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Devotion for the Feast of St. Mark

Today we remember St. Mark, author of the second Gospel in the Bible. Mark was not actually one of Jesus’ apostles; he wrote his Gospel based on what he learned from apostles like Peter. Our devotional reading comes from Introduction to the Books of the Bible.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 52:7–10
Psalm 146
2 Timothy 4:5–18
Mark 16:14–20

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

St. Mark, who wrote our second Gospel, was not an apostle, but the companion of apostles, of Peter and Paul. From Colossians 4:10–11, we learn that he was a Jew by birth. His Jewish name was John; his Roman name was Mark. His mother, Mary, was a distinguished member of the church at Jerusalem; at her house the disciples were wont to come together. Here many were gathered together praying for Peter in prison, and thither he betook himself when he was delivered out of prison.

Mark was a cousin of Barnabas. He was probably converted by Peter, as may be inferred from the fact that Peter calls him “my son.” He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey as their “minister” (attendant, assistant). But for some reason he left them at Perga, in Pamphylia, and returned to Jerusalem, much to the dissatisfaction of Paul. Several years later, when Barnabas determined to take Mark with himself and Paul on their second missionary journey, Paul objected, pointing to the fact that Mark had left them the first time. The result was that Paul and Barnabas parted company, Barnabas taking Mark with him to Cyprus, and Paul choosing Silas.

At a later period, however, we find Mark again associated with Paul, both during his first and his second imprisonment in Rome. In his first imprisonment, the apostle refers to him as one of his “fellow workers unto the kingdom of God,” who had been a “comfort” to him (Colossians 4:10–11; Philemon 24). Still later, in his second imprisonment, we find Paul requesting Timothy to bring Mark with him, because “he is useful to me for ministering” (2 Timothy 4:11). Mark also accompanied St. Peter, as we learn from 1 Peter 5:13. From this apostle, he evidently received the particular information which his Gospel alone gives us regarding him.

According to tradition, Mark was the founder of the church at Alexandria, in Egypt.

Devotional reading is adapted from Introduction to the Books of the Bible, pages 131–32 © 1929 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

For Mark, O Lord, we praise You,
   The weak by grace made strong,
Whose labors and whose Gospel
   Enrich our triumph song.
May we, in all our weakness,
   Reflect Your servant life
And follow in Your footsteps,
   Enduring cross and strife.

Hymn text is LSB 518:15.

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