Reformation Heritage Bible Commentary: Mark
Authored by Dr. Daniel Paavola
The shortest of the Gospels is an action-packed, urgent book. After a single verse of introduction, Mark takes us to the Jordan River where Jesus quickly comes to be baptized. Leaving the story of Jesus’ birth and childhood to other evangelists, Mark launches us into the ministry of Jesus, the Son of God. This short Gospel concludes nearly as quickly as it begins. Our Lord’s resurrection is proclaimed at the empty tomb. The Church is told where He will meet them, but most of the details and the story of the Church’s response and growth are left for others to tell. It is a story of action that paints a clear and compelling portrait of Jesus. Mark repeatedly tells us of things that happen “immediately” and drives us forward with urgency and anticipation for what Jesus will do and say.
We see Jesus reaching out with boldness and compassion to Jews and Gentiles, to the mighty and the lowly, in large groups and in quiet anonymity. Jesus graciously comes to people and addresses their many needs, and He is clearly revealed as the Christ. Mark introduces his book as “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1). That identity becomes so clear that, at the cross, a Roman centurion concludes, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (15:39). The angel at the empty tomb proclaims that Christ, the Son of God is risen, and just as He promised, His people will see Him. God grant us the immediacy of this Gospel, that we attend to Jesus and serve those He places in our lives through witness and acts of merciful service.
The Reformation of the church brought with it biblical insights that revitalized churches and radically changed the course of theological studies as giants like Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, Chemnitz, and Wesley commented extensively on Holy Scripture. The new Reformation Heritage Bible Commentary is a one-stop-resource where the observations of these and other distinguished Reformation leaders are brought together around specific books of the New Testament.
-Rev. Dr. R. Reed Lessing
Professor of Exegetical Theology and Director of the Graduate School
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO