Introduction to Mark

John Mark, son of Mary (Acts 12:12), has been universally recognized from the beginning as the author of the second gospel. He was a relative of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), and very likely a close associate of Peter (I Peter 5:13). He accompanied Paul and Barnabas for a time on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25; 13:5,13), with his departure later causing a break between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-40). Somehow he later became reconciled to Paul and became a profitable co-worker (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24: II Timothy 4:11).

Since his mother was apparently the owner of the “upper room” where Jesus met with His disciples for the last supper, it is probable that Mark knew Jesus and may well have been one of his disciples, though not one of the twelve specially chosen. He also may well have gotten much of the information for his gospel from Peter.

Many have considered the Gospel of Mark, which is the shortest of the four, to have been written first. He certainly wrote before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, for that event was still future when he wrote (note Mark 13:1-2). There is an ancient tradition that he wrote mainly for the information of Roman believers. He did indeed place strong emphasis on the actions of Jesus, using the word “immediately” or some similar word at least forty times, and this would appeal to the action-oriented Romans.

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