1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;Next Verse 2
The Gospel According to Mark (Greek: to kata Markon euangelion), the second book of the New Testament, is one of the four canonical gospels and the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter 16, any post-resurrection appearances. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. Jesus is also the Son of God, but he keeps his identity secret, concealing it in parables so that even the disciples fail to understand. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant. The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the resurrection.
The Gospel of Mark is anonymous. Early Christian tradition ascribes it to John Mark, a companion and interpreter of the apostle Peter. Hence its author is often called Mark, even though most modern scholars are doubtful of the Markan tradition and instead regard the author as unknown. It was probably written c.AD 66–70, during Nero's persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt, as suggested by internal references to war in Judea and to persecution. The author used a variety of pre-existing sources, such as conflict stories (Mark 2:1–3:6), apocalyptic discourse (4:1–35), and collections of sayings (although not the Gospel of Thomas and probably not the Q source).
Christianity began within Judaism, with a Christian "church" (from a Greek word meaning "assembly") that arose either within Jesus' own lifetime or shortly after his death, when some of his followers claimed to have witnessed him risen from the dead. From the outset, Christians depended heavily on Jewish literature, supporting their convictions through the Jewish scriptures. Those convictions involved a nucleus of key concepts: the messiah, the son of God and the son of man, the Day of the Lord, the kingdom of God. Uniting these ideas was the common thread of apocalyptic expectation: Both Jews and Christians believed that the end of history was at hand, that God would very soon come to punish their enemies and establish his own rule, and that they were at the centre of his plans. Christians read the Jewish scripture as a figure or type of Jesus Christ, so that the goal of Christian literature became an experience of the living Christ. The new movement spread around the eastern Mediterranean and to Rome and further west, and assumed a distinct identity, although the groups within it remained extremely diverse.
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love's sake. Amen.