The world is flooded with novels about secret messages or hidden texts. They all pretend to reveal the ultimate truth of Jesus. In this book, Geert Van Oyen goes back to the oldest gospel and explores its story as a challenging and revolutionary message for any reader. By employing a narrative critical approach Van Oyen demonstrates how the narrator accompanies readers in their quest for the identity of the protagonist Jesus. Along the way readers will discover that faith in Jesus is not a matter of theoretical truth but of practical experience. Who can remain indifferent when they hear the paradox at the heart of the gospel: ""Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all""? ""Building on the best of European and North American scholarship (especially Markan narrative criticism and reader response criticism), Van Oyen helps today's reader appreciate how Markan rhetoric intertwines the story of Jesus with the stories of his disciples, and thus with the story of the reader as well."" --Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA ""In this short, readable volume, Van Oyen helpfully makes accessible for general readers the substance of much recent scholarly work on the Gospel of Mark as a narrative. In so doing, Van Oyen not only explains how to read Mark as a 'novel, ' he also guides his readers through the mysteries and the paradoxes, the power and the passion of this amazing story--showing that it leads every reader to make choices and take actions to follow in Jesus's footsteps."" --David Rhoads, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL Geert Van Oyen is Professor of New Testament at the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). He is the author of The Interpretation of the Feeding Miracles in the Gospel of Mark (1999). Leslie Robert Keylock is vice president emeritus of academic affairs and graduate professor emeritus of New Testament at Evangelical University and Seminary in Plant City, Florida.