Here are the imperatives I found in Mark’s very active gospel; the things Jesus wants us to do:
- “Repent and believe the good news!”
- “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
- “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more.” (Not exactly imperative, is it?)
- “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ “
- “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
- “… what God has joined together, let man not separate. … Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
- “… anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
- “You must be on your guard. … Therefore keep watch … What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “
- “Take it; this is my body.”
- “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Pretty much overlaps the Matthew imperatives, doesn’t it? Mark’s record doesn’t include a lot of requests or imperatives, and I’m probably stretching to include some of these among the ones addressed to us. In this gospel, Jesus teaches and does things: travels, heals people, casts out demons, performs miracles. He leads by example. That seems to be the writer’s choice of emphasis.
Is there something in that very style of writing that speaks to us today?