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?