The Gospel of Mark


"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Mark 10:45

Mark is the Gospel which portrays Jesus as a servant. This servant-hood can be seen in three sections: 1-7, servant of multitudes; 8-10 , servant of Disciples; 11-16, servant and sacrifice for the world. Mark's emphasis on Christ's servant-hood was a deliberate appeal to Roman readers who appreciated hard work. Romans weren't interested in fancy idealism, philosophy, or rhetoric. They wanted action. They were workers, hard workers. Little wonder they ruled the world with an "iron fist". Hence, in Mark's Gospel, Jesus is a man of superhuman action and power with less emphasis on His sayings. Mark shows Jesus as the miracle worker by accounting for eighteen of the thirty-five stated miracles of Christ. This is more than any other Gospel account.


John Mark is commonly regarded as the author to this Gospel. It was acknowledged as his by the early church fathers of the second century.

1. What was Mark's mother's name? (Acts 12:12)


Her house was a focal point of much activity for the first church. In it, Mark would have heard and witnessed some amazing things. There is a reference indirectly made to it in Acts 1:13.

2. What major events were happening in Mark's home? Tick the correct incidents-

[ ] The Last Supper, Christ with His disciples.

[ ] The Prayer meeting of the 120 in Acts 1.

[ ] The place where Judas Iscariot hung himself.

[ ] The place where the Holy Spirit came and filled the believers.

The expression "my son" is used in the New Testament in referring to a close disciple, possibly one whom the user of this expression led to the Lord. Paul uses this of Timothy.

3. Who uses this of Mark? (1 Peter 5:13)


Mark was also the cousin of Barnabus (Col. 4:10) and some believe he refers to himself in Mark 14:50-52. All of which would mean that he eye-witnesses some of Christ's last days, yet obtained most of his information from Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (N.B. 1Pt. 5:13). It is believed that this Gospel would have been written in Rome in conjunction with Peter just prior to Peter's brutal death.

Papias, 70-155 A.D., pupil of the Apostle John wrote, in his 'Explanation of the Lord's Discourses', that he had made it his business to enquire of the Elders and followers of the elders, and :

"The Elder said this also: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all that he remembered- not however, in order - of the words of Christ. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor was he a follower of His, but later on, as I said, he attached himself to Peter, who would adapt his instruction to the need of the occasion . . ."



Other Points To The Chapter


(Mark 1)

John the Baptist introduced.

Satan tempts Christ.

Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-Law


(Mark 2)

Matthew the tax-collector called as a disciple.

Jesus teaching on fasting.

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath


(Mark 3)

Healing the man with the withered hand

Many follow Christ.

The unpardonable sin.


(Mark 4)

Jesus explains parables.

Jesus uses parables to teach the kingdom of God.

Wind and waves obey Christ.


(Mark 6)

Jesus rejected in His home-town.

John the Baptist killed.

Feeding the five thousand.


Explanation of defilement.

Syro-Phoenician woman's daughter healed.

Jesus heals a deaf mute.


(Mark 9)

Jesus delivers a boy from a demonic spirit.

Jesus predicts His death and resurrection.

Jesus forbids sectarianism.


Christ's triumphant entry into Bethany.

Jesus withers the fig tree.

Forgive to be forgiven


(Mark 12)


Sadducees questions about the resurrection.

The widow's two mites.


(Mark 15)

Jesus before Pilate.

Soldiers abuse Jesus.

Jesus crucified.


Mark 1

Mark opens immediately with action. He makes no mention of genealogy or virgin birth. These would be irrelevant to Romans. Instead he starts with a rugged hairy man who's putting action into his religion. The description here of John the Baptist is precisely the same as that of Elijah's (2 Kings 1:9).

4. What was John preaching? (vs 4)


5. What was his condition for baptism? (vs 5)


Some preachers today who are man-centred, mock the concept of: Believing/Repentance/Confession of Sins as the response to salvation. This is sometimes called the "Old Fashioned Gospel" or the "Hellfire and brimstone message". Some say that the Gospel must be 'negotiated' with unbelievers and portrayed as something that will meet the existing needs of man without making mention of: Sin/Righteousness/Judgment To Come (John 16:8). This merely appeals to the current self-centred nature of people, rather than addressing the very obstacle that hinders that person from knowing peace with God. The Bible is consistent in declaring that salvation is based on faith (Hab. 2:4), which produces the response of repentance and confession.

Fig. 1

Salvation is by faith in Christ alone. The fruit of our faith in Christ is repentance which produces confession. This is not to say that we add anything to our faith in Christ in order to receive salvation. Yet, salvation is both a legal position and a process. In this sense then, our faith is proven to be genuine faith when we display repentance. This was the message of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the first apostles and the New Testament.

steps to salvation

6. Refer to the following, and fill in the blanks:

a) Saved from what? (Mtt. 1:21)


b) First public word of John the Baptist (Mtt. 3:2)


c) First public word of Jesus (Mtt. 4.17)


d) Part of Peter's first sermon (Acts 2:38)


e) Preached by Paul to Gentiles ignorant of God (Acts 17:30)



Matthew 2

"When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, why does this man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Mark 2:5-7

7. According to verse 10, why did Jesus heal the paralytic?


Sin is the most offensive thing in the world to God. He hates it. When we became a Christian, we accepted His forgiveness for our sins.

8. What else happened when we repented, believed, and confessed our sin?

a) 1Cor. 6:11


b) Micah 7:19


Only God can forgive sins! No man can make you clean in the eyes of God. When the scribes asked the question, they also knew the answer. Thus they concluded rightly, that Jesus was claiming to be equal with God the Father.


Mark 3

"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand."

(Mk. 3:24)

The Kingdom of God is directly opposed by two forces: the kingdom of darkness (self), and the principalities of Satan (1Jn. 2:16; 3:8). There is no compromise. Jesus clearly shows here that He is not working for Satan. How can He be, when the Devil is about stealing, killing and destroying, and Jesus is combating all of those?

9. For what purpose was the Son of God manifest (appeared)? 1Jn. 3:8



Mark 4

In this section Mark includes some of the sayings of Christ, which he does only a few times in his Gospel. Its worth noting that this parable is about a worker.

10. What do the following mean?

a) Seed


b) Wayside


c) Stony ground


d) Among thorns


e) Good ground


When we sow the Word, we must realise that not all people can and will receive it immediately. It is actually better to plow up a heart with a Gospel of 'believe/repent/confess' than to have person receive a Gospel which omits these and causes them to 'fall away when trouble or persecution arise'. To achieve a good ground heart takes a lot of prayer. That's why we must never understate the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in a conversion. (Read the last three pages of Sproul's Holiness of God, to gain a clearer understanding of this).

11. According to verse 16, what is the outcome usually for a person who receives the Word immediately with Joy?



Mark 6

This part of Christ's life strikes a chord within me: the inestimable awesomeness of Christ's divine being. One of the most amazing things was that His disciples didn't understand who Jesus really was.

12. What does verse 52 tell us about them?


This is especially amazing when we consider the miracles that they had been eye-witness to and a part of.

13. What does verse 13 tell us about the ministry of them?


Why Jesus actually walked on water isn't totally obvious. He wasn't doing it just for the fun of it, or to try out some new 'walk on water shoes', instead He was displaying His mighty power over the realm of nature.


Mark 7

The Pharisees had, over the many years, developed hundreds of rules and regulations designed to compliment the Law. Instead of beautifying the Law, they made it burdensome and legalistic. Their law regarded the washing of hands as not for hygiene reasons, but for traditional, ceremonial ones. Therefore Jesus did not keep it.

Jesus went on to show that its not so much what we do that makes us unclean: its why we do it. This means that our outward actions could be right and good, but our inner reasons for doing it could be totally wrong. As you read through your Bible you might like to notice how many times the word 'heart' appears (especially in Proverbs). Its a scary thing to realise that God will judge both our actions and our heart.

14. What sort of things come out of the heart of man? (vs 21-22)



Mark 9

Jesus had an inner circle of disciples into whom He poured Himself.

15. Who were they?







Here Christ gives these disciples a glimmer of who He really was. Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, meet with Christ. This shows us that the Law (represented by Moses) and the Prophets (represented by Elijah) point to Christ.

Peter was never to forget this incident. Despite his denial and slip into a revised Judaism, he used this incident as one the things which gave him strength to face what was fatally coming his way (2Pt. 1:16-18)


Mark 11

"So they came to Jerusalem. And Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, 'Is it not written, 'my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves' '"

Mark 11:15-17

The house of prayers had become a house of wares. This made Jesus very angry. The chief priests would have been doing quite well out of the sale of temple sacrifices. In God's Word priests were to be supported for by the tithes and offerings of the people. Yet they were looking to do better. We must guard against this ourselves and maintain our meeting places as houses of prayer, worship and fellowship where we can be instructed in God's Word instead of making them places of merchandise.

16. Where does the Old Testament say 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'?



Mark 12

In one of the few parables that Mark records, he shows that Christ is the Rejected Servant.

17. What had Jesus predicted in detail and told His Disciples in Mark 10:32-34?


This parable of the vineyard portrays God's relationship to Israel and how He had sent prophets to reap fruit from them as His Covenant bearers.

18. In Mark 11:12-14 what did Jesus do to the unfruitful fig tree?


Many scholars believe that the expression "Fig Tree" refers to the nation of Israel. If this is the case then this would fit the context of the passage which deals with their rejection of Christ. By cursing the fig tree because of its unfaithfulness, Jesus was saying that He had come to the Fig Tree, Israel, and they had rejected Him (no fruit on the tree), therefore they (Israel) were rejected, and the Gospel of the New Covenant, accessed by faith, would be for all nations (Mtt. 28:18-20).

Finally, He sent His own Son as the Ultimate Servant, to collect what was rightfully due to God (Mk. 12:1-12).

19. What did John the Baptist say was necessary after repentance? (Luke 3:8)


After Jesus declared that the vineyard (kingdom) would be taken away from the Jews, He once again alludes to His death as being imminent.

20. Where does Christ quote from to cap off His stinging attack? (Mk. 12:10)


The chief cornerstone was the one that determined the initial direction of a building's walls. It was the most important stone in the building. Interestingly, Christ repeatedly referred to Himself as various parts of a building. A study of this aspect of Christ's teaching is encouraged.


Mark 15

Prior to Jesus Christ's brutal slaying, He predicts the events leading up to the end of the age. Meanwhile , the religious leaders were so offended by Him, that they were plotting to put Him to death. Ultimately Satan was behind this push (NB. 1Cor. 2:8). As we will see in the book of John, the Lord was 'hidden' from His executioners while having the Passover with His Disciples. There was only one possible option for the Sanhedrin. They needed to locate Jesus, arrest Him at night and have Him crucified by morning. They couldn't do it during the day because of Christ's enormous support from among the people (12:37).

Satan entered the heart of Judas in order to betray Jesus. After a mock trial, humiliating treatment by Roman soldiers, beatings, whippings, and torturous abuse He was eventually crucified very quickly.

Christ was made our sin (2Cor. 5:21) and God the Father was punishing, with all His fierce anger, that sin which was laid upon His own Son. Jesus was going through all this for you and me. This caused Him for the first time to experience a break in fellowship with His Father. This was the ultimate blow to the Servant of God, in agony He cried out to His Father "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?". And Jesus did it all for ____________________ (your name).



New Testament Survey

The Gospel of Luke

© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania