The book of Mark was written by John Mark, who traveled with Paul and Barnabas. “Barnabas himself was ‘of the country of Cyprus’ (Acts 4:36); and now he and Paul, accompanied by John Mark, a kinsman of Barnabas, visited this island field.
“Mark’s mother was a convert to the Christian religion, and her home at Jerusalem was an asylum for the disciples. There they were always sure of a welcome and a season of rest. It was during one of these visits of the apostles to his mother’s home, that Mark proposed to Paul and Barnabas that he should accompany them on their missionary tour. He felt the favor of God in his heart and longed to devote himself entirely to the work of the gospel ministry.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 166, 167.
When Mark first began traveling with Barnabas and Paul, he found that the work was too much for him, and he went back home. When he came back to try again, Paul refused to work with him. However, Paul later changed his mind about Mark, finding him to be so helpful that he told Timothy, “Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).
Mark also worked very closely with Peter. 1 Peter 5:13. It is believed that Peter recounted to Mark his own experiences. Mark, not being an eyewitness himself, then recorded Peter’s memories of Jesus. Mark’s presentation of the gospel is much more concise than the other three. Mark starts his narrative with “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). He immediately confesses his faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
“The Saviour of mankind was born of humble parentage in a sin-cursed, wicked world. He was brought up in obscurity at Nazareth, a small town of Galilee. He began His work in poverty and without worldly rank. He sought not the admiration or the applause of the world. He dwelt among the lowly. To all appearance He was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus God introduced the gospel in a way altogether different from the way in which many deem it wise to proclaim the same gospel in this age. . . .
“ ‘The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show.’ The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world.”—The Review and Herald, January 18, 1906.
May the Lord help us to accept a greater measure of this gospel of grace into our hearts and lives today as we study this quarter’s lessons.
The General Conference Sabbath School Department