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The beast of conflict Opposition and ministry, Mark 1—8

One thing is clear about lions in every age and culture: they are powerful fighters with a keen sense of territory. After the opening flurry of chapter 1, Jesus starts to roam far and wide around the northern territories by the sea of Galilee: Capernaum (1.21; 2.1); Galilee itself (1.39); the Greek territory of the Gerasenes and the Decapolis (5.1, 20; 7.31); Nazareth (6.1); Gennesaret (6.53); Tyre and Sidon (7.24, 31); Dalmanutha (8.10); Bethsaida (8.22); Caesarea Philippi (8.27), Galilee and Capernaum again (9.30, 33), before eventually heading south for Judea and the road to Jerusalem (10.1, 32). There are about forty scene changes while he roams up and down the land: mountains and deserts, grain fields and pasture-land, the river and the sea, boats and synagogues, publicly outdoors and within private houses. Thus, we can add a sense of space to the pace already noted: not only does the lion bound around with urgency because the time is short, but also he covers huge tracts of land, crossing and recrossing ground, seeking out those who need him, and roaring his message…

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