Today we honor St. Mark. He was the one who, forty years after Christ’s death and Resurrection, wrote the first Gospel. Writing ten year later John and Luke wrote short clear sentences that explained their purpose in writing their Gospels. Mark did not explain his motives, but a reading of his seventeen chapters suggests what his motive might have been.
My guess is that with people saying that Jesus who was executed after suffering so much could not have been the Messiah, Mark set out to show that Jesus was the Savior, and his suffering. His suffering, far from being an obstacle, were actually the means by which he saved us.
Mark split his Gospel into halves of equal length.
His first eight and a half chapters are filled with stories showing that Jesus was the Savior. He worked miracles, he fulfilled prophecies, he drove out devils who called him the Messiah. Those are things that convinced the Apostles that he was the Savior. They should also convince us readers.
That first half of Mark’s Gospel concludes just half way through Chapter Eight in verse 29 when St. Peter, after adding up al the evidence, said, “You are the Messiah.”
In the three verses from verse 29 through 31 of Chapter Eight we have the hinge from which the two halves of Mark’s Gospel turn.
We launch into the second half of Mark’s Gospel with verse 31 that states, “He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly . . . and be killed.”
A likable thing about Mark’s Gospel is the way he brings us into intimacy with Jesus. He was a boy in Jerusalem when Jesus was executed. His mother Mary and his uncle Barnabas were Important Christians. Mark knew the blind man Bartimeus who followed Jesus up from Jericho. He knew Simon the Cyrenian and his sons Rufus and Alexander.
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