Not only does Mark give us these three verses that show the courage of our Lord Jesus but Mark is the only one who shows us Pilate’s personal secret and the resulting failure and the secret of the success of Joseph Luke 23:20 says that Pilate was “willing to release Jesus.” Pilate is recorded as saying five times, “I find no fault in Him.” Luke tells us that Pilate said unto them the third time, “Why, what evil hath He done?” This was before he scourged Him. Twice after he scourged Him, Pilate is recorded as saying, “I find no fault in Him” (John 19:4, 6). Mark 15:15 tells us why he did not release Him: “He was willing to content the people.” Eventually the wrong willingness prevailed. We, too, will fail in our service for God if we put the claims of the multitude before the claims of God.
Mark is the only gospel writer who emphasizes that it was an unusual act of courage when, “he (Joseph of Arimathaea) went in boldly unto Pilate and craved the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43). He (and Nicodemus too) stood to lose both position and wealth but they courageously risked it all to give Christ an honorable burial.
The Need of Love, Patience, and Compassion
Mark shines the brightest for this need. In five incidents recorded in each of the synoptic gospels, Mark has a little detail missed by the others that shows the love, patience, or compassion of our Lord Jesus. He alone tells us that our Lord Jesus took Peter’s mother-in-law by the hand and lifted her up (1:31). Each of the three gospels tell us about the leper cleansed at the beginning of His public ministry but only Mark records (1:41), “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him.” This compassionate touch probably meant more to the leper than can be explained in words.
Each of the synoptics tells us about Jairus’ 12-year-old girl, but only Mark tells us: “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.” Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell us of the mothers bringing the children to the Lord Jesus but only Mark tells us He took them up in His arms and blessed them (10:16). They all tell us of the rich young ruler but only Mark tells us, “Jesus beholding him, loved him” (10:21).
Mark is the only one who records three verses about His teaching. “And with many such parables spake He the word unto them, as they were able to hear it” (4:33). He did not give them too much or too little. Buttonholing a stranger and forcing them to listen to another half hour of the gospel after they have just listened to an hour of gospel preaching is giving the stranger too much.
Mark 6:34 records, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd and He began to teach them many things.” All the Savior’s solemn and searching preaching was based on His compassion. No wonder we read in 12:37, “And the common people heard Him gladly.” He was so patient and compassionate.
There are only two miracles unique to Mark and they both emphasize the touch of Christ: the deaf and dumb man of chapter 7 and the blind man of Bethsaida in 8:22-26. Hearing is put before speaking four times in 7:31-37. We must hear God speaking to us before we can speak to others. How fitting the praise bestowed upon our Lord Jesus, “He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak” (v37).
Mark, elsewhere, emphasizes the touch of Christ. We must get near to the people. We often have to win them to ourselves before we can win them to the Savior.
Charlie Bagnatto was born in Italy. Before he was saved he had a heated argument with his brother-in-law and they decided to settle it with a duel. In the duel he killed his brother-in-law. He was sent to the Sault Ste Marie Penitentiary.
On the first Wednesday in prison, a born again woman (a real soul winner who visited the prison) offered to bring him a Bible in Italian. He said, “No, I don’t need it.” Then she said, “Let me pray with you.” He said, “No, I don’t need God.” She said, “If ever you needed God, you need Him now.” She got him down on his knees and she poured out her heart to God in prayer for him. When he got up off his knees, he saw tears running down her cheeks. When he saw those tears he wanted her Savior so he told her to bring the Bible the next Wednesday, which she did. Her tears showed she had some of the love of our Lord Jesus for sinners.
The following Wednesday he had his trial and was sent to the Kingston Penitentiary for nine years, and there, Charlie read the Bible. What impressed him the most was Christ in Gethsemane and Christ on the cross. The verse that gave him most assurance was 1 John 1: 7. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
When he first said that he was saved, they didn’t believe him. Before, others in the penitentiary said they were saved, but soon, it was very evident there was no real change in them. However, with Charlie, after awhile they could see that there was a real change. For the rest of the time he was in prison, if there was any prisoner having trouble, they sent him to Charlie.
After his release he was in the Brock Avenue assembly in Toronto until the Lord took him home to heaven. He sometimes would give out hymn #6 in the Believers Hymn book:
Alas and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
Sometimes when reading the second verse he would become very emotional, choke up, and sit down.
Was it for crimes that I have done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
May the Lord help us to have some of the compassion of Christ.