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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.