Thoughts on Mark, Day 33, Lent 2013

The gospels are my favorite part of the Bible. Last year I read them over and over again. I set a goal to read each gospel ten times. I used to like John's the least, now it's my favorite. Mark's is special to me because I learned with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship how to do manuscript study in it. My Lenten reading today is all of Mark.

Mark writes like a comic book author. I am not saying that his gospel is fanciful, but that his style prefers action over character. There are parables and dialogs, but no multi-chapter sermon on the mount as in Matthew. For both gospels, I didn't finish the reading before I left for work, so I listened to the latter half of each book. While doing that this morning, I was struck by how often I thought I was listening to Matthew again. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are called the synoptic gospels. They share lots of material. But they have different emphases. Matthew's focus is on Jesus's kingship, a fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies. Mark's focus is on his humanity and servanthood. He refers to the Old Testament rarely, unlike Matthew. Unlike Matthew, Mark is not an original disciple. He shows up in Acts as a traveling companion of Paul's on missionary journeys around Asia. They had a falling out, but according to church history he ended up connecting with Peter. This gospel might be Peter's story, a fisherman's story. It's a great one, too.
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