Why Preach Through Mark?

I am preparing to preach through the Gospel of Mark at our church.  As I prepared the series, it is going to take 1 year to preach through this Gospel.  While there are 4 Gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – same story but told from different perspectives), I have chosen to preach through this one for a few different reasons.

  1. Greatest Example – To become disciple-makers, we need to study the life of the original disciple-maker.  Jesus is the greatest example.  As a church, we are committing this year (and beyond) to really unpack what it means to make disciples.  Mark’s fast-paced, action-packed narrative highlights Jesus’ call for people to follow Him.
  2. First Gospel – In my opinion, Mark was the first Gospel written.  Most scholars date Mark as the earliest, and it appears that Matthew and Luke got much of their information from Mark.  Some content between the 3 Synoptic Gospels are verbatim which meant that maybe some of the content was used from someone with a greater perspective (more on this in #4).  Since Matthew and Luke have extra details and additional teachings or events, it makes more sense that Matthew and Luke would have included extra information to their Gospels rather than Mark disregarding Matthew and Luke’s content.
  3. Immediate Expectation – Mark calls for immediate discipleship.  He uses the word “immediately” over 40 times in His Gospel.  Written to a Roman culture that was so action-oriented that their favorite entertainment was the violent coliseum, it would make sense that Mark would include nonstop action.  With it, he highlights Jesus’ demands to make certain abandonments to follow Jesus immediately.
  4. Eyewitness Material – Mark got his information from eye-witness Peter.  As a companion and possibly disciple of Peter, he includes certain content that only Peter, James, and John would have known about.  Oftentimes, Jesus would take those three on certain trips that the others didn’t go on which causes Mark’s content to originate from a unique perspective able to communicate some of the most intimate and pivotal moment of Jesus’ life.
  5. Common Context – He wrote to a fast-paced, religiously-confused culture that was escalating in its persecution of Christianity.  Rome was in great need of the gospel but they were far from it.  In our setting, we also live in a fast-paced, religiously-confused culture that is currently escalating in its persecution of Christianity.  With so many people with incorrect understanding of the message and ministry of Jesus, there is no better time to study it firsthand for ourselves.

As a pastor who is attempting to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), I wanted to let Mark be the first Gospel that I would preach from because I could use the other 3 Gospels to highlight sections that would serve as the additional content from Mark (e.g., Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Luke’s additional content, John’s theological presentations, etc.).

I cannot wait to begin!

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.