Summary: We are called out to the wilderness, back to our relationship with Jesus before all the distractions of the world came upon us. Starts with a concise understanding of authorship and biblical authority.
I am just the voice of one who is greater than this; after me comes the one more powerful than I, one whose sandals I am unfit to untie…I answered to the One who gave this message to me, the voice still resonates in my soul; The voice still rattles my bones – “Prepare the way, make straight paths for him, you will baptize with water, He will baptize with the Holy Spirit. I am just the voice of one who is greater than this; but I am still a sacred voice, and I will not be dismissed.
Jonah cries against the city of Nineveh warning of imminent destruction. Isaiah cries out against the sin of Israel, Jeremiah against the sin of Judah, both warning of imminent destruction. John cries out against our own sin, and then unlike Jonah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, John shows us the solution to our sin, he introduces us to the person of Jesus Christ.
So begins the Gospel of Mark. John the Baptist comes and goes making a brief appearance at the beginning of Mark, but his brief appearance, and lower status should not lead us to dismiss his ministry. John the Baptist sets the stage for the rest of the gospel: John calls the people out into the wilderness, he calls us out of our civilized lives with all its distractions and urgencies to the wilderness where we can see what we really need in our lives – the almighty God.
The Gospel of Mark is the earliest scroll that takes the words of the Apostle’s about Jesus’ life and places them into written form. Before the Gospel of Mark people had testimonies from eye witnesses about Jesus, and they had the Old Testament Scriptures to refer to about prophecies concerning Jesus, but they had no written document. So Mark sets out to create a book that congregations can have with accurate information about the ministry of Jesus here on earth.
The author of the Gospel of Mark is seen by scholars to be a man named John Mark. He was a Jewish Christian whose mother Mary owned a house in the city of Jerusalem where people from the original Christian community met. So the person of John Mark can be traced back to the very first group of people who gave their lives over to Jesus Christ. John Mark was surrounded by people who were there when everything started. John Mark probably knew most people of significance from the gospels or knew people who knew the people of significance in the gospels. He is a man who is immersed in the testimony of Jesus Christ. His mother’s house was the house that the apostle Peter went to after his release from prison in Acts 12:12. Can you imagine being a young person at home with your mom and the Apostle Peter drops by your house first, the very first thing, to let your family know everything is ok? How cool it that? What does that tell you about the importance of John Mark’s family in the early Christian community? John Mark has a solid family behind him; John Mark is no stranger, no outsider to the happenings of early Christianity or to the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John Mark also spent a significant amount of time with the Apostles Paul and Peter. Paul at first views John Mark as irresponsible, which he probably was, and refuses to take him along on a second mission trip, we see this in Acts chapter 15. Paul was later reconciled to John Mark, and they become very close as they do extensive work together. John Mark was with Paul during his imprisonment in Rome. We see how close they have become as we see Paul instructing Timothy to bring Mark to Rome while he is in Prison because Paul saw him as so indispensable.