Miracles and the Kingdom of God in Mark and Q: Christology and Identity Among Jesus’ Early Followers
Shinall, Myrick Clements Jr.
Mark and the hypothetical gospel source Q both portray Jesus as a miracle worker and as proclaimer of the coming kingdom of God. Comparing the ways Mark and Q depict Jesus in these roles demonstrates two distinct ways of remembering Jesus. For Mark, miracles point to Jesus’ divine identity, and the kingdom of God signifies Jesus’ future coming in power in the place of God to judge the world. In Q, Jesus’ miracles demonstrate the presence of the kingdom of God, which for Q signifies a state of eschatological blessedness for those who accept Jesus’ message. The differences in how Mark and Q narrate the Beelzebul Controversy (Mark 3:22-30, Matt 12:22-31//Luke 11:14-23) and the Commissioning of the Disciples (Mark 6:7-13, Matt 9:38-10:16//Luke 9:1-6, 10:1-12) make this difference in emphasis clear. The differing ways Mark and Q narrate Jesus’ Testing after his baptism (Mark 1:13, Matt 4:1-11//Luke 4:13) show these two ways of remembering Jesus to be in competition with each other. These two different ways of remembering Jesus represent two different strategies for early Jesus’ followers to create identity for themselves. Q’s way of remembering Jesus creates identity by emphasizing that Jesus’ followers are co-workers with him in proclaiming and instantiating the kingdom of God. On the other hand, Mark’s way of remembering Jesus creates identity among Jesus’ followers by emphasizing the uniqueness of Jesus as the one who acts as God on earth.