I posted this about a month ago in anticipation of starting this series in the middle of August. However, things got delayed for various good reasons and perhaps some not so good reasons. So, now I am reposting it at the start of our series on the book of Mark.
Mark: According To
John Mark or as we usually do, simply shorten his name to Mark is from the Latin Marcus. His first name is John and according to Acts 12:12 his mother’s name was Marry. He identifies himself in Acts 13:5, 13 as John. He also has the distinction of being the cousin of Barnabas.
Christian tradition and some historical evidence points to John Mark’s home being in the same structure with the “Upper Room” (see Matthew 26:18) as being part of the house in which Mark’s family lived. For a time, this served as headquarters of the early Christian Church in Jerusalem. It must have been a fairly large structure for several of the disciples lived here after the resurrection.
On a side note: I have often wondered if the “Upper Room” mentioned Nehemiah 3:31 and 32 is the same upper room that John Mark’s family allowed Jesus and His disciples and then the early Christian church to use.
It was John Mark who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the first part of their missionary journey before homesickness set in and he returned to Jerusalem. This upset Paul greatly, but Peter took Mark under his protective care and they became close friends, even to the point of Peter calling Mark “my son” (I Peter 5:13). Some scholars have wondered since Mark became such a confidant of Peter if perhaps the book title “Mark: According to” is actually the story of Peter as told to Mark.
Strangely, although Mark is of Jewish decent and living in Jerusalem yet the book was not written for the Jew, but rather for the Gentile believer attempting to understand better who Christ is. This is clear because Mark took the time to explain the Jewish Passover and customs of the Pharisees, that Jewish readers would not have needed help understanding.
It also seems clear that the Gospel According to Mark is the first of the four gospels to be written and it was written close to chronological order and paid close attention to Christ’s miracles. While Matthew focused on the royalty and teaching of Jesus, Mark concentrates on the miracles of Jesus, calling Jesus a man of action. For Mark, Christ’s many miracles are a manifestation of Jesus divine power attesting to the fact that Jesus is indeed the hoped for Messiah.
Perhaps It was a good thing Mark became homesick and returned to Jerusalem for without his daily contact and companionship of Peter, he would not have heard the stories that made up “Mark: According to.”