Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Is the Gospel of Mark?

Mark is the shortest book compared to the other 3 gospels including Matthew, Luke and John. It records the life and work of Jesus Christ while he was on earth. Many thought that Mark is the first gospel to be written. Mark was the cousin of Barnabas. Mark joined Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip. However, he dropped out before they completed the missionary trip (Revelation 3:14-22). After that, Paul and Barnabas had a dispute on whether to let Mark join them in their missionary again. Paul reconciled with him later. He described Mark as a fellow worker in Colossians 4:10-11 and Philemon 1:24. He asked Mark to provide some help for him while he was in prison in 2 Timothy 4:11.

In the gospel of Mark, there are many Aramaic terms and Jewish customs. This may seem that Mark is aiming towards the non-Jewish audience when he wrote the book. Mark records many miracles. Mark explains the practices of the Jewish people. It also does not include Jesus' teaching concerning the prohibition of preaching to the Samaritans and Gentiles.

In those days, the Gentile followers were facing severe persecutions from Emperor Nero of Rome (John 15:18; 1 Peter 3:16). This is the reason why the most important theme of the book of Mark is about the cost of discipleship. Followers who are being persecuted will be comforted when they are reminded that their sufferings will be rewarded with resurrection and eternal life in the kingdom of God (1 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:44). Jesus promised that those who successfully endure persecution will be rewarded with the crown of life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8).

Mark shows that the cost of discipleship means that you will be disregarded by your own family and friends (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 9:23-24). Jesus was abandoned by his disciples when Judas led the Roman soldiers to arrest him (Matthew 5:14-16). True Christian discipleship requires self-denial and your willingness to make sacrifices (Luke 14:27; Titus 2:11-12). The Jews rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah so that he was sentenced to be crucified on the cross. The Jews were looking forward to a Messiah but they did not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The goal of Mark is to demonstrate Jesus Christ as the son of God who must die and resurrect on the third day in order he will be able to take on his messianic role (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Romans 8:11).

The most important miracle in the book of Mark is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the hour for Jesus' death comes near, the entire sky turned dark. Then, Jesus cried out, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which means, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? " (Mark 15:34) The curtain between the Most Holy Place and Holy Place was torn into two. This signifies that the barrier that separates us from God is removed through the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we can receive redemption for our sins and be reconciled to him. When a centurion saw how Jesus died, he said "Truly this man was the Son of God." (Mark 15:39)

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