Mark: The Unnamed Outsider
Mark: The Unnamed Outsider
Mark shows us that Jesus was more than a leader of a particular religious tradition – his ministry was universal; he came for everyone.
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100 Stand Alone Bible Studies

Bible Passages

Mark 15:37–39

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Mark 7:24–30

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s

Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your
daughter.” She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.


Mark wrote his Gospel to get across to us who Jesus is – the Son of God. One
way he does this is by offering us pictures of people outside the accepted faith community recognizing and acknowledging the power and grace in Jesus. He is showing us that Jesus was more than a leader of a particular religious tradition – his ministry was universal; he came for everyone.

Mark gave his Gospel a particular structure conveying the message that Jesus is God’s Son. Three times a voice is heard affirming this: at the beginning in the story of Jesus’ baptism when the voice of God is heard; at the apex of the Gospel structure in the story of the transfiguration, a moment of shining revelation when the voice of God is heard again; and then at the end, when Jesus gives up his spirit to the Father, when the voice of the unnamed outsider, the Roman centurion, bookends the voice from the beginning of the Gospel, confirming that this is indeed the Son of God. Mark shows us by this means a gospel of universal relevance, of application
far wider than religious cliques and élites.

In the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman, Mark brings home to us that Jesus was not there for just the inner circle of his own spiritual family, but for all people, even outsiders whose names we do not know.

It has been said that “all truth is God’s truth”, so people of quite different faith traditions from our own might be able to deepen and enrich our faith in God by the unexpected perspectives they offer us.



You are a great, great God. You made every star and planet, every speck of dust, everything that ever was. You made us too, and you knew us, each one of us, from the days when we grew hidden from the world in our mother’s womb. You know our hidden thoughts, the undisclosed yearning of our hearts, the quickening of joy, and the bitter roots of shame and sorrow deep in our souls. Help us, in our search for truth, to look always for the big picture, to look beyond the narrow horizons of our own tradition to the salvation in Jesus offered to all people of every culture we can possibly imagine. Keep us faithful, as you are faithful, but save us from the closed mind, the blinkered vision, and the stunting of possibilities. Give us the
humility to remember who you are, and the imagination to spread our wings in the spacious sky of your unlimited love. In Jesus’ holy name; Amen.