Summary: We begin a journey of walking with Jesus through the Gospel of Mark.
SERIES: WALKING WITH JESUS
(Series adapted directly from Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary)
“THE SERVANT IS HERE”
You’ve been given the job of writing about a series of important events. These events are important because they impact both the earthly and eternal destinies of all who will read about them. These events are important because they concern the life and work of God’s Promised One. These events are important because they involve more than who, what, when, where, and why. You’re name is Mark and you’ve been given the privilege of writing about the Good News of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Today we start a new series through the Gospel of Mark called, “Walking With Jesus.” We’ll be looking at the life of Christ as shown through Mark’s writings right up until our planned revival services March 21-24 with Victor Knowles and Darrel Land. We’ll pick up after that and complete the series on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.
What makes Mark’s Gospel unique from Matthew, Luke, and John? Matthew wrote primarily for the Jews. Because of his target audience, he opened with a genealogy. He wanted to establish that Jesus was the rightful heir to David’s throne. He wanted to focus on Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. Because of that reason, Matthew includes many Old Testament prophecies in his narrative.
Luke wrote primarily for the Greeks. So instead of opening his Gospel with a genealogy, he opened with a record of Jesus’ birth. He wanted to focus on Jesus’ humanity. John opens with a theological statement. He wrote primarily to show that Jesus was God in the flesh. He wanted to focus on Jesus’ deity.
Mark writes primarily to the Romans. He focuses on Jesus as the Servant. The emphasis of Mark’s Gospel is on activity – the work of the Servant. And because Mark focuses on action, one of his favorite words is “immediately”. He uses it 41 times in his writing.
Mark records only a few of Jesus’ sermons. Mark focuses on what Jesus did rather that what He said. The Servant came to minister to hurting, suffering people and to die for the sins of the world. Mark does not start with a genealogy or a birth narrative. He gives the work résumé of the Servant
THE SERVANT’S IDENTITY
How does Mark indentify this Servant? He draws on the testimonies of several dependable witnesses to show us that Jesus is everything that He claims to be.
The first witness is the author of the book – Mark himself. How do we know that someone named Mark wrote this Gospel and how do we know which Mark it was?
Although the Gospel of Mark does not name anyone as its author, early church history and tradition clearly identifies Mark as its author. We know him as John Mark in Scripture. He is mentioned many times. His mother was a wealthy widow in Jerusalem named Mary. Many scholars surmise that it Mary’s house was the site of the Last Supper and also the home where the disciples gathered together at Pentecost. The Bible tells us in Acts 12 about Herod’s persecution of the church. He had the apostle James arrested and beheaded. He also arrested the apostle Peter but Peter was miraculously released from prison. Acts 12:12 tells us that “he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”
The Bible clearly mentions in Acts 13 that John Mark went with Paul and Barnabas on part of the first missionary journey. But partway through, he went home. He was also the subject of a quarrel between Paul and Barnabas as to whether he should accompany them on the second missionary journey. Paul went with Silas and Barnabas took Mark on another journey.
However, the Bible tells us that at some point in time, Paul and Mark again became co-workers. Paul sent greetings from Mark to the Colossians. At the end of his life, Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark along when he made a visit to Paul in prison.
We also know that Mark worked with the apostle Peter. In 1 Pet. 5:13, Peter calls Mark his “son” and sends greetings from him to the believers to whom he wrote. In fact, many scholars believe that Mark wrote his Gospel based on the preaching and teaching of Peter. One of the early church fathers (those leaders who followed the apostles in leading the church) named Papias wrote around 110 A.D.: Mark, who was the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all that he remembered, whether of sayings or doings of Christ, but not in order. For he was neither a hearer nor a companion of the Lord; but afterwards, as I have said, he accompanied Peter, who adapted his instruction as necessity required, not as though he were making a compilation of the Lord’s oracles. So then Mark made no mistake when he wrote down thus some things as he remembered them, for he concentrated on this alone—not to omit anything that he had heard, nor to include any false statement among them.