Mark 1:1-6 Mark begins his gospel with quoting the old testament prophet, Isaiah, about the coming of John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for Jesus, the Messiah. John baptized in the wilderness and proclaimed that the people should repent of their ways for the forgiveness of their sins. Many from Judea came to John at the river Jordan confessing their sins and was baptized. John wore camel hair clothing with a leather belt and ate locusts and wild honey.
Notes: Repentance had to precede baptism, and thus baptism was not how sins were forgiven but rather was a sign indicating that one had truly repented. Again, the people of Israel are connected with Jordan River. The 1st time was to be delivered from the wilderness and into the promised land. This time it was to be delivered from sin into eternal life.
Mark 1:7-8 John preached that another was coming that was greater than he, so great, that John wasn’t worthy enough to untie His sandals. John said that this One would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Notes: Untying someone else’s sandals was the most menial task a slave could perform. John vividly expressed his humility.
Mark 1:9-11 Jesus came out of Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. John saw the Spirit in the form of a dove descend from heaven onto Jesus. A voice from heaven proclaimed that Jesus was His Beloved Son of whom He was well pleased.
Notes: Jesus identifies with the sins of his people, even though he himself is free from sin. The heavenly voice confirms the eternal, love-filled Sonship of Jesus.
Mark 1:12-13 The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where Satan tempted him for 40 days to sin against His father to disqualify Him as being the Savior. At the end of the 40 days, the angels ministered to Jesus.
Mark 1:14-15 Sometime later, John the Baptist was arrested as Jesus was in Galilee proclaiming the good news of God that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and that all people should repent and believe the good news.
Mark 1:16-20 Jesus chose his first disciples as he passed along the Sea of Galilee. He chose Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and told them to follow him, and they left their nets and followed. Jesus then called the sons of Zebedee, John and James, to also follow him.
Mark 1:21-28 They later entered a synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath and Jesus started teaching. The people were amazed with Jesus’ teaching, for He didn’t teach like the scribes, but with authority. There was an unclean spirit inside of a man that was in the synagogue who cried out at Jesus identifying who He was and declared that they were afraid He was going to destroy them. Jesus either did not want the people to yet know he was the Holy One of God, or he didn’t want people to falsely associate Him with demons (as the leaders later did), so Jesus rebuked the evil spirit to be silent and to come out of the man. When the evil spirit obeyed (which as unheard of, for no man has ever been able to do this), the people were amazed and began wondering who this Jesus really was. Jesus’ fame spread everywhere through the surrounding region of Galilee.
Notes: The core purpose of Jesus’ earthly ministry was teaching, rather than performing miracles or casting out demons. Amazingly, the demon affirmed Jesus’ sinlessness and deity—truths which many in Israel denied, and still deny.
Mark 1:29-34 Leaving the synagogue, they entered Peter’s home. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick and had a fever. Jesus healed her and she immediately got up and served them. At sundown, people brought their sick and demon possessed friends and family to see Jesus hoping for a healing. Jesus healed many of them. Again, he did not permit the demons to speak out, for they knew who Jesus really was, and He did not want his identity revealed yet.
Mark 1:35-39 Jesus awoke the next morning before the sun rose and went to a deserted place to pray alone. Peter and the others searched for Jesus, found Him, and told Him that the people were looking for Him. Jesus said that they would instead leave and enter another town to preach the good news so the news would spread to all. Jesus preached all throughout Galilee.
Mark 1:40-45 A leper with faith knelt before Jesus and begged Jesus to heal him if Jesus willed it to be so. Jesus pitied the man and healed him of his leprosy and made him clean. Jesus sternly told the man not to tell anyone about the healing, but to follow the procedures commanded by Moses that was to be followed being healed of Leprosy. The man did not obey Jesus, but instead talked freely to everyone what Jesus had done for him, and because of this, Jesus couldn’t stay in any town any longer because of the large crowds pressing to see Him. Instead, he retreated to desolate places, but people still found Him wherever He went.
Notes: Jesus’ love, mercy, and power are such that his touch, instead of making Jesus unclean, actually makes the leper clean. The joy of the healed man overrides Jesus’ injunction to silence and therefore Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, lest he be mobbed. Mark often emphasizes how the crowds’ excessive attention to Jesus’ miracles is a frequent problem, causing the crowds to miss the true purpose of his ministry (i.e., to proclaim the good news of the kingdom).