|dc.description.abstract||“If I do this, will I miss out on Heaven or go to Hell?” These questions are recurring themes in a Christian church context. Clearly, the motivation resulting in these questions is one of reward and punishment. The right thing must be done to gain what one desires, or to avoid a negative outcome. But is it Jesus’ intention that his followers be motivated by reward or punishment? And if not, what motivation did He intend?
This study uses a historical-exegetical approach to the text of the Gospel of Mark to determine if Jesus intends us to be motivated by reward and punishment. Mark’s Gospel was chosen due to the succinct nature of the gospel. It is expected that Mark will be the most difficult gospel in which to identify motivation since the author has gone into less detail and discussion. This will make what is found more significant.
This study considers all pericopes that speak to motivation in the gospel, beginning with the call stories where the Markan Jesus first calls followers. The way the Markan Jesus teaches is considered, as is the teaching on the amputation of limbs and avoiding “hell.” The rich man seeking eternal life, Jesus’ passion predictions, Mark’s use of temple imagery and most importantly the way of the cross are all explored. In all cases we seek to understand what motivation is presented by the Markan Jesus to follow Him.
Throughout the study it becomes apparent that reward and punishment are not the motivation the Markan Jesus intends, with few rewards promised, and what is promised usually containing a sting in its tail. Punishment is even less evident in the text. Rather, the identity, character, and purpose of Jesus Christ are time and again revealed, followed by an invitation to follow. Jesus’ purpose is to restore humanity to his presence and the world to its original perfection. The intended motivation will be seen to be: “This is who I am. Am I enough for you?”||