The Faces of Jesus: Mark

Four writers whose stories make up four images of Jesus. Mark, Matthew, Luke and John offer varying portraits of Jesus. Each evangelist addressed different audiences choosing certain words and viewpoints the reader could relate to. These audiences come from different religious backgrounds, cultures, customs and life experiences. This is an important point to remember when reading the gospels. But which gospel best reveals the true face of Jesus and his message?

The Gospel of Mark

Mark’s is the oldest of the gospels, written primarily for Gentile Roman Christians because he explains Jewish customs, uses Latin terms and translates Aramaic phrases. It was written after the brutal persecution of Christians at the hands of Nero the Roman Emperor. Mark was in a hurry to record the events of Jesus’ life. 

Spreading the Faith

The spread of Christianity made it important to have an accurate account of what Jesus did and said. Mark was not an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry and was believed to be a companion of Paul and he may have accompanied Peter to Rome. This would have given him wonderful opportunities to gather first-hand knowledge of Jesus the man and Jesus the Son of God. 

John the Baptist

Mark begins not with the birth of Jesus but with John preaching about repentance and baptism. After being baptized by John in the Jordan, Jesus went into the desert and then on to Galilee where he remained throughout most of Mark’s gospel. 

Homework: Read Mark

Mark’s picture of Jesus is dynamic with most of his attention on his great deeds. He portrays Jesus as a healer who was constantly on the move. Mark is clear in revealing that Jesus is the Son of God, which is the main truth of this gospel.