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Sunday, March 20, 2011

(44) The Book of Mark

Authority more than any other man.

Mark, as we know, was a companion of both Paul and Peter.  He has two names in the Bible.  His other known name is John Mark.  Mark is his Roman name.  In Hebrew it would have been Yochanan.  He was the cousin of one the secondary Apostles, Barnabas (Colossians 4:10).  His mother was named Mary but not the same one as Jesus or Magdelene or highly doubtful even the one of the two sisters Mary and Martha.  His Jewish name means "God gives Grace".  Mark wrote his inspired word around 60 AD, or around 20-25 years after the Resurrection of Christ, probably from the city of Rome.

Here are some interesting facts about the book:
  • It only spans about 3-4 years of the life of Christ
  • But the last 40% of the book only spans 8 days
  • Uses more Latin terms than Greek or Hebrew
  • Doesn't really include prophecies or Jewish customs
  • Does have more miracles listed than the other Gospels
  • Probably was co-written or dictated by Peter
  • Focuses on Jesus' actions more than His words
Who was Mark?  With a Roman name it shows that he was somehow a Roman citizen which meant his parents were of some high stance in society.  He grew up in Jerusalem.  His mother's house was an early meeting place for the Church (Acts 12:12)  But he himself was not so prominent.  He was young and adventurous.  When Jesus was arrested in the Garden a young man was caught with them but ran away (Mark 14:52).  Why was this young man mentioned?  He is given no name.  It seems like his value to the story means nothing.  But perhaps it is Mark telling his own story.  Maybe he was the young boy.  If it was him then this event in his life started to shape who he was.  When Paul wants to take companions on his trips about 10 years later Paul doesn't want to take Mark.  Acts 15:37-38, shows that Mark in the eyes of some wasn't yet trusted in his faith.  Apparently Paul was counting on him for help and he deserted him.  But again maybe it's because Mark saw all that went down in the Garden and he wasn't too for sure if he wanted to do all of this.  He is the reason why Paul and Barnabas spilt in their ways.  But somewhere along the way in his life he gained the trust of others (1 Peter 5: 13).  Even Paul felt like Mark had restored himself (2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon 24).  One of the main reasons for this book is to show people that if you are a failure in your life, you can be restored.

What is his Gospel about?  One word, authority.  One person, Christ.  One audience, Rome!  Some examples of His authority shown are
  1. Jesus has authority over evil spirits (1: 23-28, 3:11, 5:1-20)
  2. Jesus has authority over wealth (8:34-37, 10:17-31)
  3. Jesus' authority was given to Him by God the Father (9:7)
  4. Jesus is God (14:61-62)
Why was it written?  To show the Roman Empire that worldly authority doesn't last.  There is someone with more authority than the strongest empire man could build.  It even goes to say that a Roman Centurion, a leader of 100 men, understands the power of Christ, 15:39.   Pilate asked Him if he had authority and Jesus clearly answers, yes, although Pilate didn't pick on it.

Even with all of this authority, Jesus was still here to serve His people.  The words of 10:43-45 gives us the example that we are here to serve others.  Unfortunately that is not what humanity does.  People today think that everyone should serve them, whether they deserve it or not.

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