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New Testament Survey no.5: Mark - His Gospel Account

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New Testament Survey no.5: Mark - His Gospel Account

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As part of the Course on the New Testament, Session 5 provides an overview of the writing of Mark - His Gospel on the life of Christ. (This is part of the New Testament Survey Course taught at Harare Theological College - 2016)

As part of the Course on the New Testament, Session 5 provides an overview of the writing of Mark - His Gospel on the life of Christ. (This is part of the New Testament Survey Course taught at Harare Theological College - 2016)

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New Testament Survey no.5: Mark - His Gospel Account

  1. 1. Questions : 1. Who was John Mark ? 2. How do we know he wrote this gospel ? 3. Who was the Source of his information ? 4. When and where was it written ? 5. To whom was it written ? 6. What style and language was it written in ? 7. Why did Mark write this Gospel ? 8. What role of Jesus did Mark focus on ? 9. What is the structure & direction of his gospel ? 10. What did Mark want to communicate ? (4 key issues)
  2. 2. Question 1. Who was John Mark ?
  3. 3.  John Mark  2 names (common at the time)  John = Hebrew  Mark (Marcus) = Latin  Cousin of Barnabbus (Col.4:10)  Lived in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).  Son of wealthy widow, where early church members used to meet and pray (Acts 12:12)  Was not a disciple of Jesus during his earthly ministry
  4. 4. Record of John Mark in Acts:  Acts 12:12 - When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.  Acts 12:25 - When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.  Acts 13:5 - When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.  Acts 13:13 - From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.  Acts 15:37-39 - Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus
  5. 5. Record of John Mark in the NT letters :  After his missionary dropout on Paul’s first journey, Mark later was a close fellow worker and missionary with the apostle Peter and Paul through to Rome and his last days …  Colossians 4:10 - My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)  Philemon 1:23-24 - Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. (24) And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.  2 Timothy 4:11 - Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.  1 Peter 5:13 - She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.
  6. 6. John Mark  Taken with Barnabbus & Paul back to Antioch (Acts 12:25)  Dropped out of Paul’s 1st missionary journey (Acts 15:37)  For 2nd missionary journey, Paul refused him (Acts 15:37)  Disagreement & Barnabbus took him on mission to Cyprus (Acts 15:39)  11 years later …  Co-worker in Paul’s missionary team in Rome (Phil.1:24, Col.4:10)  Joined as co-worker of Peter in Rome (1 Peter 5:13)  Worked with Paul in his 2nd Roman imprisonment (2 tim.4:11)  Paul was one of the few co-workers of both apostles Peter & Paul
  7. 7. Question 2. How do we know He wrote this gospel ?
  8. 8. How do we know? Issue . .  Not recorded in the gospel we have that John Mark wrote it Supporting Evidence . .  ALL church fathers in first 100-200 years after Christ, Papias, Irenaeus, Clement, Origen and Jerome state that John Mark wrote this gospel  3 centres of early Christianity – Asia, Rome and Alexandria – affirm that John Mark was the author  Ancient caption to this gospel = ‘kata Markon’ – ‘gospel according to Mark’  Logically – no reason gospel assigned to minor person of Mark if he did not write it (as holds less validity)
  9. 9. Question 3. But who was the Source of Mark’s information?
  10. 10. If Mark never met Jesus who was the source of his info ? Apostle Peter • Mark’s Gospel – is – Peter’s Gospel ! Supporting info . .  Understanding of early churches & leaders - • Mark was interpreter of Peter – writing down words & actions of Christ as Peter had preached in Rome • Outline of this gospel fits outline of Acts 10:34-43 • Gospel is recorded direct as if from oral message – no extra elaborations / explanations • Mark knew Peter well & fellow worker through to end of his life (Acts 12:12-17 & 1 Peter 5:13) - when Peter possibly wanted a record of Christ before being executed Nevertheless … • Not all info from Peter – he was fully aware of preaching of all apostles from living in Jerusalem in early days
  11. 11. Supporting arguments - for Peter as the Source to Mark’s Gospel
  12. 12. Question 4. When and Where was the gospel written ?
  13. 13. When ?  Early church father, Ireneous stated – Mark wrote gospel after death of Peter (from whom he recorded) - killed by Emperor Nero’s persecutions in AD 63  Therefore most likely written approx. AD 64-68 Where ?  In Rome – where he worked with Apostle Peter before being executed (1 Peter 5:13) • Personally knew Cyrene & Rufus (a member of the church in Rome – Rom.16:13)
  14. 14. Question 5. To whom did John Mark write to ? (who was the audience?)
  15. 15. Audience ? Romans  Citizens of the major city & capital of the Roman Empire  One of the most advanced and powerful cities worldwide at that time  Mostly Gentile (non-Jewish believers) Supporting Evidence : • Explained meaning of Jewish customs (would not know them) • Translated Aramaic expressions for readers (would not understand them) • Explained Greek expressions in Latin wording • Used a number of latin terms – instead of Greek or Hebrew
  16. 16. Question 6. What was the style and language Mark wrote in?
  17. 17. Language  Written in Greek  Using Latin wordings & terms  (Latin = official language of Rome & empire but often Greek used )
  18. 18. Style Gospel of ACTION  Reflecting (a) personality of his mentor & source – Peter (b) the cultural and thinking of the Romans – action focussed BRIEF – Shortest Gospel  ABRUPT, Direct, Clear to the point.  VIVID – 40x says things took place ‘immediately’ or ‘straightaway’ Written as HISTORICAL NARRATIVE - A historical story recording facts of history. Focus on facts rather than themes or topics NARRATIVE (HIS-STORY) - at same time written in active, vivid language which draws the reader to follow the events Focus on EVENTS & ACTIONS & MIRACLES of Christ - not the teachings (Matthew) or deeper meaning (John) – more space given to miracles than any other gospel  Not unique – 93% material found in other 3 gospels
  19. 19. Question 7. Why did Mark write this gospel ? (what was his purpose?)
  20. 20. Purpose ? 1. To evangelise – share the good news of Jesus to the people of Rome in order to call on them to follow 2. To present person of Jesus Christ in a way which would fit their way of thinking – emphasising Christ’s powerful actions & miracles to prove he was the Son of God  In response to a request by the Romans for a written account of Jesus’ life and ministry following the oral preaching – so they could have it in writing to read over more times
  21. 21. Question 8. What part of Jesus’ identity did Mark focus on ?
  22. 22. Jesus as the Servant & Sacrifice of God  Key verse: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)  The servant of God in action and power  The sacrifice of God on the cross to give his life to save humanity
  23. 23. Jesus Christ as the Son of God  Mark 1:1 - “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”  Focus on the Son of God for all mankind (for Rome the capital of the Roman empire – compared to Matthew’s focus on Messiah for Jewish people)  End of first half – Peter’s confession “You are the Christ” (8:29)  Second half – Centurion’s confession – “Surely this man was the Son of God” (15:39)
  24. 24. Question 9. What is the structure of Mark’s Gospel ? How do we follow the direction of Mark ?
  25. 25. Structure of Mark’s Gospel
  26. 26. Direction of Mark’s Gospel Servant Sacrifice Saviour
  27. 27. 1st half – Servant & Son of God  Focus >> Jesus’ deeds as the son of God and servant with miraculous power - delivering many from sickness, deformity, evil spirits and death. Power over nature – stilled the storms, multiples food and walked on water.  Public teaching to the multitudes  Peter’s confession = “You are the Christ” (8:29) 2nd half – Sacrifice & Saviour of Humanity  Focus >> Jesus suffering, death and resurrection as the sacrifice and saviour.  Private teaching to his disciples  Centurion’s confession = “Surely this man was the Son of God” (15:39)
  28. 28. Question 10. What messages did Mark communicate ?
  29. 29. Focus of Mark 1. Christ’s Service in action and power 2. Christ’s Sacrifice through Crucifixion 3. Disciples called to Serve - as Christ served 4. Disciples called Sacrifice self for Christ & gospel message
  30. 30. 1. Christ’s Service in Action and Power  Jesus’ deeds as the son of God and servant  Miraculous power - delivering many from sickness, deformity, evil spirits and death.  Power over nature – stilled the storms, multiples food and walked on water.  Despite this great power and authority Jesus did not come to be served – but to SERVE and give his life as a sacrifice for all (10:45)
  31. 31. 2. Christ’s Sacrifice through Crucifixion  All gospels focus on crucifixion & resurrection.  More than 1/3 of Mark’s gospel message covers Jesus’ last week
  32. 32. A Servant unto the Sacrifice of his life
  33. 33. 3. Disciples called to Serve  A follower of Jesus must be a servant to all  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45)
  34. 34. 4. Disciples called to self-Sacrifice  Jesus called for self-denial, setting aside self-interest as main focus of life  "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.” (Mark 8:34-36)  Context – under Roman rule, those to be crucified had to carry the cross-beam to execution  Meaning – ‘take up his cross’ = be ready at any time to suffer and die fro Christ
  35. 35.  References: Books to Read …  Benware, Paul (1990) Survey of the New Testament.  Berding, Kenneth and Matt Williams (2008) What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About.  Tenney, Merrill C. (1997) New Testament Survey.
  36. 36. RECAP: Can you answer these 10 Questions : 1. Who was John Mark ? 2. How do we know he wrote this gospel ? 3. Who was the Source of his information ? 4. When and where was it written ? 5. To whom was it written ? 6. What style and language was it written in ? 7. Why did Mark write this Gospel ? 8. What role of Jesus did Mark focus on ? 9. What did Mark want to communicate ? (7 key issues) 10. What is the structure of his gospel ?
  37. 37. Summary points: • Written by John Mark using info from Peter & the apostles • Written in Rome to the Romans • To evangelize the Romans, share the message via their culture • Shortest Gospel - Abrupt & Direct & Factual • Historical Narrative not Biography (no details of birth, just events) • Gospel of Action - focus on actions & miracles - not teaching • Presents Jesus as the servant & sacrifice of God - for all humanity • Message –> Jesus came as the servant of God to give His life as a sacrifice to bring all humanity to salvation

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