Introducing Mark’s Gospel Account

Introducing Mark’s Gospel Account

Key Concepts

  • Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God, who exercised extraordinary authority to overcome the forces of Satan, sin and disease.
  • The Messiah came not to conquer the Roman legions, but to suffer and die and to pay the ransom for sins.”


Verses You Should Know

Mark 1:7: After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.

Mark 3:35: Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.

Mark 6:56: Wherever he went . . . they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Mark 9:7: A voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!

Mark 10:14–15: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

Mark 14:7–9: The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.

Key Teachings

  • Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
  • Jesus is the suffering servant described in Isaiah 53.
  • True disciples of Jesus are to take up their cross and follow Christ through sacrifice and suffering.”

Key Terms

Disciple—One of the twelve in Jesus’ inner circle who followed Christ during his ministry on earth and worked to spread his message.

Gospel—The good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Kingdom of God—While God is and has always been king of the universe, Jesus announced that God’s end-time salvation—his sovereign kingdom—had arrived through Jesus’ words and deeds.”


(1) The cross. Both the human cause (12:12; 14:1–2; 15:10) and the divine necessity (8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34) of the cross are emphasized by Mark.

(2) Discipleship. Special attention should be paid to the passages on discipleship that arise from Jesus’ predictions of his passion (8:34–9:1; 9:35–10:31; 10:42–45).

(3) The teachings of Jesus. Although Mark records far fewer actual teachings of Jesus than the other Gospel writers, there is a remarkable emphasis on Jesus as teacher. The words “teacher,” “teach” or “teaching” and “Rabbi” are applied to Jesus in Mark 39 times.

(4) The Messianic secret. On several occasions Jesus warns his disciples or others to keep silent about who he is or what he has done (see 1:34, 44 and notes; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; see also note on Mt 8:4).

(5) Son of God. Although Mark emphasizes the humanity of Jesus (see 3:5; 6:6, 31, 34; 7:34; 8:12; 10:14; 11:12), he does not neglect his deity

(see 1:1, 11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 12:1–11; 13:32; 15:39).

Key Doctrines in Mark

The humanity of Christ —Jesus humbled Himself and became a man in order to reconcile humanity to God (1:41; 3:5; 4:38; 6:34; 8:12; 9:36; 11:12; 13:32; Isaiah 50:6; 53:7; Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4–7; John 1:14; Romans 1:3–4; 8:3; Philippians 2:6–11; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 4:15; 5:7)

Servanthood —Jesus was the perfect example of true servanthood, even unto death (8:34–37; 9:35; 10:43–45; Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 20:28; 21:5; Luke 22:27; John 13:5; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:7)

God’s Character in Mark

God is accessible —15:38

God is unified —2:7; 12:29


In his Gospel, Mark paints a vivid picture of Jesus as a Messiah (Savior) whom we dare not ignore. He has largely organized his material chronologically, with much emphasis on Jesus’ work in Galilee and on the final week of his life. He was writing for those who were not of Jewish background, as he often explains Jewish history and traditions. In fact, his may well have been a Roman readership.

Mark is the only Gospel to contain the actual word Gospel, which means “good news”, and he clearly sees Christ as good news for all: good news prophesied by Isaiah (1:2-3) and prepared for by John the Baptist (1:2-8). After his baptism and overcoming Satan’s temptations (1:9-13), Jesus started to announce this good news: God’s kingdom had arrived; and that demanded a response (1:14-20). This kingdom would affect the whole of life, as Mark immediately demonstrates through a string of stories showing Jesus’ authority over everything: demons (1:21-28), sickness (1:29-34), uncleanness (1:40-45), sin (2:1-12), exclusion (2:13-18), religious traditions (2:18-22), even the Sabbath (2:23-3:6). All this drew huge crowds (3:7-12), and Jesus now called 12 apostles to work alongside him (3:13-19). Continuing his ministry, first in Galilee and around the lake (3:20-7:23) and then in Gentile territory (7:24-9:32), he reached pagan Caesarea Philippi where he asked his disciples who they thought he was. Peter acknowledged him as the Christ, or Messiah (8:27-30). From this point, Jesus began explaining what sort of Messiah he would be, establishing God’s kingdom not through force, but through suffering and death (8:31-38).

After his transfiguration (9:2-13), Jesus moved south (10:1), teaching about discipleship and predicting his death with increasing clarity (10:32-34). The final third of Mark’s Gospel is devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life: his triumphant entry into Jerusalem and cleansing the temple (11:1-19), his teaching and opposition to him (11:20-13:37), his anointing (14:1-11), the Last Supper (14:12-26), his arrest in Gethsemane (14:32-52) and his trials, crucifixion and burial (14:53-15:47). The Gospel ends on a note of hope, however, as the women find the tomb empty and angels proclaiming Jesus has risen (16:1-8).

The final section (16:9-20) was probably not written by Mark (the Greek is different) but added by an early church leader.

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