During coffee this morning, I got to wondering about the Gospel of Mark. When I read the Gospels as a Christian, I would start with the first book, Matthew, then work my way through Mark, Luke and then John. After reading Matthew’s 28 chapters, Mark seemed like a short read with only 16. Mark had always sounded like Matthew but just a shorter version.
There’s something very interesting about the Gospels, though. The order of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – is not in chronological order. Mark was actually the first Gospel written around A.D. 80. Matthew came next about a decade later, followed by Luke about another decade later. John was the last Gospel to be written.
Oh, and you may be surprised to know that Paul’s undisputed letters were written in the A.D. 50’s (about 20 years after Jesus’ death), much earlier than any of the Gospels. Now, if we reorganized the New Testament it would look something like this: Paul’s seven undisputed letters, Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, the other epistles and Revelation.
What’s even more interesting is that Matthew and Luke used Mark’s Gospel as a reference and copied much of what Mark wrote. For example, Matthew contains 90% of what Mark wrote, a lot of it word-for-word. He modified Mark’s writing and added information from other sources.
So, think about this. The Gospel of Mark has no birth narrative. Mark also does not have a resurrection narrative (except for something that was added decades later). That means, the group of Christians who followed Mark’s Gospel had no reason to celebrate Christmas or Easter. Ha! Just a thought on a hazy morning.
Time for more coffee! Yeah!