Sep. 30. The Gospel According to Mark

John Mark was the youngest writer of the New Testament. It is thought that he referred to himself as the young man who wrapped himself in a linen cloth and followed Jesus after the apostles had forsaken Him during His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Someone had grabbed him and he ran away naked as they held the cloth that he had left behind.

The mother of Mark was Mary. The apostles spent much time in her home. When an angel released Peter from prison, he went to her house where many were praying. Since he was not an apostle, but a preacher, Mark no doubt learned much of his information about the life of Jesus from those contacts with the apostles.

When Barnabas and Saul (Paul) departed on their first missionary journey from Antioch, Mark accompanied them as far as Perga in Pamphylia, but for some unknown reason, he returned to Jerusalem. Some years later, he was the center of contention between Paul and Barnabas that caused their division as they prepared for their second missionary journey. Paul and Mark reconciled later and he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him when he came to him in prison.

Mark’s story of the gospel is shorter than the other three accounts. Even though he recorded many of the teachings of Jesus, he told more about His actions than about His teaching. Like Matthew’s story of Jesus, the time and location of the writing of Mark’s account are also unknown, but is thought to be about A. D. 60.

The primary purpose of Mark’s writing is thought to be for the benefit of Gentile readers. He explained some of the Jewish customs, such as not eating with defiled or unwashed hands. References to Jewish law, the genealogy of Jesus and His birth and childhood were omitted. Jesus was presented in a way that the Gentiles could understand that He is the Christ, the Son of God and that He came to earth, lived and died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Man’s responsibility to obey the conditions set forth for salvation was explained by each of the four gospel writers.