John Mark, also known as Mark, (and sometimes as John) is the author of The Gospel of Mark. He played an important, but little known, role in the early days of Christianity.

The Bible tells us that he was the son of Mary. His first name means “God is gracious” and  his second name is a tribute to the Jewish army that overthrew an occupying army in 161 BC. We know that he was a cousin to Barnabas and that he was wealthy.

 

While Jesus visited a town called Nain, with his disciples and a great crowd, he neared the town gate, a man who had died was being carried out. He was the only son of a widow, and there was a considerable crowd with her. She prostrated herself before Jesus and said to him, "Son of David, have mercy on me". Jesus then came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” He stretched forth and seized the hand of youth who sat up, looking upon Jesus, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And  Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he who owned much property.

 

Later it appears that the young man, John Mark, repented and sold all that he had, keeping only a sheet to cover himself.  And after six days he came to Jesus wearing the linen cloth over his naked body and he remained with him that night while Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. John Mark continued as a follower of Jesus. And, because of this, he was known as "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

 

John Mark sat next to Jesus at the Last Supper. Later, when they came to arrest Jesus, John Mark was also there. And the soldiers tried to arrest John Mark. But, when they grabbed him, he pulled out of his linen cloth, and fled from them naked.  After Jesus' entombment, John Mark was the young man in a white linen who told the women that Jesus had left and was on his way to Jerusalem.

 

Later he spent time travelling with Paul and Barnabas. The gospels tell us no more, but tradition says he went to Alexandria. Around 50 AD, John Mark wrote The Gospel of Mark, an historical narrative based on his own experiences.  The last chapter of the gospel, which speaks of events occuring after Jesus' death is missing, so we are not told what happened to Mark, though some traditions say he was the first  "pope" of the Church, ruling from Alexandria.

 

The two other major political groups in Christianity, the Antioch branch and the Roman branch, in the subsequent centuries  succeeded in almost totally destroying the true story of  John Mark.    The modern Coptic Catholic Church does not trace its authority back to Peter or John, but back to John Mark.