This morning we begin the Gospel of Mark at LifePoint in our series Jesus: Son of God-Son of Man. Some fun facts about this narrative:
- It was the first Gospel written (likely from Rome around AD 64).
- It was used as a primary source for Matthew and Luke as they wrote their gospel accounts.
- It is the shortest gospel narrative.
- The primary titles used for Jesus are “Son of God” and “Son of man.”
- It is blunt and to the point, the word “immediately” is used more than any other book in the Bible.
- Matthew and Luke, individually almost twice as long as Mark’s account, use the word immediately 26 times between them (14 for Matthew and 12 for Luke). Mark uses the word “immediately” 36 times.
- Its author, Mark, was not among the original disciples who walked with Jesus when He was on earth.
- It is a known as an “eyewitness account.”
If Mark didn’t walk with Jesus, then why is this book called an “eyewitness account?”
Provenance of Mark’s Gospel:
Christian tradition ascribes the source of Mark’s account to the Apostle Peter.
The first time we see Mark mentioned in the NT is in Acts 12.
When he (Peter) realized this (he was released from prison), he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Mark was the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), and he travelled with Paul and Barnabas for a time (Acts 12:25), and later with just Barnabas (Acts 15:36-40) on missionary journeys throughout the early church. But we also know that Mark had a strong relationship with Peter. Peter refers to Mark as “my son” in 1 Peter 5:13, a title used by Paul to refer to men he spiritually mentored and had a special relationship with, like Titus and Timothy.
Most scholars point to Peter’s words in his second letter when tracing the origin of Mark’s gospel account:
2 Peter 1:13-16
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Most likely, at the end of his life, around AD 64 in Rome, Peter dictated his blunt and concise account of the good news of Jesus Christ to young Mark. This account was then passed from city to city and church to church, being copied and re-copied as a testament to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.