In the preceding chapter Mark presented the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus proclaimed the saving message of the kingdom by his teaching and by his actions on behalf of the needy. He was popular with the masses and the evangelist concludes his first chapter with the remark that people came to Jesus from every quarter (Mk 1: 45).
Nevertheless, Jesus meets with opposition. It is not the people who oppose Jesus but the religious authorities who saw in him a threat to their religious practices and traditional observances. In Mark 2: 1 – 3: 6 the evangelist presents five conflict stories which describes Jesus’ explicit confrontation with the religious leaders of his day. Parallel to these Galilean conflict episodes Mark also reports five conflict stories during Jesus’ Jerusalem ministry (Cf. Mk 11: 27-33; 12: 13-37). The Galilean controversies reveal the growing opposition to Jesus which leads to a dramatic climax in his adversaries’ murderous plot against him (Mk 3: 6). Yet each of these stories also illustrates the radically new reality of the kingdom which comes into existence with Jesus. This is implied in the saying of Jesus in these episodes of conflict (Cf. Mk 2: 10, 17, 19-22, 28; 3: 4).