I would consider that Mark’s Gospel is a good example of Jesus as an educator and i believe this defines his mission on earth.
So, who is Jesus and what is he on about?
In Mark 1:14 -15 I believe the writer shapes Jesus’ purpose on earth.
“Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near, repent and believe in the good news.”
I would argue the good news that Jesus is proclaiming is the kingdom of God and this is accessible to all of us, all we have to do is believe in the possibilities that are God offers us.
Furthermore, Jesus is saying that despite the economic and political factors that affect your way of living God is a source of hope that can overcome all obstacles. The source of hope stems from what Michael Trainor called metanoia changing the way we think.
Another important factor that influences Jesus’ teaching is his background. Jesus was a peasant who aligns himself with the oppressed against the backdrop of a 1st Century Galilee occupied by Romans and where their rule over Jewish subjects is exercised by Philip the Tetrarch, (4BCE-34BCE son of Herod the Great). Thus, Jesus’ ministry is in an economic and political world of poverty that gives rise to social and political resistance movements. Any threat to social and political resistance leads to their leaders being executed. Additionally, the Jewish Sanhedrin Religion which redefined the Torah to create a powerful religious elite. Thus, for the Jewish people it was very difficult to challenge the social, economic, political and religious rule that created the chasm between the rich and the poor at the time. Jesus through his teaching and miracles was now offering them and alternative. Therefore, both the political and religious rulers were threatened by Jesus the prophet and teacher who offered a different view of economic and political affairs. His role humanized social, economic, religious and political situations by getting involved and renewing the life of the local people through confronting the authorities by his words and actions.
For example, the Parable of the Sower talks about the social, political, religious and economic conditions of the time. This is my interpretation, the seed that falls on the path is God’s creation that has been trampled on by the Roman Occupation of Galilee, the religious leadership of the Jewish Sanhedrin through rewriting the Torah to maintain their power of their believers and the economic hardship of taxes needed to be paid to the Romans exercised by the Governor of Judea, Philip the Tetrarch.
Next, the seed that falls on rocky ground is the social and political resistance that tries to overcome the hardship the people face in their everyday lives. The desire to strive for social, political and economic justice is threatened with possible execution. Therefore, they face the dilemma of speaking out against their oppressors as because of their numbers against the might of the Romans their attempt for a rebellion is doomed to failure.
The seed that falls amongst the thorns is good grain but is choked by the Roman and Jewish rulers of the time. What should happen is that the farmer should be able to keep a fair share of his profits so he can sell it at cheaper price. In turn people will be able to afford to buy it and feed their families. However, what occurs is most of their income is paid in taxes to the rulers of Palestine. In those times, the Publicans were the tax collectors. The process was that the Publicans were Jews who bought tax collection franchises from the Roman government. Though, any amount that they collected over and above what Rome required, they could keep for themselves. So, if you really owed the Roman government a thousand dollars, the publican might tell you that you owed fifteen hundred. Hence, the publican would send the thousand you really owed on to the Roman government, and keep the extra five hundred for himself. Consequently, an unfair political and economic system leads to the people of Palestine being choked by those in power and the wealthy. Jesus doesn’t require money or people to be highfliers in society to be loved he teaches that God is available to us no matter who we are.
Eventually, the seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”(Mark 4:8) These are the people that embrace the good news that Jesus is proclaiming and strive to live according to the Gospel values. Subsequently, enabling them to experience God through believing in the good news. A transformation that leads to a strong faith due to a relationship with God that can endure the difficulties of the time.