Jesus as God in the Gospel of Mark?

Michael Kruger wrote a blog post about Jesus as God in the Gospel of Mark. His argument is that, in the Scriptural citations towards the beginning of the Gospel (which the author of Mark, or the Greek text he draws upon, actually rewords), texts which in Isaiah and Malachi refer to the preparation of the coming of God are applied to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. Thus, Jesus is God.

When I was a conservative Evangelical, I confess that I too made similar arguments, and never noticed how odd they are. Mark apparently believes that Jesus was God come in the flesh, and yet he expresses this not by saying it directly and expressing explicitly what a marvelous and astonishing thing this is, but by making it implicit in a few word changes in his quotations from the Jewish Scriptures.

Which seems more likely? That for the author of the Gospel, Jesus embodied the coming of God – but was not to be identified as God? Or that the author of the Gospel actually redefined what it meant to be a monotheist, a rather major development, and then decided to make the pointers to that meaning so subtle that it is not at all obvious the text is saying that?

It has also been suggested that the “one who is to come” about whom John the Baptist spoke was indeed God, and thus early Christians tweaked the wording of some of his preferred texts, not to identify Jesus as God, but to have Jesus be the one predicted by John the Baptist, who in turn proclaimed not himself but the coming of the kingdom of God.

What do blog readers think about this? I am working on a conference paper at the moment, precisely on the subject of how echoes of monotheistic Scriptures are used in the New Testament in relation to Jesus, although focused on Philippians 2:6-11 rather than the Gospel of Mark.

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