Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.


The Gospel of Mark takes us on a vivid journey through the roads of first-century Palestine, from the small Galilean villages to Jerusalem, where Jesus’s trial and crucifixion take place. The shifts from location to location in the narrative are often abrupt and hasty, but these movements serve an important purpose in that they teach believers that Christian discipleship means following in the footsteps of Jesus. Believers are to follow his progress in their imaginations, as one follows a character in a story, sympathizing with him in his progression to the cross. Jesus’s trail toward the cross offers a warning to potential followers that discipleship may involve persecution and suffering, and will call for unremitting faithfulness on the part of the disciple.