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Each of the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, recorded the same story from a different perspective and wrote to a different audience.

Matthew, a.k.a. Levi, was a Jew who wrote primarily to a Jewish audience. As an eye-witness to all of Jesus’ ministry, the Apostle revealed Jesus as the Messiah-King. Sixty-six times in Matthew’s account he referred to fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. For example, “All this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us’ ” (Matthew 1:22–23).

Luke, closely associated with Paul, was a historian and investigative reporter who wrote for the edification of the “most honorable Theophilus” (Luke 1:3). Luke was almost certainly a Gentile (Colossians 4:11,14) who wrote primarily to the Greeks.

John, the son of Zebedee, the “beloved disciple” (John 13:23), wrote his Gospel much later than the Synoptic writers. He clearly defines his purpose: “So that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John wanted all people, Jew and Gentile to know the saving grace of Jesus.

According to early church tradition Mark recorded the memories of Peter, thereby publishing “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). The Gospel According to Mark does not begin with Jesus’ birth or family history. Instead, Mark immediately jumps to Jesus’ actions and achievements and presents Jesus as a Savior-King who conquers demons, disease, and death. That his audience included Romans and Greeks is evidenced by the fact that he regularly explained Jewish customs and geography (7:2–4; 13:3; 14:12). Mark’s brevity and simplicity make his Gospel an ideal introduction to the Christian faith.

One of Mark’s best-loved words is “immediately,” a word he used forty-one times.

Immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove” (Mark 1:10, NKJV).

Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving him”

(Mark 1:12–13).

“ ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told them, ‘and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:17–18).

Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:20).

The urgency and importance of Jesus’ life and work are powerfully presented by Mark… immediately.

Will you read the Gospel of Mark with me? As you read, delight in the stories of Christ’s power and purpose, His compassion and care, His message and ministry. It’s my favorite of the four Gospels, and I hope to spend the next several installments of the Pastor’s Blog “Marching Thru Mark.”


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