However, as the earliest gospel, Mark gives us a glimpse into the the life and witness of the church in its formative stage of development. Whereas Matthew gives us a portrait of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, the New Moses who has come to liberate God's people from the bondage of sin, Mark portrays Jesus in much more human terms. Jesus is portrayed as the "Suffering Servant," the one who has come to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. The passion narrative describing the suffering and death of Jesus consumes a large percentage of Mark's gospel.
The other major theme of Mark's gospel is that of discipleship. Just as Jesus came to serve, the true disciple is one who gives his life in the service of others. More than the other gospels, the gospel of Mark emphasizes that the fullness of the kingdom of God is yet to come. Consequently, as Jesus' followers, we are called to faithfulness and perseverance during this "in between time," the time between the resurrection of Jesus and the consumation of the kingdom of God.
In the history of biblical interpretation, the gospel of Mark has often been overlooked and looked down upon as simplistic and crude in its literary style. However, upon further examination and reflection, we find that Mark gives us the most fully human picture of Jesus. Although Mark certainly emphasizes Jesus' divine nature as "Son of God," he nevertheless vividly portrays the self-sacrificial love that Jesus exemplifiied by his life and, most importantly, his death.