Gospel of Mark from SSATFA #5: PeaceMaking.

6.  Peacemaking.

In this age of the Falling Away, just before the Second Coming of Christ and as a precursor to the Second Coming of Christ, the meaning of “Blessed are the peacemakers…” has been stolen like the real meaning even of Christian and of so many other words in the Bible. The world, Satan, and teachers of “itching ears” {II Timothy 4:4}, with skillful exercise of the techniques of “isogesis” {the reading of meaning into the Bible as contrasted to “exegesis” which is the faithful reading out of the original meaning}, use the word in an “of this world” sense to apply to any politician who seeks to promote peace in the nations of the world, independent of any faith in Christ.

Peace and real peacemaking are only with Christ as the mediator according to the Word of God in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. This applies to peace between man and man and to peace between God and men. Christ must be at the center of peacemaking efforts between man and man and between God and man.

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:14-18)

If we are to truly extend the influence of Christ, the true Biblical employment of a peacemaker, then Christ must be personally involved, and the extensive “how” of this issue is the story of this book. John Mark, the author on the human side of the Gospel of Mark, extended the influence of Christ when under the inspiration of the Spirit of God when he wrote about the life and teachings of Christ. Of course, above all Mark extended the influence of Christ in faithful recordings about the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. It is the death of Christ, with faith in that death as a substitute atonement for our sins, that provides salvation for the world, and for us in particular; it is the resurrection of Christ which provides an example of life after death and provides the foundation for the hope {reasonable expectation} of eternal salvation; and it is the Ascension to the right hand of God the Father which provides both assurance of the forgiveness of sins {“He ever lives to make intercession for our sins”} and more assurance of eternal life as He promised that in the future we would be where He is.

“Young John Mark did all that!” one might say. Well, yes, and so did Matthew, and Dr. Luke, and the Apostle John. So also did the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans, sometimes called “The Gospel according to Paul”. {I would remind you that “Gospel” always assumes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, although not always expressed in the Bible as such; and in such cases where the reference is to “the gospel of the kingdom”, it is decidedly the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. {Some things belong more to Jesus than to God like the kingdom, the only real Church, the Assembly of the Firstborn written in heaven, and the Judgeship to separate the living from the dead, and general Lordship; but they have been ordained to Jesus Christ by God, and will be turned over to God at the end. First, all things are placed at the feet of Jesus, subject to Him; and then all things will be delivered to God the Father, in order that all glory will belong to God.}

However, there are in the nature of inspiration and the whole history of the writing of the 66 books of the Bible, unique characteristics of the personality of John Mark and in the research and development of the Gospel of Mark. {See F.F. Bruce on THE BOOKS AND THE PARCHMENTS.} For one thing John Mark, unlike most of the New Testament writers, was not an Apostle. He was an eyewitness of much of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. Most conservative Bible commentators agree that it was John Mark, with an unnamed reference to himself in the tradition of the Apostle John doing the same in the Gospel of John as the writer, who as a young man about twelve years of age fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane when the arrestors of Jesus grabbed the scant clothing that he hastily threw on the way to following Jesus and the Apostles to the Garden.

It is very possible that the Last Supper just before the evening excursion in the Garden was held at the home of John Mark’s mother.  John Mark’s mother was the sister of Barnabas, the famous missionary with the Apostle Paul, and one sometimes called an apostle in the book of Acts; although not the twelfth apostle selected by the other Apostles after Judas fell by transgression. There is a lot of evidence of human personality in Acts: Barnabas had pre-eminence in the first church as he sought out and promoted the new convert Saul, then Barnabas and Saul brought John Mark back from Jerusalem to Antioch with them {Acts 12:25} and then took him on the first missionary journey, but Mark deserted the mission at Pamphylia, “not going to the work” as we read in Acts 15:28; and then on the second missionary journey when Paul objected to taking Mark, there is a personality conflict between Paul and Barnabas, Barnabas taking John Mark with him, Paul taking Silas. The record does not tell us more than “the contention was sharp between Paul and Silas.”

We can only speculate as to why John Mark turned back at Pamphylia. It was important to Paul, but Barnabas either wanted to give John Mark another chance or Barnabas consider insignificant the desertion at Pamphylia. Do you look for the problem at Perga in Pamphylia {Acts 13:13}? Did John Mark simply return to Jerusalem because he was homesick, or did he wish to confer with Simon Peter, who in his epistle calls him “my son”? Whatever, Paul took it seriously as an indication of John Mark’s lack of dedication; but we also know that when later in prison in Rome, Paul asked for John Mark saying that he was “profitable to me for the ministry”. Paul did give John Mark another chance; and I think, from speculations based on the internal evidence of various scriptures, that it was a chance equal to almost the one given by Paul to Dr. Luke. There is much evidence that Paul was chosen to be the Chief Editor of the New Testament—that was his prime ministry and the one he had in mind when he noted John Mark as profitable to that end—so when Paul requested Timothy to come before winter, bringing the books and parchments with him, two of those manuscripts were for Dr. Luke to write Luke and Acts, and one of the manuscripts was for John Mark to use in the writing of the Gospel of Mark.

You can tell that John Mark made a marvelous recovery in the eyes of the Apostle Paul, likewise in the esteem of the Church of First Century Christianity. Above all, and what is most important, John Mark proved a person interest in extending the influence of the life and teachings of Jesus; He showed extremely strong convictions on Jesus; He illustrated his willingness to be used by the Spirit of God in the writing of the shortest of the four Gospels. This personal recovery by John Mark, the opposite of the challenge of our generation of the Falling Away, is a co-emphasis  ASPI with the influence of Christ in this presentation. Is it as dramatic as what happened in the life of Demas, personified when Paul wrote, “Demas hath forsaken me having loved this present world? I don’t know, but it seems very similar. We hope that Demas also had a marvelous recovery in being rescued from his love of this present world, no doubt a similar experience to what happened to John Mark; but even more importantly in all these cases and others in the Bible, we can see hope for rescue of victims of the Falling Away.

You know, loving “this present world” does not sound so serious, but it really is. Many might say, “well, they are young…wait until they grow up”; and indeed it no doubt worked in the case of John Mark, but perhaps not in the case of Demas, certainly not in the case of all of the children of Israel in the wilderness except for Caleb and Joshua. Love of this present world will not mix with the love of God.

Mammon is the things of this world which man himself has created, and the Bible represents the bread God has given man, every word of which proceeds out of the mouth of God. Christ is the teachings that He received from God and delivered in the Sermon on the Mount, by the way recorded in Mark as well as the other Gospels, in there Christ demands, and God demands, that a definite choice for priority be made for God and God’s righteousness over the mammon of man.

It is not an either/or as to whether mammon and bread of life will both exist in human life: it is a matter of which will have the priority—mammon of God—to the extent of servitude. Christ is talking about motivation. What is your primary motivation? To seek the mammon of men like a house, and land, and degrees, and career, and position, and even wealth or pleasure? Or to diligently seek after the Bible and the words of the Bible as every word that proceeds out of mouth of God, and to seek first after the kingdom of God and after God’s righteousness?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.