Atonement in Mark’s Gospel (William C. Placher)

“The Gospel narrative is thus one in which Jesus takes on our sins. We are characters in this story, and Jesus is. Neither the Father nor the devil is. Thus the two classic theories of the atonement both go beyond what Mark offers us. In contrast to Anselm, Mark does not present a “Father” who accepts the death of his Son as recompense for human sin. If anything, Mark’s story would imply, as Barth says, ‘primarily it is God the Father who suffers in the offering and sending of His Son, in His abasement.’ At the same time, there is no devil in this story by whom we are entrapped and who has any legitimate rights over us.”

– William C. Placher, Mark (Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible), 233.

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