The Gospel of Mark: God’s Kingdom Is Here!
Author: John Mark was related to Barnabas and a traveling companion to Paul (see Acts 13:1-5; 15:36-41; Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11). Mark also served with Peter and most think that the Gospel of Mark records Peter’s perspective on Jesus’ life.
Date and Setting: First century, early to mid 60’s. Written to Christians in Rome under threat from growing persecution. Many believe that that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke independently may have used Mark as a source.
Theme and Purpose: Mark presents the historical facts about Jesus in an objective and concise manner in order to promote loyalty to Him. Mark is also about being a disciple of Jesus, following Him in suffering and mission.
Noteworthy Characteristics and Impressions
· *The shortest of the Gospels and perhaps the earliest.
· *The disciples confess that Jesus is Lord, the “Son of God.”
· *The kingdom of God is here as evidenced by Jesus’ authority over nature, disease, and demons.
· *A Passion story, 6 of 16 chapters are dedicated to the final 8 days of Jesus’ life.
· *A book of action, fast-paced and action-packed. “Immediately” is used 41 times in Mark.
· *A focus on Jesus’ miracles (19 in Mark) rather than His teachings.
· *Jesus attracts large crowds who seek Him out. The people respond to Jesus with amazement or astonishment about 20 times.
· *Those closest to Jesus reject Him, His hometown and family.
· *The Messianic Secret: Jesus’ tendency to command people not to tell anyone who He is.
· *Discipleship themes: (1) Following Jesus, the term “follow” appears 17 times in Mark. (2) Jesus spends time alone with the disciples, about 20 times. (3)Discipleship involves service, sacrifice, and suffering.
· *The Gospel with the puzzling ending (16:8). The “Jesus story” continues on through the faithful witness of His disciples.