The gospel of Mark is a book of action. Many of the verbs are present participle, indicating continuing action: saying, going, teaching. The word “immediately” occurs in Mark 35 times (in the ESV), more than any other book, though Mark is the shortest of the four gospels.
In Warren Wiersbe’s short commentary, Be Diligent (Mark): Serving Others as You Walk with the Master Servant, he says:
Mark wrote for the Romans, and his theme is Jesus Christ the Servant. If we had to pick a “key verse” in this gospel, it would be Mark 10: 45—“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
The fact that Mark wrote with the Romans in mind helps us understand his style and approach. The emphasis in this gospel is on activity. Mark describes Jesus as He busily moves from place to place and meets the physical and spiritual needs of all kinds of people.
Mark does not record many of our Lord’s sermons because his emphasis is on what Jesus did rather than what Jesus said.
Mark was written by a man known elsewhere in Scripture as John Mark. He and his mother were among the early disciples. When Peter was supernaturally released from prison, he fled to the house of Mark and his mother, where a prayer meeting was held. Mark left early from a mission trip with Paul and Barnabas for unnamed reasons, causing Paul to decline taking Mark along the next time. But later on in 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul asks for Mark to come, “for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” So they must have reconciled. Peter calls Mark “my son” (1 Peter 5:13), indicating Peter was probably the one who led Mark to the Lord. Most of Mark’s material came from Peter.
A few more observations from Wiersbe:
Jesus placed a great deal of importance on the hearing of the Word of God. In one form or another, the word hear is used thirteen times in Mark 4: 1–34. Obviously, our Lord was speaking, not about physical hearing, but about hearing with spiritual discernment. To “hear” the Word of God means to understand it and obey it (see James 1: 22–25).
Faithful women were the last at the cross on Friday and the first at the tomb on Sunday. What a contrast to the disciples, who had boasted that they would die for Him! The church of Jesus Christ owes much to the sacrifice and devotion of believing women.
The world’s philosophy is that you are “great” if others are working for you, but Christ’s message is that greatness comes from our serving others.
Because Mark’s gospel was so jam-packed, it was a little hard to discuss in our church’s Bible study time. But the study of Mark was profitable, as were the insights offered by Wiersbe.