The Gospel of Mark: Good News

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15)

We will take time and study the Gospel of Mark in this season – the second book in the New Testament. It is the fastest gospel, bringing you Jesus in action straight, without long background and introductory remarks. Right in Chapter One, Jesus is and adult, baptized, in the wilderness, back to Galilee starting a serious preaching career, calling disciples, performing miracles of healing, praying alone, and traveling throughout Galilee preaching and driving out demons. Mark leaves us with a book full of action and energy, presenting with fine details a Worker and a Teacher. A great article in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives detailed description of this book:

A Book of Mighty Works: Judged by the space occupied, Mark is a Gospel of deeds. Jesus is a worker. He hastens from one task to another with energy and decision. It is not strange therefore that the uneventful early years should be passed over. Nor is it strange that miracles should be more numerous than parables. According to Westcott’s classification Mark has 19 miracles and only 4 parables, whereas the corresponding figures for Matthew are 21 to 15 and for Luke 20 to 19. Of the miracles 2 are peculiar to Mark, of the parables only 1. The evangelist clearly records the deeds rather than the words of Jesus.

The Worker Is also a Teacher: Though what has been said is true, yet Mark is by no means silent about Jesus as a teacher. John the Baptist is a preacher, and Jesus also is introduced as a preacher, taking up and enlarging the message of John. Striking references are made to His originality, methods, popularity and matchlessness as a teacher (Mark 1:22). A miracle is definitely declared to be for the purpose of instruction (Mar 2:10), and the implication is frequent that His miracles were not only the dictates of His compassion, but also purposed self-revelations. Not only is He Himself a teacher, but He is concerned to prepare others to be teachers (Mar 3:13-14).

A Book of Graphic Details: There is a multitude of graphic details: Mark mentions actions and gestures of Jesus; Jesus hungers, seeks rest in seclusion and sleeps on the boat cushion; he pities the multitude, wonders at men’s unbelief, sighs over their sorrow and blindness, and rebukes in sadness the wrong thought of His mother and brothers. With many vivid touches we are told of the behavior of the people and the impression made on them by what Jesus said or did. These details strongly suggest the observation of an eyewitness as the final authority, and the geographical references suggest that even the writer understood the general features of the country, especially of Jerusalem and its neighborhood.

As you study more of the book of Mark, remember the ultimate message: “The time has come; the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”