The self-testimony of Mark about his gospel: In the narration of the Transfiguration

Pichincha, way to the crater in the crater
Pichincha, way to the crater in the crater

 (Mark 9, 2-13) Jesus takes the disciples Peter, John and James with him and leads them up a high mountain. Jesus is transfigured in an apparition and stands between the apparitions of Moses and Elijah who talk to him.

Peter would like to make three shelters (= three temples, three churches), one for Moses, one for Elijah, one for Jesus. But the vision ends, the disciples are alone with Jesus.

Jesus stands here in a row with the mythic heroes of Judaism, Moses and Elijah: he himself becomes a mythic hero. Mark also made a statement about his gospel. The Pentateuch records the story of Moses; the books of Kings and of prophets records the story of Elijah and the prophets.

In his gospel Mark records about the story of Jesus with the same authority as the scriptures of Judaism. Mark can only gain the authority this requires if he writes his gospel according to an agreement with the leaders of the apostle churches.

Therefore the founding fathers of each of the three churches were named witnesses of the major theological creeds. Mark writes right from the start for the unified Christian church and right from the start he claims canonical importance.


12.   The gospel according to Mark, the canon

In the well-known narration of Stilling the Storm (Mark 4, 35-41) Jesus and his disciples

Volcano Pichincha, crater floor
Volcano Pichincha, crater floor

are in a boat. A storm comes up, and Jesus is sleeping on a cushion. The disciples are afraid and wake Jesus up, who calms the storm down. Mark focuses the attention on Jesus: the disciples became a facade, they are helpless without Jesus.

A different situation: the disciples are important. At three places in the gospel according to Mark Jesus picked out three disciples who were going to accompany him and to witness special events: the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter (5, 37), the Transfiguration (9, 2), and the Temptation of Jesus in Gethsemane (14, 33).

The three disciples Peter, John and James were the leaders of the most important apostle churches, and the three events they witnessed and were to bear witness to in each of their churches were the most important creed of the three apostle churches:

the Raising by Jesus (church of John), the Glorification of Jesus (church of Peter) and the temptation, the human suffering of Jesus (church of James).