Author: John Mark
Date: Around 55 AD
Audience: Gentile Christians living in Rome
Purpose: To demonstrate that Jesus came not to be served but to serve.
The author of the Gospel of Mark was not a disciple of Jesus. Rather, he was known as John Mark and was closely related to Peter, the cousin of Barnabas, and a traveling companion of Paul’s. In Acts 15, John Mark was the wedge that separated Barnabas and Paul at the beginning of their second missionary journey. For some unknown reason, John Mark bailed in the middle of the first journey and Paul wasn’t willing to give the kid a second chance. Paul and John Mark were evidently reconciled later because he tells Timothy to bring him for a visit (2 Timothy 4:11).
Mark’s Gospel is the shortest and about one-third is focused exclusively on Jesus’ final week on earth. The narrative moves quickly from event to event and the word “immediately” shows up often. Unlike Matthew, Mark roots the proof of Jesus’ identity not in his genealogy or in the Old Testament but in his actions.
As you read the book of Mark, pay attention to the following:
- Take note of the names and attributes of Jesus.
- Make a list of his actions, motivations, and emotions.