Reader’s Expectation 3: Mark had anticipated the reader’s objection,

Hamburg by night, Dom, Ferris wheel 1989
Hamburg by night, Dom, Ferris wheel 1989

he does not tell the story of the gladiator Jesus in the fight with the diseases, but the one how a political leader wins a follower who will be active for him as a herald, who will proclaim his kerygma, his herald’s message.

When Mark tells the next healing, the cheeky objection comes again: we already know that, Jesus is looking for heralds for his message.

Mark has also anticipated this objection and again tells another story: the story of a religious-philosophical discourse about the question whether illness is a punishment of God and whether social changes may be brought about by humans.


Reader’s Expectation 2: I would like to demonstrate this again

Hamburg by night, Musical Cats, 1989
Hamburg by night, Musical Cats, 1989

the first three great healing miracles. In 1:23-28 there is a fight like in the arena of the gladiators.

The battle of words is followed by the real exchange of blows, Jesus is the victorious gladiator, the audience applauds.

When Mark begins with the healing of the leper in 1:40-45, the cheeky reader exclaims: Oh, I know that already, Jesus will defeat the leprosy like one gladiator defeats another.


4. Reader’s Expectation: Mark engages in a dialogue

Hamburg by night, Cafe Keese, 1989
Hamburg by night, Cafe Keese, 1989

with the reader. He teases the reader like a mystery writer who is always laying out new false leads, only to be delighted when the poor mystery reader falls for them.

He then rejects the reactions Mark evokes in the reader as inappropriate, thus playfully introducing the reader to the mysteries of being a Christian and of divine activity.