Our knowledge of Mark
Text: Mark 1; Acts 12
OUR KNOWLEDGE OF MARK
We are indebted to Luke for the information he recorded in The Book of Acts. Luke’s mention of Mark may have been brief, but the little he wrote about him gives us a fair idea as to who he was. It is always good and useful to have some information about a person, especially one who authored a Gospel.
FIRST CENTURY CHURCH
The Book of Acts described life as a Christian in the first century. Times were really hard for individual believers and the fledgling church. The apostles were particularly hunted by their enemies. The Sanhedrin Counsel, representing the highest religious court of Israel, actively resisted the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.
All too soon, political leaders like King Herod Agrippa I, also persecuted the Church. Agrippa’s reason for attacking Christians was straightforward. He sought to curry favour from the Jewish religious leaders.
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand
to harass some of the church.
Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded
further to seize Peter also…
So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison,
and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him,
intending to bring him before the people after Passover.”
1. Harassment of the Church
This came from two quarters. The Sanhedrin Council represented the religious section. King Herod Agrippa I represented the civil quarter.
2. Execution of leaders
A powerful and effective way of attacking the Church would be to kill off the leaders. Herod began with the execution of James, one of the original disciples of Jesus. He was one of the Twelve Apostles.
3. Arrest of Peter
Crafty and wily all the way, Herod Agrippa I noted that his pogrom against the Christians pleased the Jews. He thought that he would please the Jews even more if he focused his attack on the leading apostle Peter.
THE CHURCH IN PRAYER
The early Church was noted for its prayerfulness. Already it had faced such persecution (Cf. Acts 6-8), but their leaders had been spared in the past. As the church saw the gravity of the situation, they sought the Lord in even greater prayer effort.