The Story of John Mark

Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Where do you want us to make ready the Passover?” Jesus instructed them to go into a certain town where they would meet a servant carrying a water jug on his head; they were to follow him and say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says, ‘Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’”

We aren’t told the name of the master of the house or the servant, but there is something in the story of the Garden of Gethsemane (“now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body.” Mark 14:51) that makes me think the master of the house is the father of Mark, who told this story found in the gospel of Mark. Come with me as I recount a fictional account of this remarkable young man and his journey into the Kingdom of God.

“Is Jesus really going to celebrate the Passover in our guest room?” Mark bounced around excitedly.

“Yes, my son,” his father responded for the seventh time. “And you are not to disturb them with your antics. I know how curious you are about the Teacher, but I want you to leave the Man alone, do you understand me?”

“Yes, Father,” Mark answered in a subdued tone. How he longed to see for himself the Man who was on everyone’s minds. Mark had heard of the miracles Jesus had performed, feeding the crowd of over five thousand people with just a few loaves of bread and two fish, how He healed ten lepers at one time, and recently, how he raised Lazarus from the dead! He just had to find a way to see Him, but his father had put a stop to his plans before he even made them.

That night, Mark, with his family, celebrated the Passover, as did the rest of the Jewish nation wherever they lived. The Passover was a very somber celebration, reminding the Jews of that awful night in Egypt, where their ancestors were enslaved, when the destroying angel from God killed every firstborn in that land of the families who did not apply the blood of the Passover Lamb upon the door posts and lintels of their homes, a foreshadowing of the Lamb of God Who was to shed His blood to save His people.

Mark, though physically with his family and going through the rituals brought forth through the generations, was mentally upstairs, imagining what wonderful words the Teacher was telling His disciples. How he ached to be there, watching and listening to Jesus. However, being an obedient son, he did what his parents expected of him and went to bed as his parents instructed after the ceremony was over.

Lying in his bed, Mark strained to listen for sounds from the upstairs room to no avail. Suddenly he heard the sound of feet coming down the stairs. Quickly, Mark threw his linen sheet around his shoulders and crept to the window to take a peek. He saw shadows moving away from the house. “I just have to see Him,” Mark thought to himself. With a backward glance to assure himself that his family was sleeping, Mark silently let himself out of the house and followed the disappearing shadows at a distance. He came upon eight of the disciples lying just outside the Garden, but Jesus wasn’t there, so Mark crept quietly toward the Garden. Just inside the Garden, he found three more the disciples, but still no Jesus. Crouching low, he crawled under the scrub-like trees which bordered the innermost recesses of the Garden. Through the brush, Mark finally saw the Desire of his heart, but was puzzled to see Jesus crying and praying. “Why should Jesus be so sad?” Mark questioned himself. Mark watched as three times, Jesus uttered the same prayer, “Father, if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” Twice, he saw Jesus seek companionship from His three disciples only to find them asleep and stagger back to the Garden and fall upon the rock to say the same prayer over. The third time, Mark watched in amazement as an angel came and take Jesus into his arms and rest His head upon his breast, reassuring Him that He is loved and that His sacrifice will win the war between Good and Evil. Afraid, Mark bowed his face to the ground, sure he would be stricken down by an angry God.

When the bright light went away, Mark began watching Jesus again, more intently than before. What he saw next baffled him. There was the twelfth disciple leading a mob into the, until now, peaceful Garden. “I was wondering where he was,” Mark thought to himself. Judas walked up to Jesus, said, “Hail Master,” then kissed Him. Immediately, Mark watched in horror as the mob seized Jesus and bound His hands, but was puzzled as to why Jesus offered no resistance. Mark then witnessed the disciples of Jesus running about like crazed men, not knowing which way to run. He watched as Peter offered to fight for Jesus by cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Then, in complete awe, Mark witnessed Jesus calmly loose Himself from His bonds, gently touch the side of the servant’s head and restore his ear to its former position, as Peter ran away. Forgetting all else except for the miracle he just witnessed, Mark wandered a little too close to the mob and was grabbed by some of the young men. Leaving his sheet in their hands, Mark ran for home, not taking any care to enter quietly. He woke his father, his words running over themselves trying to get out of his mouth into his father’s ears.

Now I don’t know if Mark’s family were followers of Jesus, but Mark was. You can read about him in Acts (chapters 12-13) going on a mission trip with Paul and Barnabas and again later when Paul, while in prison, sends Mark’s wish to be remembered to those at Colossae, and yet again when Paul asks Timothy to “get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very helpful to me for the ministry.”

The Story of John Mark

Dottie Palmer

Hamilton, United States

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Artist's Description

A fictional Bible story for children

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