by Matt Slick
Yes, the gospel of Mark teaches the deity of Christ. In fact, it is found in the opening words of the gospel. Let's take a look.
- Mark 1:1–4, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY; 3 THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.’ ” 4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."
The words that are in capitals are quotes from the Old Testament from two different locations.
- Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.'"
- Isaiah 40:3, "A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God."
What is significant is Isaiah 40:3 where the word "LORD" is the Hebrew word formed by the four letters YHWH. YHWH is the name of God, known as "I AM", (Exodus 3:14-15). Since no one knows how to pronounce those four letters, and in order to not take the Lord's name in vain by mispronouncing it, the custom has been to substitute those four letters for the Hebrew word 'adonai' wich is the word 'lord.' So, it is translated as LORD in English. Therefore, when it says "clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness" it is like saying "clear the way for GOD in the wilderness." Mark is using this in the context of Jesus in the wilderness. Therefore, the gospel of Mark teaches the deity of Jesus.
Son of God
Mark uses the term son of God in reference to Jesus in three places.
- Mark 1:1, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
- Mark 3:11, "Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!”
- Mark 15:39, " When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”"
The first occurrence of the term is in the very first verse of Mark. So, Mark refers to Jesus as the "Son of God" and then immediately refers to him as YHWH in the wilderness just two verses later. So, we can understand the terms son of God is referring to the deity of Jesus.
Other references worth considering
- Mark 2:27–28, "Jesus said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.'"
- Mark 5:6–7, "Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”"
- Mark 9:7, "Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”"
- Mark 13:31, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."
- Mark 14:61–62, "But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”"
In the first verse Jesus is referred to as the Lord of the Sabbath. In the second he is the Son of the Most High God. In the third God the Father calls Jesus his Son. In the fourth, the words of Jesus are equated with the word of God that will not pass away, and in the fifth Jesus is referring to his place of authority in the heavens.
Though none of these five verses explicitly say that Jesus is God, they show his special place, his special quality in relationship to God the Father as well as demonstrating his association with divine power and authority.
So, does the gospel of Mark teach the deity of Christ? Most definitely yes, it does.