by Philip Layton
The shortest gospel and the first to be written
- Why was Jesus baptised by John?
- The evil spirits recognise Jesus (vv 23, 24). Why the secrecy and why the sacrifices?
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Going Deeper – from 'Words of Life'
The Gospel of Mark is a fascinating read. Fast-moving. To the point. The first Gospel to be written. Sometimes we think of John Mark, the writer, only as a young deserter; immature; unreliable. He let people down on Paul’s first missionary journey, yet he did well when he accompanied his older cousin, Barnabas. Mark also ministered with Peter; and he eventually reunited with Paul in Rome, at the time of the writing to the Colossians, having won the apostle’s confidence.
In this Gospel, Mark was writing primarily to a Roman or Gentile readership – probably from Rome itself. It’s interesting that he starts off by saying he’s writing a gospel. Not a biography, but the good news of God’s saving grace and action in the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. He doesn’t write as a historian – although the book is historical in content – he writes as one conveying God’s good news of salvation for all people.
As he vigorously interacts with his readers, wanting us to be participants and not merely observers, we’re soon very much caught up in the excitement of the story. For the Gospel of Mark is about Jesus, the Son of God.
The prologue begins with Jesus’ baptism by John – then moves straight into the temptation in the desert:
At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him (vv 12, 13).
Temptation. Wild animals. But angels attended Jesus. God never left him.
It’s the same for us. The Son of God is with us, always. When we’re daily being blessed or when we’re tempted. If we call on him, he will be there to protect us and to see us through.
As we strive to share the good news with others today, and in days to come, Jesus will walk with us. For he is, truly, the Son of God!