Text: Mark 1
"She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son." 1 Peter 5:13
UNDER THE WINGS OF THE APOSTLE PETER
Just as the apostle Paul could write about Timothy and Titus as his spiritual sons, so Peter wrote about Mark as his son. What does “sonship” signify? Let us consider the following thoughts.
1. A Teacher-Pupil relationship
This is not an uncommon idea. A teacher’s prerogative is to address his pupils as his children. This was practised by the Lord Jesus Himself.
“Then Jesus said to them,
‘Children, have you any food?'”
This concept was practised by the wisdom teachers from ancient times. A number of passages in the Book of Proverbs begin with this phrase,
“My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands.”
“Hear my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding.”
2. A spiritual father-son relationship
Peter was well-known to the family of John Mark. It is very likely that he was a close family friend of Mark’s mother Mary (Cf. Acts 12:12-13). It is not inconceivable that Peter possessed an avuncular affection towards Mark initially. As Mark drew closer to Peter in ministry, he became like a spiritual son to him.
3. A relationship of great honour
With a publicly acknowledged relationship comes great honour. Mark had redeemed himself and more. He may have failed before, but he had since recovered. Peter himself would have understood what it meant to have failed miserably. He had denied the Lord Jesus under duress. Peter would have easily related to Mark on that score.
AUTHORITY BEHIND MARK’S GOSPEL
What made Mark qualified to write a Gospel of the life of Christ? He was not an original disciple. He was not given the title “apostle” at any time.
It would appear that his authority would come from none other than the apostle Peter himself. Some scholars have even suggested that the perspective of Gospel of Mark was essentially that of Peter’s.
Many New Testament scholars agree that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome and that this work was under Peter’s supervision. Justin Martyr, who lived in the second century recorded that Mark wrote down Peter’s recollection of events in the life of Jesus.