The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark, one of the 3 synoptic gospels, is believed to have been written by Mark. Mark was writing to the Greeks in the Roman Empire. The Gospel closely follows the last week of Christ’s life.

Mark immediately opens up his letter by referring back to Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1 where God speaks through the prophet Isaiah and says that he is sending a messenger to prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3). God speaks of the fulfillment of prophecy will be immediate and with out any explanation. Mark speaks of John the Baptist preaching and baptizing through all of Judea. Normally Jews do a cleansing ritual to welcome Gentiles into Jewish culture so it was odd for the Jews to allow the Gentiles, who they found offensive, to be baptized. While describing John the Baptists’ clothing, Mark refers back to Elijah and demonstrates his humility and strength. Mark then transitions into the life of Jesus by telling the people that he baptizes with water, but Jesus Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit.

The first interaction that we see between God, Jesus, and the Spirit (the Trinity) is when Jesus rises our of the water after being baptized by John. Jesus taught in the temple with an authority. He also performed many miracles, cast demons out of people, and preached throughout the land. Jesus had a personal and spiritual side to him. He went to pray in the garden in solitude to interact with God. After Jesus healed the man with leprosy, the healed man went around and told the news, and as a result, Jesus had to continue to preach away from the city and in the country.

You could say that Jesus was a celebrity in His day. Mark recounts that the disciples prepared a boat for Jesus because they anticipated large crowds who wanted to be healed after seeing Jesus healing others. Jesus casts out demons. The scribes think it is because he is possessed. Jesus says it is not because Satan does control him, but because he is plundering His house. However, through these miracles people began to fear Jesus. In particular, in Mark 5, where Jesus healed the man with leprosy, they were afraid of Jesus’ power and begged Him to leave their region.

One of the most told parables in the Bible, and one of the most relevant and easiest for all ages to understand, the parable of the sower and the seed found in Mark 4. It is such a simple parable. As Christians, we are called to spread the message. We can do it with all our hearts and make sure we put effort into it, or we can go about our day without ever mentioning Christ. Jesus even said, “… the measure you give will be the measure you get…” (Mark 4:24) If you plant the seed (the message) in someone, the Lord will water it and help it to grow. The ability to “re-sow” the word means you accept it and sow it by spreading the message.

The story of death of Jesus is told in Mark as well as in Matthew and Luke. While in the garden at night with his disciples, Jesus was arrested after Judas betrayed Jesus by telling the guards where Jesus would be that night. Jesus was put on trial and questioned as to whether he the Messiah. According to Mark 14:62, Jesus replied, “I am.” Pilot ordered that the crowd chose whether they wanted Jesus dead, or another criminal. They chose Jesus to die. He did this to “cleanse his” hands from the guilt of sentencing Jesus to death. The end of Mark 15 tells of the soldiers mocking Jesus, dividing his clothes, His death on the cross, his burial, and his resurrection 3 days later.

Reading the Gospel of Mark has helped me to see and understand what faith looks like. Like the bleeding woman, Jesus exposes us to our worst fear and blesses us when we have faith to show us more of Him. I found a parable in the story of Jesus calling the four fishermen to drop their nets and have faith. If the disciples did not give up their nets, they would have missed all the miraculous stuff Jesus did. I thought about the nets I need to drop such as poor ways of spending my time, trying to win peoples approval, school, money, and personal pleasure.