The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of all the Gospels. It is sixteen chapters long. However, that does not mean that it covers fewer events or provides less information. Mark goes through each event very briefly; sort of like a condensed version of what is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Yet, at the same time it records things not recorded in Matthew and Luke. Many biblical scholars sense an urgency in the tone of Mark’s writings. Though Mark was not an apostle himself, it is believed that he worked directly with Peter.
The Gospel of Mark starts with John the Baptist and not the birth of Jesus. Jesus is introduced quickly in verse fifteen of Chapter One with John the Baptist being arrested in verse fourteen.
One of the primary concerns of Mark is the Kingdom of God coming to us. In Chapter One, verse fifteen, Jesus says, “This is the Time of Fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel”. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (2:28). In Chapter Three, verse eleven, even the demons say that Jesus is the “Son of God”, which implies that the Kingdom of God is present to humanity. In Chapter Four, verse eleven, Jesus explains why He speaks in parables. The Kingdom of God is being granted to the apostles, but the others get parables. The idea of the Kingdom of God and Jesus as the reigning King colors the message of the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus establishes His authority in the Gospel of Mark, but also reveals that He must suffer (8:31-38). He strangely brings together His authority and His suffering. Anybody who follows Jesus must be humble. Right after the second prediction of His suffering and death, Jesus talks about making one’s self the least. He follows up by comparing this to a little child who is embraced. “Whoever receives a child like this, receives Me” (Mk 9:37). His suffering becomes a commandment. At the third prediction of Jesus’ death and resurrection, James and John become prideful soon after. Jesus has to remind them again of the importance of humility (Mk 10:32-45). Jerusalem is His destiny to carry His cross, die, and rise from the dead.
The Gospel starts in Galilee and ends in Jerusalem. On His pilgrimage, He meets many whom He heals from illnesses and demons. Many of these people He brings with Him in His final destiny to carry the cross. It is a goal He has in mind as He heals and brings those very people on that same pilgrimage. In our pilgrimage of faith, we may be required to do a little suffering. If you notice, Jesus does not mention the suffering without the rising. It was true for Jesus, it will be true for you.