According to this evangelist the two natures, human and divine (to use later terminology), are in perfect harmony. This is a fact which, in studying certain passages, one can hardly fail to detect (4:38, 39; 6:34, 41-43; 8:1-10; 14:32-41; etc.). Mark’s aim is that men everywhere may accept this Jesus Christ, ‘Son of man’ and ‘Son of God’, this conquering King, as their Saviour and Lord.
According to tradition this Gospel was composed to satisfy the urgent request of the people of Rome for a written summary of Peter’s preaching in that city. However, this cannot mean that the information found in this book must be withheld from everybody living outside of the city limits of the capital. As is clear from 1:37; 10:45; 12:9; 13:10; and even 16:15 (whatever be its authenticity), this Gospel was intended to reach the entire Greek speaking world: its message was, is, and is going to be meaningful for everybody.
That it was composed for a non-Jewish public would seem to follow from the fact that such Semitic terms and expressions as boanerges (3:17), talitha cumi (5:41), corban (7:11), ephphatha (7:34), and Abba (14:36) are by Mark translated into Greek. Moreover, the author explains Jewish customs (7:3, 4; 14:12; 15:42). And as to this Gospel’s origin in Rome note that at times Mark renders Greek into Latin. He mentions that the two lepta (‘copper coins’) which the poor widow cast into the offering box amounted to one Roman quadrans (‘penny’, 12:42), and that the aule (‘palace’) into which the soldiers led Jesus was the praetorium (the governor’s official residence, 15:16).
Mark is also the only Gospel that informs us (15:21) that Simon of Cyrene was ‘the father of Alexander and Rufus’, who were evidently well-known in Rome (see Rom 16:13).
To all this should be added the fact that the manner in which Mark pictures the Christ, namely, as an active, energetic, swiftly moving, warring, conquering King, a Victor over the destructive forces of nature, over disease, demons, and even death, would be of interest especially to Romans — people who, in their lust for and exercise of power, had conquered the world. To them Mark pictures a King who excels any earthly conqueror. His kingdom is far more extensive, his armour far more effective, and his rule far more enduring than anything originating here below. His victories, moreover, are far more honourable, for he causes the conquered to share in the glory of the conquest. Mark’s King is the Saviour-King. He is the Victor who does not gloat over the suffering of the conquered but suffers in their place and with a view to their everlasting welfare (10:45). . .
A closely related question is: In writing this Gospel did Mark intend merely to supply information or also to bring about transformation? Was it his purpose, as some maintain, merely to record a narrative, or in so doing to furnish an incentive for living to the glory of God? To phrase it differently, how did he view Jesus? Merely as a very interesting personage, the story of whose mighty deeds must be related because it is fascinating and satisfies people’s curiosity? Or did he primarily regard Jesus to be the mighty and conquering Saviour King, to whom all men should turn in humble faith? Surely the latter! It must ever be borne in mind that Mark was ‘Peter’s interpreter.’ Now whenever Peter preached he urged repentance. His predication amounted to, at least reached a climax of, exhortation (Acts 2:36-40; 10:43), in order that through repentance and faith men might be saved, to God’s glory (Acts 11:18). Now if that was true with respect to Peter, it must also have been true with respect to Mark. Mark’s Gospel, accordingly, does have a definitely doctrinal and thoroughly practical aim.