NTS 005 The Gospel of Mark

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Author: John Mark

Who was John Mark?

He carried two common names as the time.

1. John is Hebrew his Hebrew name.

2. Mark (Marcus) is His Latin name.

It was not uncommon for Jews to carry a Jewish name and a Greco-Roman name.

He was the son of Mary who lived in Jerusalem.

Acts 12:12–13 ESV
12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer.
Mary was a homeowner.
Mary had at least one servant.
Mary had a house large enough for the church to meet there.
This would lead us to believe that Mary was a wealthy lady.

He was the cousin of Barnabas.

Colossians 4:10 ESV
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him),

He traveled with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey but didn’t finish the trip.

Acts 12:25 ESV
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
Acts 13:5 ESV
5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.

His situation caused a rift between Paul and Barnabas.

Acts 15:37–39 ESV
37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,

He later became a valuable partner in Paul’s ministry.

2 Timothy 4:11 ESV
11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.

He had a close relationship with Peter.

1 Peter 5:13 ESV
13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son.
Not the phrase we see Paul using “my son”.

How do we know he wrote this gospel?

Mark is almost unanimously noted as the author though his name is not specifically mentioned.
All church father’s in the first 200 years after Christ stated that Mark was the author.
Logically - there is no reason to assign a gospel to a person with as small of an influence as Mark if he didn’t write it.

Where did Mark get his information?

Mark was not a disciple, and apostle, or any other major character.
The key to this answer lies in his relationship with Peter.
Justin Martyr called the gospel of Mark the “Gospel of Saint Peter”.
Mark’s gospel is Peter’s gospel.
Mark recorded the gospel as he heard it from Peter.
The Gospel of Mark follows the outline of Acts 10:34-43 when Peter shared the gospel with the gentiles.
Peter is mentioned frequently.
Yet, none of Peter’s embarrassments were recorded by Mark.
Not all info is from Peter, but Mark would have heard the preaching of the Apostles in Jerusalem.

The audience: Roman gentiles.

Internal and external evidence suggests that the audience is gentile.
There is little emphasis on Jewish traditions.
When they are talked about, they are explained.
The Old Testament was cited less times.
Mark uses some Latin phrases and terms.
Though Greek was the trade language, Latin was the official language of Rome.
Aramaic expressions are translated for the readers.
Some Greek expressions are explained in Latin.
Specifically Roman gentiles.
Romans 1:8 ESV
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
When Paul wrote to the church in Rome, the gospel was already there.

Style of writing found in the book.

Mark is a historical narrative.

Reads as a history book.
Communicating and focusing on facts rather than themes.
It is written in a way to draw the reader into the events.

Mark focuses on events, actions, and miracles.

This reflects the personality of Mark’s teacher.
This is the way Peter would have retold these events.
As well as… the Romans were an action focused society.
Remember Matthew was written around 5 major teachings of Jesus.

Mark records two miracles and two parables that the other gospel narratives don’t record.

The miracles
The deaf man with a speech impediment. (7:31-37)
The blind man in Bethsaida. (8:22-26)
The parables
The seed growing by itself. (4:26-29)
The call to watchfulness. (13:34-37)

Mark is abrupt and vivid.

Mark is clear and to the point.
40 times he says things happened “immediately” or straightway”.

He reveals the shortcomings of the disciples more clearly than the other gospels.

The disciple’s rebuking from Jesus.
In the storm while Jesus was sleeping on the boat. (4:38)
Peter when Jesus told of his approaching death. (8:32)
The disciple’s shortcomings.
The Lord questions their ignorance. (4:13)
Jesus’ frustration with the disciples. (10:14)
James and John seeking the best seats in Heaven. (10:35)

Mark is brief.

It is the shortest gospel.

Mark is fond of painting a visual picture.

the synagogue

Mark is likely the first gospel written.

Some would say that it became the backbone of Matthew and Luke.

Theme: Jesus the Servant and Sacrifice

Key verse:
Mark 10:45 ESV
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We see Jesus as the servant of God and man in action and power.

We see Jesus as the sacrifice of God for man on the cross.

Outline of Mark.

Jesus the servant. (Chap. 1-10)

Presentation of the Servant. (1:1-2:12)

Opposition to the Servant. (2:13-8:26)

Instruction from the Servant. (8:27-10:52)

Jesus the sacrifice. (Chap. 11-16)

Rejection of the Servant. (11-15)

Resurrection of the Servant. (16)

Final thoughts....
Mark was a nobody.
He was at first a failure.
He was not an apostle.
He attached himself to anther failure.
I wonder what the significance is.
Yet God used both of them greatly.
God can and will use you!
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