I’ve taught (and co-taught) through the gospel of Mark several times in the last few years. This is absolutely the most fun and fulfilling part of the job. Here are a few similes I’ve found to be helpful to Peruvian readers of Mark.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were like the modern-day religious orders within the Catholic Church (Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans). It’s not a perfect correlation, but it helps the reader understand that Pharisees and Sadducees are sects within the same religion that have committed themselves to a certain philosophy.

Jesus was like Lionel Messi. Many readers are surprised that the disciples immediately dropped everything and followed Jesus when he called them. I say it’s as if Lionel Messi (the best soccer player in South America) walked by a park and said to the kids there, “I can teach you how to play soccer like me.” No wonder they left their jobs and families. Rabbis were the rock stars of that culture.

Celebrating the Passover at the Last Supper was like celebrating Peruvian Independence Day. It’s the day the Israelite slaves were liberated and became a nation. I often ask readers why they think Jesus chose to lay down his life on a holiday that’s about liberation.

Like I said, none of these are perfect comparisons, but I think they have been helpful for first-time readers of Mark in Peru.