Experts on the Bible do not agree bout St. Mark, his Gospel and his message. However, most of them accept that Mark’s Gospel was written first. Other question such as who Mark was, where he lived, when he wrote and what sources he used are given different answers by different scholars. My project is based on the research I have done.
Part One – Saint Mark – The Man
What do we know about St. Mark?
St. Mark was the interpreter of Peter but was not an eyewitness to the Ministry of Jesus.
What was his other name?
St. Mark’s other name was John. His full name was John Mark.
In what period did he live?
Mark lived in the 1st century AD. His exact dates are unknown but most experts state that his gospel was written between 60 and 70AD. A lot depends on the interpretation of some passages in Mark’s Gospel. So other experts argue that the gospel may have been written up to 80AD.
Experts believe that Jesus died about 33AD. Experts believe that in 64AD, the Emperor Neero started to persecute Christians in Rome. Experts believe that in 70 AD, Romans destroyed Jerusalem, capital of Catholics. Most experts say Mark’s Gospel was written for people or Catholics who were suffering. Mark seems to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore, Mark’s Gospel must have been written between 70-72AD.
Where did he live and work?
It is complex. There is no real agreement to the answer of his question. 70% of writers of the Gospel say Mark got a lot of his information from Peter, the leading apostle. If Mark got his information from Peter, the Gospel is accurate. Mark was with Peter in Jerusalem at the start of the Gospel. Mark lived in Jerusalem. At the time, it was very easy to travel. Peter went form Jerusalem to Rome. Mark could have gone with him. Traditionally, Mark ended up in Egypt.
What stories and traditions are there about him?
We do not know much about him because we did not know much about people at that time. Mark was also a popular name. Some traditions are quite reliable. After Peter and Paul were executed in Rome, Mark probably left and went to Egypt. Afterwards, Mark’s new home was Alexandria. Mark started to develop a church and he became a bishop. The persecution for Christians also took place in Egypt. Mark was then arrested and to be tortured until he gave up his faith. Then he was killed. In the 9th Century AD, people from Venice were looking for a body of a Saint. They dug up Mark and took him to Venice and buried him there; they built a famous cathedral around it – this was called St Mark’s Cathedral. A winged lion is the symbol of Venice.
When is his feast day celebrated?
Mark’s feast day is on 25th April.
Of what is he the patron saint?
Mark is the patron saint of the Italian cities Aquileia and Venice.
What symbol is used to represent him?
The lion is used to symbolise him.
What famous city and cathedral is dedicated to him?
The Egyptian church claims Mark as its founder, and from the 4th century AD, the see of Alexandria has been called cathedra Marci (“the chair of Mark”).
Part Two – Saint Mark’s Gospel
In what language is the Gospel written?
Mark’s Gospel was written in Greek. Everyone who studies Mark’s Gospel in Greek agrees that the language and vocabulary used is uneducated. Mark’s first language might’ve been Aramaic, spoken in Palestine. Maybe it was written down. The Emperor spoke in Greek.
Why did he write the Gospel?
It is suggested that Mark wrote the Gospel to comfort the Christians in Rome who were facing all kinds of problems, including the death penalty, for practising an illegal religion.
What does ‘Gospel’ mean?
Gospel means ‘good news’
Where did he get the information for the Gospel?
Most scholars say, it was all an oral tradition or a written tradition, which he then used for his Gospel; the written tradition is called ï¿½r-Mark. Oral tradition may be from Peter or other Christians.
What are the contents of the Gospel?
Jesus’ baptism and temptation.
Initial opposition to Jesus’ teaching in Galilee.
Jesus teaches using parables.
Jesus performs miracles and healings amid growing opposition to his work.
Peter’s confession; the cost of discipleship.
Jesus teaches and prepares his disciples.
Jesus enters Jerusalem, cleanses the Temple, and engages in argument.
Jesus teaches of future events (“the Markan apocalypse”).
The Last Supper, Jesus’ arrest trials, and crucifixion.
Empty tomb (original ending).
How long is the Gospel?
The Gospel is 16 chapters long. It is 546 verses long.
What is different about Mark’s Gospel from those written by Matthew and Luke?
Mark’s Gospel is quite short. His Gospel begins with Jesus being baptised, aged about 30. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus is being born. There are lots of events, which happen in Matthew and Luke, which are not written in Mark’s Gospel. Mark, Matthew and Luke are all Synoptic. John isn’t.
What is the problem about the ending of Mark’s Gospel?
It ends with 1:1 – 16:8. In Greek it ends with ‘…’ – three dots; it was almost as though it finished with ‘and’. In 16:9-20, the vocabulary changes and the style of writing changes. 16:9-20 was added later on. Most experts say he might’ve possibly died or the end of the parchment was torn off.
Part Three – The Message of Saint Mark’s Gospel
What example did Jesus give of suffering for the sake of others? Mark 14:32-52
Jesus accepted the will of his Father in heaven even though it meant he would suffer and die.
What did Jesus mean by the Kingdom of God and how do people get in the Kingdom? Mark 10:17-27
People have to follow the Commandments, give away all possessions to the poor and then to follow Christ. Trust in riches is misplaced.
How easy or difficult is it to be a disciple of Jesus? Mark 8:34-38
It is very difficult because they had to leave everything, they could even lose their life.
What did the 12 Apostles have to do in following Jesus, and how do Christians leaders carry on their work today? Mark 6:7-13
They were to go out and preach not taking anything with them and not to force their presence where they were not welcome.
Why was Jesus opposed to some of the religious laws of his day? Mark 3:1-6
It was right to do good on the Sabbath. The laws believed that the Sabbath was a holy day and should be observed by not doing anything other than going to the Synagogue.
Who did Mark believe Jesus to be? Why is this important for Christians today? Mark1:1
Mark believed Jesus to be Jesus Christ, Son of God. Faith is based on this belief.