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Monday, February 25 2013
Mark: Was It John Mark?
The Book of Mark has, since the earliest times, been attributed to John Mark, a resident of Jerusalem who was a believing youth at the time of the Messiah's Ministry. As we will read, he was clearly identified in Acts and some of the epistles, but is not specifically recorded in, or identified himself as the author of, the Book of Mark.
Was John Mark the author? Even though he is not named, was Mark nevertheless recorded in the Book of Mark (i.e. did he record himself) as the young man of Jerusalem who followed the Messiah and the apostles (minus Judas Iscariot) to the Mount of Olives? Notice that the apostles all fled after the Messiah told Peter to stop defending Him (and themselves), but a young man who was also there, but not part of the mob that came with the traitor Judas, thereafter also fled when they tried to arrest him along with the Messiah i.e. "14:51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 14:52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." That young man stood his ground longer with the Messiah than the apostles did.
"14:32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 14:33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John [see What Did Peter and John See That Others Didn't?], and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]: tarry ye here, and watch.
As we read above, the "certain young man" and Peter were known to each other, having both faced the mob and eye-witnessed the arrest of the Messiah. Later, after the Messiah's ascension, after Peter had been arrested by the Romans but was freed by an angel, the first place that Peter went in Jerusalem was to a household of believers. The owner of the house had a teenaged son (i.e. a "young man") named Mark i.e. "to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark." Was it just a coincidence that Peter went to where a then specifically-named, prominent (why else was he recorded in the Scriptures?) young man was living?
"12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter [i.e. the "Easter" there is a mistranslation by the King James version; it is only in Passover in which "Then were the days of unleavened bread"; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover and The Messiah's Days Of Unleavened Bread) to bring him forth to the people.
Peter, in his epistle (see The Epistles: First Peter and The Epistles: Second Peter), directly mentioned John Mark as his "son" in the faith - again attesting to John Mark's relative youth i.e. Peter would have been in his late twenties or early thirties at the time of the Crucifixion, thereby making John Mark a teenager.
"5:12 By Silvanus [see Who Was Silvanus?], a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son." (1 Peter 5:12-13 KJV)
John Mark, was known mostly as Mark. If he was the author of the Book of Mark (this writer believes there to be a very high probability that he was), it also served the practical purpose of not then having two gospel books by men named John - the apostle John, and John Mark.
The prime factor for John Mark being the author of the Book of Mark was his documented closeness to Peter, as we read above, but also to the apostles Paul and Barnabas (to whom John Mark was a relative). Mark would have obtained eyewitness information from Peter (the reason that there's a lot of "Peter" in Mark's document), while Paul thereafter would have received that same information from Mark. Notice also the consistency of the youth factor, as described in the quotes above, and also here where he departed with Paul and Barnabas, but returned early to Jerusalem as a youth would be of a mind to do.
"12:25 And Barnabas and Saul [see The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas] returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark." (Acts 12:25 KJV)
It was that parting of John Mark that later caused a parting between Paul and Barnabas. All would reconcile later, but for that journey John Mark went with Barnabas. John Mark's experiences with the doctrinal heavyweights of Christianity was nevertheless growing steadily - he had already worked with Peter, Paul and Barnabas while yet a youth.
"15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Later, John Mark (also recorded as "Marcus"), then a man, stuck with the apostle Paul when it mattered most - when Paul was imprisoned and facing execution for preaching the Gospel. It was by that time that Mark had become living library and testimony of the Gospel, having lived through what we read in the New Testament, and having personally known the Messiah, the twelve apostles, Barnabas, Luke and many others. As by then a grown man and servant of the LORD, he didn't back down from anything or anyone - the time for compromising with the "world" was over. While it can be debated as to whether or not John Mark was the author of the Book of Mark, his experience, knowledge and dedication to have written it are absolutely certain.
"4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." (2 Timothy 4:11 KJV)
Studies For The Book Of Mark
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This Day In History, February 25
138: Roman Emperor Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, providing the way to make Antoninus Pius the next emperor (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
493: Odoacer surrendered Ravenna after a 3-year siege.
1308: Edward II was became king of England.
1336: 4,000 defenders of Pilenai committed a mass suicide rather than be captured by the Teutonic Knights.
1525: French king Francis I was defeated and captured by Imperial forces at Pavia.
1570: In the last such decree made (to date) against a reigning British monarch by any pope, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry VIII who broke away from the Church of Rome and created the Church of England). Pius (his real name was Antonio Ghislieri, born in Bosco, Italy) also absolved her subjects from allegiance to her (the pope in effect gave his "blessing" to anyone in England who would assassinate Queen Elizabeth), an of murder and treason that the majority of them refused to attempt.
1723: Christopher Wren died. The English architect became a prolific designer of buildings after the Great Fire of London in 1666, notably the new St. Paul's Cathedral.
1815: Napoleon left his exile on Elba, intending to return to France.
1899: Paul Julius Reuter, German founder of the Reuter's news agency that bears his name, died. It began in 1850 when he set up a European pigeon post service from Aachen to Brussels.
1932: Austrian-born Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship, thereby allowing him to run for President (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1954: Gamal Abdul Nasser, a man dedicated to the destruction of Israel, became leader of Egypt.
1971: The Pickering (a city near Toronto) Nuclear Generating Station, the first commercial nuclear power station in Canada, became operational.
1986: After the assassination of his major political opponent Benigno Aquino, and the uprising that followed, Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos fled into exile in the U.S. (adding to the U.S. collection of ousted dictators during that time, which earlier included the Shah of Iran).
1991: Members of "Warsaw Pact" signed an agreement to dismantle the once powerful communist military alliance.
1994: Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler, shot 43 Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Hebron before he was overcome and beaten to death.