Read John 5:19-24
Who was the Gospel writer, Mark? Luke tells us in the Acts of the Apostles that he was a young man whose given name was John, but went by the name Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37). Mary, his mother, may have been a Jew, and his father a Gentile, and it is obvious from the evidence in Acts that his family had some wealth. John was his Hebrew name and Mark his Gentile name. Some refer to him by both, John Mark. He was known to Peter, as is evidenced in Acts 12:12, and sometime later became his disciple.
After the resurrection of our Lord and following Paul’s conversion, Paul and Mark’s cousin, Barnabas (Col. 4:10), invited the young man to join them on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). But after a difficult encounter in Paphos, John Mark left Paul and Barnabas and returned home (Acts 13:13). This abandonment of the mission later came to haunt the young minister as we will see next Sunday.
But we can take great comfort and be filled with hope in reading Mark’s account of the Good News, because we know that he lived it. As the Gospel reading appointed for today reminds us, Jesus promises that “he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” We were all young once, both chronologically and spiritually. And we all have had to learn through experience. Mark learned. He made mistakes, and he has graciously revealed to us in his Gospel how Jesus came to redeem and restore him. And that is an encouraging message for us.
In the readings for this second week of Lent, Mark will show us examples of Jesus’ power and authority. This was Good News for Mark. It is Good News for all who call on the Name of Jesus and look to Him for deliverance from strife, peril, and enemies.