As one of the key defining texts of Christianity, the Gospel of Mark has inspired, guided and motivated countless people around the world to become more devoted followers of Jesus Christ. This gospel contains information about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, and scholars consider it to be the earliest extant canonical and synoptic gospel in existence. (While the gospel may have derived from an earlier source known as "Q," scholars can only conjecture about the contents of such alleged material.)
Many important themes are found in the "Gospel of Mark," but one issue in particular has attracted intense and prolonged, scholarly attention: this issue involves the mysterious and ambiguous titles ascribed to Jesus in the text, such as "Son of God" and "Son of Man." What did these terms mean? Why were they used? How do they help Christians to understand Jesus' mission and self-identity? These issues have generated much theological interest and debate. Some scholars theorize that the title "Son of Man" may have been prominent in Mark because this was Jesus' own self designation. Others argue that the phrase "Son of Man" has three basic meanings: an earthly figure who teaches with authority, a servant who embraces suffering, and a future eschatological judge. As an earthly figure, Mark represents the "Son of Man" as possessing the ability to forgive sins (Mk. 2:10), and to be the Lord of the Sabbath (Mk. 2:27). The "Son of Man" as a servant who must undergo persecution, suffering, and death is found in Mk. 8:31, 9:12, 9:31, 10:33, 10:45, and 14:41. The eschatological judge characterization of the Son of Man is found in Mk. 8:38, 14:26, and 14:62 where the Son of Man comes in glory of the Father and holy angels and will be sitting at the right hand of power. These three characteristics may seem opposed to one another (i.e., one who suffers and also one with power); however, in the gospel, Mark explains that these three characteristics actually come together in the character Jesus and when understood in proper context, that of the resurrection, all the characteristics actually work together.
The title "Son of God" does not appear as often in the Gospel of Mark. This particular phrase has been interpreted in many ways from the benign idea that a "Son of God" was merely someone who did God's will, to the lofty concept of metaphysical equivalence with the Father. Scholars have noted that other Biblical figures, such as the Persian King Cyrus who liberated the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, have also been called "Sons of God." Thus, the epithet "Son of God" was not exclusive to Jesus.
Additionally, it should be noted that Mark's Gospel contains the so-called "Messianic Secret," where Jesus does not want his status as Messiah
revealed and warns both the people he healed and demons not to tell anyone about him (Mk. 1:34, 44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; 30; 9:9). The idea of the Messiah in Ancient Judaism was of a ruler or king, and not of a person who was persecuted, suffered, and died; thus, Mark developed the idea that Jesus cannot be fully understood until after his mission is fully completed. This also is stated in the Divine Principle