Mark’s gospel concludes with a scene that contains several bizarre elements that defy logical explanation. One of these is his narrative of the women bringing spices to anoint Jesus’ body but wondering as they go: Duh, has anyone worked out a plan for how we are going to get through the door of the tomb? (Mark 16:3)
The story, as told, does not make narrative sense. Yes, one can imagine a whole array of factors to make it work, but then it becomes the story of whoever is doing that imagining, and it is no longer Mark’s story as he has given it to us.
But the story, as told, does make profound and cogent sense as a parable or allegory. It recalls two stories in the early chapters of the gospel: Continue reading “Mark’s Parable of Easter Sunday”
One can argue that the author took historical traditions and sayings and edited them to give them a theological spin, but this is to make two assumptions when it is much simpler to make but one: that the author created the stories and sayings as theological parables.
Just as the healing of the paralytic is told in the shadow of the death and resurrection of Jesus (both laid in dug-out places, both rise and go through a massive block that prevents others from entering), so the withered hand miracle is also told as a reverberation of the withered growth in the parable of the sower (Mark 4:6) and the withering of the fig tree to mark the end of Jesus.
Thus the story and words of Jesus make sense when and only when they are read as an allegory. To read the story as a literal healing is to ruin the story and to disconnect the sayings of Jesus from the story. Continue reading “Making more sense of Jesus . . .”