The Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Mark is the first of the four Gospel's to be written. This Gospel focuses it's attention on what Jesus did. The shortest of all the gospels, Mark's account of Jesus is full of action and an excellent introduction for the unbeliever to the life of Christ.
The author fails to mention himself. This is a characteristic of all the Gospels. They all seemed to have the ambition of diverting attention away from themselves and giving the main character of their books the centre stage.
The Gospel of Mark is so titled because a man named Mark wrote it. Most Bible scholars seem to agree this was John Mark (Acts 12:12). He was not one of the twelve disciples.
He was at one time or another a travelling associate of Paul (2 Timothy 4:11), Barnabas (Acts 15:39) and Peter (1 Peter 5:13). He was in good company and had plenty of reliable sources to get his accounts from.
Mark's Gospel starts from when Peter turned up on the scene at the river Jordan (Mark 1: 16 - 17). There is no account of the birth story, genealogy or the shepherds. Mark starts from the public ministry of Jesus, when He (Jesus) was about thirty years. It goes straight into the action with the very first chapter containing miracles. In all, the Gospel of Mark records 18 miracles of Jesus (a similar number to Matthew and Luke) but only 5 parables compared to the 18 in Matthew and 19 in Luke.
The Gospel of Mark places emphasis on what Jesus did. This stands out as the clear objective of the Holy Spirit in inspiring and anointing Mark to write it.
Thank God that the Gospel writers were sensitive enough to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in fulfilling their tasks and did not just copy one another as we often do in ministry today. Each of the four Gospels was specifically written to give us a different angle into the life of Christ.
The Gospel of Mark shows the humanity of Jesus. It gives us an insight into the emotions of Jesus such as Him appearing sorrowful (14:34), disappointed ((8:12), displeased (10:14), angry (11: 15-17), amazed (6:6) and fatigued (4:38).
Chapter 8 of Mark's Gospel brings a turning point in the Gospel. It many ways it is the climax. Jesus asks His disciples who men say he is and Peter gives his inspired answer."You are the Christ".
Immediately after this Jesus brings up the issue of His death (Mark 8:31-33) for the first time. Until this point He had not mentioned it. This is probably why Peter was so disturbed and took Jesus aside to admonish Him not to say such things. Read the story yourself in Mark chapter 8.
It is as if Jesus had to wait for them to know who He was before He could reveal His mission to them. A truth we should all note.
Shortly after this we have the transfiguration and in Mark chapter 9 Jesus again speaks of his death. The disciples still do not understand. In Mark 10 Jesus speaks of His death to His disciples for the third time.
Understanding the sequence of things will aid you in appreciating the story even more. For well over two years the disciples followed Jesus about without knowing anything about the type of death He was to die. They knew little of His real mission.
Before you consider them ignorant take a moment to consider how much you know about the purpose of God for your life. Isn't it worth finding out? Why not ask Him. You will find you need to know Him more first. Getting closer to God is the beginning of ministry.
The Gospel of Mark portrays, more than any of the other Gospel's, the desire of Jesus to keep His identity secret. Theology refers to this as the messianic secret. Check (1:25, 34, 1:43, 3:12, 5:43, 7:24, 7:36, 8:26, 8:30, 9:30) in all these places Jesus is telling people not to broadcast the fact of who He is. This is also recorded in the other Gospels but not in the same frequency.
Why would Jesus want to hide His identity?
Why does he want us to seek Him to find Him?
If you really want to know the answers to these then read the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus' desire is that we might come to know him personally. Others can tell us about Christ but no one can open your heart to Him for you. That is a personal decision. I am not talking about salvation here.
The greatest tragedy in the church today is the fact that most churches are full of converts and not disciples. A disciple is a disciplined follower of the master.
The Gospels are written to give us more insight into the one who loved us and died for us. All disciples should be familiar with the Gospel accounts of Jesus life. It is the only way we can get to know Him. When you know Him He will reveal Himself to you.
Are you familiar with who Jesus is, what he said and did and what He still does today? Or are these still a secret to you?
Read the Gospel.