The Household (Pt. 3)

Mark is a common non-Jewish name in the 1st century. It’s possible that two (or more) people by this name were involved in the early Church.  Mark himself seems to stay in the background so that Jesus can be in the foreground. We don’t know his name for sure because that is exactly how he wanted it to be. However, no other author than John Mark of Jerusalem has ever been associated with, or suggested for, the Gospel of Mark. John is a Jewish name, so it’s very likely he was a Hellenistic Jew.

When Peter escaped from prison in Jerusalem, Acts 12:1-19, he went to the home of “Mary, mother of John Mark, where many people were praying.” The Title, “The Gospel According to Mark” was probably attached to the Gospel in about the middle of the second century. Most Scholars agree that this is the same Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. Like some other books of the Bible, the author of Mark seems anonymous. The first discussion of authorship dates back to the time of Papias, a Christian in Hierapolis (within modern Turkey), whose writings date from 110-130AD. Papias wrote about the Lord’s Oracles, in which he states, “Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said or done by the Lord…” This quote has been preserved in Eusebius’ History of the Church. This suggests that the author of Mark was very close to Peter.  So most scholars accept that the author was someone named Mark. Some scholars wonder whether Papias connected Mark with Peter on the basis of what had been written in 1 Peter 5:13 where he calls him his “son”. The connection is seen in the fact that Peters actions are recorded immediately after an unnamed naked man runs away after Jesus is arrested, but Peter follows on, which may be John Mark the author himself, See Mark 14:51-54. His mother was a wealthy woman with a house large enough to hold meetings for early Christians (Acts 12:12). He traveled with Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem from Syrian Antioch (Ac.12:25). From there, they went to Cyprus (Ac. 13:5). Mark left them in Perga (Ac. 13:13) for unknown reasons, and Paul refused to take him back after that. It resulted in a split between Paul and Barnabas, who left Paul and accompanied Mark back to Cyprus (Ac. 15:37-39). The rift between Mark and Paul appears to have been resolved at some point. Paul mentions that Mark was with him in Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 24. In 2 Timothy 4:11 he requests that Mark come to him in Rome. Later on, secular traditions claim that Mark was in Alexandria Egypt and at some point claims he was martyred in Egypt.

There is nothing from Biblical or Secular history that would prohibit John Mark from being the author of Mark’s Gospel, but scholars are reluctant to make the connection with absolute certainty. One of the arguments trying to prove Mark is the author, comes from the Greek syntax and diction of the Gospel. It is the Greek grammar of a native speaker, not being so sophisticated, so he was probably informally educated. The word that Papias uses in saying that Mark was Peter’s “interpreter,” could also mean “translator.” A native speaker is what is best for translation work. Presumably Peter was so Jewish he may have needed a translator when trying to write in Greek. Peter was indeed so Jewish he needed a vision three times from God to convince him all things God created were “clean” (Ac. 10:9-16) So the unique comment in Mark 7:19 about cleanliness would be expected in this Gospel if it originally came from Peter. This seems like dictation from Peter’s experience.

Our conclusion is that humility reigns supreme as a great virtue in one of the key characters for establishing what the earliest account of the gospel actually is and is not. The family of Christ always needs and uses to great effect, the useful humble talents of people who are honest and willing to render whatever talent they have for the spread of the gospel. This allows Mark to put personal insight from himself or Peter into His writing about the person of Jesus, adding a touch of authenticity, here are three unique features proving how real Jesus is to the author: One: Only Mark gives healing commands of Jesus in the original Aramaic: Talitha koum (Mark 5:41), Ephphatha (Mark 7:34) Two: Only here in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “the son of Mary” (Mark 6:3). Three: Mark is the only gospel where Jesus himself is called a carpenter (Mark 6:3); in Matthew he is called a carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55). These points show us as His Family, that a personal touch in our work for our Savior is needed, in order to have a real relationship with Him. Do you?

The Household (Pt. 2)

John was from Judea and his parents worked in Jerusalem but Jesus was from Nazareth, with good weather, it was at least a five day walk, and we know Mary & Joseph went to Jerusalem every year at least onceLuke 2:41  The biological relationship between John & Jesus as cousins happened to be of no concern or implication upon the gospel or ministry of Christ, or else it would have been recorded. Jesus called him John the ImmersionistLuk 7:33 not John my cousin. They obviously knew “of” each other, but John makes it obvious that they didn’t know each other well, until he saw a “dove” descend upon someone whom he was to immerseJohn 1:32-33  John was fearless in proclaiming his message, and called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers.” This was in reference to the fact that they were making baptism a mere ritual but their lives were just as corrupt as ever – with no signs of true repentance. He challenged people to be all they could be. He must have made quite an impression because “all” of Jerusalem went out to him in order to be baptized. Most Jews were able to recognize him as being a prophet even though there had been no prophets for almost 400 years, without him working one miracle! John’s basic message was REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM IS NEARMat.3:2  so change your mind and change your ways because a big change is coming, ready or not! According to Mark, Jesus began his ministry after John had been imprisoned, so while Jesus was 40 days in the wilderness a great travesty of justice struck John. Josephus, the historian says that John was held in a cell at the castle of Machaerus, the impenetrable fortress located in Perea, east of the Dead Sea. We know John was arrested by Herod for denouncing his marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias. When John heard of the miraculous signs Jesus was doing, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was the One that should comeLuk 7:19-28 or if they should “wait for another.” Scholars have various thoughts on the nature of this question. In Luke’s gospel, it provides the opening for one of several questions relating to Jesus’ identity. The question allows Jesus the opportunity to pay tribute to John, calling him “more than a prophet”Mat.11:9  so establishing and confirming his prophetic role. He was “more than a prophet” because he was the forerunner of the Messiah (Christ), who came in the spirit of Elijah. In the meantime, while John was in prison, Herod “feared him and protected” him because he knew John was a righteous man. He even liked to “listen” to him. But Herodias wanted to kill him, no doubt in order to silence his denunciation of her marriage to Herod and to solidify her position as Herod’s legal wife. Her opportunity came the day Herod offered to give her daughter Salome, “anything you want” as a thank you for her seductive dance at his birthday party. Herodias coached her daughter into asking for the head of John; the daughter came up with the idea of having it delivered on a platter. Despite Herod’s “great distress,” he had to save face with his dinner guests and ordered it done. John’s disciples took his body for burial. This is in contrast to Jesus’ disciples who all ran away when he was killed. But this was not the end of Herod’s nightmare regarding John. Later on, he feared that Jesus was the reincarnation of John. Jesus also made reference to John’s authority in his conflicts with the temple priests. Josephus adds that Herod’s forces were eventually defeated by his ex-wife’s father. The people saw it as punishment for killing John and a sign of God’s displeasure. It would have been a case of God’s providential justice! John lived his beliefs and died for them as well. In the family of Christ, there should always be a member who can boldly point people to Jesus and beg them for repentance, if not, then start training someone to do it! John teaches us that no matter how effective, bold and successful any single individual is in the family of Christ, we are all equal in The Father’s eyesMat.11:11

The Household (Pt. 1)


James, the physical brother of Jesus, calls Abraham a “Friend of God”, a description that seems rare in the Bible. We know from personal experience that we can choose our friends but not our family and it means a lot to us to have friends, they are very valuable for many reasons. Our family are invaluable for strength, love & friendship in trials, and God’s family is priceless, as we are eternal. Having friends in your family makes for the best kind of family we can imagine. In the Bible there are actually only a few people called ‘friends’ by God, AbrahamJas 2:23   LazarusJn 11:3-11  The Twelve DisciplesJn 15:15 Or at least it seems that way, until you read how Jesus addressed his disciples in a huge crowd, which would obviously have more than just the TwelveLk 12:1-4  This sentiment is true from John’s perspective, having many friends in Christ3Jn 1:14  Notice the way Paul addresses the church in Rome “Greet Ampliatus my dear friend in the Lord”Rm 16:8 He felt that way about Onesimus tooPhm 1:16

Jesus himself had a disciple which he felt affectionately closer to than the other disciplesJn 13:23 There is obviously nothing wrong with feeling closer to some of our family members, than others, but there is something wrong when we feel nothing towards anyone that is a member of the Church2Pt 1:7-9 There is certainly sin within our relationship, if we feel hatred against anyone in the Church. This Series of discussions is an attempt to engender genuine affection and greater love for the Family of God in Christ. We will look at the following people in Scripture, to get God’s perspective on what He intends our relationships to be focused on:












A “Household” during the 1st Century when Christ lived, was a term used for people that you were associated with on a daily basis. Whether or not you were close to them, is ambiguous, but nevertheless, they were part of your “household”. Your household was not just your biological kin, but anyone that you had personal contact with, such as maids or laborers and tutors. The “Household” of God in Christ is spiritual, eternal and real. Let’s grow, show and share the fruit of the Spirit in His householdEph 2:19  Jesus had this concept taught and used in a practical way for us as ChristiansMt 12:48-50  In what ways do we treat each other as “family”?

Revelation 22

“River of Water…Proceeding from the Throne” v1, Within this vision of the new Jerusalem we see detail of what God Himself issues out with the Lamb. Water! John 7:37-39 says this speaks of the Holy Spirit. This is who helps grow priceless fruit, Gal. 5:22-23. The blessings from God get bigger and better as the river flows, Ezekiel 47:1-12, Zechariah 14:1-8 & Joel 3:18 all have similar pictures of water flowing from the house of God. It is interesting that the “Lamb” is part of the Throne, clearly showing the New Jerusalem as being present tense, because Paul talks of the future of the Kingdom being submitted to God by Jesus. Here in John’s vision there is no submission, but rather, The Lamb is reigning from the Throne, see 1st Cor. 15:24ff.

“Twelve Kinds of Fruit” v2, The garden of Eden first had this tree to sustain eternal life, it’s image of fruit is the Spirit’s work being shown with the number 12, meaning authoritative power. The virtues of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Faithfulness, Kindness, Gentleness, Self-control, Holiness, Rom. 6:22, Righteousness, Eph 5:9, Heb. 12:11 & James 3:18 and Truthfulness, Eph. 5:9, are the 12 words which the New Testament uses to describe the Fruit. We are being taught that our power lay in the heart of a Christian where his virtue grows, share these virtues so that His power can be experienced and His Kingdom reigns over darkness & sin. “Healing of the Nations”, the world can only find forgiveness, friendship and citizenship in this city if they look upon the leaves representing the gospel, God’s word is often spoken of as food in the New Testament. Remember Adam used leaves to hide his shame or guilt, but here God uses leaves in the sense of healing, He doesn’t just cover up dirty laundry, He offers healing & new life with the gospel.

“Blessed is the one who keeps the words” v7, this is the fourth beatitude from Christ in the Revelation, and it is connected in thought to the necessity of perseverance. Real happiness is to remain steadfast by His strength and not our own, Eph. 6:10-14.

“The Time is Near” v10, Just as near as it was in 1:3, The entirety of this Revelation is applicable in the century the church was born in, as it is in today’s century the church grows in, till Jesus returns. From God’s perspective within this vision, there is no time with God, but He fits His victory for us within our understanding of time, see 2nd Peter 3:8.

“Still do Evil…Still be Holy v11, This is the same warning Paul gave Timothy in the face of establishing and spreading the eternal Kingdom of Christ, 2nd Tim. 3:13, and it’s the very reason we must persevere in growing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in order to be holy as He is holy. Our perseverance is guaranteed stronger and better than any force of evil, because the source of our holiness is Christ, not ourself.

“Blessed are they that wash their robes” v14, Promised happiness, deep contentment and eternal satisfaction from the cleanliness of doing what God wants, which is obviously seen in baptism. Robes represent the righteous acts of Christians sanctified and called saints, Rev. 19:8. These are indeed the labor that follows us into the city? Indeed, Rev. 14:13.

“Whoever loves and practices a lie” v15, the grammar literally conveys the idea of living a deceitful lifestyle, a pretence, as a hypocritical flip-flopping church hopping Christian. Remember Ananias & Sapphira, Acts 4:32-5:10. Our holiness should be a growing lifestyle, maturing the fruit of the Holy Spirit and sharing it.

“Things which are Written in this Book” v19, The whole of Revelation is practically written for the 7 churches of Asia primarily, It’s interpretation is for them foremost. Why? Because each congregation has a specific reward described if they remained faithful to the point & purpose of the entire message of visions in the Revelation. Chapter 22 has much in common with Chapter 1, proving it’s also written to all of us. Seven means perfect and total coverage in God’s work, like 7 days in a week of His creation, or the 7s used in Lev. 25:8-18 to discern the Year of Jubilee celebrating God’s work of Justice. Here the 7 churches, represent the work of God in creating the church as a whole for all time till Jesus comes again. Here is what Chapter 22 has in common with Chapter 1. Showing His servants what must soon take place, 1:1, 22:6,16. The Testimony of a Faithful Witness, 1:2,4,9 & 22:16,18,20. The Beatitude of Keeping This Word, 1:3 & 22:7, 9,14. The same “Churches”, 1:4 & 22:16. The Alpha & Omega, 1:8 & 22:13.

“Come Lord Jesus” v20, As John understood Christ coming as “soon” on his own time scale, it couldn’t be fast enough. Do we love the news of Jesus appearing? Or is that a frightful prospect for us? Read 2nd Timothy 4:8.