I started my reading with the Gospel according to Mark for a number of reasons. I know that it was the earliest gospel account and served, somewhat, as an outline for Luke and Matthew. So I thought it would be a good warm up run and introduction to the “real” gospels. But, in truth, the actual reason was that I did not like this short, unadorned, unembellished, simple and boring book. I just wanted to get it out of the way, over and done.
But as I worked my way through it and pondered its simplicity and succinctness I came to love this account of the life of Jesus. For all the reasons I shunned it, I now enjoyed it. It is self contained, consistent, simple and to the point. Mark holds together from beginning to end in ways the other gospels do not.
It tells a story, a story of faith being fulfilled by the outsider but missed by the insider. It is a challenge to perceived authority by true authority. It is the development of an ideal in tension with culture, religion and politics. It is a modern story of stereotypes, cultural norms and conflicts of the soul.
I find the Gospel according to Mark to be more than just a simple story, but rather a complex story of faith challenging my own perceived notions of authority, religiosity and faith. But I only found that truth by approaching it as an outsider, surprised by the Jesus of compassion.