whom I send on ahead of you!” (Mark 1:2) This is a rather simple statement, and the use of the word “messenger” connotes a sense of being under another’s command; Jesus is seen as an intermediary between God and man. John’s introduction to Jesus is much more majestic and poetic, devoting many verses to explaining his divine relationship with God: “In the beginning there was the divine word and wisdom. The divine word and wisdom was there with God, and it was what God was. It was there with God from the beginning. Everything came to be by means of it” (John 1:1-3).

Mark’s portrait of Jesus as a servant originates from the middle of the first century, Mark wrote his gospel during this time of persecution because the people being oppressed lacked faith that God would provide for them. Mark gives them the model of Jesus as a man submissive to the Lord so that they can receive salvation if they remain faithful to the servant of God. Mark stresses that Jesus is a suffering Messiah with the passage concerning Jesus praying to God that “Abba(Father), all things are po...

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...s is that Mark aimed to capture Jesus actually serving, so any background information related to his development was extraneous. John also decided to leave out any genealogy or background, and strikingly omitted Jesus’ own baptism. However, in relation to the divine portrait, the establishment of Jesus as God implies that nothing would be necessary to signify that he is God.

Mark’s gospel and John’s gospel contain many differences from the beginning, but both end with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The gospels of John and Mark represent Jesus as two different people. The disparity is that Mark represents Jesus as a servant while John portrays Jesus as a divine being. However, one must realize the two texts are meant to read by different audiences during different time periods. Each description presents a particular aspect of the life of Historical Jesus.

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