How and why it was written. Who was Mark?
This section includes:
How it Mark's gospel came to be written
What does Mark's gospel mean to Christians?
The Jews and the Romans
Religious groups at the time of Jesus
Christ - The Greek name for the promised leader sent by God (messiah)
Gospel - Means 'good news'. There are four Gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
Mark's gospel is not a biography of Jesus, it has a very specific aim: To spread the Good news about Jesus. He didn't want his readers just to be interested in Jesus, he wanted them to realize what Jesus had said and did affect them. He wants the readers to know: What Jesus did, What Jesus said, who Jesus was/is and the impact Jesus made on people.
"This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, Son of God."
This quotation is the opening line of Mark's gospel. These words show us that; Mark is writing Good News, the good news is about Jesus, Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah and that Jesus is the Son of God.
Mark's gospel includes many short accounts of events in Jesus' life. The longest section is the description of the events of the 24 hours, starting with the Last Supper and leading up to the crucifixion. From the start Christians believed the resurrection was the most important part of Jesus' life.
Why was it written?
It was very rare 2000 years ago to find anyone who could read or write, as it was a new skill.
People who had never met Jesus were becoming Christians. Some lived in other countries. They needed to know more about Jesus to strengthen their faith.
Jesus' original followers were dying out. They needed to record what Jesus said and did while there were still people who remembered him.
Who was Mark?
- He could have been a companion of Paul the apostle.
- He could have been the 'Mark' who is mentioned by Peter in his first letter.
- We do know that when he wrote his gospel he got some information from Peter.
Mark wrote his Gospel in Greek. Here and there he quotes Aramaic words spoken by Jesus, e.g on the cross (Eloi, eloi, lama sabactani) and Jairus' daughter (Talitha Koum). These words indicate that Mark got his information from an eye witness, someone who remembered clearly what Jesus said and did.