The Gospel of Mark is selected for study throughout EBCC Churches the world over during 2013
Of the four gospels, the book of Mark is the shortest work. It is concise and interesting as compared to others like the gospel of Matthew.
The good news about the death, the resurrection and the saving work of Jesus Christ, the gospel is truth coming from God, conveyed through the apostles/prophets, which becomes flesh. Hence Jesus Christ is the gospel.
The son of Mary of Jerusalem, Mark had hosted most fellowships of the early Christians. During the last days Mark helped established a Church at Alexandria. He accompanied Apostle Paul and Barnabas during their first Missionary journey, but left the journey midway. His rejection for the second journey as a result of it cost Paul the company of his partner Barnabas who, being extremely fond of Mark, eventually drifted away.
Scholars ask where was Mark when he wrote the gospel. The place could either be (i) Alexandria; or (ii) Rome, for he was seen in Rome with the apostle Paul; or (iii) Antioch in Galilee, his own home town as a Jew.
Time of authorship
The gospel of Mark is believed to have been written about 65 A.D. Between 66 to 70 AD, there was the Jewish War which culminated in the destruction in 70 AD, of Jerusalem. Since such account is not found, the in the gospel is most likely to have been written before such events take place.
It is worth mentioning here that Rome burned in 65 AD and Nero squarely blamed the Christians for having started the fire. A belief circulated amongst the Christians that Nero himself plotted the fire to give a bad name to Christians. Closely related to the reaction of believers to the situation by meek silence, the gospel basically encourages believers to be strong till the end in preparation for the second coming of Christ.
Written for whom? The gospel is obviously written for the gentiles in Rome. The words of Jesus Christ spoken in Aramaic are translated into Greek, the language spoken by the gentiles.
The purpose. The Jews waited eagerly for the coming of Messiah. The gospel of Mark testifies to the fact that the Messiah is there in flesh and blood. Half of the book is about the teaching of Christ, the rest being his suffering. It advocates attaining triumph through suffering and death.
The fast pace gospel is not trying to give an exhaustive account of the time before, during and after the birth of Christ. Instead the gospel goes straight to the main purpose of encouraging the believers to follow Jesus’s example of suffering and eventual triumph.
Second, the gospel from the last part of chapter 1 to chapter 10 mentions Jesus’s work in Galilee and chapter 11 onwards dwells with His work in Jerusalem and Bethany.
Chapters 14, 15 and 16 are about the Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection and the eventual installation of a regime of love and peace upon the earth.