Mark is the earliest gospel written, though it’s NOT the first book written in the New Testament. The point of writing the epistles, for example, was to teach new believers the truth of all they knew and to give them practical instructions. The truth of Jesus on the other hand, what He taught, what He did, His life story, the details of His birth and early childhood, were spoken about and taught orally to new converts to The Way.
About the time that the people who lived with Jesus were starting to die, and in an effort to keep a record of all that Jesus did, the gospels were written. These were collected from eye witness accounts, from personal anecdotes and from the teaching done at that time. Mark, Matthew and Luke are called synoptic gospels because they are similar in content.
Mark was written by John Mark who was the cousin/nephew of Barnabas and accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey. Some thing happened halfway that caused Mark to falter and so he left them and returned home. To Paul this was flighty and immature and Paul did not want Mark to accompany them on their later missionary journeys. To Barnabas (son of encouragement), this was a perfect opportunity to mentor Mark and teach him and help him to grow, and so he wanted to give him another chance. This would cause such a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, that they would separate and go on their different ways. Paul taking many people with him on his journeys, some of them being Luke, Silas and Timothy. Barnabas would take Mark with him and accompany Peter on his journeys.
So the gospel of Mark is written from Peter’s accounts. The gospel of Mark is also action packed. Everyone seems to be always on the move, doing something, going some where, healing someone. Especially Jesus. Even so, in such a fast paced gospel narrative, Mark mentions often that Jesus took time to pray/He went alone to pray/He prayed to His Father/He went away by Himself.
Many scholars believe that Mark wrote himself into the narrative in Mark 14: 51-52 “ A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”
RELATED POST : Mark part 1: The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
The gospel of Mark showcases the amount of sacrifice required and the cost to be paid in following Jesus. The author writes often about how the disciples were stumped or defeated or dejected or plainly wondering about various things. He does not shy from portraying them as human beings with all their failings or frailty. Remember he most likely received all his information from Peter. Peter who was one of Jesus’ closest disciples and one of the inner most three, and the one that Jesus prophesied would be the foundation (Rock) of His Church.
This shows the disciples’ humility and obedience. They freely admitted they were in the wrong so many times when Jesus had walked this earth. Things (probably not all) were revealed to them after Jesus died, was buried , resurrected and then ascended. All their misgivings and doubts and human compulsions were laid to rest when they fully and completely trusted God and followed Him and obeyed Him.
This gospel gives us hope in that when we don’t know, or worry, or can’t fully trust God with our future, we can look at the disciples’ lives and know that we are accepted for who we are. HE loves us. HE loves us still. HE will always love us. HE will gently and kindly teach us and give us knowledge of things too difficult for us in His Time. There is no condemnation in Him. HE is not angry with us.
|4. Gen. 5:24||The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated||Mark 16:19, Rev. 12:5|
|23. Ex. 12:3-6||The Lamb presented to Israel 4 days before Passover||Mark 11:7-11|
|36. Lev. 17:11||The Blood-the life of the flesh||Matthew 26:28; Mark 10:45|
|84. Psa. 22:14, 15||Suffered agony on Calvary||Mark 15:34-37|
|98. Psa. 31:11||His acquaintances fled from Him||Mark 14:50|
|105. Psa. 38:12||Enemies try to entangle Him by craft||Mark 14:1, Mt. 22:15|
|136. Psa. 80:17||The Man of God’s right hand||Mark 14:61-62|
|151. Psa. 110:1||To ascend to the right-hand of the Father||Mark 16:19|
|249. Isa. 53:3||Men hide from being associated with Him||Mark 14:50-52|
|276. Isa. 53:12||Numbered with the transgressors||Mark 15:27-28; Luke 22:37|
|346. Zech. 13:||A violent death||Mark 14:27|
|350. Mal. 3:1||Messenger to prepare the way for Messiah||Mark 1:1-8|
|351. Mal. 3:1||Sudden appearance at the temple||Mark 11:15-16|
Some of the Prophesies that Mark recorded as being fulfilled by Jesus. If you compare this list to last week’s of the Prophesies recorded in Matthew, you will see this is significantly reduced. That’s not to say that Mark wasn’t interested in Jesus being the Messiah and the One whom Scripture foretold, but that Mark was more interested in writing about what Jesus did.
Many of the teachings of Jesus ( most notably the Sermon on the Mount) aren’t recorded here, but they are done so in Matthew which was written about 10-20 years after this gospel was written.
I hope this post has been informative and useful to you in understanding the gospel of Mark better. What was something you learnt from this gospel that you did not know before? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time,