Birth and preparation of Jesus, the servant.
The Gospel of Mark is the second gospel in the New Testament but is considered by most scholars to be the first gospel written around 55-65 AD. The author John Mark, an educated and bilingual Jew fluent in both Hebrew and Greek, was a companion and interpreter to the Apostle Peter, a disciple and eyewitness of Jesus. Most scholars agree that Mark is the same John Mark in Acts 12:12 and Acts 15:37-40. While Matthew wrote primarily to his fellow Jews, Mark’s gospel appears to be written for Gentile believers, particularly the Romans. Mark wrote to those who had heard and believed the Gospel, giving them the biographical account of Jesus as Servant of the Lord and Savior of the world in order to bolster their faith in the midst of severe persecution, teaching them what it truly meant to be His disciples.
Mark’s is the shortest of the four gospels; it’s dramatic and fast-paced. The first eight chapters focus on Jesus’ miracles and actions that He performs as the powerful Messiah rather than His teachings. In the second half, we see Jesus preparing Himself as the suffering servant for His death on the Cross. Its style is unique from the other gospels; the action swiftly unfolds from one period in Jesus' life to the next.
Chapter 5 alone contains three distinct miracles that Jesus performs one after another: the healing of the demon-possessed man, the woman who bled for twelve years, and Jairus' twelve-year-old daughter. In the preceding chapter (Mark 4), we see a series of Jesus' teachings, followed by an epic display of Jesus demonstrating His authority over the wind and waves when He calms the storm for His disciples. In Chapter 6, Jesus is rejected at Nazareth, and John the Baptist is beheaded. The tension is building as we draw near the end of the first part of the Gospel of Mark and toward the finale as Jesus, the suffering servant.
Many of the details of Jewish rituals and practices we see in Matthew’s gospel are not included in Mark; the Gentiles for which he wrote would have had no context for or understanding of them. Unlike Matthew, it does not begin with a genealogy since the Gentiles would not be interested in His lineage. Instead, it begins with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus and introducing Jesus at His baptism, His initiation into public ministry in Galilee, and the calling of His first four disciples.
Mark's account is more than a mere collection of random stories; it is a narrative intended to reveal Jesus as the mighty Messiah, not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles. As we follow His journeys, we come to appreciate the remarkable pace at which Jesus operated in His three short years of ministry and the influence that He had on Galiliee and the surrounding regions. He touched the lives of countless individuals, and He left a profound and eternal impact on His disciples.