THE GOSPEL OF MARK.
Mark, the writer of the second Gospel, is also called John. He was the son of one of the New Testament martyrs, and a nephew of Barnabas. Mark is mentioned in the writings of Luke and Paul as being associated with the apostles, Act 12:12, 25; Colossians 4:10.The date of Mark’s Gospel is considered by Bible students to be between 57 and 63 A.D. The events contained therein cover a period of about seven years.
The purpose of the book is evident from its contents. Jesus is set forth as a worker rather than a teacher. Everywhere the servant character of Christ is manifest. The key verse is Ch. 10:45. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” There is no genealogy, for who gives the genealogy of a servant? As befits a servant-gospel, Mark is characteristically a Gospel of deeds rather than of words.
The book can be divided into five parts as follows:
1. Ch. 1:1-11. The manifestation of the Servant-Son.
2. Ch. 1:12-13. The test of the Servant-Sons fidelity.
3. Ch. 1:14 to Ch. 13. The Servant-Son at work.
4. Chs. 14 and 15. The Servant-Son “obedient unto death.”
5. Ch. 16. The ministry of the risen Servant-Son.
THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SERVANT-SON.
In whatever character we see Christ portrayed, we must always remember His deity. Thus in Ch. 1:1 we are introduced to Jesus Christ the Son of God, who brought in Himself the good news of full salvation. John the Baptist pointed to another, One who was so far above him that he felt unworthy to unloose His shoes, v.7. Immediately following His baptism in Jordan, God the Father testified of His Son and thus established His identity among people.
THE TEST OF THE SERVANT-SONS FIDELITY.
Jesus Christ stands out in the New Testament as the first Man of a new order. As Adam was tested and failed, so this Man must be tested, He did not fail, but the secret of His triumph is disclosed in two other Gospels, as a Servant, He used the word of His master and thus routed Satan in spite of all his deep subtlety. Fidelity to that written Word is expected of His servants, and we would do well to refrain from questioning God when things do not altogether suit us.
THE SERVANT-SON AT WORK.
Beginning with v.14 of Ch. 1, Jesus entered upon an active ministry, which was crowned with many good works as He relieved the sick and afflicted. Chapters one to ten, while including some teaching from the lips of Jesus, nevertheless are remarkable in that they each record one or more works of power for the benefit of the people. Sick were healed; demons were cast out; lepers were cleansed; and Jesus completely fulfilled the word that He was anointed with the Holy Ghost; and went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. Acts 10:38.
Chapter 11, teaches one of the most pointed lessons on faith contained in the New Testament. After Jesus cursed the fig tree, v.14, He moved on, expecting His word to go into effect. The next morning great was the surprise of His disciples when they saw what had happened. The Lord, however, was not amazed at the success of His act, but quietly taught His followers that they too could exercise the faith of God, and get results, vs. 22-26. He pointed out, however, the great need of cherishing a forgiving spirit, so that God would not be hindered in His working. Chapter 12 records a parable of a householder who had a vineyard in a distant place, and sent his servant for some of the fruit. The laborers treated them shamefully. At last the man’s own son was sent. Him they killed. The lesson of course was concerning the children of Israel in their rebellion against God. They had persecuted the prophets, and would finally crucify His beloved Son. A similar discourse is recorded in Ch. 13 to what is contained in Matthew 24, and closes with the exhortation to watch in order to be ready for the Lords coming.
THE SERVANT-SON OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH.
To Jesus Christ the Prince of Life it must have meant much to be submissive unto death. Knowing that all things concerning Himself must be accomplished, He made no attempt to clear Himself of the false accusations, but was truly as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, He opened not His mouth. In His own words Christ confessed that He had received a commandment to lay down His life, therefore, we regard His death as an act of obedience.
THE MINISTRY OF THE RISEN SERVANT-SON.
The Lord Jesus in John 17 tells that He finished the work, which was given Him on earth to do. His ministry, however, did not end there. He spoke of greater works, which His followers should do because He went to the Father. To make men sons of God is surely a greater work, and while the disciples went forth to preach and to heal, the risen Lord worked with them, confirming the Word with signs following, Ch. 16:19-20.