Summer Reading According to Mark
The second book of the New Testament is a gospel written by Mark. Mark was a follower of Simon Peter, who was an eyewitness of Jesus. This would have given Mark first hand knowledge of Jesus and his ministry.
I love Mark’s gospel
We don’t know much about Mark, but enough to get an idea of who he was. Mark was his Roman name but he was sometimes referred to by his Jewish name, John. He was a relative of the missionary, Barnabas and friends with St. Paul. He accompanied Paul on his first mission. According to sources and tradition, Mark was responsible for starting churches Alexandria in the northern part of Egypt. Written sometime before A.D. 70, his gospel was probably the first to be written.
I didn't know that....
What’s interesting to me is that Mark adapted his writing style to fit with the mentality and understanding of the Gentile believers who were living in Imperial Rome at the time. There were so many things going on at that time and the environment must have been quite tense. The martyrdom of Peter and Paul was certainly upsetting. Mark’s audience may have come under fire as they were a target of persecution. With over a million inhabitants from all walks of life, Rome was a dangerous place to live and it was not a safe place for free worship. In this environment Mark begins to write. His style is not poetic like John and he doesn’t go into great detail like Matthew or Luke. His gospel revolves around the identity of Jesus and he is more direct and to the point. I like to imagine that he didn’t have the time or patience to candy coat his words. Mark’s style seems to be unsophisticated and in some places blunt and to the point.
We seem to be living in an age where we need to be careful how and what we say to others. We have to be mindful not to step on the toes of a colleague or hurt the feelings of a family member. As followers of Jesus, we must live and repeat his message. It’s an urgent one.
Sometimes being blunt is the only way.