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Mark

His name means: "A Large Hammer"

His work: An eager journalist whose specialties were serving, following up on details, and making travel arrangements.
His character: A man who was willing to serve behind the scenes for others who were in ministry.
His sorrow: On his first major assignment as Paul and Barnabas's traveling secretary, Mark returned home, unable to finish the journey. This created a rift between Mark and Paul, as well as between Barnabas and Paul.
His triumph: Not only was the relationship breach healed, but Mark had the privilege of penning the first gospel—the good news of Jesus.
Key Scriptures: Mark 14:32-72

A Look at the Man

Just as soon as he had gathered all the information, Mark sat down and began to write. He was the first of the gospel writers*—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—to do so. As a young spectator, Mark was awestruck by Jesus. And because of his mother's influence, he was able to meet the disciples during the time of the Savior's ministry. This gave him special behind-the-scenes access, and he kept a record of what he saw.

Mark served quietly and unobtrusively. When Paul and Barnabas, Mark's cousin, traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch, they took Mark along as their assistant. When they set out for their first extensive missionary journey, again they asked him to come along. In this role, Mark advanced their trip by arranging for travel, food, and lodging. But when they got to Perga, Mark left the troupe and returned to Jerusalem, although the exact reason he left isn't known.

When Paul and Barnabas decided to revisit the cities they had traveled to on their first missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark along again. But Paul wasn't interested, so he chose Silas as his traveling companion. Barnabas asked Mark to join him on his trip to Cyprus, where he was given the chance to serve again.

The conflict between Paul and Mark was eventually healed. Ten years later Paul asked the people in Colosse to receive Mark with a welcome. In his letter from prison to Philemon, he called Mark "my fellow worker." And in Paul's final letter to his protégé, Timothy, he asked him to "bring Mark with you; he is helpful to me in my ministry."

Mark's special relationship with Simon Peter is mentioned in Peter's first letter to the new Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor. Mark must have been on the road with Peter in Rome, because Peter sent greetings to the believers from Mark and called him "my son." It was most likely during this time that Mark penned the gospel.

Traveling with Simon Peter, certainly the most zealous and emotive of the disciples, Mark reviewed his notes about Jesus' life. This, combined with his own firsthand experiences as a young man, gave him a special passion as he recalled the life of this Nazarene.

Mark's mission was to be sure that anyone reading his account would know that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God—the Messiah. The activities and miracles of Jesus were just as important to Mark as his words. The proof of his deity was in his person.

Mark followed Jesus as an observer. His perspective was real. He saw Jesus' humanity with his own eyes—exhausted (Mark 4:38), amazed (6:6), disappointed (8:12), displeased (10:14), angry (11:15-17), and sorrowful (14:34).

Moving quickly from scene to scene, Mark's account is filled with youthful impatience and urgency—"And straightway coming up out of the water"(1:10 KJV); and "At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert" (1:12).

In spite of what he saw at Gethsemane, Mark didn't give up on the possibility of the resurrection. If Jesus would really do what he implied during his ministry—conquer death—imagine what would happen!

Reflect On: Psalm 8:1–9
Praise God: For his holiness.
Offer Thanks: For his presence that fills you and his love that constrains you to follow him.
Confess: Your indifference to his power, your willingness to reduce your relationship to him to the ordinary and the mundane rather than delighting in the thrill and wonder of it all.
Ask God: To fill you with his empowering Spirit so that the gifts he has given you will be fully used for his glory.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

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