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The Servant King: A Study of the Gospel of Mark

by | Dec 20, 2013 | Blog, Prepare for Gathering, Redemption, Theology, Worship

Download a copy of The Servant King devotional guide

A little about Mark’s Gospel

Mark is an action-packed, fast-paced, biography from a midnight streaker. Mark’s Gospel is written 20–30 years after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, to Christians who are encountering intense persecution under Nero. It is the first gospel to be written. Therefore, The Gospel according to Mark is the first of this kind of literature—historical proclamation of good news. Because of the pace of the story leading to the passion narrative, Mark has been called a “passion narrative with a long introduction.” Mark’s Gospel is vivid and packed with truth about the Servant King who “came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

A little about Mark

Though his name is not mentioned in the Gospel, most writers understand him to be the midnight streaker of Mark 14. Mark (known in Acts as John Mark) was the son of Mary, a wealthy, generous woman who, some believe, hosted the Last Supper and first church in her Jerusalem home.

His cousin Barnabas took Mark on his first missionary journey to handle administrative details for the mission team. Along the journey, Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas. This did not set will with Paul. On the next trip, Paul refused to take him. So cousin Barnabas took Mark on a separate journey (Acts 15).

After this, we lose sight of both Mark and Barnabas. In 1 Peter, we learn that Mark has spent considerable time with Peter to the point that Mark is called a son (1 Peter 5:13). Mark is to Peter what Timothy is to Paul. This is probably where Mark learned much of the story of Jesus’ ministry recorded in the Gospel.

Finally, it seems that Mark and Paul are reconciled. In 2 Timothy, Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark to see him (2 Timothy 4:11) and calls him “useful…for ministry.” It would appear that sovereign grace, making use of Barnabas’ kind tutelage, Paul’s stern discipline, and Peter’s potent influence, has triumphed in Mark’s life.

Don’t miss this. God takes what we could call a soft, spoiled deserter and makes him a useful servant of Jesus who writes part of the Bible. God never gives up on Mark and He never gives up on us. What grace!

A little about Mark’s Jesus

Mark portrays Jesus as a King who excels any earthly conqueror. His kingdom is far more extensive, his armor far more effective, and his rule far more enduring than anything originating here below. However, Mark’s portrait of King Jesus is also that of a servant. Jesus doesn’t come like other kings to be served, but “to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). For Mark, Jesus is the Servant King who comes to serve His people by enduring the Cross for sin as a substitute.

A little about the series

On Easter Sunday, we will conclude our study of Mark, appropriately at the resurrection of Jesus. What a joy to gather with our Exodus family to worship our Risen Servant King who didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.

Reading guide

To help us move quickly through Mark’s Gospel in 16 weeks, many of our Exodus family have worked diligently to produce a reading guide to go along with the series.

In these booklets, you will find:

  • Reading plans with passages from Mark and other parts of God’s Word.
  • Family devotions: Three devotions designed for your family that are focused on the passage for the week.
  • Community Group guides so that you can be prepared to discuss in your group.

We hope that the reading guide will help you connect with the Servant King in ways you never imagined. The contributors are listed in the guide. When God uses them to bless you, bless them by expressing your gratitude.

Join us for Servant King: A study of an action-packed, fast-paced, biography from a midnight streaker turned useful missionary.

Resources
Mark Introduction, ESV Study Bible, Crossway

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