Overview of The Gospel of Mark

This reading is an overview of Mark.

The Gospel According to Mark is an action packed book. Just glance through the first couple chapters and see how many things take place. This Gospel is considered the most chronological.

All of the Gospels are true and have meaning for each of us, but each one had a slightly different purpose and initial audience. Mark was initially written to a Roman audience, which may be why the birth narrative was not in this book as it was with the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (Romans would have been more interested in the messenger – John the Baptist – who announced Jesus).

When written: Roughly 55 A.D. It is generally considered to be the first Gospel written.

Author: John Mark, a companion of Peter and a one-time companion of the Apostle Paul.

I heard a good sermon by David Moore about failure that dealt a lot with the author of this Gospel, so I thought I would note it here.  Mark’s real name was John.  Mark was a nickname, and it apparently wasn’t very complimentary. 

Tradition holds that this passage refers to Mark: 

Mark 14:51-52 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

He was a cousin of Barnabas and started on Paul’s first missionary journey.  Then things went badly.

Acts 15:36-40 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted themin Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

At this point Paul had no use for Mark.  Yet see what happens years later as noted by Paul:

Colossians 4:10-11 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. . . . These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.Philemon 23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

Mark was also a traveling companion of Peter, who lovingly referred to Mark as “my son.”  Mark became a scribe and documented Peter’s sermons, which became the Gospel of Mark. 

What a remarkable turnaround!  Mark goes from fleeing Jesus naked and being considered a deserter to being a trusted companion of Peter and Paul and the writer of one of the Gospels!  God can do amazing things in your life regardless of what failures you have had to date. 

Take a little time to skim the whole book and read any passages that stick out to you. Even reading the chapter headings can help you frame the book and see where we’ll be going.

The next reading is Mark 1.

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5 Responses

  1. […] I heard a good sermon by David Moore about failure that dealt a lot with the author of this Gospel, so I thought I would add some additional thoughts to the Overview of the Gospel of Mark.  […]

  2. […] companion of Peter’s and wrote the Gospel that bears his name.  Here is some background on Mark.  He and Saul (Paul) will have a falling out and eventual reconciliation (sorry to give away the […]

  3. […] companion of Peter’s and wrote the Gospel that bears his name.  Here is some background on Mark.  He and Saul (Paul) will have a falling out and eventual reconciliation (sorry to give away the […]

  4. […] More about Mark Posted on September 14, 2006 by Neil I heard a good sermon by David Moore about failure that dealt a lot with the author of this Gospel, so I thought I would add some additional thoughts to the Overview of the Gospel of Mark.  […]

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