Comparing The Stories Of Mark And Peter

1597 words - 6 pages

The stories of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in the gospels Mark and Peter differ greatly. Each author has his own plot, descriptive language, audience and characterization of Jesus. What we know about Jesus and how he is portrayed changes between the gospels. For example, the Gospel of Mark uses many Jewish references and makes parallels to the Old Testament which was most likely for the benefit of a Jewish audience. Also, the Jesus in Mark’s gospel is characterized to be more divine, befitting the expectations of the Jewish community. However, The Gospel of Peter seems to entertain both a pagan and Jewish audience, using language that either group could relate to. The Jesus of Peter is oddly portrayed and is more akin to what we would think as superhuman rather than divine.
The most obvious differences between the crucifixion and resurrection stories in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Peter lie in their plots. These differences, in effect, change our conceptions of Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark it begins with Jesus before Pilate but in the Gospel of Peter it begins with some kind of council between Pontius Pilate and Herod. In the Gospel of Mark we see Jesus on trial being accused of many things. Pilate asks Jesus “Are you king of the Jews?” and Jesus replies “You say so,” and we see a Jesus that is above slander and empty accusations. (Mark 15.2) By saying this, Jesus never admits anything. While he does go along with what they are doing to him; he makes no comment on whether their accusations or rumors about him are true. A position that lets us know Jesus is taking the high road. However, in the Gospel of Peter we do not have the luxury of starting with such a conception, in fact we do not even get to see Jesus until they begin his tortures and punishments.
Another difference in plot is how each author portrays the resurrection. In Mark we have no knowledge of what occurred to make the boulder in front of Jesus’ tomb move or what happened at the moment of Jesus’ resurrection. This gives some room for the imagination. The resurrection is more mysterious in Mark’s Gospel and makes Jesus seem more divine because we do not know what transpired but the body is missing, the tomb is open, and a man in a white robe says he has been raised. However, it is a completely different story in Peter. In Peter we get some background as to what happened during the night and we witness many supernatural events. In Peter you have the two young men float down from heaven and move the stone and enter the tomb. Then, these two men walk out supporting a weary Jesus and a voice from heaven asks “Hast thou preached to them that sleep?” (Peter 10.41) What is even more astonishing is that Jesus does not answer, instead a floating cross that is behind the three men answers “Yea.” (Peter 10.42) There is so much going on in this section of Peter, with all of this supernatural activity, but none of it is really coming from Jesus himself. Yes, Jesus is back...

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