The Book of Mark is one of the most well read books of the New Testament. It mostly talks about the life and times of Jesus Chris with a lot of emphasis on the evens rather than Christ’s teachings.
In the Gospel; itself, the writer does not disclose his full identity or name. However, many theologians assert that the author must be Mark; one of Paul’s disciples. Mark had a large number of interactions with Paul and used the information obtained from the latter author to write about this book of the New Testament. It has been asserted that Mark was an active member of the early church sometimes fellowshipping with his colleagues in his parent’s home. Mark also participated in some spiritual tasks. For instance, he performed missionary work with Barnabas and Paul. However, these tasks came to a halt when Paul and Mark followed separate pathways. But at a later point in Paul’s life, Mark reunited with him and continued with ministerial works and teachings. (Rodney, 2007)
There are numerous people on the New Testament referred to as Mark. Any of them could have been the true author of this Gospel. However, John Mark is the most outstanding among all of them because he interacted with Peter and Paul. Some of the other books that identify the identity of this author include;
1 Peter 5:13
It was asserted that the book of Mark was written around that time because of some two pieces of historical evidence. First of all, the author identifies the issue of the Temple of Jerusalem. He clearly points out that at the time of his writings the Temple had been destroyed. This occurred somewhere in the fifth decade after Christ’s death. Mark mentions this destruction in the chapter thirteen and verse two. Also, Mark may have been younger than some of Jesus’ companions if this historical depiction is true. Mark lived a life dedicated to the Gospel and the Christian faith. But because of the persecutions occurring at that time, Mark was killed and died as a martyr. His body was laid to rest at Venice.
Some groups assert that Mark may have been influenced by some Semitic values. He was lived near Galilee but not found exactly in that location. This is because some of the features found in the text betray his Semitic influences. (Lane, 2005)
Major reasons for writing the book
The Book of Mark was written between 57-59 AD. As it can be seen, this was one of the earliest writings in the New Testament. Mark wrote the book at a time when people had heard the Gospel and believed it but were facing opposition and resistance from the government of the day. This particular book was written direct members of his congregation since he was a pastor.
Mark wanted to show members of his congregation that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed their savior by laying out the specific details of Christ’s life. Mark believed that the church would grow strong in the face of persecution if they understood what they were fighting for. Mark also believed in discipleship and felt that the writings in his book would teach his followers about this concept.
Major topics covered in the book
Mark’s Gospel has been declared one of the most accurate depictions of Christ’s life and times. However, one should not assume that Mark was trying to write a biography. Instead, the author was bringing out some important events in the Life of Christ. The author had distinct theological goals in mind and most of them were not related to the historical structure of the occurrences. It was merely an issue of chance that the ideas portrayed in the book were in some sort of chronological order. (Garland., 2007)
Mark mostly talks about the miracles, signs and wonders synonymous with Jesus’ life. He uses a very straight forward approach because he believed that other methods used in the past were appropriate only to the Jews. For instance, in the book of Matthew, the author begins with a list of Jesus’ ancestors. This approach was important to Jews who could relate to this lineage. On the other hand, if Gentiles were to read these portions of Matthew, they would have difficulties relating to it. Therefore, Mark opted to omit such parts and got to universal messages. . (Rodney, 2007)
Mark also believed in Christ’s actions. Other authors in the New Testament tend to bring out the meaning behind Jesus’ actions or they tend to emphasize his teachings. Mark mostly talks about the places that Jesus visited and the things that he did while in those places. At the beginning of the Book, Mark gives an account of Christ’s baptism, how he turned water into wine at Galilee and the act of choosing his disciples. Mark then explains other events in Christ’s life proceeding the latter ones.
The Book of Mark is particularly important in depicting the issue of Messianship. Other disciples failed to bring out this element during Christ’s life. They only brought it out after his death and resurrection. Consequently, Mark fills in that gap by providing an avenue within which Gentiles and Jews alike can understand the fact that Jesus Christ was the chosen Messiah of God. This is a theme that runs throughout this part of the Gospel.
Examples of Christ’s messianship can be seen from the fact that most of Christ’s actions changed people’s lives forever. This was an aspect that could only be achieved by one with a Messianic profession. Additionally, Mark also talks about the transfiguration in detail. At that point, God showed his presence and acknowledged the fact that Christ was the Messiah.
Mark also brings out Christ’s messianship by narrating his last days, death and resurrection. At that time, Jesus had been left by the disciples. Actually, none of them saw the body of Christ before or after his resurrection. Mark points out that women were the major witnesses at this point. They had gone to preserve Jesus’ body but found an empty grave. Thereafter, the angel of the lord visited them and proclaimed that Jesus Christ the Messiah had risen.
All the dramatic events that took place before, during and after his crucifixion indicate that he was the Lord’s Chosen one. These are just some of the quotations from the book indicating these themes.
‘“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:11).
“or even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him’” (Mark 16:6).’(Got Questions Ministries, 2008)
How to apply the Gospel of Mark in present life
In Mark Chapter sixteen and verse fifteen, the author asserts that the real followers of Christ must serve him with their actions and not just their words. In the verse, Mark talks about Christ’s great commission to his followers. They are required to preach his Gospel to the whole world. Therefore, the Book places a lot of emphasis on the practical aspect of the Christian faith. This assertion carries a lot of meaning due to the fact that the disciples heard these words from Christ himself and not any other Christian leader. The disciples chose to obey Christ’ instructions yet they were the most influential people in spreading the Gospel during the early years of the Church. Christians today can also learn from the disciples because the latter group chose to obey Christ’s calling.
Priorities in the Gospel
The book of Mark is important to the Christian faith because it is the first book. Many scholars imagined that the detailed versions of the Gospels were more important. However, after finding out that Mark’s work was the oldest, theologians and scholars alike have come to respect the book. It should also be noted that the Matthew and Luke may have drawn some of their illustrations from this very book thus indicating that his material was quite original. It should therefore be given the respect and priorities that it deserves. (Cliune, 2008)
The Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark; one of Paul and Peter’s companion. He was a pastor and wrote the book in order to give people accurate depictions of the life and times of Jesus Christ. He emphasized the message of Discipleship and Messainship.
These are both concepts that the present church can emulate. It is also important to note that this author believed in practical Christian living since he talked about the great commission offered by Jesus Christ to his followers.
Rodney, C. (2007): Mark, Holman New Testament; Tyndale House Publishers
Garland., D. (2007): Mark, NIV Application Commentary; Christian Books Publishers
Lane, W. (2005): The Gospel of Mark, Journal for New International Commentary on the New Testament, 12, 3, 67
Cliune, A. (2008): Mark the Evangelist; retrieved from http://www.about.com/ accessed on 24th June 2008
Got Questions Ministries (2008): Gospel of Mark retrieved from http://www.gotquestions.org/ accessed on 24th June 2008