Although Mark's Gospel refers to "the holy spirit" only six times, a central aspect of Mark's presentation of Jesus in the prologue is as one who is "spirit-filled" at the baptism (1:10). Mark continues to signal throughout the narrative that Jesus's actions are energized by the holy spirit, especially in his conflicts with his chief enemy, Satan, and others in the apocalyptic conflict, such as demonic and human opponents. Jesus's victories come through the spirit's power, and he offers the same possibility to his disciples. Even though their own "testing" shows their inability to imitate Jesus, Mark's Gospel nevertheless holds out for its audience the promise of future power through the holy spirit. The intersection of the themes of discipleship and the spiritfilled life, as modeled by Jesus, show that, just as Jesus engaged in battle with his cosmic enemies through the holy spirit, so too Jesus's disciples can expect to do the same. This role for the holy spirit is Mark's functional pneumatology. Jesus serves as a narrative portrayal of the "spirit-filled" life for Mark's audience, who can imitate not only Jesus's suffering unto death but also the advent of the kingdom through embodying the way of life of the kingdom of God.


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pp. 605-627
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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