Mark’s Life of Christ

The earliest eccelsiastical and unanimous opinion is that “John Mark” wrote it with the help of the Apostle Peter (1st Peter 5:13) Mark’s mother was also named Mary and lived in Jerusalem in a rather large house with an upper room, Acts 12:12, some people believe this may be where the Lord’s Supper was initiated. Mark is known to have traveled with Barnabas in their first missionary journey, but Mark turned back (Acts 13:5-13) which caused trouble between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41) but he later became a co-worker and a comfort to Paul (Philemon 1:24 & Colossians 4:10-11 & 2nd Timothy 4:11). According to tradition, most scholars believe Mark wrote this gospel before the Jewish Temple was destroyed, as early as 58AD, maybe earlier! Traditions outside the Bible state that Mark was an interpreter for Peter (ref. Papias, 130 A.D.), and that Mark composed his gospel mostly from Peter’s memoirs (ref. Justin Martyr, 150 A.D.) There are three reasons we believe Mark wrote his gospel primarily for Roman readers.

  • Jewish customs are explained, Mk. 7:3-4
  • A Roman understanding of time is used, Mk. 6:48 & 13:35
  • Only Mark identifies Simon of Cyrene as the father of Rufus, Mk. 15:21 & Romans 16:13

The focus appears to be on Jesus as the Perfect Servant. Mark emphasizes the work of the Lord more than His words (he records nineteen miracles, but only four parables), the labor of a person who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk. 10:45) and so we say that his theme is “JESUS CHRIST THE SERVANT

It is a concise gospel. The shortest of the four gospels, may make it the best of the four gospels to try and memorize, if memory work is your forte. Luke has 1151 verses but Mark only has 661. Mark’s entire gospel can be read aloud in about 1½ hours. Only 31 verses are unique to Mark, all the rest are quoted by Matthew & Luke. 

It is a fast-paced gospel. Over 40 times he uses a word translated “straightway” or “immediately.” Two-thirds of the verses begin with “and”. The present tense is used frequently (e.g., they come…He says… He sends…). It opens with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ…” Mk. 1:1, and closes with “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15).

It is a vivid gospel. Mark presents little details not found in the other gospels, he wrote like he was an eyewitness which may have been Peter reminiscing.

MARK’S INTRODUCTION 1:1-8, Jesus is the Son of God! He is so important that God prophesied preparation for his service in the world and fulfilled the preparation work in the cousin of Jesus, John the Immersionist. The way which needed preparation is God’s way for his people to live. John used Isaiah 40:3 to emphasize “straight” paths, meaning repentance from a deceptive and twisted lifestyle. He used Malachi 3:1 to emphasize that it would be a very public path with God in full view. Mark is the only author that tells us John’s baptism of repentance is actually able to remiss sin. A powerful fact that gave John’s followers an advantage of purity to follow Jesus and serve God for the benefit of humanity’s salvation. John’s rough and ready lifestyle in the wilderness gave him an immediate audience, the common everyday Jew, so that the message would travel fast by word of mouth all over the Country, from the ground up to the top of society. John’s rudimentary clothing was probably making him look a little like Elijah instead of contemporary Jews, (2Kgs. 1:8) He was quick to teach people that although his baptism was for a big change in their lifestyle, that an even bigger change was ahead in the coming of the Lord.The Lamb of God would baptize by the Holy Spirit Himself, Acts 2:4 & 17, 10:45. The coming Christ was so powerful, that John proclaimed he was unworthy to even untie a sandal strap of Christ. How worthy are we?

Our Purpose in Praising God from the Psalms

Most Christians experience the “power of prayer” and are amazed by God’s grace in their daily life. Some Christians struggle to know His power personally for many years, but all Christians have access to God’s powerful love, message and presence. What the Psalms do in the New Testament is this: They make clear to the reader that God’s powerful message is related to song, as much as it is related to prayer. If a Christian doesn’t notice, learn and practice praise in song, as well as praise in prayer, a Christian can miss the whole plot of God’s power. Afterall, it’s not prayer that is powerful, it’s God! The same can be said for singing Psalms, don’t miss out on the full potential of God’s powerful word.

To sum up the Psalms, we must point out the continuing thread of prophetic promises made about Christ’s sacrifice in the Psalms. Now that’s power! 

Messiah would be called King, Psalm 2:6,  Zechariah 9:9 ~ Matthew 27:37 Mark 11:7-11

Messiah would be betrayed, Psalm 41:9 Zechariah 11:12-13 ~ Lk. 22:47-48 Mt. 26:14-16

Messiah would be falsely accused, Psalm 35:11 ~ Mark 14:57-58

Messiah would be hated without cause, Psalm 35:19 Psalm 69:4 ~ John 15:24-25

Messiah would be given vinegar to drink, Psalm 69:21 ~ Matthew 27:34 John 19:28-30

Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced, Psalm 22:16 Zech. 12:10 ~ John 20:25-27

Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed, Psalm 22:7-8 ~ Luke 23:35

Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments, Psalm 22:18 ~ Lk. 23:34 Mt. 27:35-36

Messiah’s bones would not be broken, Exodus 12:46. Psalm 34:20 ~ John 19:33-36

Messiah would be forsaken by God, Psalm 22:1 ~ Matthew 27:46

Messiah would pray for his enemies, Psalm 109:4 ~ Luke 23:34

Messiah would resurrect from the dead, Psalm 16:10 & 49:15, Mt. 28:2-7 Acts 2:22-32

Messiah would ascend to heaven, Psalm 24:7-10 ~ Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51

Messiah would be seated at God’s right hand, Psa. 68:18 & 110:1 ~ Mk. 16:19 Mt. 22:44

All of these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ just for our opportunity to be forgiven, empowered and delivered into eternity with Him. See Psalm 118:20-26. The apostle Paul quoted this referring to our place in The Spiritual Temple of Christ’s body, the church. See Ephesians 2:20-22.

Another amazing fact about the prophetic Psalms is that many of them are not generic phrases that can be understood and applied to any number of people or situations. Most of these prophecies are very specific with details that can only be applied to what Jesus actually did. Praise God for his sovereign grace and strength to perform the fulfillment of such loving acts in painful faith. God the Father is giving us a way and reason to praise Jesus for all he has done for each of us & will do! Praise Him!

A Christian Perspective on Psalm 146

v1-2, Declaring a determination to praise God, is the consequence of pursuing a relationship with Him. He always proves himself praiseworthy, Jesus attributed the greatest commandment humanity could obey was to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, body and mind, Mark 12:30.

Verses 3 and 4 make a point by a play on Hebrew words. In Hebrew adam, meaning ‘man,’ is the same word for ‘earth’ or ‘ground.’ So dirt goes to dirt.

v6 is quoted twice in Acts 4:24 & 14:15. The praiseworthy position and character of Jesus as The Lord is based on the fundamental right of power over his own creation, which we are an innate part of. We are created to praise Him for our own benefit, strength & salvation. His integrity is real from beginning to end, see Titus 1:2 & Hebrews 6:18


· Jesus opened the eyes of the blind (Matthew 9:27-29).

· Jesus raised those who are bowed down (Luke 13:11-13).

· Jesus loved the righteous (Matthew 13:43, 25:46).

· Jesus watched over the strangers (Matthew 8:5-10).

· Jesus blessed the fatherless and widow (Luke 7:12-15).

· Jesus turned the way of the wicked…upside down (Matthew 21:12).

· The logical conclusion is that Jesus is Yahweh, the LORD.

Like Father, like Son. For us, these lines may bring to mind the oracle of Isaiah 61 by which Jesus announced his mission, and further signs of his identity which he sent back to John the Baptist (Luke 4:18f.; 7:21f.).
 v10, The sovereignty of the LORD is seen both in the power of his creation, as well as the all encompassing reach of his grace to humanity, forever! John Newton put it this way, “One of the most beautiful paradoxes in God’s wisdom is sovereign grace. The same grace that is unmerited is also unstoppable”: So why stop praising His grace, once you get it?

A Christian Perspective on Psalm 135

v 1, 3, 13, The name of God makes known his character:

a. His name is good. Psa. 52:9“I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.” Never forget this: God is good, even when bad things happen!

b. His name is majestic. Psa. 8:1, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” This means that His name, which stands for all that He is, is excellent and famous throughout the earth. There is no one else like Him. He is omnipotent and incomparable. Exd. 15:11 “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”

c. His name is glorious. Psa. 115:1 “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory…” The word “glory” encompasses all of His attributes. The word literally means, “heavy” and refers to the fact that God is weighty, or awesome. Sometimes we try to make a name for ourselves as we crave credit for what we’ve done. We need to remember that His name alone deserves the glory.

d. His name is holy. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray he told them to begin like this in Mat. 6:9, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” His name must be set apart because He is holy.

e. His name is near. God is high and holy and yet, amazingly, He is also close to us. Theologically speaking, He is both transcendent and He is immanent. Allow this truth to penetrate you. He is not distant, but has instead come close to each one of us so that we can get to know Him. Psa. 75:1 “We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.” God is powerful and He is also personal.

Praising the Lord’s name is “Pleasant”, v3, because he alone is good, Matthew 19:17. Before Jesus came, only The God of Israel was holy and to be ‘feared’. Isa. 6:3 & 8:13, all other nations had mere idols or stories of gods, but Israel boasted in a relationship with The unseen God that provided physical evidence of His omnipotent power over creation. The word Pleasant in Hebrew is “Naim”, meaning lovely, delightful and/or beautiful. When Jesus referred John to the necessity of his own baptism, he said that fulfilling righteousness (Matthew 3:15) was “comely”, “fitting”, “becometh” or “proper”. The Greek word Jesus used is “Prepo”, meaning conspicuously eminent and/or very appropriate. This is the same word the Hebrew writer uses to describe Jesus as a High Priest, in Heb. 7:26. Does our singing to praise God’s name give Him a beautiful demonstration of our love? Does our singing of God’s praiseworthy name seem pleasant? You might ask, does the music really fit appropriately with the words adoring God’s name?

v14 echoes Deut. 32:26-43, where Moses affirms that God mercifully relents from fully judging his wayward people. When the Hebrew writer quotes this fact, he is reminding Christians of God’s perfect justice, which is very well explained by Moses and will be fulfilled in the future judgment day of our Lord Jesus Christ, Hebrews 10:29-39, is where he replaces persecuting foes, with fake Christians that shrink back away from their faith in Christ and end up living worldly selfish lives.

The God-fearers of v20 are evidence of God’s mercy towards the Nations through Israel. In the  beginning, God’s intention for the Tabernacle was to live among the people, Ex. 25:8, while moving through the nations and into the promised land. When He eventually had Solomon build it into a Temple, it’s obvious from Solomon’s prayer of the Temple’s dedication of God’s intent. Read carefully 1st Kings 8:31-33 and 41-43. This was God’s original intent for the Temple, Mark 11:17, the center of God’s praise, Isa. 56:7.
v21, the Lord “DESERVES” Praise. Since he is deserving, then what is the quality of what he deserves? Nothing less than the best we can offer. Here are some ancient tips in improving our praise, which John Wesley gave in his “Seven Directions for Singing”. I find them as relevant today even though the English is worn and a bit inept, the truth is in today’s reality as the moment they were inked.