“On Your Mark”
The Divine Author (Chapter 1 Verse 1)
The close association Mark had, not only with Peter but with the Lord too, makes him the suitable author of this Gospel. And of course, these witnesses had the promise of the Holy Spirit’s help (John 14.26; 16.14). In all our handling of Scripture, we must never lose sight of the Divine authorship, guidance and control (2Timothy 3.16). It’s because the Person of the Holy Spirit is behind Holy Scripture we can have supreme confidence in every single word. It is God’s word, the voice of the Spirit. Mark’s Gospel was written for Gentile readers and is probably the simplest of all four. His theme is the glad news of salvation, presented in a fast-moving and exciting way. But like the rest of Scripture, it is produced ultimately to create faith (John 20.31; Romans 10.17). The word of God must always be handled thus, else it is read, or listened to without any profit at all (Hebrews 2.1-4; 4.1-2). How are we to read the Scriptures? “The Holy Scriptures are to be read with a high and reverent esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very word of God, and that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self-denial and prayer” (Westminster Larger Catechism Q & A:157).
The opening phrase (v1) must surely be considered as a title, the essence of salvation truth, the glad news. That’s what the word gospel means. But of course it is only good news to those who have seen themselves as God sees them, who have looked into the mirror of God’s word, who have seen that they are sinful, miserable, wretched creatures (Psalm 51.5; Jeremiah 17.9; Isaiah 64.6), who are in need of the good news of God’s forgiveness (Isaiah 1.18; 1John 1.8-10). For such, there is good news indeed. For it is about Jesus, the personal Saviour (Matthew 1.21), whom Mark records for us. That beautiful, that dynamic life, free from the blight of sin, full of compassion and mercy, showing the likeness and the glory of God to us (2Corinthians 4.6; Hebrews 1.1-3). Mark does not finish there, he adds, God’s Son. The eternal, co-equal, essential Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. This Saviour, whom Mark draws our attention to, is nothing less than the Son of God, perfect and adequate in every way, able to start and finish the job he came do (Hebrews 7.25; Philippians 1.6). Trust him with all your heart.
(© James R Hamilton, written September 1996)