1. What is a Gospel?
2. Authorship, date and location
3. From Jerusalem to Rome
4. Sources of Mark’s Gospel
5. Reasons for writing the Gospel
6. Themes in Mark’s Gospel
7. Persecution of 1st century Christians
8. The calming of the storm
9. Mark’s Gospel as good news for Christians today
1. SO WHAT IS A GOSPEL ANYWAY?
Definition: The term GOSPEL literally means “Good News” or “Godspell”.
Explanation: This means it contains the life stories and teachings of Jesus. There are 4 Gospels, of which Mark was the first to be written. They are found in the New Testament and have special authority.
SO HOW DO CHRISTIANS INTERPRET THE GOSPELS?
· Literal Christians believe the Gospels are the direct word of God.
· This means the Gospels contain NO errors because God does not make mistakes.
· This gives the Gospels great authority for Christians!
· Liberal Christians believe the Gospels were written in the authors’ own words but they were guided by God.
· This means the Gospels may contain some mistakes because humans are not free from error.
2. AUTHORSHIP, DATE AND LOCATION OF MARK’S GOSPEL:
Author: John Mark. It is believed he came from Jerusalem and his mother owned the house where Jesus held the Last Supper.
Date: Written around 70 CE (approximately 37 years after the death of Jesus).
Location: The Gospel was written in Rome.
HOWEVER… There is no absolute certainty about these three facts:
· Not all people believe it was John Mark who wrote the Gospel, however this is the traditional view.
· Not all people agree that the Gospel was written in 70CE.
· Not all people agree that the Gospel was written in Rome – some believe it was written in Syria or Egypt.
3. HOW AND WHY DID THE GOSPEL GET FROM JERUSALEM TO ROME?
Jesus died in Jerusalem, yet we’ve seen that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome…
Many traders and pilgrims who visited Jerusalem converted to Christianity. They took their new faith home with them and Christianity began to spread!
People in Rome found Christianity a particularly attractive religion to follow. Rome attracted many people from across the Empire who were hiding from the authorities (criminals / slaves). They formed a social underclass!
Christian teachings on equality appealed to this underclass: “There is neither Jew nor gentile, slave nor free person, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (St, Paul, Galatians 3.27-28).
4. SOURCES BEHIND MARK’S GOSPEL:
1. Peter: If Mark got information from Peter himself, it would explain why there are so many specific details in the Gospel.
2. 12 Disciples: Mark would have known the other disciples, who may have told him stories about Jesus.
3. Other Eyewitnesses: The crowd, people Jesus healed, those present at…