Overview of the Gospel of MarkQUESTION: What is an overview of the gospel of Mark?ANSWER:
An overview of the gospel of Mark includes biographical information about the author. We know, for example, that Mark came from a wealthy family who very likely hosted meetings of early Jerusalem believers, including the Master's Passover Supper (Mark 14:12-16, Acts 1:13, 12:12). It's possible that the young Mark followed Jesus and the disciples from his house to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he escaped capture only by fleeing naked when temple soldiers snatched at the linen sheet he wrapped around himself (Mark 14:51).
We also know that Barnabas, who first led, then accompanied Paul on the first missionary journey, was a nephew of Mark's mother and therefore Mark's cousin (Colossians 4:10). Both Paul and Barnabas esteemed Mark worthy enough to accompany them when they left Jerusalem for Antioch after the famine-visit (Acts 11:27-30, 12:25); and when they began their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5).
An overview of the gospel of Mark wouldn't be complete without a look at Mark's spiritual life. A significant failure early in his ministry led to other problems before he began a recovery with personal and spiritual maturity. Whatever the reason, he deserted the missionaries when they arrived at Perga in Pamphylia after leaving Cyprus (Acts 13:13). That reckless irresponsibility led to a bitter dispute between Paul and Barnabas when Barnabas wanted his cousin as part of the team for the second missionary journey, and Paul refused (Acts 15:36-39). Barnabas and Mark sailed away to evangelize Cyprus, and neither is mentioned again in Acts. Mark remained active in ministry, however; a decade or more later, A.D. 60, Paul favorably mentioned Mark in Colossians 4:10. At the end of Paul's life, A.D. 67, he had become convinced of Mark's usefulness in ministry.
An overview of Mark's Gospel also includes its historical background. Written sometime between the late 50's, to the middle 60's, many consider it the first gospel composed. Writing from Italy, and explaining Jewish customs (Mark 7:2-4, 15:42), and translating Aramaic terms (Mark 3:17, 5:41, 7:11, 34, 15:22), Mark targeted Gentiles. Aramaic was a language closely related to Hebrew. The occasion prompting his production was the persecution of Nero. Its purpose was to present Jesus Christ as God's vigorous, energetic Son, a man of action, who specialized as a teacher of Israel.