The Apostle Peter states in his first letter that Mark is his son.
Saint Mark the Chosen Son
Saint Mark wrote his version of the Gospel based on Saint Peter's spoken testimony. Peter the disciple of Jesus did not write a version of the Gospel, but he is the author of two epistles, both of which are in the New Testament. They were written during the first century, and the first of these epistles mentions Mark. Owing to this biblical Script, it is certain that Saint Mark the Evangelist is the chosen son of Peter the Apostle.
The Man From Galilee Who Became the Stone Foundation
Simon the fisherman lived in Galilee and was dedicated to his daily work when Jesus chose him along with eleven other disciples. He spoke Aramaic, as did all the disciples of Jesus, and with them he followed Jesus everywhere. On one occasion Jesus spoke to Simon and gave him the name Rock, in the spiritual sense of stone.
The Greek translation for stone is Petros, and from the Greek comes the name Peter. It has the spiritual meaning of foundation. On giving Peter the name Rock, Jesus declared that he would build his Church upon this foundation and give him the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.
Peter's Successor: the Keys Contested
Around the sixth century AD a book appeared in Rome with the title liber pontificalis, meaning the book of popes. The exact date of its first publication is unknown, but it has remained until this day the book through which the Vatican claims that papal authority dates back to Saint Peter. According to the liber pontificalis, Peter’s apostolic authority passed at the time of his death to a certain Linus, who is described as Peter’s successor and second in line of the popes.
The liber pontificalis does not recognise any of the biblical apostles – including the four Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – as a successor to Saint Peter. Saint Peter’s two epistles, on the other hand, give an account of their own. Peter does not mention Linus in either of them, but in the first letter names only two men as being with him: Silvas, who helped him to write the first letter, and Mark, who Peter calls his son.
Peter’s Two Epistles Prior to the Written Gospel
In the period when Peter sent his two letters to the Church communities to whom they were addressed, the Gospel had still not been written. Peter mentions Paul’s letters, yet he does not allude to a written version of the Gospel, and so it can be reasonably assumed that the four Evangelists began their written work after Peter’s two letters were made known to the faithful.
The first three gospels, those of Matthew, Mark and Luke, are known as synoptic, for they present a correlation in the description of events that took place when Jesus preached the Gospel in Galilee and Judea. It is universally accepted that one of these books formed the basis for the other two that followed.
The first synoptic gospel is traditionally considered to be Matthew’s, followed by those of Mark and Luke, but biblical research has later concluded that the first of the three synoptic gospels is that of Mark. His gospel is by far the shortest, and it is no doubt the original script which Matthew and Luke each later included in their respective presentation and built upon by presenting further information.
From the Apostle Peter’s Second Letter to the Gospel of Saint Mark
In his second letter, Peter informs the faithful that he will do his best to provide a way for them to remember the good message of Salvation. In so doing he makes known his intention concerning the future of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it would later become evident that Peter was alluding to a written Gospel.
As no further epistle from Peter appears after this, it is clear that a successor would continue the apostolic work and provide a way for the Church to remember the promise of Salvation in Jesus. The successor would accomplish this by presenting a written book in which the works and words of Jesus are recorded for all generations.
Peter had named Mark in his first letter, and although he did not use the word successor, he wrote of him as his son. The term son is used here to indicate his favourite disciple. The Apostle Paul used the expression my dear son in his two letters to Timothy with the same meaning of favoured disciple.
Saint Mark was not among the original twelve disciples, but he wrote his gospel according to the spoken testimony of Peter the Apostle. His work as Evangelist is the continuation of Peter’s apostolic mission, and so Mark son of Peter can be rightfully considered Peter’s successor.
The Gospel of Mark later became the basis for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In this way, the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus had conferred upon Simon Peter were transferred – by way of the three synoptic Evangelists – into the written New Testament, to which the Evangelist John later added his gospel.
- gospel according to Matthew
- first and second letter from Peter
- first and second letter to Timothy
Written by D. Alexander
Read also: Saint Mark the Evangelist. The great controversy between the Church of St. Peter and Rome.
Who was Saint Peter's Successor? Is he a pope or an Apostle?
Saint Peter's Primacy from Zion: Do you know that Zion is the Mount where Jesus Christ is the eternal High Priest?
Saint Peter's Successor: Was pope Linus an Apostle or an Evangelist? Or neither? Can he be greater than St. Mark Evangelist who the Apostle Peter called his son?
The First Written Translation of the Gospel: read about the Evangelists who wrote the Gospel that Jesus taught.