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SHORT NOTES ON THE BIBLE (8)
The Gospel according to Saint
1. The first written gospel (45-60 AD)
2. It was written at Rome or Alexandria and was originally written in Latin (or Greek), then translated to the Coptic language when taken by St. Mark to Egypt.
3. The writer is Mark the apostle who is also named John (The Jewish name).
4. St. Mark is Jewish, from a wealthy family who lived in the five western cities (in Lybia).
5. St. Mark was born 3 years after the birth of Christ in the flesh. He was raised in Cyrene and mastered the Latin and Greek languages, then immigrated with his family to Jerusalem. His parents brought their wealth from Cyrene and his father Aristopoulos bought a big house, which included an upper room, where Jesus Christ gathered with His disciples several times (Acts 12:12).
6. St. Mark witnessed the work of Christ since the beginning of His ministry, and attended the wedding at Cana of Galilee as well as the last supper and the washing of the feet and followed the trial of Christ and watched Simon of Cyrene (a relative) as he carried the cross. He has also witnessed the glorified and resurrected Christ in the Upper Room and received with the disciples the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel.
7. According to the tradition, Christ chose St. Mark among the seventy apostles.
8. St. Mark is given the symbol of the lion, one of the four incorporeal beasts that were mentioned in Revelation (Rev 4:6-7) because he started his gospel with a lion who is roaring in the wilderness "a voice shouting in the wilderness" (Mk 1:3).
[for details of the life of St. Mark and his ministry refer to the book "the beholder of God, St. Mark the evangelist & martyr" by H.H. Pope Shenouda III and also the book the gospel according to St. Mark" written by Fr. Matthew the Poor, St. Makarious monastery publications].
Characteristics of the Gospel of St. Mark:
9. The gospel comprises 16 chapters. The first part (1:1 - 8:30) focuses on the teachings of Jesus Christ; while the 2nd part (8:31 - 20:16) focuses on the sufferings, crucifiction, resurrection and ascention of Christ after His resurrection.
10. The gospel of St. Mark was written before the other 3 gospels, and from his gospel, the two other evangelists St. Matthew and St. Luke quoted many sections. St. Matthews gospel includes 9/10th of the gospel of St. Mark and St. Lukes gospel includes half of the gospel of St. Mark.
11. St. Mark was the first to use the word "Gospel" and from there on the apostles used it.
12. The gospel of St. Mark announces that Jesus is the "Messiah", "Jesus Christ the Son of God". In St. Marks gospel, the story of Jesus starts with an announcement from heaven that He is the Son of God (Mk 1:11), and His life on earth ends with the testimony of the centurion that He is the Son of God (Mk 15: 39). Also, in the middle of the gospel there is the testimony of Peter the apostle that Christ is the Son of God (Mk8:29), then the testimony of the Father from heaven in the transfiguration (Mk 9:7) and even the devils have known that he is Christ the Son of God (Mk 1:24, 3:11, 5:7).
The kingdom of God in the Gospel of St. Mark:
In the first part of the ministry of Jesus Christ, the gospel says that the kingdom of God "is at hand" (Mk 1:15); however, later on in the ministry, Christ presents the kingdom of God as "ready to be received and entered" (Mk 10:15). This means that the ministry of Christ has opened the door and the way to the kingdom and that Christ is the Door, and the Way.
The dominion of Christ in the Gospel of St. Mark:
1 - General dominion which surpasses that of the chief priests (Mk 11: 27-37).
2 - Dominion over the devil and evil spirits (Mk 1:27, 32-34, 5: 1-13).
3 - Dominion over the chief of the devils (Mk 3:27).
4 - Dominion over the healing of diseases (Mk 2:12, 7:37).
5 - Dominion over the forgiveness of sins (Mk 2:5-7).
6 - Dominion over the law of Moses (Mk 10: 2-9).
7 - Dominion of the Word of Christ (Mk 10: 29,30).
Subjects of the Book:
After a brief prologue (Mk. 1:1- 1:13), the subjects of the Gospel of St. Mark may be grouped into four geographically separate ministries:
1 - The Galilean ministry : The Kingdom is at hand: 1:14 - 6:29.
2 - Ministry beyond Galilee: The Kingdom and the world: 6:30 - 9:50.
3 - Journey to Jerusalem: The Kingdom's discipline: 10:1 - 10:52.
4 - The ministry in Jerusalem: Rejection and persecution: 11:1 - 16:20.
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
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