“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Hello, it’s a Monday and I’m here to welcome you to the gospel of Mark. Are you excited? I’m so excited! This has been such an awesome time of new beginnings. We aren’t reading the Gospel of Mark quite yet today, but instead we’re getting acquainted with our new author. Of course, I’ve done my usual research and uncovered some interesting facts for us. The Gospel of Mark is actually anonymous. In 326 AD, Eusebius, an early church historian, preserved the words of Papias an early church elder. Papias, quoted another elder, probably John, as saying that Mark recorded Peter’s preaching about Jesus but not in order. Therefore, since the first century, Mark was considered the author of this Gospel.
Mark was actually named John Mark and was the son of a widow named Mary. The church of Jerusalem sometimes met at Mary’s house (see Acts 12:12-17). Some sources say that Jesus’ last supper took place in Mary’s house as well…but we don’t really know so we can’t get too excited! Mark and Barnabus were cousins (Col 4:10) and together they traveled with Paul on that first missionary journey. Mark became like a son to the apostle Peter and also became close to Paul. Shortly before Paul’s execution, he asked Timothy to “bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). After Paul’s execution, Mark moved to Egypt and established churches.
Mark wrote his gospel in Rome around the time of Peter’s martyrdom. He wrote primarily for the Roman Gentiles and used Latin terms rather then Greek. Mark’s Gospel is believed by many Bible scholars to be the earliest Gospel written. There is evidence that it served as a source for both Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark’s writing begins with John the Baptist preaching and then moves on to Jesus’ public ministry. We see Jesus in action as a servant and then Jesus is revealed to us as the Messiah when he performs several miracles. By the end of Mark’s gospel, we move quickly toward the events of The Last Supper, the betrayal, the crucifixion and the resurrection. What an opportunity we have in these next few weeks to get to know Jesus through Mark. I’m ready for God to move in our life as we follow in His footsteps: serving, sacrificing and saving. I’ll leave you today with four key themes of Mark’s Gospel to consider. I challenge you to write them down and watch for them to come up in our daily study of Mark. I’ll be making notes each day about the words of Christ and how they fit within our personal faith journey.
- Mark demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
- He overcomes disease, demons and death
- Jesus chose to die for us
- Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament by coming to earth
- He came as a servant, not a conquering king
- By giving his life he performed the ultimate act of service
- Mark records more of Jesus’ miracles in his Gospel than sermons
- Mark reveals Jesus’ true identity as the Messiah through accounts of his miracles
Spreading the Gospel:
- Jesus directed his ministry to the Jews, he was met with opposition
- Jesus also ministered to the “non-Jewish” world including Roman soldiers, Syrians, and other Gentiles.
- Many believed the good news and followed him
- Jesus’ final message to his disciples was to go out to the whole world and preach salvation
Author’s note: Much of today’s historic information was drawn from a collection of study Bibles. I primarily use the NIV Life Application Study Bible (Zondervan), The HCSB Study Bible (Holman Bible Publishers), The ESV Study Bible (Crossway) and various online sources such as: biblegateway.com, biblestudytools.com and blueletterbible.org. Of course when writing about historic figures, one can only use the collection of data available and then present it in a way that honors the source. I’ve done the best I can to collect facts and share them with you in a digestible Monday morning fashion. There is always lots more Christian literature available to us! If you want more information about the Gospel of Mark or have knowledge you’d like to share, please comment below.