The Second Section
The second section will take the reader back to the first century. It will revolve around the main character of the book, starting off with his journey from Jerusalem to Rome. The church in Rome is under great persecution and has requested help from Jerusalem. As the main character departs his young family, he realizes that he does not know what type of help the Roman church needs. All he is certain of is that he will have a guide to get him to Caesarea and from there he will depart for Rome. Since he will have to walk to the seaport, it will take him many days, and along the way he will have three different sets of guides. It must be understood that this book is not an adventure book. It is a theological exercise that attempts to understand what the evangelist (author) of the Gospel of Mark was trying to communicate to his readers. Therefore, the focus of the book will be the dialogue that occurs between the different characters. The main character is the one who will travel to Jerusalem and will be asked to collect the various traditions about Jesus. Although he is unaware of what Rome will ask of him, he finds it odd that the people he encounters along the way know it is he who is on this important mission.
One his final day to Caesarea, the last of the guides points him in the direction of the city. On the path, he comes across a savagely beaten man. Naturally, he comes to this man’s aid and helps him get to a place of safety to make sure the thieves do not return and kill them both. Once to safety, the man who was injured explains that he is a wealthy Greek merchant returning home from several months of buying and selling. Fortunately for him, he had hidden his riches in a cave prior to being robbed and left for dead. Once he is well enough to travel the two head back to Caesarea and catch a ship to Rome. As with the other people he traveled with, the main character engages in deep philosophical and religious discussions about who Jesus was and his purpose.
Once in Rome, he has been invited to stay with the wealthy merchant at his home. While in his home he has several discussions with the family members, all of whom have been educated and are quite articulate and opinionated. Since the main character is Jewish staying in a Greek Roman home, the differences in religious beliefs are hotly debated. During the day he sets about to explore the city and to try and find the leader of the church of Rome. Since there was much persecution going on at this time on Rome from the emperor Nero, Christians are apprehensive and hide their identity. After several days, the church is located, and he is invited to attend their meetings. It is here where the main character is asked if he would be willing to collect the true and accurate traditions of Jesus. The reason and concern of the church is that; Jesus has not returned as promised, some of the older church members are dying off, believers are being persecuted to death and they are becoming apathetic and apprehensive to continue in their faith. In addition, the church is hearing a variety of different understandings about Jesus as well as stories that are not consistent with their belief. Therefore, it is asked that he would collect these traditions and write them down in a book for the church so that they might know what the correct and true belief is. They are in essence are requesting a standard by which they can measure truth and guidance by which they are to live their lives considering the daily extreme danger.
The immediate concern is the main characters’ inability to write or read. He is also concerned about his ability to navigate an itinerary to find reliable sources that could provide eyewitness accounts. The church, in preparation for this has a compiled a list of names and general locations. In addition, they commit to send along a church member who will guide him on the trip and locate these people to be interviewed. However, it is up to him to locate a capable scribe. He then returns to the wealthy Greek’s home and presents his dilemma to him. The man generously offers to fund the trip as long as his educated son is used as the scribe. A discussion takes place upon which the main character and the son agree to the plan of authorship. The main character would be the person in charge and would dictate to the son how he wanted the book written. Yet, the son insists that the final draft be his. Since, the book would be directed at a wide audience of different ethnicity, the book would be written in Greek.
At this point, the three venture off to the different location to find the sources listed on a scroll. Each will eventually come to the realization that this journey will provide a different understanding of who Jesus is prior to what they had believed before.