We’ve called our current message series on the Gospel of Mark “The Rest of the Story.” That might seem like a strange title, but there’s a very good reason for it:
The Gospel of Mark was most likely the first of the four Gospels to be written and it was written to a Roman audience who already knew all about the death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, the resurrection of Christ was the heart and soul of the “good news” that early Christians were spreading far and wide in the early part of the 1st century A.D. But what the Roman audience didn’t know so much about was the story of how Jesus came to be crucified in the first place. So while they knew all about the Resurrection, they didn’t know as much about the events that led up to it.
In some sense, the Gospel of Mark is “the rest of the story” because it fills in the details of everything that led up to that one moment when everything changed, that moment when Jesus rose from the dead three days after having died for our sins.
In my opinion, understanding this about the Gospel of Mark helps to explain one surprising feature of the book: the lack of a detailed account of the Resurrection of Jesus. It has often been noted that Mark’s Gospel gives only the briefest statement about the Resurrection, but when we remember that Mark was writing to an audience that was already very familiar with the Resurrection story, this makes sense. Mark was catching them up on the part that they didn’t know!