Reference

Mark relates 79 of the approximately 179 separate incidents recorded by all 4 Gospels about the life of Christ, or nearly as many as Matthew, but in less than 2/3 the space. Mark also follows a more nearly chronological order than either Matthew or Luke, and devotes special attention to what Jesus did rather than what He said. Mark devotes nearly 2/3 of his space to narrative, or half again as much as Matthew. For instance, Mark records only one of Christ's major discourses (Mk 13) as compared with 5 in Matthew, and only 6 of some 40 parables. Mark's vocabulary reveals the fact that he wrote with non-Jewish readers in mind, as, for instance, when he transliterates such Latin words as centurio, "centurion" (chapter 15:39), denarius (chapter 6:37, RSV {The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version (New York, 1952)}), and speculator, "executioner" (chapter 6:27) into Greek, the language of culture, instead of using the usual Greek words. This also suggests that the Gospel was intended for Roman readers and comports with the ancient tradition that it was written in Rome. The fact that Mark wrote his Gospel outside of Palestine for non-Palestinian readers is evident from his explanation of such things as Palestinian coinage (chapter 12:42), the Passover (chapter 14:12), customs of the Pharisees (chapter 7:3, 4), and various Aramaic words and expressions (see chapters 5:41; 7:34; 15:34), all of which would have been unnecessary for Jewish readers, particularly Palestinian Jews. At the same time, the writer was obviously a Jew who knew Aramaic and who was familiar with the OT, which, however, he quotes generally from the Greek translation. It is written in comparatively simple language, and apparently for non-literary readers. Although it is the shortest of the Gospels, it is in some respects the most vigorous and colourful of them all. Mark's style is terse, vigorous, incisive, vivid, and picturesque, and he often provides significant details not mentioned by any of the other evangelists.

Like the other Synoptic writers, Mark repeatedly records incidents in which Jesus is represented as seeking to conceal His identity as the Messiah. Upon repeated occasions He forbade men who had been the recipients of His healing power to tell others what He had done for them (Mk 1:43 ­45; 5:43; 7:36, 37; etc.; cf. Mt 12:16; 12:16; 17:9). This reluctance of Jesus to discuss His Messiahship or to permit publicity concerning it as reflected in the Synoptic Gospels is sometimes referred to as the Messianic Secret. In striking contrast the Gospel of John from first to last presents Jesus as constantly stressing His deity and Messiahship. As a result, some critical scholars have pointed to this differing emphasis as evidence of conflicting opinions about the mission of Jesus on earth. Unquestionably, there is a difference of emphasis between John and the Synoptics on this score, particularly in areas describing the earlier part of Christ's ministry. It should be remembered, however, that in His day-to-day work Jesus demonstrated His Messiahship by living a faultless life as a man among men and by exercising divine power in meeting the needs of humanity. It was His purpose to present men with visible evidence of His divine nature and to let them form their own conclusions with respect to His identity (see Mt 11:2 ­6; 3:2; Jn 5:36; 10:25; 15:24). A demonstration of His Messiahship would be more convincing to most people than an outright claim on His part. It is evident, however, that upon certain occasions, as recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus did come out with the specific claim to deity and Messiahship (Jn 3:11 ­16; 4:26; 5:17 ­30, 39 ­46; 6:35 ­58; 7:26 ­30; 8:21 ­56; 10:30; etc.). It will be noted, however, that not until the closing months of Jesus' ministry, when "he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem," and at the time of His rejection and the close of His public ministry in Galilee (Lk 9:51; Jn 6:51, 62) did Jesus openly declare Himself to be the Messiah in His public ministry. Having presented the evidence, Jesus now challenged the Jewish leaders and people to come to a decision with respect to that evidence.

Mark presents Jesus as a man of action and takes particular interest in His miracles as evidence of divine power at work on man's behalf, whereas Matthew devotes his major attention to the teachings of Jesus. Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark says nothing whatever about the infancy, childhood, and youth of Jesus. After a brief introduction, mentioning Jesus' baptism and the beginning of His public ministry (Mk 1:1 ­13), he passes over the first year and a half of Jesus' public ministry in silence, to take up the Galilean ministry in considerable detail (chapters 1:14 to 7:23). He mentions a number of incidents during Jesus' retirement from public ministry for 6 months following the close of the Galilean ministry (chapters 7:24 to 9:50), and then gives a brief account of the Samarian-Perean ministry (chapter 10). He devotes nearly a third of his Gospel to Jesus' closing ministry in Jerusalem and to events connected with His crucifixion, death, and resurrection (chapters 11:1 to 15:47). He mentions also certain post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples (chapter 16).

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.