New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #26

scriptures-resurrection-758817-printSo here’s the plan: each week that the gospels are covered in Sunday School, I will post one question from my book along with a brief discussion of the issues that it raises.

As you read Mark 15, look for irony. Consider why so much in this chapter is ironic and what you should learn from it.

(adapted from Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels)

Mark’s account of Jesus’ death is just loaded with acidic irony. Much of the story consists of people saying things that they think are false but which the audience knows are actually true. There’s also the odd story of Barabbas. His name means “son of the father” and he, a murderer, was released by the will of the people instead of Jesus. This is an odd way to tell a story–especially a story about which we are so hushedly reverent–as the death of Jesus Christ. Why Mark would tell it this way demands some thought.

Elder Maxwell described irony as the hard crust on the bread of adversity. Maybe, then, Mark’s use of irony shows that Jesus’ suffering went was emotional as well as physical and spiritual.

I’m not entirely sure how to parse the relationship between irony, sarcasm, and snark–I just know that I don’t like being the butt of any of them and that all three are endemic today, especially on the Internet. They seem to serve as almost a protective feature for the ego of the (ab)user.

One more thing, but I’ll leave it for you to decide if it is related to the topic of irony in this account or not: Jesus’ words in verse 34 quote Psalm 22. It’s borderline criminal that the LDS footnotes don’t tell you this. (Instead, they translate words that Mark translates in the text[!] and then refer you to the topical guide for “crucifixion.” I can’t imagine what they were thinking here.) Please do yourself a favor and read Psalm 22.

Also, an oops: for the last lesson, I focused on Peter’s betrayal, but I realize now that the lesson manual shuffled that lesson to this week. Sorry about that.