Each Gospel has its peculiar characteristics, as may be seen under the heading GOSPELS. In Mark the Lord Jesus is more particularly in view as the Servant — Prophet, and 'the gospel' or 'glad tidings' has a prominent place. As with some of the prophets in the O.T. we have no information as to their genealogy, so here we have no human genealogy of the Lord, as is given in Matthew and Luke. The narrative abruptly introduces "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." John the Baptist's ministry is shortly described to pave the way for that of Christ, which He entered on after being baptised. There are no details here of the temptation: simply the fact stated that Jesus was tempted of Satan forty days, and was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered unto Him. As soon as John was cast into prison the Lord began His unceasing work, taking up the testimony that the kingdom of God was at hand.
In the first two chapters are presented the various proofs which the Lord gave of His mission, which were as a testimony to the leaders in Israel.
In Mark 3 we see the break with the existing unbelieving generation, the calling of the apostles, and the consequent disowning of His kindred in the flesh.
Mark 4 and Mark 5 give an epitome of His personal service, carrying us on to the raising up of Israel in the future, figuratively presented in the ruler's daughter. This closes that view of the Lord's personal service.
In Mark 6 the service of the apostles comes into view: the Lord begins to send them forth two and two. For Himself ( Mark 7 ) He retired to the north-west into the district of Tyre and Sidon, and healed the daughter of the Syrophenician woman — His grace thus going out to the Gentiles. After returning through Decapolis, and ( Mark 8 ) feeding the four thousand at Gennesaret, He went to the north-east, and ( Mark 9 ) was transfigured before His three disciples; it was probably on Mount Hermon. From this time we find the Lord repeatedly bringing before His disciples the truth of His approaching death and resurrection, and the consequences flowing therefrom.
The visit of the Lord to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles, and His discourses there, are not given in this gospel: nor the mission of the seventy: nor His visit to Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication: nor the death and raising of Lazarus.
Mark 10 opens with the Lord on the other side of Jordan on His last visit to Jerusalem. On the way He tells His disciples again of the ill-treatment and death that awaited Him there; but James and John seek a grant from Him, that they might sit on His right hand and on His left in the glory. Sight is restored to blind Bartimaeus (who called Him 'Son of David') at Jericho, the city of the curse.
Mark 11 . There followed the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.The exclamations here do not speak of Him as king, but as of their 'father David:' "Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest." Thus the Lord's connection with Israel as Son of David is proclaimed in this gospel, which has been mostly occupied with His labours in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Of the discourses that followed the Lord's entry into Jerusalem, the parables of the Two Sons and the Marriage of the King's Son are not found in this gospel; nor the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats.
For the prophecies given in Mark 13 refer to MATTHEW, Matthew 14
The solemn events of the Lord's agony in the garden, the trial, condemnation and crucifixion follow. Of the Lord's utterances on the cross, His asking forgiveness for His murderers; His promise to the repentant thief; His commending His mother to John; His saying, 'I thirst;' 'It is finished;' and His commending His Spirit unto the Father, are not recorded here. His commission to the eleven was "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned." Signs should follow them that believe. After the ascension, they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Thus the narrative closes with a commission, which is viewed as having been carried out by the apostles. Briefly the gospel may be said to present to us the personal service of Christ and of His apostles.
It is believed that in Mark's gospel chronological order has been preserved more than in any other. What is peculiar to this gospel are the many details and personal touches. We see too how immediately that one thing was done the Lord was occupied with another, as a diligent and devoted servant. All praise to His holy name! For a list of the principal events in the gospel history see NEW TESTAMENT.