If we give a personal description of someone, we can do it from different angles. For example, we can highlight someone as the father of a family. It is also possible to describe the same person as a colleague or neighbor. In this way we see how four evangelists – under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – report on the life of the Lord Jesus during His stay on earth. In the four biographies we thereby have in the Bible, Matthew talks in his Gospel about the Lord Jesus as King, Mark presents Him as a Servant, Luke describes Him as the true Man and John finally writes about Him as the eternal Son of God.
The purpose of this Gospel is that we look to the Lord Jesus as a Servant. That is why the call: “Behold, My servant” (Isa 42:1) has been chosen as the subtitle for this book. Whoever reads this Gospel with the desire to see Him as a Servant will come to know Him as the One Who has taken on the form of a slave (Phil 2:7), to be a Servant for all eternity (Lk 12:37).
Ger de Koning
Middelburg, September 2009, new version 2018, translated 2020
Purpose of the Gospel according to Mark
Of the four evangelists, Mark gives the clearest account of the historical order of the Savior’s service. He presents Him as the true Servant (Isa 53:11), in which He stands opposite Israel that has become an unfaithful servant. We see Him in this Gospel in the humble form of a slave (Phil 2:6-8; cf. Exo 21:6; Lk 12:37; Heb 5:8). Mark writes to Christians of the Gentiles, that they may learn how to serve in imitation of the true Servant.
In comparison with the other Gospels there are not many words of the Lord in this Gospel, but we read more about His work and service. This is expressed concisely in the key verse of this Gospel, which can also serve as a heading for it: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). This verse is also the connection between the two parts of this Gospel. The part before it is about His service, while the part after it is about Him as the sacrifice, as the sin offering.
The writer Mark
The fact that especially John Mark was allowed to write this Gospel is a special proof of the grace of God. As a companion of Paul and Barnabas, he abandoned them on their first missionary journey because of the Lord’s work (Acts 12:12,25; 13:13). He even becomes the cause of bitterness and separation between these two servants of the Lord (Acts 15:37,39). But God is the God of the second chance. He has been restored from this failure (Col 4:10; 2Tim 4:11; 1Pet 5:13), so that he who himself has been an unfaithful servant can and may now write about the faithful Servant.