The Gospel of Mark is the second book in the New Testament and is the shortest of the four gospels in length. It is traditionally represented by a winged Lion, linked with the four creatures that surround the throne of God as described in Revelation 4:7 (Matthew = human/angel, Mark = Lion, Luke = ox, John = eagle – you will often see these four creatures depicted in art work and in things like stain glass windows in churches). The Lion represents courage and Jesus’ kingship and resurrection and Mark also begins his Gospel with John the Baptist calling out in the wilderness, whose voice is said to have sounded like a roaring lion.
The earliest traditions ascribe this gospel to Mark (who was the cousin of Barnabas – Colossians 4:10), with Papias, the second century bishop, telling us this in around 125AD. Tertullian, in the second century AD, shortly after Papias, suggests that the Gospel was written by Mark, but that he was recording the teaching of Peter.
Whichever it is, this Gospel wonderfully reveals to us the life and ministry of ‘Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God’, as Mark says when he begins his Gospel. This Gospel beautifully confirms many of the accounts found in the other three Gospels, yet also contains many unique features not found elsewhere. The four Gospels, obviously, agree on everything – there is no contradiction between them. And when we look at each Gospel we have the breathtaking privilege of viewing Jesus from a different angle – just as if the same event was being watched from four viewing points.
Join us over the next few weeks as we take a look at Jesus’ life and ministry through the eyes of Mark and pray that God will speak to you clearly through it. Tomorrow we’ll be starting in Mark chapter 1.