Apostle Mark known for clarityFounder of the Church of Alexandria learned from Barnabas and the Apostle Paul

The Apostle Mark, also known as Mark the Evangelist, was a passionate man whose message was powerful enough to establish the first Christian church in Africa.
Historians believe the author of the Gospel of Mark went to Alexandria, Egypt, in 49 A.D. and was martyred there 19 years later.
His Church of Alexandria is considered the origin of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Coptic Catholic Church. The College Saint Marc there is named for him.
The Revs. Larry Hood, Hector Aguilar and Andy Hill agree that Mark based his book on the recollections of the Apostle Peter.
“He was a man of integrity who was very passionate in the way he wrote about Jesus,” said the Rev. Hood, pastor of St. Andrew Cumberland Presbyterian Church. “He just tells the story and tells it with integrity and leaves it up to the reader to decide, is this true or not?
“The whole book leads up to the death of Christ. The other Gospel writers use Mark as a main source, but Mark is much different from Luke, a doctor whose book is much more detailed.”
Hood said scholars believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all drew from a record of Jesus’s words called the Q Document or Q Source, the “Q” being from the German “quelle” or “source.”
“They all wrote from their own experiences and from different perspectives, which is fine,” Hood said. “Mark just seems very succinct and to the point. He writes about Jesus’s ministry and compassion, the person more than the miracles.
“To have people come and be part of his church in Alexandria, Mark had to be delivering real substance because people then were more used to hearing, ‘Eat, drink and be merry, have fun and focus on emotions.’ He could challenge and intrigue people who were very skeptical by presenting the Gospel.”
Hood said the early church “thrived through difficulty.
“I pray that I can have the same kind of passion and faithfulness, to be as grounded and faithful as they were then,” he said. “Out of our faith come hope and peace and joy and love.”
The Rev. Aguilar, pastor of Jesus Connection Church, said Mark “was not one of the popular apostles.
“We hear a lot more about Matthew, Luke and John,” he said. “Mark’s book is short, but he played a major part in going out and spreading the Gospel to the Gentile world after Jesus left the earth.
“Except for John, all the apostles were martyred.”
Aguilar said the Church of Alexandria “was one of the most important church plants in early Christianity” because the Mediterranean Sea port, established in 331 B.C. by Alexander the Great, was an economic, intellectual and cultural center famous for the library that still exists as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Noting that the Apostle Paul had rejected Mark when the young man refused to continue a mission, Aguilar said, “Also known as John Mark, he became very ardent later and helped Paul a lot.
“He was a cousin of Barnabas who had gone with Barnabas to the Council of Jerusalem (where Barnabas gained Paul’s acceptance).”
Aguilar said Mark’s Gospel is similar to Matthew’s in that both books “have a Revelation-type of message.
“I don’t hear much preaching from Mark,” he said. “I think he must have been pretty quiet. His book is centered more on the name of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.”
The Rev. Hill said Mark “in the beginning was kind of immature, but we see him come into his own, become strong in his faith and do a lot of amazing things.
“When I think of Mark I think of a journey, going from being somebody who was not as strong as he should have been to finding his identity in Christ,” the West Texas Cowboy Church pastor said.
“It was a process of growing and maturing.”
Hill said Mark took Jesus’s “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19-20 “not just to lead people to faith in Christ but to disciple and teach them all the things that Christ has taught us.
“We see the reality of God’s working and moving in Mark’s life to bring him to his full identity in Christ,” Hill said.
Asked his view of the legend that pagans killed Mark by putting a rope around his neck and dragging him, he said, “There is a lot of speculation from sources outside the Bible about what happened with some of the apostles, but how they lived is much more important than how they died.
“Mark’s Gospel is kind of like the old TV show ‘Dragnet’ with ‘just the facts, ma’am.’ He gets to the point and speaks with the simplicity and clarity that is the power of the Gospel.”