Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mark's Story: The Gospel According to Peter by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Mark's Story is the second book in Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins' (of Left Behind fame) Jesus Chronicles series. This book was a gift from my mother for Christmas (thanks, Mom!); I read it months ago, but only now have had a chance to blog about it. (Blame Serena for making me continue my "Read in 2007 Recap.") It begins with young John Mark and his mother opening their home to Jesus and His apostles, serving them the Passover meal we know as the Last Supper. Mark follows them to the Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prays just prior to His arrest. Mark has a great deal of respect for the apostle Peter, until he witnesses Peter deny his connections to Jesus, but their relationship is restored when Peter talks with Mark about seeking and receiving forgiveness from the Lord following His resurrection.

From there, Mark and Peter travel together to spread the word about Jesus and His teachings, and Mark eventually gets a chance to travel with Paul as well. Mark asks Peter to chronicle his time with Jesus, and he is in the center of the debate about whether Jesus' message is for Jews or Gentiles (non-Jews). What he learns from Peter and Paul becomes what we know as the Gospel of Mark.

The book goes on to show Mark and Peter continuing to spread the Word amid fierce persecution and the eventual executions of Peter, Paul, and Mark. It's impossible to say whether the events in the book are accurate, but LaHaye and Jenkins successfully put the Gospel into context.

Among the most moving of passages is Paul's speech before the Antiochan church, where he says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" (p. 178)

The book is not meant to be a substitute for reading the actual Gospel, as it is a fictionalized account of how the Gospel of Mark came to be, but it is entertaining to see personalities attributed to the apostles that are not apparent when reading the Bible. It helps to make the characters of the Scriptures come alive and to understand that they were human, made mistakes, and disagreed with one another.

Disclosure:  I received Mark's Story as a gift.


Serena said...

What an interesting book to review. I had no idea you were reading it. Sounds like the Left Behind folks are onto another winning series.

Dawn said...

Very interesting...I'll have to check this out. :)

Anna said...

The book was much better than I expected. I've read the actual gospel numerous times, and I was hoping it wasn't going to be another reiteration of it. But it wasn't. It was also a fairly quick read.