INTRO: The gospel of Mark is direct and to the point. It can be quickly read, and one has the feeling that there was much, much more. But John Mark is giving an overview of events, and his overview makes a very effective study outline. There is so much speculation surrounding this gospel, and some of it I will want to address in our thoughts here. I would guess, and it is only a guess, that the gospel of Mark is the least quoted of the gospel records. Matthew and Luke, because of their accounts of Jesus birth and their lengthy accounts of the end of his life are quoted often. John, because of Jno 3:16, is certainly quoted often. But as I have read over the years and as I have listened to teachers and preachers, it seems the gospel of Mark is not mentioned a great deal. Well, lets look for a little while at this book and its author.
I. WHO WAS MARK?
A. What the book of Actstells us?
1. Acts 1212 - The son of Mary - an apparent friend of Peter
2. Acts 12:25 - An early companion of Barnabas and Paul
3. Acts 15:36-40 - A source of contention between Paul and Barnabas
B. Other helpful references?
1. Col 4:10 - he was a cousin of Barnabas (explaining his loyalty to Mark?)
2. Philm 1:24 - a fellow laborer with Paul (relationship has changed)
3. 2 Tim 4:11 - misunderstandings can be resolved ... strong, warm relationships grow through years
4. 1 Pet 5:13 - Marcus, my son (Mark may well have been to Peter what Timothy was to Paul)
5. point? Mark had ample opportunity to know from credible witnesses details of the life and work of Jesus!
II. SOME OBSERVATIONS AS I READ THROUGH THIS BOOK
A. This gospel covers generally the period mentioned in Acts 1:21,22
1. no information here about his birth and early years
2. Mark has Jesus bursting upon the world stage in action
3. John the Baptist sets the stage ... then, enter Jesus
B. The frequent use of the word straightway
1. this word is used 19 times in Mark - many more times than other gospels
2. this word suggests that Mark is very much a book of action and movement
3. some suggest that Mark is designed with the Roman reader in mind - thus, Mark gave more attention to what Jesus did than to what He said (maybe?)
C. The brevity of accounts of events
1. yes, many of the same events as in Matthew and Luke
2. but Mark does not go into the detail other writers did
3. illustrations? Mk 1:12,13 - Mk 4:33,34 (but many of the parables of Matthew 13, for example, are not included here)
D. Very little reference to fulfilled prophecy
1. especially is this true when compared to Matthew
2. if, however, Mark is directed toward a different sort of reader (Jews vs. Romans), such a fact would be understandable
3. there are references to the Old Covenant ... but not with prophetic emphasis
E. A special notation about forgiveness - Mk 11:25,26
1. in this passage Jesus places the initiative to forgive upon the offended party
2. we have often stress Matthews emphasis on the offenders going to offended
3. but Mark reminds the offended of his responsibility to take the initiative in forgiving ... and Mark emphasizes that our own forgiveness from the Father depends on our forgiving others
F. The sentiment at Mk 16:7 - ...and Peter...
1. why did the Lord mention only Peter here?
2. I have long believed it was because of Peters blatant denials and his needing to know that he had no need to fear reunion with the Lord - all is forgiven
3. this action on the Lords part certainly adds to what we have noted above
about initiating forgiveness
G. The controversial last verses of this book
1. vv. 9-20 are often missing in more recent translations
2. apparently, two old MSS do not have the ending of Marks gospel - others do, however
3. interestingly, some of the versions which are older that the MSS do have the verses in question as the ending of Marks gospel - and references are made to the last verses by ancient writers
4. bottom line? there really is no doubt of the authenticity of Marks gospel - from 1:1 to 16:20
CLOSE: That the gospel of Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit there can be no doubt. That Marks associations Barnabas, Peter and Paul (and others) qualified him to write this to the point gospel record there can be no doubt. It is an exceptional and helpful record.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 August 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)