The Book of Mark and Mark, the Person

Summary of Mark

The book of Mark is a Gospel that contains Narrative History, Sermons, Parables, and some Prophetic Oracles.

Mark was not one of the 12 disciples.

This Gospel has somewhat of an emphasis in miracles (27 total) which is significantly more than any of the other Gospels.

The key word in Mark is “Immediately” which is used 34 times causing the reader to move from one account to the next rapidly.

Mark is the shortest of the synoptic gospels and was written about 64 A.D. The key personalities of this book are Jesus Christ, His Twelve Disciples, Jewish religious leaders, Pilate, and John the Baptist.

It was written by John Mark who was one of the missionaries who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their mission trips. It is possible that Mark wrote this Gospel at the urging of Peter (his companion in Rome) since he had firsthand knowledge of the things that Mark wrote about.

The purpose of the Gospel of Mark is to show that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who was sent to suffer and to serve in order to rescue and restore mankind.

The 16 chapters of the Gospel of Mark can be divided into two parts, 8 chapters each. In the first 8 chapters Jesus is essentially traveling north and preaching until chapter 8.

In Chapter 8, Jesus is in the city of Caesarea Philippi where He asks His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” (vs. 27). Peter replies, “You are the Christ.”

Throughout the last 8 chapters, Jesus is traveling south, back to Jerusalem; all the way to Calvary’s Cross.

Chapter 1 – there is a quick introduction of John the Baptist and his preparation for the coming Messiah. It also includes the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, and the temptation in the desert by Satan. The focus quickly changes to the message and ministry of Jesus.

Chapters 2-10 – Jesus selects His disciples:

And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach (3:14).

The rest of these passages almost completely refer to Jesus as a Servant. It presents Jesus either teaching, healing, helping, performing miracles, blessing, feeding, challenging authority, and feeling compassion.

Chapters 11-16 – these final chapters declare the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ again another example of servanthood. He is betrayed, dragged through a faulty trial, and then unmercifully beaten, humiliated and crucified; all for the purpose of serving sinners.

The final chapter is the miraculous resurrection of His physical body, numerous appearances, and command of the Great Commission, and finally His ascension to the right hand of God.

Mark

Mark’s Gospel is the second book of the New Testament and is often called the Gospel of Mark or the book of Mark.

Mark was a Jew from Jerusalem. His full name was John Mark. His mother’s name was Mary and her house served as a meeting place for the first Christians (Acts 12:12).

Mark was a cousin to Barnabas (Col 4:10) and he accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5). Mark later went to Cypress with Barnabas, and later joined Paul again.

Through 1 Pet 5:13 it is suggested Mark and Peter were in Rome. Rome was referred to as “Babylon” by the early Christians.

Peter calls Mark “my son,” which shows the kind of relationship between Peter and Mark, and further suggests that the Gospel of Mark had its origin in Rome.

If the account of Papias (bishop of Hierapolis, 140 A.D.) and other early traditions are accepted, then the Gospel of Mark is based on Peter’s words, and written shortly after Peter’s death in about 64-65 A.D.

Mark’s book is fast-paced, starting with the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and ending with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Mark depicts Jesus as a Servant of God who came to do God’s will.

The miracles and healings and power show that Jesus was no ordinary servant, but was truly the Son of God (15:39), or in other words, God Himself in the flesh (Jn 1:14; 1 Tim 3:16).

Book of Matthew and Matthew, the Person


Summary of Matthew

The book of Matthew is a Gospel that contains Narrative History, Genealogy, Parables, Sermons, and some Prophetic Oracles.

It was written by Matthew (Levi), the Disciple of Christ around 48-50 A.D.

The key word in Matthew is “Kingdom” and is used 28 times.

The personalities of this book include the Messiah Jesus Christ, His parents Mary and Joseph, the Twelve Disciples, the prophet John the Baptist, and other kinds of leaders. These leaders include those in government like Pilate and religious leaders such as the Pharisees (who attempt to hinder the work of Jesus).

The book of Matthew is the first of the synoptic gospels and it was written to reveal the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews, from the line of David.

It also was written to convince the Jews that Jesus Christ was indeed their long-awaited Messiah.

Chapters 1-4 – in Matthew mainly deal with the miracle birth of Jesus and the events surrounding His early life. This primarily involves the commonly told Christmas story but also includes the genealogy of Jesus, which goes all the way back to Abraham.

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21).

Chapters 5-25 – consists of the ministry of Jesus from the interdiction of John the Baptist up to the point of His death at Calvary. These chapters are vital to our knowledge of Jesus Christ and are much of what we know about God living as a perfect man on Earth.

These passages include Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, numerous miracles, and priceless teachings to all who would listen and follow.

Chapters 26-28 – contains the death and resurrection of Jesus. These chapters present the truth of the “Good News” and about how Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself. This is the central theme of salvation through faith alone in the complete and finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross.

Salvation is possible only through His death, His burial, and His resurrection from the dead, all for the sake of sinners. Numerous and amazing Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled frequently in these final chapters.

Some of these are His betrayal for thirty pieces of silver by Judas, crucifixion with two robbers, and those wagging their heads at Jesus while He was yet on the cross.

Matthew

Matthew was a tax collector before he was called by Jesus to be an apostle (Matt 9:9).  Known formally as Levi, son of Alphaeus (Mk 2:14).

He wrote the first book of the New Testament.  It is sometimes called the Gospel of Matthew or the book of Matthew. He gives a detailed account of the ancestors of Jesus, and about His birth through the Virgin Mary, and about the beginning of His public ministry in Chapters 1-4. 

Matthew’s gospel includes a series of Jesus’ speeches, including:

Chapter 5-7 – the Sermon on the Mount.

Chapter 10 – the mission discourse.

Chapter 13 – the parables of the Kingdom.

Chapter 18 – the discourse on Christian living.

Chapter 23-25 – the final end time warnings.

Ten miracles by Jesus are recorded in Chapters 8 and 9.

Matthew’s work has been described as a textbook for Christian leaders.  It is Gospel to announce the good news, a presentation of the virgin birth, ministry of teaching and healing, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Book of Malachi and Malachi, the Person


Summary of Malachi

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament and is a book of Prophetic Oracle. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after the return from captivity in Babylon.

The prophet Malachi wrote it approximately 430 B.C.

Key personalities include Malachi and the priests. The purpose of this book is that Malachi wrote to ensure that the hearts of the Jews was right and that they were keeping God first in their lives.

Chapters 1-3 – Malachi identified the sins of the Jews, including their priests.

He prophesied that God would send a messenger to prepare the way (this is John the Baptist),

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” (Mal 3:1).

Finally, he addressed the topic of tithes and offering and that God is stolen from when people disobey it.

Chapter 4 – the last chapter of the Old Testament, Malachi addressed:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Mal 4:5).

He teaches about the coming judgment when God will set them ablaze in His holy anger. He also gives hope to the faithful with the Book of Remembrance. Those who do the will of God and are righteous will be spared.

Malachi, the last book of the Bible, ends very differently than it began in the book of Genesis. Let us compare them:

Gen 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This was a beautiful and perfect relationship with God.

Mal 4:6 – “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse”

Consider the large contrast between the very first verse and the very last verse. Afterward, consider that “the sin of mankind” made all the difference.

The Old Testament begins with the magnificent power of God’s creation and ends with fear and separation from God and in need of a Savior. The Old Testament closes with a sad dreary clunk.

Malachi

Malachi, which means “My messenger,” focuses largely on the corruption of the priests, the neglect of God’s Temple, and the personal sins of the people.

He was sent as a prophet sometime between 450 – 425 BC to Jerusalem at a time when the spiritual zeal of the people was at a low.

The Book of Malachi is the last book of the twelve Minor Prophets, and the last book in the Old Testament.

Malachi ends his book with a prophecy concerning the coming Messiah and his forerunner, John the Baptist (called Elijah).

In this way, the Old Testament ends looking toward what God would do in the New Testament.

The theme of his book is that the people had not learned the lessons that they should have learned from the Babylonian Captivity that had taken place shortly before the time of Malachi.

The people were sent into captivity as punishment for their sins, and now they were doing the same things all over again.

But Malachi finds hope in the coming Messiah who will make all things right because He comes with the power of God.

Book of Zechariah and Zechariah, the Person


The Summary of Zechariah

The book of Zechariah is Narrative History, Prophetic and Apocalyptic in genre. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after (post) the return from captivity (exile) in Babylon.

The prophet Zechariah wrote chapters 1-8 approximately 520-518 B.C. (Before the temple completed), and then wrote chapters 9-14 approximately 480 B.C. (After the temple is completed).

Zechariah is among the most precisely dated books in the Bible.

Key personalities are Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua.

The purpose of this book is that Zechariah wrote to encourage the remnant, who had recently returned from exile. Their faith in God was weak and they were not motivated to build the temple. They needed to learn and conform to the law of God again.

Chapters 1-8 – Zechariah recorded his visions, encouraged the people to reinstate the priesthood, and other religious laws that were forgotten during the 70-year exile.

Zechariah gives great hope and encouragement about the coming Messiah Jesus Christ, who will set up His throne and rule as the mighty Branch, the High Priest, who will offer up the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.

And speak unto him, saying Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

The prophets revenge tomb of Zechariah

Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both (6:12-13).

Chapters 9-14 – these are difficult passages to understand, many are prophetic and apocalyptic. Zechariah writes judgment against the neighboring enemies.

Most importantly he declared the first coming of the Messiah who would be mounted on a donkey (9:9), His betrayal (11:12), and His crucifixion (12:10).

Finally, he writes about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ descending from heaven the same way He had left in Acts 1:11, in the clouds.

And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (14:4).

Zechariah

Zechariah was a prophet from 520 B.C. to 518 B.C. in Jerusalem, about 2500 years ago.  During that era, many Jews were returning from the Babylonian Captivity to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.

Zechariah, the son of Iddo, was instrumental in inspiring his fellow Jews to rebuild the Temple (see Ezra 6:14).

Zechariah began prophesying during the same year as the prophet Haggai, in about 520 B.C.  Zechariah’s prophecies came from visions that showed God’s power, God’s judgment of sin, the importance of spiritual strength, and the promise of things to come, including the promise of the Messiah.

Zechariah’s prophecies often looked far into the future, a future in which the Jews would again be exiled from their homeland and scattered throughout the world.  His prophecies said that Jews would be persecuted worldwide, that Jerusalem would become a battleground of nations, and that Jerusalem would become the religious center of the world.

Today, we can see with our own eyes that Zechariah’s prophecies accurately described the worldwide dispersion of Jews that has taken place during the past 1900 years, as well as the fact that Jerusalem has become a focal point of the international community (the United States and Europe, and the United Nations) and a religious focal point among Jews, Christians and Moslems.

Zechariah, means “Yah has remembered.”  The Book of Zechariah is the 11th book of the twelve minor prophets.

Book of Haggai and Haggai, the Person


Summary of the Book of Haggai

The book of Haggai is Narrative History and Prophetic Oracle. The prophet Haggai wrote it approximately 520 B.C.

Haggai is among the most carefully and precisely dated books in the entire Bible. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after (post) the captivity (exile) in Babylon.

Key personalities are Haggai, Zerubbabel, and Joshua.

The purpose of this book was that Haggai was called by God to encourage the people to finish the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. The construction had ceased because of opposition and because the neighboring countries, and the Jews were frightened.

Chapter 1 – God called on Haggai to deliver His message. The Jews were living in their comfortable houses while the temple, the house of God, sat unfinished.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built (1:2).

The Jews began working 24 days after Haggai’s message.

Chapter 2 – Haggai motivated the Jews to continue building the temple, and that God will bless them.

According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not (2:5).

The building of the temple in Jerusalem was completed in 515 B.C.

Haggai

Haggai was sent by God to preach to the restored community of Jews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity had ended. He encouraged his fellow Jews to finish rebuilding the Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians in about 586 B.C.

Haggai’s messages were addressed to Zerubbabel the governor, and to Joshua the high priest.

He began to preach in 520 B.C. after the work to rebuild the Temple had ceased. The work began anew and the Temple was completed during the next four years (520 BC – 516 B.C.).

Haggai, along with the prophet Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua, played an important role in getting the Temple rebuilt. The rebuilt Temple (also known as the second Temple) lasted five centuries until it was rebuilt by Herod the Great in 20 B.C.

Before the Temple had been rebuilt, Haggai drew a link between Judah’s poverty and depressed state of affairs and the sinful indifference in regards to rebuilding the Temple.

Haggai means “a festival” and Book of Haggai is the tenth of the books of the twelve Minor Prophets.