The Gospel of Mark Chapter 1 1. The Name of the Book 1. 1.1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here we have the title of the book it is not the Gospel of Mark but "The Gospel of Jesus Christ." It is the good news or tidings that the promise of the delivery that God had made in Genesis 3: 15 and all the way through the Old Testament had arrived. The good news is about Jesus. The Hebrew name was Joshua and the Aramaic Jeshua and means Jehovah is salvation. This is the name that the angel told Joseph that he must give to the child that was born of the virgin Mary â€œfor he shall save his people from their sinsâ€? (Math. 1:21). But He was not only the Saviour, He is also the Christ, the one appointed by God, to reveal God, the one anointed particularly for the task that was set before Him to become the Saviour of World through His death and resurrection. We are also told right at the beginning that He is the "Son of God". Paul the apostle made certain that he preached that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9: 20) and in 1 John 4: 15 we are told that whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he dwells in God.
2. John the Baptist 2 - 8. 1. 2 - 3. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.' Mark unites the Old Testament with the New to show that the New is a fulfilment of the Old (Math. 5:17) The quotation is from Malachi 3: 1 and Isaiah 40: 3 and refers to John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ; the one who will come before him as a herald to announce the arrival of the Saviour and to prepare the hearts of the people to receive him. At one time heralds used to run before reigning monarchs to clear a pathway for them so that they were not hindered in their journey. John was sent to remove the obstacles of sin and unbelief from the people that they may be able to accept the Christ. He did not take his message to the towns and cities which you would have thought was the best place to be heard but he went into the wilderness. His message to the people was that they should prepare to meet their God by turning from their idols and wicked ways and return to the Lord to make their hearts ready to receive Him.
1. 4 - 5 In the wilderness John the baptizer began preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People from the whole Judean countryside and all of Jerusalem were going out to him, and he was baptizing them in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. His clear cut message was to repent, that is, "a change of one's mind for the better and heartily to amend one's ways with abhorrence of past sins in order to obtain forgiveness of and release from sins (Amp. N.T). John's baptism was not the same as Christian baptism but it was an outward sign that those who came to him had responded to his message and had a change of heart and purpose. John demanded proof of a changed life to show that there had truly been a change of heart. (Matt. 3: 7 -8). John did not go to the people but they came to him from every city, town and village throughout Judah (it would seem as if there was a move of the Holy Spirit) and on confession of their sins they were baptised in the river Jordan. 1.6 John wore a garment made of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. John's dwelling place, dress and food showed him to be a prophet after the order of Elijah (2 Kings 1:8) and he was recognized at once as bringing a Word from the Lord. 1.7 He proclaimed, "One more powerful than I am is coming after me; I am not worthy to bend down and untie the strap of his sandals. John made it very clear that he had not come to project his own image but that he was merely the signpost to the one that was coming after him, Jesus Christ. He was very conscious of his own unworthiness and esteemed himself of no value when compared to the one that would come in power and strength and who would far exceed anything that he had done. 1.8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Here we have the first promise of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. John was the baptizer in water but it is Jesus Christ who baptizes with the Holy Ghost and fire (Acts 2: 38).
3. Jesus Baptized in Water 9 - 11. 1.9 Now in those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. Jesus came to John to be baptized not for the remission of sins, for He had none, He was without sin (2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:15) He came because He had a desire to "fulfil all righteousness" (Math. 3:15). 1.10 - 11 And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight." Here in this verse we see the triune God. God the Son, Jesus coming up out of the water; God the Holy Ghost, the Spirit descended upon Him; God the Father, spoke to Him from heaven owning and confirming Him to be His only beloved Son and that He was well pleased with Him.
4. Christ Tempted 12 - 13. 1.12 - 13 The Spirit immediately drove him into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, enduring temptations from Satan. He was with wild animals, and angels were ministering to his needs. Immediately after the Holy Spirit had come upon Him the Spirit compels Christ to go into the wilderness/desert where He remained for forty days and nights being tempted by Satan. A. Cole says this corresponds to the forty years of testing that Israel endured in the desert. The desert to the Hebrew was a place of gloomy terror, the abode of devils and wild beasts, a place to be avoided. During this time God protected His Son (Ps. 91:11, Math.4:6) and after the temptations the angels came and cared for Him. (See Math.4 and Luke 4 for further reading on the Temptation of Christ.) John the Baptist came before the first appearance of Christ to prepare the way for Him and to preach repentance. We can prepare the way for the second appearance of Christ by living a life that reflects Him and by preaching the gospel message that others may come to know Him as their Saviour. John said "I must decrease but He must increase" (John 3: 30) his humility is a cloak that we can wear and allow the Lord Jesus Christ to reign in every area of our hearts and life that it might be "no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me." We should be willing to be used as He desires to use us. When we are tempted and tried remember that Jesus understands for he suffered so Himself that He might come to our help at these times (Heb. 2: 18) and that God has set His angels to watch over us and minister to us (Heb. 1: 14).
5. John Removed and Jesus begins His preaching 14 - 15. 1.14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached God's Good News. We have seen that John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ and that he said " I must decrease, but He must increase" (John 3: 30). God's ways are past finding out and they are not the way we do things. Therefore, we cannot fully understand why it was that John was removed from the scene by being put in prison and eventually beheaded. It was at this point in time that Jesus started His ministry. This was not in Judah, the kingly tribe and most important region, or Jerusalem but to Galilee that He went. Galilee is a picture of bondage as it was always the first area to fall into the hands of invaders. It is this region that the prophet Isaiah foretold would receive the light (Isaiah 9: 1 - 2). The Lord's message differed from John's in as much as Jesus brought the "good news" and He was the "good news". This was concerning the Kingdom of God which Christ had come to make a way for the people to enter through Him and be able to live the life of the Kingdom because it would be within them (Luke 17: 21). It was not to be an earthly kingdom but a Heavenly one (John 18: 36, Rom. 14: 17). 1.15 The time promised by God has come at last!" He announced. "The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!" He proclaimed that the hour all the prophets had pointed to and the people had looked forward to had now arrived, their deliverer, saviour had come. Like John, Jesus called the people to repent, to have a change of mind and to heartily amend their ways, that they may have their sins forgiven and receive the Kingdom of God (Acts 3: 19). But Jesus adds one thing more; He says "and believe". They
were to believe on Him that He is the Son of God, the Messiah the Christ, the promised one and the only way into the Kingdom of God (John 14: 6).
6. Call of the First Disciples 16 - 20. 1.16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. It was not by chance that Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, He purposes to do so that he might call these men to follow after and learn of Him. Simon, Andrew, James and John were about their daily work that they had been doing since they were old enough to go fishing and what they expected to be doing for the rest of their lives, but Jesus had other plans for them. So it can be with us. We may have been doing the same old thing for ages never expecting anything different to happen, and then Jesus comes along and changes our lives. 1.17 - 20 Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" And they left their nets at once and followed Him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee's sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed Him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men. This may have been the first time they had seen or heard Jesus or they may have been present when He was baptized by John. They certainly would not have known Him yet at His bidding they immediately left what they were doing, which was their livelihood and followed Him. At this time they certainly would not have understood what He meant when He said He would teach them how to become fishers of men. It was only once He had to call them and they immediately obeyed. © Derek Williams 2013 Bible Studies Online UK www.biblestudiesonline.org.uk You may copy, print or distribute our studies freely in any form, just so long as you make no charges. Sign up today for our FREE monthly Bible study magazine “Living Word” Scriptures taken from the NET Bible www.bible.org