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The 60: Life Unexpected | 7 Marks of The Book of Mark

Why? Why Not Mark? Why haven’t more pastors preached on the book of Mark? Why haven’t more Christians studied it, even on their own?

  • Matthew is the first Gospel in terms of its order in the NT, so most people read Matthew and go straight to Acts, skipping Mark
  • Matthew contains almost all of what Mark does (90%), and then some
  • Luke goes hand in hand with Acts, so many Christians have read Luke and then Acts together
  • John is what most people are told to read when they first become a Christian
  • Mark has a more rough style and flow than the other Gospels
  • Matthew and Luke are read most during Advent season
  • Luke starts with the birth and says its an “orderly account”
  • It was not written by an Apostle like Matthew and John
  • Part of Chapter 16 may not be in the earlier manuscript

All of this has added up to make Mark the least read and least preached Gospel of all the Gospels

Why the book of Mark? There seem to be a lot of reasons ‘why not’ the book of Mark. How many reasons are there on the ‘why’ side for the book of Mark?

Mark was first

Sometimes someone goes first and everyone who follows learns how ‘not’ to do it. Other times someone goes first and everyone else uses their ingenuity as the foundation for everything they do. This is the case with the Gospel of Mark.

  • 90% of what Mark wrote was picked up by Matthew
  • 50% of what Mark wrote was picked up by Luke

Mark was the first person in history to write a ‘Gospel’, a new kind of genre. No one had ever written one before Mark did.

If Marks Gospel is the first Gospel, it merits the most consideration.

In a way these are really not only seven marks of the book of Mark, but 7 Marks of a Christian – followers of Jesus as we consider the life of Jesus

(1) jesus MESSIAH

Life Unexpected: The one they were seeing and hearing and following was not the one they expected Him to be

Everyone expects God or Man, but not the God-Man

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. – Mark 8:27-30

(2) the MESSAGE

Life Unexpected: The message was not what they expected it to be.

The Jews expected a message of deliverance, and life-enhancement, they got a message of repentance John and Jesus were both preaching a message of repentance to the ‘church’ or their day

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'” – Mark 1:1-3

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel. – Mark 1:14-15

So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. –  Mark 6:12

The disciples were called to proclaim a message of repentance in a culture of religion and rebellion. So are we.

It’s easy to Dodge the message, disguise the message, dilute the message, debate the message, discuss the message. God is calling us to DECLARE the message.

(3) divine MENTORING

Life Unexpected: The mentoring was not what they expected it to be, and not from whom they expected it to be from

Mentoring…….Discipleship…….Training…….Apprenticeship in Jesus day was all about what you could gain.

Jesus came saying that if you wanted to be mentored by Him, you must first lose everything before you can gain anything…….because the mentoring is not about you, it’s about Him

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? – Mark 8: 34-37

(4) going MAINSTREAM

Life Unexpected: The audience who would receive the message was not the audience they expected it to be

The religious people of the day expected the Gospel to be “Mom and Pop”, but God was taking the Gospel Mainstream. Jesus was taking the Gospel to the whole of popular culture of His day

The religious people of Jesus day assumed the Gospel was only for a certain kind of person

And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." - Mark 2:16-17

Jesus finds greater receptivity among the Gentiles than He does the Jews

(5) on MISSION

Life Unexpected: The people of Jesus day largely expected a political and social mission and movement, while Jesus was on a spiritual mission and movement.

Mark is all about mission and had many mission statements of Jesus (Mark 2:17, 8:31, 9:31, 10:33)

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you. "And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. – Mark 1:35-39


Life Unexpected: Martyrdom was not what they expected, but it’s what most of them got in the end

Mark was written in a time when Christians were being blamed for much in the world (Nero and Rome). Persecution had begun and was sure to follow.

Mark was written during a time of crisis for Christians in crisis, much like today.

Mark’s Gospel showed the people of Rome that nothing Nero could bring to them was alien to Jesus. Jesus understood. He’d been there.

(7) many MIRACLES

Life Unexpected: The people of Jesus’ day may have expected miracles of this magnitude, but not this many

Jesus has the power to do miracles over nature, sickness, and even death

And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. – Mark 1:27-28

And he could do no might work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. – Mark 6:5-6

Are we going to be like the people of Jesus’ early ministry, or the people of His hometown in Nazareth?

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