Mark’s Gospel – The Servant Savior in Action!


Pastor Rich Knight
October 15, 2023
Mark 5: 21-43

Introduction to Mark


The 1st Gospel to be written in the form we have them today.

Author: the traditional view is that Mark was a travelling companion of Peter and Paul, and that Mark’s Gospel records the teaching/sermon material of Peter. Peter calls him, “Mark, my son” (I Peter 5:13). Papias (2nd C.) said that Mark wrote down, “all that Peter recollected of what Christ had said or done.”

Perhaps written either right before Peter died (65 AD) or just after.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels. They present the same stories, often using the same language. Approximately 30 stories & teachings are found in all three.

Mark formed the foundation for Matthew & Luke.

More than 90% of Mark is found in Matthew.

More than 50% of Mark is found in Luke.

Gospels are a unique literary genre. They’re not traditional biographies because they only cover selected years of Jesus’ life, three to be exact (Mark doesn’t even include Christmas). And they spend about 1/3 of their content on just one week of his life, Holy Week. Of the four Gospels, Mark reads most like a story.

As you read Mark watch for the word “immediately” (some translations say, “at once” or “straightway”). It’s found 41 times in Mark’s Gospel!

Mark presents Jesus as the Servant Savior in Action!

Also, keep an eye out for peoples’ reactions to Jesus. They are frequently, “astonished,” “amazed,” and “in awe,”

Other features:

An honest view of the disciples being slow to understand.

Mark writes of Jesus’ range of emotions.

Jesus sighed deeply (7:34, 8:12); he was moved with compassion (6:34); he got angry (3:5, 8:33, 10:14); he was hungry ((11:12); and he got tired and needed rest (6:31).

Mark writes with vivid details, suggestive of an eyewitness account (Peter’s).

Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

At the Feeding of the 5000 the crowd sat down, in the green grass in groups of hundreds and fifties. While the storm was raging Jesus was in the boat, asleep on a cushion.

Mark often gives the Aramaic (Hebrew) words which Jesus used, even though Mark is writing for a Roman/Gentile audience.

To Jairus’s daughter, Talitha koum.  (“Little girl, get up!” 5:41).

To the man with the speech impediment he said, Ephphatha (“Be opened” 7:34).

In the Garden of Gethsemane he calls out, Abba  (“Father” 14:36).

On the Cross he cries out, Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” 15:34).

The Messianic Secret“Don’t tell anyone about this.”

Final chapter (16) is confusing.

Manuscript difficulties. The original ending seems to have been lost. Shorter and Longer endings are usually included in today’s Bibles. They are not found in the oldest manuscripts of Mark.



The current theory is that Mark’s Gospel was written first. Matthew & Luke apparently had Mark in front of them when they wrote their gospels because they incorporated much of Mark. Out of the 666 verses of Mark, 600 of them are found in Matthew, 350 are found in Luke. Matthew and Luke also used an “unknown source” called “Q” by scholars. It stands for the German word quelle, which means source. These 200 verses are found in almost identical form in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark. They contain some of Jesus’ most famous teachings – the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord’s Prayer, and many of the parables. Mark is arguably the most important book in the Western world, for two reasons. One is, he wrote the earliest detailed account of the life of Jesus Christ that has come down to us, and it greatly influenced the other gospels that followed. Mark pioneered the literary genre that we know today as gospel. And secondly, if the Gospel of Mark is indeed the record of what Peter preached and taught about Jesus, then “Mark is the nearest approach we will ever possess to an eyewitness account of the life of Jesus” (William Barclay).


Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him, and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue, named Jairus, came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians and had spent all that she had, and she was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Immediately her flow of blood stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my cloak?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

While he was still speaking, some people came from the synagogue leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the synagogue leader, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the synagogue leader’s house, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl stood up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this and told them to give her something to eat.


This sermon series is entitled, “One Good News, Four Distinct Views.”

We talked about the Gospel of Matthew, written for a 1st C. congregation of Jewish Christians. Matthew was out to demonstrate that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.
Matthew’s favorite phrase is, “This happened to fulfill what had been spoken by the prophet Isaiah.” In other words, “This happened just as our scriptures predicted,” and Jesus fulfilled it.

Mark on the other hand is not writing for a Jewish audience. He’s probably writing from Rome where Peter spent his last years. So his focus is not on Jewish Christians but rather on Gentile Christians, specifically Romans.

Mark doesn’t quote the prophets very often.
There are not a lot of OT references. (Matt. has 130 OT ref)
He doesn’t refer to Jesus as the King of the Jews as Matthew does.

But there is something unique about Mark’s gospel. He has a favorite word. Mark’s favorite word is: “Immediately.” ‘Right away” “Straightaway” Mark uses the immediately 42 times in 16 chapters. The rest of the New Testament seldom uses this word.

In Ch. 1 Marks says that after Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit drove him immediately into the wilderness.

When Jesus sees Peter, James and John, “Immediately he called them to follow him. And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

In the beginning of Ch. 5 Jesus gets out of the boat and immediately a man filled with demons comes up to him shouting.

In the part of the chapter that we just read a woman comes up and touches Jesus’ clothes and immediately she is healed.

And Mark says, “Immediately” Jesus was aware that his power had gone out from him.

Mark’s Gospel is filled with immediately’s! It’s very fast paced – Jesus bounces from one event to another.
In the section we just read, Jesus gets out of the boat after another trip on the sea & the crowd is pressing in on him. Then a leader of the synagogue comes up to him begging him to help his very ill daughter. In the middle of that encounter Jesus immediately feels his healing power go out from him and he has to speak to the woman he just healed.
And when he finishes speaking to her the man will the sick daughter is just told that his daughter died. So immediately Jesus has to go raise her from the dead.“’Little girl, get up.’ And immediately she got up.”

One of the things I like about Mark’s gospel is it rings true to me. It feels like real life to me on those days where life just gets overwhelming – the demands, the To-Do List, emails to return, texts, phone calls, people to contact, projects to manage. Fortunately, most of my days are not like that. But life can sometimes be filled with a lot of “immediately’s.” If that’s true for us some days, imagine how Jesus’ life must have been once people found out that he could perform miracles.

Immediately! Immediately! Immediately!

But why does Mark use this word so much in his Gospel?


  1. One reason is the gospels were originally written to be heard.

They’re Oral documents – written to be heard, to be read aloud (there was no printing press; they didn’t have pew bibles!). I mentioned that Mark got this material from the preaching of Peter – from Peter’s retelling of the life and teachings of Jesus. Peter spoke these stories before Mark wrote them down. And “Immediately” is a good word to use in an oral presentation. Maybe it was Peter’s favorite word? It arrests your attention. “And Immediately”

But there’s more to it than that.

2. “Immediately” is an action word. It’s alive!

I think Mark & Peter saw a very active, purposeful Jesus who was on a mission from God. He’s the Servant Savior in Action! “Immediately”

I think they’re subtly trying to tell us that action is at the heart of our faith. – “Immediately!”

One commentator put it this way: “Mark is a fast-moving book with a Savior who is constantly on the move preaching, healing, teaching driving out demons and ultimately going to the cross for our salvation.

James 2 says, “Faith without works is dead . . . I will show you my faith by my works.”  (James 2:18-19)

Mark shows us the Messiah by his works – preaching, teaching, healing, & coming against the works of evil. Even though Jesus is bouncing from one “Immediately” to another, he’s purposeful, intentional.  He knows his mission, and he lives with a sense of urgency to fulfill that mission.

Illustration. I may have told you about the young man who was new to Christianity.

He joined a nearby church and got hooked on reading the Gospels. He was captivated by what he read. One day he went to his pastor and said, “When do we get to do the stuff? You know, the Jesus’ stuff – Healing people. Feeding people. Casting out demons, teaching people, bringing them to God.”

The Pastor replied, “We don’t really do that stuff today. We study about the problems of the world. We talk about real life stuff. but the problems are big and beyond our resources. We let the government and others take care of things.”

That’s not good enough, is it?

We’re called to do the Jesus stuff . . . . . immediately!

The Gospels record what Jesus said and did. Marks emphasizes what Jesus did. And perhaps he’s telling us that what we do is ultimately more important than what we say.

You’ve probably heard the saying: People will usually believe what you say. But they’ll always believe what you do.

Let me close with this from Robin Meyers, a UCC pastor & author:

“Consider this remarkable fact: In the Sermon on the Mount, there is not a single word about what to believe, only words about what to do and how to be. By the time the Nicene Creed is written, only three centuries later, there is not a single word in it about what to do and how to be – only words about what to believe.”

I think Mark would say that’s upside-down.

Think about it. 



Benediction:  St. Francis of Assisi

 “Preach the Gospel every day. Use words if you must.”