Mark’s gospel was the first one written, and it is the shortest of the four gospels.
It is a fast-paced, action-packed record of Jesus’ earthly ministry. While John’s gospel begins “in the beginning,” and Matthew and Luke trace the story from Jesus’ birth, Mark takes his readers directly to the banks of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. From there, Mark moves through events of the next 31⁄2 years, focusing his attention mainly on Jesus’ works and activities.
Mark’s narrative is the most chronological of the four gospels, meaning he recounts events in the order they occurred. However, in some cases, the interval from one episode to the next may be as long as several months. We might wish Mark would slow down and fill in the gaps for us, but then we would lose the sense of momentum that is so unique to Mark’s gospel.
Mark’s vivid style shuttles us into the nonstop bustle and hum of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. Mark frequently (more than 40 times) uses a word translated “immediately.” This gives us a sense of the energy and urgency that marked Jesus as a man of selfless action and service.
As Jesus said in Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Author: Early church documents identify John Mark as the writer.
Date and Place of Writing: Approx. late A.D. 50’s-early 60’s
Written to: Gentile Christians, especially Romans