We are not sure who wrote the Gospel of Mark. Like the other New Testament gospels it has no signature. The evidence we have from the first generations of Christians is that the John who is also called Mark in the Bible was the author. He was not one of the original followers of Jesus or one of the most prominent converts, so if he did not write this gospel it would have been odd to suggest that he did.
Mark, according to the first reports about this gospel, was an interpreter for Peter, and after Peter’s death he wrote down what he had heard Peter preach. There are plenty of details in the gospel that sound like the stories came from someone who had been there, had seen what happened.
If Mark is the writer there is a remarkable lesson: people get second chances.
For you see, at one time Mark was considered to be unreliable, and someone who abandoned the work of Christ. He was the nephew of Barnabas, who, with Paul began the first trip to take the good news of Christ to other parts of the world. Mark and some others went with them, but along the way Mark bailed out. So, when Barnabas wanted to take Mark on the second trip, Paul refused to let him go. The disagreement between Barnabas and Paul was so great that they broke up the team and went their own ways. Acts 13:37-39
So, not only had Mark bailed on the gospel, but now he was the cause of the break-up of the greatest mission team ever. So much for his story, right?
Failure often becomes the end of the story for a lot of people. Sometimes failure can set a negative direction that a person will never escape.
But, not this time.
We don’t know how it happened, but Mark and Paul were reconciled. Mark was later with Paul in Rome and Paul described him as someone helpful to his ministry. 2 Timothy 4;11 Later, Mark is with Peter who describes him as “my son.” 1 Peter 5:13
Not bad for a failure. And if he wrote the gospel of Mark, imagine that. His is the first written record that we have of the life of Jesus.
Failure should shape us, not define us. God’s purpose will always trump failure.
Have you ever seen that happen?