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The first of the four gospels, the Gospel of Mark claims an important transition from the oral tradition held by the disciples and the early witnesses of the resurrection, and the written record passed on to the growing Christian community spread throughout the Roman Empire. As the Christian persecution began to grow, those who bore the firsthand accounts of walking with Jesus were facing their deaths by becoming the first martyrs of the faith. This left an important gap that needed to be filled, and John Mark took up his pen to record the testimony of those still alive.
The subsequent synoptics — the gospels of Matthew and Luke — grabbed hold of this early treatise as an important source for their own written record. Matthew, the tax collecting disciple of Jesus, added to the text with his own experiences, while Luke carefully interviewed those still-living witnesses to flesh out his own gospel. Thus, we have before us today what may be the most important record in all of Christian literature: the Gospel of Mark.