In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus did not arrive unannounced or unexpected. The Old Testament prophets had clearly predicted the coming of a great One, sent by God himself, who would offer salvation and eternal peace to Israel and the entire world. Then came John the Baptist, who announced that the long awaited Messiah had finally come and would soon be among the people. In God’s work in the world today, Jesus does not come unannounced or unexpected. Yet many still reject him. We have the witness of the Bible, but some choose to ignore it, just as many ignored John the Baptist in his day.
Jesus had all power of almighty God – he raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, restored deformed bodies, and quieted stormy seas. But with all this power, Jesus came to mankind as a servant. We can use his life as a pattern for how to live today. As Jesus served God and others so should we.
Jesus came as a servant, so many did not recognize or acknowledge him as the Messiah. We, too, must be careful we don’t reject God or his will because he doesn’t quite fit our image of what God should be.
The Gospel of Mark is anonymous. Early Christian tradition ascribes it to John Mark. He was not one of the 12 disciples but he accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:13).
During the two years that Paul was in his own hired house in Rome (A. D. 61-63), continuing to preach the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark at about the same time as Paul wrote Colossians. Written from an unspecified location.
To Whom Written:
The Christians in Rome, where he wrote the book. The explanation of Jewish words and customs would indicate that the author has foreigners in mind when he wrote. See ch. 3:17; 5:41; 7:1-4, 11, 34.
Mark spoke of “the prophets,” a reference meaningful only to Jews (Mark 1:2). It was the Jews who had a difficulty in seeing the suffering servant aspect of the Messiah, looking only for His kingly role. Since Israel was then subjugated to Rome, it was meaningful that the Lord Jesus Christ had willfully taken the position of a servant, coming to earth as a Jew. It was also noteworthy that this book recorded the emotions of Christ, reserving the use of the term “Lord” in reference to Him until the final chapter.
Some, including Charles Welch, have suggested that the direct, to-the-point style of writing in Mark indicated a specific appeal to the practical roman mindset (with its emphasis on such empire building endeavors as the construction of roads and aqueducts), in contrast to the intellectual but impractical Greek mindset. Thus, the succinct style of the book would have appealed to ancestral Jews living in Rome at the time. It has long been thought that Mark’s source for his gospel was Peter, who also would have appreciated brevity. This book may have been written from Babylon, while Mark was there with Peter (I Peter 5:13).
The purpose of the Gospel of Mark was to present the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s servant.
As such, a record of His humiliation and suffering was set forth, rather than His lineage. Before He would be Israel’s king in His second advent, He would be God’s suffering servant (the ultimate sacrifice for sin) in His first advent.
The mission statement of the Gospel of Mark (if not the statement of purpose of the Acts period) was given in Mark 16:15-20.
And he said unto them [the disciples], Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believer; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak in new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them,a and confirming the word with signs following. Amen
To download a PDF outline of the Gospel of Mark click here.
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