Luke or Mark? And why?

The canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke &...

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Now that we’re finishing study of our second gospel, which do we prefer, Mark or Luke? That was instructor Gene Giuliano’s question during our last class.
Of course, it’s not really a fair question. We wouldn’t have Luke if Mark hadn’t come first. But so much of what we consider basic to our faith springs from Luke and is not in Mark’s gospel.
Luke emphasizes boundless mercy and forgiveness. The sheer joy of Christianity. The power of prayer. Respect for women. The proper use of wealth. Lavish love for all those society shuns: sinners and outcasts.
“For behold I bring you good news of great joy.”
“There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Where would Christianity be without the parable of the prodigal son? Or other stories unique to Luke: Elizabeth and Zechariah. The shepherds at Bethlehem. The Good Samaritan. Martha and Mary. Zacchaeus. The ten lepers. The road to Emmaus.
Still, I have tremendous respect for Mark. He was the first to see the need for a “good news” narrative of Christ’s life. He wrote with such passion, urging people to shoulder Christ’s cross and persevere even unto death. Mark portrayed Jesus as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah—a new kind of Messiah.
His gospel’s abrupt ending serves as a clarion call through the ages: It is we who must carry out the commission of the women at the empty tomb. It is we who must “go and tell” the good news of salvation, conquering our fear.
Mark summons courage.

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One response to “Luke or Mark? And why?

  1. Thank you for these insights! You have given me a better perspective on both gospels.

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