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Short Overview of Mark:
First comparing the Gospels to movies: Consider the size of the four Gospels
Mark – 678 verses, 11,304 words – written for Roman Gentiles – short immediate action movie
Matthew – 1,071 verses, 18,345 words – written for Jewish Christians – lots of detail and background
Luke – 1,151 verses, 19,482 words written for Gentiles – from his trips with Paul originally tied to Acts
John – 879 verses, 15,635 words written for all Christians after the fall of Israel – a new look
Theme of Mark
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Who was Mark?
An interpreter and associate of Peter.
Colossians 4:10 tells us Mark was a cousin of Barnabas.
In 1 Peter 5:13 Peter refers to Mark as his son, so Peter may be the one who led Mark to Christ
In 2 Timothy 4:11 Paul asks Timothy to “Get Mark and bring him with you. He is useful to me in my ministry.”
When was it written
Two main views #1 is 64-69 A.D. #2 is 57-59 A.D. which is preferred because Acts closes with Paul still in prison prior to his first release pushing the writing of Mark back prior to 60 A.D. The timeline I found most acceptable per all the available evidence is sometime between 57-63 A.D.
Breakdown of Mark
Two parts Service (1-10) and Sacrifice (11-16) with almost 40% devoted to Jesus’ last 8 days.
Notes on Mark 1 and the immediate actions
1:5 A revival was going on, something new was happening motivating people to repentance.
1:10-12 He is the Son of God and immediately He is in the wilderness.
1:14-15 The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.
1:25 In a synagogue on the Sabbath Jesus delivers a man from a demon.
1:38 After healing many and driving out many demons the next day; Let us go to the nearby villages so I can preach there. That is why I have come. He went, in Galilee, preaching in synagogues and driving out demons.
1:40-41 Jesus heals a leper by touching him contrary to Jewish custom. Not angry or indignant.
Conflict with the Pharisees and the scribes
2:1-12 Two parts to the story of this miracle. The first is about the paralyzed man’s friends. They were not content to simply pray for him. No, they had to put some action to their prayers and did so. These four men had great faith in Jesus’ ability to heal their friend. As a result Jesus forgave the man’s sins. Which leads to the second part of this miracle – notice the teachers of the law did not say anything, but Jesus knew what was in their hearts and asked a question designed to compel them to reflect upon Jesus’ ministry … also compels us today to consider who Jesus was and they authority He has when He heals the man without touching him. Note, the first of fourteen times the title “Son of Man is used in Mark’s gospel. The title is from Daniel 7:13-14 and becomes the title used by Jesus and others when referring to Him. Note 2: Here Jesus revealed He was God as He forgave sins which only God could do and then on His authority healed the man. Thus He has revealed Himself to teachers of the law and those present.
2:13-17 Levi served as a tax collector. Worse still, he was ceremonially unclean for mixing continually with non-Jewish people. For the Pharisees it was one thing heal someone Jesus would never see again, it was another to take a well known sinner as a disciple. The Pharisees stayed outside to avoid becoming defiled, but asked Jesus’ disciples a question Jesus heard. His answer to the question put them on the spot for they too should have been reaching out to those in need. Their hearts were exposed … as are very own hearts.
2:18-22 Next confrontation is over fasting as the pious Pharisees fasted twice a week – on the 2nd and 5th day. Using a wedding metaphor Jesus id’s Himself as Israel’s husband and therefore as Jehovah! He also prophesizes He will be taken away, a phrase suggesting a violent removal. The parable of the wineskin.
2:23-28 The last confrontation in this chapter is about the Sabbath which was intended as a day of rest and reflection upon God. The Pharisees added to the law concerning the Sabbath making it a day of religious bondage. The law as given to Moses was not what the Pharisees were about Deuteronomy 23:24-25. After defending the actions of His disciples, Jesus let the hammer down stating He is the Lord even of the Sabbath.