How does the Gospel of Mark in the Bible stress the need for Jesus, Son of God, to suffer and die on the cross?

Expert Answers
hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Bible does indeed stress the importance for the son of God to suffer and die on the cross.

Beginning in Mark chapter 8 verse 27, Jesus began asking His disciples who people thought he was. There were various replies—some thought He was Elijah; others thought John the Baptist. When Jesus asked Peter who he thought Jesus was, Peter replied: "You are the Christ." Christ means "anointed one." The Jews had been promised a Messiah who would deliver them. For Peter to recognize that Jesus was the one they had been promised was significant.

Jesus went on to explain what had to happen. Here is Mark chapter 8, verse 31, from the New International Version of the Bible (NIV):

"He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed, and after three days rise again."

All that Jesus spoke in this verse was prophecy and was fulfilled. The elders and chief priests put him on trial. They were known as the Sanhedrin. They punished Him and took Him to Pontius Pilate because their laws did not allow capital punishment.

After the disciples witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus, when they saw Him in all his glory and speaking with Elijah and Moses, they asked some questions in chapter 9, verse 11–13.

"And they asked him, 'Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?' Jesus replied, 'To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.'"

Jesus is referring to John the Baptist as Elijah. John the Baptist came before Jesus, calling the Jews to repent of their sins and be baptized. He paved the way for the arrival of Jesus. John the Baptist was beheaded. When Jesus says "as it is written," He is referencing Old Testament prophecies and scriptures that Jews would have been very familiar with that spoke of the coming Messiah.

In chapter 14 of the book of Mark, on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a feast in which Jews sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus compared Himself to the sacrificial lamb. Passover was celebrated by the Jews as a result of the events in the book of Exodus, in which God told the Jews to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the doorposts of their homes so that the angel of death would pass over their homes and spare their firstborns. It was the last of the ten plagues Pharaoh endured.

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, saying 'Take it; this is my body.' Then He took the cup, gave thanks, offered it to them, and they all drank from it. 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.'" (Mark 14:22–24 NIV)

Here Jesus lets His disciples know that He will be crucified and sacrificed for them and all who will believe as a sacrificial lamb.

Additionally, every part of the suffering of Jesus is chronicled by Mark, and this is to fulfill every prophecy that was given about the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Further Reading:
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The need for Jesus to suffer and die on the cross is stressed in this Gospel from the end of Chapter 8 onwards, which is where Jesus reveals his identity to his disciples and begins to teach them about the future that awaits him. The need that Jesus has to die on the cross is highlighted through what many critics argue is the central verse of the entire Gospel of Mark, which is Mark 8: 35-6:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 

Jesus needs to die in order to act as a sacrificial offering in the stead of humanity so that they can be seen as pure in God's sight if they trust in Jesus. Jesus highlights the need for his own death through his three predictions in the Gospel of Mark, reinforcing the way his death is going to occur to his disciples, even though they are not quick to understand what he says to them. However, what is interesting about this Gospel is the way that Jesus turns his manner of death into a model for all those who believe in him to follow. There is a need for Christians to adopt the same self-sacrificial attitude as Jesus himself, just as there was a need for Jesus to die on the cross, as highlighted through his predictions. 

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The gospel of Mark, the shortest of the four gospels and often understood to be the earliest, emphasized Jesus's role as the "Suffering Servant." The concept of the suffering servant is taken from Isaiah 53.

Mark offers no genealogies of Jesus. This gospel account is not interested in portraying Jesus as a king or from a royal line like King David's. Instead, Mark addresses the question of suffering and why people suffer. Mark answers this question by picking up a theme in Isaiah that was radical in the ancient world. This argued that instead of being merely punishment for displeasing the gods or the result of random chance, suffering could serve a redemptive purpose. Through his willingness to suffer, Jesus won a victory over Satan and death. Jesus thus fulfilled God's plan for the world. Mark 9:31 says:

He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”

By being willing to take on suffering, Mark says, Jesus's followers can also help bring salvation to the world by spreading the gospel.