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  • Peyton Hill

Keys to Teaching Christ in Mark



There are four Gospels, and since Mark is the shortest and is placed in the middle, surely that means that Mark is insignificant, right? Wrong. The Gospel of Mark is a must-read letter that allows readers to grasp the person and work of Jesus. It provides a wonderful book for preaching and teaching, and it serves as an excellent foundation for evangelism and discipleship.

Mark is the pithiest of the four Gospels, and it moves quickly. The word “immediately” appears 41 times in the book’s 16 chapters as Mark takes his readers from one action-packed event to the next. As a Gospel genre, Mark’s letter reads like a purposeful biography. Instead of focusing on the teaching ministry of Jesus, the book highlights his doing. In fact, 20% of Mark’s letter is devoted to the final week of Jesus’s life leading to his greatest work on the cross. More than anything, Mark is trying to convince his readers of the real identity and mission of Jesus, and then show how people should respond to him.

Key Texts:

  • Mark 1:1—The whole book is framed as the gospel of Jesus, the one Mark identifies as the Son of God.

  • Mark 1:14–15—Jesus arrives preaching the gospel and calling sinners to respond to him in repentance and faith, and this response is the demand of Mark for his readers.

  • Mark 8:27–9:1—The book transitions in the middle chapters with a confession from Peter that Jesus is the Christ, and then Jesus plainly tells his disciples that he is the type of Christ that suffers in the place of his people.

  • Mark 10:45—The whole purpose of Jesus was to serve by dying as a substitute and a ransom.

Key Themes:

  • Suffering Messiah—Jesus is the one to whom the Old Testament points, but he is a Messiah who comes to suffer on behalf of his people.

  • Kingdom of God—The announcement of God’s rule and reign came with the arrival of God’s King, Jesus.

  • Discipleship—Jesus calls sinners to more than a life of forgiveness; he calls them to a life of followship and self-denial.

  • Cross—The entirety of Mark leads to the central event in the life of Jesus when he was crucified, buried, and resurrected.

Key Resources:

  • The Gospel According to Mark in The Pillar New Testament Commentary, James R. Edwards. Edwards provides a thorough look into each passage to provide the historical and exegetical insights needed for preaching and teaching.

  • The Gospel of Mark in The New International Greek Testament Commentary, R. T. France. France’s commentary is almost unmatched in its technical and exegetical observations.

  • Exalting Jesus in Mark in Christ-Centered Exposition, Daniel L. Akin. Akin provides preaching outlines that help structure the sermon, and he gives illustrations and application to aid in putting a lesson or sermon together.

  • Mark: Jesus, Servant and Savior in Preaching the Word, R. Kent Hughes. Hughes gives practical application and illustrations that will really help new teachers and preachers.

  • Let’s Study Mark, Sinclair B. Ferguson. Ferguson draws attention to the core of the gospel message in every passage.

Conclusion:

The Gospel of Mark provides such a beautiful display of the purposeful, action-packed life of the Messiah who came to suffer in the place of sinners. Whether preaching, evangelizing, teaching Sunday School, or reading devotionally, Mark’s cross-centered letter invites readers to respond to the Real Jesus.

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