Reflections: St. Mark, Evangelist

April 25, 2024 

Today’s Reading: Mark 16:14-20

Daily Lectionary: Leviticus 17:1-16, Luke 10:23-42

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. (St. Mark 16:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Ouch. Rebuked by the risen Jesus. Scolded by the holiest of all (God-)men. They were used to Jesus doing this to the Scribes and the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, but His own disciples? It wasn’t unheard of, after all; He called St. Peter “Satan” and grilled Sts. James and John over wanting the seats of honor when Jesus came into his kingdom. That doesn’t mean these words didn’t sting, though.

St. Mark the Evangelist, also known as John Mark in the New Testament, wrote this gospel from the recollections of St. Peter (according to church history and tradition). He gets a bit of a pass, maybe, for not being in the room when Jesus spoke these words, but they certainly had an impact on him.

History and tradition say he went to Rome and recorded this Gospel from St. Peter’s memories, and then went on to found the Church in Alexandria, Egypt, where he was its first bishop and he ultimately suffered a martyr’s death. Before that, he accompanied St. Paul on his first missionary journey before traveling with Barnabas to Cyprus.

That’s quite a lot of traveling for a man who wasn’t in the inner circle of Jesus’ apostles. What it does make clear, though, is that St. Mark took to heart what Jesus said in that room about going into all the world and proclaiming the gospel. Through his work of writing this gospel and proclaiming Jesus, that same message of salvation and truth spread farther and farther from Jerusalem until it covered the globe.

Today, you are able to read this gospel at a moment’s notice. It’s just a few taps away on your phone, which I’m sure would be an absolute amazement to St. Mark! But this is the love that God the Father, the risen Christ, and the Holy Spirit have for their people. They make sure that the Word which brings salvation spreads to every ear that needs to hear, sits upon every tongue that needs to speak, and enlivens water, bread, and wine so that it pours out its saving work upon God’s children, wherever they may be. Thanks be to God for his mercy! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, You have enriched Your Church with the proclamation of the Gospel through the evangelist Mark. Grant that we may firmly believe these glad tidings and daily walk according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Commemoration of St. Mark, Evangelist)

– Pastor Duane Bamsch is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.