The book of Mark is a Gospel that contains Narrative History, Sermons, Parables, and some Prophetic Oracles. This Gospel has somewhat of an emphasis on miracles (27 total) which is significantly more than any of the other Gospels. The keyword 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. • In 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. • In chapters 2-10, Jesus selects His Disciples, “And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him, and that He could send them out 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 (8:2). • Chapters 11-16 are the final chapters that 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.
The book of Jude is a General Epistle (Apostolic Letter). The author is Jude the brother of James, both of who are half-brothers of Jesus Christ. Jude wrote it circa 75 A.D. The purpose of this book is to address false teachings and to illustrate a contrast between the error of heresy and the truth of Jesus Christ. Jude consists of only one chapter. • In verses 1- 16, Jude identifies himself and quickly delves into the dilemma of false teachings. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed” (vs. 4), heresy was obviously seeping into the region, disturbing the churches, and deceiving believers. He begins by illustrating similarities between false teachers and condemned individuals from the Old Testament citing Cain, Balaam, and Korah. • Verses 17-25, Jude urges Christians to “remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 17). He was referring to all of the apostles and disciples in the past, which had warned about false teachers and prophets that were coming to deceive. His advice is to focus on Jesus Christ and to watch out for each other so that no one is misled into error. Those who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ are secure in salvation, not by their own good deeds, because no one is good enough to do that, but believers are secure by the vicarious work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is only by, “Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (vs. 24-25).