John Mark was a companion of both Paul and Peter, and a cousin of Barnabas and the author of one of the four gospels.
Mark’s use of the Old Testament
The New Testament is our divinely inspired commentary on the Old Testament. When studying a passage, it’s often helpful to see how other biblical authors understood it. Here is Mark’s use of the Old Testament in his gospel.
18 Why have you forsaken me? Mark 15:22-41
After Jesus was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane, the soldiers led him to the high priest. Mark is very careful to point out that these two situations — the trial before the Sanhedrin and the denial of Peter — occur side by side. The contrast between these two situations gives us an illustration which is the answer to the question Jesus asks on the cross.
17 Couldn’t you stay awake? Mark 14:27-42
Probably one of the most difficult questions Christians are asked is: If God is sovereign, why bother to pray? Why pray, since it won’t change anything? This question gives a really good start on understanding it.
16 Why do you bother her? Mark 14:1-11
What’s the most expensive thing you own? Maybe it’s not the most expensive in terms of dollars, but maybe it’s something that’s impossible to replace? What would it take to make you part with it? That kind of costly, self-sacrificing love is at the theme of this question.
15 Whose likeness is on this coin? Mark 11:27-12:17
As we’ve seen, Jesus asks questions designed to help people understand themselves and God in a new way. The question “whose likeness is on this coin” often prompts a lecture on paying taxes and financial stewardship. But this passage is more about image and authority than money.
14 What do you want me to do for you? Mark 10:32-45
What do you want Jesus to do for you? Do you want him to make you great? Greatness is not demanding loyalty and service from others. Greatness is serving, to the point of giving your life.
13 Why do you call me good? Mark 10:17-31
This question comes from the well-known passage about the rich young ruler. The rich man wants to know what he can do to inherit eternal life. He learns that what he must do is impossible to do.
12 What did Moses command? Mark 10:2-12
The questions we’ll look at in the rest of our series will differ from the previous questions. These questions cover a wider range of topics and the questions focus more on what Jesus came to do and by extension what does it mean to follow him, rather than on who he is. The passage concerns divorce and marriage, and the question that Jesus asks is, “What did Moses command?”
11 Who do you say that I am? Mark 8:27-38
This question is the turning point of the story. So far in Mark’s gospel, the primary focus of Jesus’ teaching revealing his authority as the Son of Man and the Servant of God. Having established his identity, Jesus now prepares his disciples for what he came to do.