Jesus gets to the point. One of the stunning qualities about the Jesus revealed in the Bible is his directness of speech. At no place is that clearer than in the Gospel of Mark. Mark begins in the middle of things. There is infancy narrative, no Christmas, no escape to Egypt.

It begins with an announcement and a quote from Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3: Look, I am sending my messenger before you. He will prepare your way, a voice shouting in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.”

Then we get John the Baptist, the call of the disciples, and miracles and ministries. Stuff happens in Mark. Stuff happens immediately. In Greek, the word euthus means immediately is used a lot Mark, so often that it is rarely translated because in English it seems redundent. Stuff happens immediately.

Another key aspect of the Gospel of Mark is what is known as the Messianic secret. Jesus doesn’t toot his own horn a lot. In fact, over and over he tells people not to share a miracle with anyone. Jesus is not a salesman. His actions are deliberate and done for the people involved.

Finally, Mark ends abruptly. The oldest manuscripts end with the angel telling Mary and Mary Madeline: “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

That is it. Running away and being frightened. Later manuscripts add verses 9-20 but I find the starkness of Mark beautiful. This Gospel cuts through adornments to bear witness to the brutal wonder of the life of Jesus Christ. God is revealed not in comfort but in the immediate action of a Nazarene carpenter. Something different is going on. This is not a normal story. The world is turning upside down.