Monday, August 29, 2011

The Gospel of Mark

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark

Written by George Goldman

John Mark is mentioned ten times in the New Testament. John was his Jewish name, Marcus his Roman. His gospel is the shortest of the four and was the least popular in the early church. However, it was probably written first and used by Matthew and Luke. Ninety-five percent of Mark is found in Matthew and/or Luke. The language and details of Mark suggest it was written first. All four gospel writers record the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 (Mt. 14:13-21; Mk. 6:30-44; Lk. 9:10-17; Jn. 6:1-13). Mark is the only one to mention the details that the grass was green and the people sat down in ranks or literally looked liked flowerbeds on the green grass.

Mark wrote to the Roman mind. He uses ten Latin words, some of which do not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. He explains Jewish customs and omits the genealogy and infancy narratives.

Mark presents the military might of Jesus. We see power, splendor, and majesty on every page. Casting out demons was a new thing that only Jesus and the apostles could do. Demon possession is basically a New Testament phenomenon frequently occurring during the ministry of Christ. Demon possession produced harmful effects in their victims, deranging them mentally, morally, physically, and spiritually. They produced physical defects and deformities (Lk. 13:11-17; Mk. 3; Mt. 12:22; 9:23f). They also caused emotional disturbances such as insanity and suicidal mania (Lk. 8:26-36; Mk. 9:22). Jesus treated all the people as sick folk. The demons knew Him; bowed to Him; described Him as “the Son of the Most High God;” and entreated Him; and obeyed Him (Mk. 1:24; 5:6f; Lk. 8:31; Mt. 8:16). Demons comprehended their inevitable doom (Mt. 8:29). This picture is, of course, what the Biblical writers wanted us to see.

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