Comments and Replies ... and Who We Are

TANATA is devoted to discussing the paradoxes and the mysteries of life, among which is the paradox of the coexistence of good and evil. “God is love,” John tells us. Evil exists, we would suggest, not because God is detached or unconcerned, but because free will exists which is required for true, unforced love to exist. Still, it is painfully hard to reconcile this paradox. We believe that all evil one day will be judged and destroyed, until then we must pray.

DANIEL 7:13-14

13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.


7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

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« Mystery of the Unnamed "Other Disciple" Solved »

It’s only right that a writer (St. John Mark) should be credited with his work. The black priest wrote the Gospel of John … and deserves to be recognized.

He had a racial bond with Jesus, because we know from John Mark in Hebrews 7:14 that Jesus arose from the Tribe of Judah. I lived and worked (and played) in the heart of Ethiopia, where the people were members of the Tribe of Judah. They were all black. Jesus is described in Revelation 5:5 as the true Lion of Judah. (Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, once considered the Lion of Judah, was deposed and eventually murdered, as I witnessed.) Get used to it brother or sister … Jesus was a man of color and will judge us according to how we have blessed His people.

In a 1960 article titled “John and John Mark,” Pierson Parker describes the banter of a gathering of Bible scholars, of which he was one. After dinner the men began kicking around the matter of the unnamed “other disciple, the one who Jesus loved,” a mystery with which Christendom has wrestled for nearly two millennia. Members of the group threw out various names: Lazarus, Batholomew, Matthias, having already ruled out John, the son of Zebedee, since the Gospel of John only mentions John and his brother James as an afterthought — ‘the sons of Zebedee” (John 21:2). Then someone suggested John Mark, and the assemblage of men burst into laughter. The response led a thoughtful Parker to write a paper that indicated it was more likely John Mark was the Beloved Disciple than Zebedee’s John. At the very least John Mark bore the Jewish name John. The unusual Roman surname “Mark,” suggestively means “hammer.”

Parker noted a church tradition that indicated the name “Mark” was pejorative, suggesting John Mark, a Levite, mutilated his hands to get out of the priesthood. Talk about subterfuge. And there is a lot of it, when it comes to John Mark. It’s no wonder that people don’t know John Mark or his racial bond with a black (half-brother of African Adam) Jesus. John Mark was a Jewish Levitical priest and an African refugee who knew the high priests the night of Jesus’ arrest, because he worked with them. Tampering in the Gospel of Mark, this writer submits, is the reason for the confusion about the night Jesus was arrested and what John Mark, or “the other disciple,” was doing. I’ll let you use your imagination as to why John Mark adopted this surname. I imagine that he wanted to never forget the images of the hammers that were used on Jesus. He perhaps saw himself as a “hammer” of the budding Christian faith, to badly mix metaphors.

This writer has read a lot on the topic of the Beloved Disciple (all being wrong), but has chosen to use only two sources in addition to the Bible itself: the article “John and John Mark,” by Parker, published in The Journal of Biblical Literature, and the Coptic biography of John Mark, The Beholder of God, written by the late Coptic Pope Shenouda III in 1968. This work was only translated into English in 1997. It remains the most thorough biography that we have of any people in Jesus’ inner circle, including Peter and the apostle Paul.

Allow me to begin with Parker’s strongest point. He cites two passages, one in John’s Gospel that only John Mark could have written (John 19:26-27), and two verses in Acts (Acts 1:13-14), which render a lot of the Beloved Disciple discussions unnecessary. In John 19:26-27, we’re told that the Beloved Disciple took Mary to the disciple’s home in “that very hour” Jesus made the request. With Zebedee’s John living in Galilee, that rules him out. John Mark took Mary to his home.

I have seen a photograph of “Mary’s House,” in Ephesus, where the Zebedee’s John was supposed to have taken her. But Mary never left Jerusalem, as the verses in Acts show. Her tomb is in Jerusalem. Incredibly, Pope Benedict held a mass on the Turkish spot several years ago, showing how even at those at the top, or the presumed top, are in the dark as much as anyone.

John Mark and his mother Mary were benefactors of Jesus and Mary, hailing from Cyrene (Libya). In the Acts passage we see that Zebedee’s John has not taken Mary or anyone else anywhere outside of Jerusalem. John Mark was told by Jesus to take care of his mother. So Mary is in Jerusalem when we next see her, having just taken a day’s trip with everyone. I say “everyone” because the entire inner circle of Jesus is crowded together, staying at John Mark’s large, two-story expensive house. The home even had a servant girl.

The greatest disavowing or discrediting of John Mark is found in Mark’s gospel, which this writer says has been tampered with for the sole purpose of leaving John Mark out of the picture, when he is very active on the night Jesus was arrested, during the trial, and during Christ’s procession to Golgatha. John Mark, the founder of the Coptic (Egyptian) Church, was the only disciple at the cross of Jesus. 

The charge of tampering in the Gospel of Mark stems from the fact that the last 12 verses in Mark’s 16th chapter is apparent forgery, in that it did not appear in the most reliable original manuscripts. To help me make my point, juxtapose or compare the verses in Mark 14:50-52 which record the events of that night Jesus was arrested with the same events in the Gospel of John (18:15-16). Mark’s gospel says, “They all fled,” and that “a certain youth,” presumably John Mark, was disrobed and ran away naked into the night, and therefore could not have followed Jesus to the home of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas. John’s gospel says “the other disciple” John Mark did follow Jesus and the mob, fully dressed, and that he even was at the door of the high priests quarters, when Peter was invited by John Mark into the courtyard where Jesus was being held.

It is highly improbable that John Mark would lie about these events in his first gospel, especially when being naked in public is not the kind of thing a writer would want his audience to know.

The idea of being led to refer to himself as “the other disciple, the one Jesus love,” John Mark clearly felt comfortable making such as claim, being black like Jesus and being his benefactor.

On a personal note: this writer embraced the mystery of the unnamed “other disciple,” determined to solve his obscurity, when, in 2006, with the release of The Da Vinci Code film, numerous people in the press and public began referring to Mary Magdalene as the Beloved Disciple. This was fed in part by passages in the Gnostic gospels of Philip and Thomas, on which The Da Vinci Code was based. There is more of a Coptic nature about The Last Supper than just a few forged lines of Jesus’ affection for Mary Magdalene; in fact, Africans John Mark and his mother hosted Jesus and His disciples for the last supper … and John Mark was the founder of the Coptic Church, serving as its first bishop.

Game, set, match.

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