Saint Mark: Evangelist and Founder

Saint Mark was one of the four Evangelists, traditionally identified with the cousin of Barnabas who accompanied him and Paul (Colossians 4:10; Acts 12-15). According to Papias he was the interpreter of Peter in Rome (cf. 1 Peter 5:13).

By the fourth century he was credited with the founding of the Church of Alexandria. His relics were removed from there and taken to Venice in the ninth century. His feast day is April 25.

The Book or Gospel of Mark is the second book of the New Testament. In it Jesus is depicted as a servant and a king, Man and God; Jesus is seen as a mighty worker rather than a great teacher. The verse of Mark 10:45, «For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many,» describes the scope of the book.

The book contains the preaching of John the Baptist (1:1-8); Jesus’ baptism and temptation (1:8-13); his appearance and ministry in Galilee (6:1-9; 14-15:43); his journeys in and out of Galilee (6:1-9, 50); his journey to Jerusalem (10); the last week there (11-13); death (14-15); and resurrection (16).

Most scholars and critics agree that Mark is the earliest of the Synoptic gospels; his crude Greek paucity of the sayings of Jesus and theological roughness were remedied in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Mark’s main purpose of the book appears to have been to emphasize the importance of Jesus’ suffering and death over and above his reputation of a performer of miracles.

There is no reason to discount the traditions linking the gospel with Rome. It is evident from the by the numerous details of internal evidence, suggesting an eyewitness, that Peter contributed much to the gospel, but it is apparent that the author used other sources as well. Much of the material possesses an Aramaic coloring. Tradition holds the gospel was written in Rome most probably between the years 65 and 68 AD. A.G.H.

 

The evangelist Mark

Saint Mark, one of the four Evangelists, is a figure of great significance in Christian tradition. Traditionally believed to be the cousin of Barnabas, his journey is intertwined with the early Christian community and the spread of Christianity. This exploration sheds light on Saint Mark’s role as an Evangelist and the author of the Gospel of Mark, providing insights into his contributions to Christian theology and his enduring legacy.

 

The Evangelist and Interpreter

Saint Mark’s association with the early Christian movement is multifaceted. According to Papias, he served as the interpreter of Saint Peter in Rome, which is corroborated by the mention of Mark in the New Testament (Colossians 4:10; Acts 12-15). This role as an interpreter signifies his close relationship with Saint Peter and his involvement in disseminating Christian teachings.

 

The Founder of the Church of Alexandria

By the fourth century, Saint Mark was credited with the founding of the Church of Alexandria, a pivotal moment in the history of Christianity. His influence extended beyond his role as an Evangelist, as he played a significant part in establishing Christian communities.

 

The Feast of Saint Mark

The enduring veneration of Saint Mark is evident in the celebration of his feast day on April 25. This day serves as a commemoration of his contributions to Christianity and his enduring impact on the faith.

 

The Gospel of Mark: Portrayal of Jesus

The Gospel of Mark, the second book of the New Testament, is attributed to Saint Mark. In this Gospel, Jesus is depicted as a multifaceted figure—both a servant and a king, Man and God. Unlike other Gospels, Mark emphasizes Jesus as a mighty worker, emphasizing his actions and deeds over his teachings.

 

Key Themes in the Gospel of Mark

A pivotal verse in the Gospel of Mark is Mark 10:45: «For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many.» This verse encapsulates a central theme of the Gospel, highlighting the importance of Jesus’ suffering and sacrificial death for the salvation of humanity.

 

Structure and Content of the Gospel

The Gospel of Mark is divided into distinct sections, each conveying key aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry. These sections include the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism and temptation, his ministry in Galilee, journeys within and out of Galilee, the journey to Jerusalem, the events of the last week in Jerusalem, his death, and ultimately, his resurrection.

 

Theological Significance of Mark

Among biblical scholars, there is a consensus that the Gospel of Mark is the earliest of the Synoptic Gospels. Mark’s writing style is characterized by its simplicity, reflecting a lack of embellishment in the sayings of Jesus and a certain theological rawness. It is in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew that these theological aspects are further developed.

 

Peter’s Influence on Mark

There is a strong tradition linking the Gospel of Mark with Rome, which is supported by internal evidence suggesting eyewitness accounts. Saint Peter is believed to have contributed significantly to the Gospel, providing insights and firsthand experiences. However, it is clear that the author also drew from other sources to compile this Gospel.

 

Dating of the Gospel

Tradition holds that the Gospel of Mark was written in Rome, likely between the years 65 and 68 AD. This dating places the Gospel in a historical context marked by the early spread of Christianity and the challenges faced by early Christian communities.

 


Sources:

Unger, Merrill F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, p. 696
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 618