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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Mark 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-3

Foreknowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - The opening verses of the Gospel of Mark declare the institution of the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon earth as predicted in Old Testament prophecy through the divine foreknowledge of God the Father. Two Old Testament prophecies of the coming of John the Baptist are used to open the Gospel of Mark ( Mark 1:2-3), serving a two-fold emphasis. First, they refer to the coming of John the Baptist to preach the Gospel of the coming of the Messiah, and second, they speak figuratively of him turning the hearts of the people to God, using the words "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." These prophetic passages establish John's ministry as a part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These verses also reflect the foundational theme of the four Gospels, which is the claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. These verses also reflect Mark's secondary theme, which is the witness to Jesus' deity through the preaching of the Gospel, beginning with John the Baptist, who claimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of God. He preached the mystery of godliness, of how God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world and how He was received up into glory ( 1 Timothy 3:16).

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Mark 1:1 — "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ" - Word Study on "the gospel" - Webster says the English word "gospel" is derived from the old English word "godspel" (God story), and serves as the translation of the Greek word εὐ αγγέ λιον.

Mark 1:1 — "the Son of God" - Comments - The underlying theme of the Gospels and Acts is the claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; thus, the opening verse of Mark's Gospel reflects this foundational theme. Jesus was the Son of God the Father by His divine birth through the virgin Mary.

Mark 1:1Comments- The Title of the Gospel of Mark - The opening verse of Mark is often viewed as a title for his Gospel.

Comments The Theme of the Gospel of Mark - The theme of any book in the Holy Bible can be found in the first verse or passage of the book. For example, the opening verse of the Gospel of Mark reflects the preaching ministry of Jesus Christ as He proclaims the arrival of the Kingdom of God, which reflects the secondary theme of the Gospel of Mark: the testimony of the miracles of Jesus Christ through the preaching of the Gospel that Jesus is the Son of God. The opening verse of the Gospel of Matthew reveals the genealogy of Jesus Christ, which is takes the form of a chronological fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures of the coming of the Messiah, and this verse reflects the secondary theme of Matthew: the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus is the Son of God. The opening verses of Luke's Gospel make the claim that this book is a collection of eye-witness accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, which reflects the secondary theme of Luke: the testimony of John the Baptist and other eye witnesses through prophetic utterances that Jesus is the Son of God. The theme of a collection of many testimonies is declared in the closing verse of the Gospel of Luke as well, saying, "And ye are witnesses of these things." ( Luke 24:48)

Comments- The Earliest Form of Preaching- The Gospel of Matthew , which was written first according the early Church tradition, emphasizes the earliest form of preaching by the early Church regarding the Kingdom of God and its teachings. The first Gospel preaching that Jesus taught His disciples to declare was the arrival of the Kingdom of God ( Matthew 10:7). The message continued to develop as the Holy Spirit moved within the Church. The Gospel of Mark emphasizes the testimony of the miracles of Jesus Christ. These miracles were manifested with the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, the first verse of Mark declared the theme of his Gospel as the "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Matthew 10:7, "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Comments- Preaching with Signs and Miracles- As the apostles continued to teach the people how that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, their message was accompanied with signs and miracles ( Acts 4:33). The need to explain why miracles accompanied the preaching of the apostles brought the need for a Gospel that taught on the miracles of Jesus. Thus, the need for the Gospel of Mark emerged. We see these miracles frequently in the early chapters of the book of Acts as the early Church preached on the Kingdom of God. Thus, Mark reveals his theme when he entitles his writing, "The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." The Gospel of Mark declares its work to be the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which message was accompanied by signs following. Note how this theme is stated in the closing verses of his Gospel when Jesus gives the Great Commission, which reads, "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." ( Mark 16:20)

Acts 4:33, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

Comments- The Gospel of Jesus Christ- Regarding the question as to whether Mark 1:1 refers to the message preached by Jesus Christ Himself, or to the Gospel message preached by the early church, the answer is found in the structure of the book. This is both a compilation of the preaching ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and according to early Church tradition, Mark composed his Gospel as an outline of the messages that was preached by Peter the apostle woven into the story of Jesus. Thus, the answer is that "the Gospel of Jesus Christ" is the Gospel as delivered by Jesus as well as by the early Church.

Mark 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Mark 1:2Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Scholars tell us that Mark 2:2 is quoted from Malachi 3:1 a.

Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."

We also see a similar phrase in Exodus 23:20 a.

Exodus 23:20, "Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared."

Mark 1:2 — "As it is written in the prophets" - Comments- Most modern versions translate Mark 1:2 with the words "as it is written in Isaiah the prophet" in contrast to the KJV translation "as it is written in the prophets." This is because there is strong manuscript attestation for using the word "Isaiah the prophet." Perhaps the translators of the KJV revised their translation because it is not a quote from the book of Isaiah , but from books of Exodus and Malachi. Thus, they took the paraphrase "as it is written in the prophets" or followed a less attested manuscript that used this phrase.

Mark 1:2 — "which shall prepare thy way before thee" - Comments- How was John the Baptist going to do this preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ? Note in verse 5 that all the land went out to him "confessing their sins". John the Baptist was preparing their hearts for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, by leading them into repentance.

Mark 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Mark 1:3Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Mark 1:3 is a quote from Isaiah 40:3.

Isaiah 40:3, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."

Mark 1:3 — "make his paths straight" - Comments- Straight paths prevented someone from stumbling ( Jeremiah 31:9).

Jeremiah 31:9, "They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn."

The wicked walk in crooked paths ( Isaiah 59:8).

Isaiah 59:8, "The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace."

Mark 1:3Comments- Preparing the way of the Lord, making His paths straight, involves repentance. No church has ever had revival except there has been a preparation period. The Lord once spoke to me saying, "This is My house. There will be revival in My house when the sins of the flesh are destroyed." (Fall 1988)

Illustration- The sons of Israel at Mt. Sinai prepared themselves with three days of sanctification before God's glory came down.


Verses 4-8

John the Baptist's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness ( Matthew 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-18, John 1:19-28) - Mark 1:4-8 serves as a testimony of the fulfillment of two Old Testament prophecies found in Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 through the public ministry of John the Baptist, whose message justifying Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah prophesied in Old Testament Scripture. The first part of Malachi's prophecy "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face" is fulfilled in John's appearance ( Mark 1:4-8) prior to that of the Messiah in Mark 1:9-13. The second part of Malachi's prophecy "which shall prepare thy way before thee" is fulfilled in John's public ministry of water baptism and the people confessing their sins ( Mark 1:4-5). The first part of Isaiah's prophecy "the voice of one crying in the wilderness" is fulfilled in John's public ministry of preaching in the wilderness ( Mark 1:4). The second part of Isaiah's prophecy "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" is fulfilled in the content of John's message of repentance. Thus, every aspect of Mark 1:4-8 is designed to testify of the fulfillment of every aspect of these opening prophecies. 81] Because Mark does not explicitly say that John the Baptist fulfilled the two opening prophecies of Mark 1:1-3, (unlike Matthew's Gospel that says, "that it might be fulfilled"), he introduces John in a way that makes its fulfillment vividly clear to the reader. 82]

81] Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1993), 36.

82] Robert H. Gundry, Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1993), 47.

Comparison of Emphasis of Themes in the Gospels- When we understand the underlying themes of the four Gospels, it is easy to see each of four Gospels placing emphasis upon their respective themes within their parallel accounts of John the Baptist. Since Matthew's Gospel emphasizes the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures, he begins in Matthew 3:1-12 about how that John the Baptist is represented as the one who fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. Mark's Gospel emphasizes the fact that John was the first to begin preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although Mark 1:4-8 is very similar to Matthew's parallel passage, it gives more text about the proclamation of John the Baptist. Luke's Gospel emphasizes the prophetic eyewitness testimonies surrounding Jesus Christ's ministry, and reveals John as a man with a prophetic word from the Lord. Therefore, Luke 3:1-20 begins by referring to verifiable dates of the ministry of John the Baptist with his prophetic message of the coming Saviour. Finally, John's Gospel, which emphasizes the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, uses the passage in Mark 1:19-28 about John the Baptist as one of the five witnesses to His deity.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:5"and were all baptized of him" - Word Study on "baptized" - The Greek word βαπτισμός (G 909) means, "abolution (ceremonial or Christian)" (Strong), or "a dipping, washings" (BDAG). Within the context of the New Testament doctrine of baptisms, baptism consists of the process of immersion, submersion, and emergence in water as a ceremony, being used in the New Testament (a) of John"s baptism, and (b) of Christian baptism. The TDNT says, " βαπτισμός signifying the act alone and βάπτισμα the act with the result, and therefore the institution." The primary Greek verb βά πτω (G 911) means, "to dip" (BDAG), from which this family of words is derived.

Comments- The New Testament uses this family of words both in a literal and figurative sense. 1. Literally - The Greek word "baptism" used literally means, "immersed." In classical Greek literature it was used to describe the sinking of a ship at sea. 83] However, in the New Testament this word appears to have become a common term used for ceremonial "washings" before eating as prescribed by the Pharisees' interpretations of the Mosaic Law. There are a number of verses that indicate this New Testament usage.

83] Jack MacGorman, "Class Notes," in New Testament Greek, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, 1981-82.

Mark 7:4, "And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables."

Mark 7:8, "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do."

Luke 11:38, "And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner."

Hebrews 9:10, "Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

Therefore, when the term "the one who baptises" was attached to John's name, it implied that John was giving the children of Israel the proper "ceremonial" cleansing for their sins. Water baptism was the perfect example of "inner cleansing" in such a culture already familiar with this term. The Lord must have revealed to John or spoken to him that a call to water baptism was the way in which a truly repentant person would demonstrate their genuineness publicly. In fact, it was used as an indicator to God of who was repenting of their sins and who was not repentant.

2. Figuratively - Used figuratively, the Greek word "baptism" means, "to be identified with."

1 Corinthians 10:2, "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;"

1 Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."

Mark 1:5 "in the river of Jordan" - Comments- The Jordan River is referred to one hundred eighty-one (181) times in the Old Testament and eighteen times in the New Testament. This river begins at the foot of Mount Hermon near Hasbeiya, which Isaiah 1 ,700 feet above sea level, and this river ends at the mouth of the Dead Sea, 1 ,290 feet below sea level. Thus, it is a fast moving river as it makes it steep descent and the very name "Jordan" means "to go down." At Mount Hermon water from several underground springs comes together to begin the Jordan River. It flows twenty-five miles into the Sea of Galilee and then it flows out of the Sea of Galilee about seventy miles and ends at the mouth of the Dead Sea. Because of the way a river meanders, it actually flows a total of two hundred (200) miles. 84]

84] George Frederick Wright, "Jordan," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008); R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Jordan."

It is easy to see how this river symbolizes the healing stream that flows from the throne of God. It is here that the Lord inspired John the Baptist to call the nation to repentance by washing their sins away in an act of obedience called water baptism.

Mark 1:5Comments- Note in Acts 19:3 that the Ephesians were baptized into John's baptism. John's message was to be baptized and repent of one"s sins ( Mark 1:4). Jesus' message was that the kingdom of God has come ( Mark 1:14-15, Matthew 4:23).

Acts 19:3, "And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John"s baptism."

Mark 1:4, "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

Mark 1:14-15, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

Matthew 4:23, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."

Mark 1:6 And John was clothed with camel"s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

Mark 1:6Comments - Some scholars believe the importance of Mark giving his readers a vivid description of John the Baptist's dress and wilderness lifestyle is so they can immediately associate him with the order of Old Testament prophets, particularly Elijah, who wore the same rugged apparel ( 2 Kings 1:8). 85] In fact, Malachi's prophecy later refers to the coming of Elijah ( Malachi 4:5), so that the scribes were teaching the people that the coming of Elijah would precede that of the Messiah ( Mark 9:11). Therefore, Mark's associate of John the Baptist with Elijah will help his readers understand that these two opening prophecies, including that of the coming of Elijah, were fulfilled in the public ministry of John the Baptist. Thus, Mar gives John's ministry a level of authority that exceeded all other Old Testament prophets by the fact that his ministry was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy ( Luke 7:28).

85] Narry F. Santos, " Mark 1:1-15 The Paradox of Authority and Servanthood," in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 331.

2 Kings 1:8, "And they answered him, He was an hairy Prayer of Manasseh , and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite."

Malachi 4:5, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:"

Mark 9:11, "And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?"

Luke 7:28, "For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Mark 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

Mark 1:7Comments - Acts 1:7 indicates that John the Baptist had experienced an encounter with God in all of His fullness and glory, for only in God's presence do we see ourselves as frail humanity before the majesty of Almighty God. It was probably in such an encounter that John the Baptist received his commission to baptize and to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, and even to recognize Him when Jesus did arrive.

The greatest joy of John the Baptist was to see the Bridegroom and to hear His voice. His devotion was to make the bride ready for the Bridegroom. Therefore, he spoke of the coming of the Bridegroom.

Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Mark 1:8Comments- The one hundred and twenty believers were first filled with the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, giving birth to the Church. John the Baptist helped prepare these hearts of these people for that day as he baptized with water.


Verses 4-13

Justification- Public Ministry of John the Baptist - Mark 1:4-13 emphasizes the justification of Jesus Christ as the Son of God through the public ministry of John the Baptist, whose ministry was prophesied in the Old Testament through the foreknowledge of God the Father ( Mark 1:1-3). According to Mark's Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. Thus, Mark makes no reference to the nativity of Jesus Christ the Saviour as does Matthew and Luke , but goes right into the events surrounding the preaching of the Gospel. Mark opens His Gospel by explaining how John the Baptist was sent before Jesus' arrival in order to prepare the hearts of the Jewish people to receive Him. His ministry culminated with the baptism of Jesus Christ as God used this event to present the Messiah to His people using the preaching testimony of John the Baptist, the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the Father from Heaven, which served as three testimonies to the Jewish people to justify Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

After quoting the Old Testament prophecies in Mark 1:1-3, Mark explains in Mark 1:4-8 how John fulfilled them both as he preached ( Mark 1:4) and as the people repented ( Mark 1:5). Then Mark describes the culmination of John's ministry with the account of Jesus' water baptism ( Mark 1:9-11) and temptation ( Mark 1:12-13). Note the proposed outline of the public ministry of John the Baptist:

Outline: Here is a proposed outline:

1. John's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness — Mark 1:4-8

2. God the Father's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness — Mark 1:9-11

3. Jesus' Testimony of His Righteousness — Mark 1:12-13


Verses 9-11

God the Father's Proclamation of Jesus' Righteousness ( Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22) - Mark 1:9-11 gives us the account of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. There were three people at this baptism to testify to the Jews that Jesus was the Son of God: John the Baptist ( Mark 1:9), the Holy Spirit ( Mark 1:10), and the Heavenly Father ( Mark 1:11). Mark 1:9-11 emphasizes the testimony from God the Father justifying Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

Mark 1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

Mark 1:9Comments- Jesus must have heard about John's preaching before He decided to leave home; after all John was His cousin through His mother Mary. The Spirit of God must have revealed to Jesus that His own time of ministry had come, and that it would begin with manifesting Himself to the world as the Messiah through the baptism of John the Baptist.

Mark 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

Mark 1:10Comments- Just as Jesus Christ took the bodily form of the son of man in order to manifest Himself to the world, the Holy Spirit took the bodily form of a dove as a visible testimony that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Song of Solomon , in whom I am well pleased.

Mark 1:11Comments- Even the Heavenly Father manifested Himself to the Jews at Jesus' water baptism as a witness that He was the Son of God.

Comments - The voice of God the Father spoke from Heaven to mankind on a number of occasions. God spoke to King Nebuchadnezzar when he took his mind from him for a season ( Daniel 4:31). God spoke from Heaven at the water baptism of His Son Jesus Christ ( Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22). God spoke to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration ( Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35-36, 2 Peter 1:17-18). God spoke to Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem before His Passion ( John 12:28-29). Jesus spoke to Paul from Heaven on the road to Damascus ( Acts 9:3-7).


Verse 12-13

Jesus' Testimony of His Righteousness ( Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13) - Mark 1:12-13 gives us the account of the temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilderness. Of the three Synoptic Gospels, Mark gives the shortest account. This passage of Scripture justifies Jesus Christ as the sinless Son of God during His temptation by associating Him in conflict with Satan and the wild beasts, and joined by heavenly angels.

Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

Mark 1:12Comments- Matthew 4:1 and Luke 4:1 say that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. In contrast, Mark 1:12 says the Spirit drove Jesus in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:1, "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil."

Luke 4:1, "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,"

The Holy Spirit comes into our lives and indwells us in order to move us into our destiny. He does not waste any time of our lives; for the Scripture says, "and immediately the Spirit drove Him…"

Many young people with a calling in their lives will also feel a driving force, the Holy Spirit within them, to bring them away from worldly activities and to set themselves apart for prayer and sanctification for a period in their life.

Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.


Verses 14-20

Jesus Begins His Preaching - Mark 1:14-20 records the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry in the office of an evangelist as He travels throughout the region of Galilee preaching the Gospel of the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven ( Mark 1:14-15). At this time early in His ministry, Jesus begins to call young men to forsake all and to follow Him ( Mark 1:16-20).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Preaches Repentance & Faith — Mark 1:14-15

2. Jesus Calls Disciples — Mark 1:16-20

Mark 1:14-15 — The Beginning of Jesus' Galilean Ministry ( Matthew 4:12-17, Luke 4:14-15) - Mark 1:14-15 gives us the account of the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry. Mark's Gospel introduces Jesus' ministry with Him preaching the Gospel, and this emphasis on the proclamation of the Gospel fits the theme of this Gospel. The opening verse of Mark declares his Gospel as the "beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" ( Mark 1:1). Thus, the message of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ in Mark's Gospel was the proclamation of the Gospel, which was two-fold: (1) repent and (2) believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Comparison of Parallel Passages Recording the Beginning of the Public Ministry of Jesus Christ- When we compare the parallel passages of Jesus beginning His public ministry in the four Gospels, we find the third underlying themes clearly reflected.

The Gospel of Matthew - Matthew's Gospel emphasizes the testimony of Old Testament Scriptures, which prophesies of the Messiah coming to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. In this Gospel, the Kingdom of Heaven is established by making disciples of all nations. Thus, Matthew explains how Jesus' public ministry began as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy ( Mark 4:12-17). Jesus then calls disciples, who will be trained to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations ( Mark 4:18-22). Jesus then begins to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth through His teaching ministry ( Mark 4:23-25). Thus, Matthew's Gospel places emphasis upon Jesus' teaching ministry as Matthew states, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." ( Matthew 4:23)

The Gospel of Mark - Mark's Gospel emphasizes the office of the evangelist, who preaches the Gospel with signs following. Therefore, he describes Jesus beginning His public ministry with the statement, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." ( Mark 1:14-15) Mark describes Jesus beginning His public ministry by preaching ( Mark 1:14-15), which emphasizes Mark's theme of the testimony of Jesus' miracles through the preaching of the Gospel.

The Gospel of Luke - The parallel passage in Luke records the testimony of His ministry as one of great anointing and power ( Luke 4:14-15), which emphasizes the testimony of those who were eye-witnesses of the authority of Jesus' public ministry. Within the context of Luke's Gospel, which reflects the prophetic ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, the statement, "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee," emphasizes the fact that Jesus was walking in the office of the prophet. In the opening chapters of Luke , we have already seen a number of people filled with the Spirit and deliver prophetic utterances. Zechariah , Elisabeth, Mary, Simeon and Anna have all been filled with the spirit and spoke of the Messiah. To show that this motif runs through the Gospel of Luke , in the closing chapter we see Jesus commanding His disciples to "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." ( Luke 24:49) Thus, the fact that Jesus was "full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness," ( Mark 4:1) then "returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee" ( Luke 4:14) to tell the people that "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," ( Luke 4:18) tells us that Jesus will deliver prophetic messages throughout the Gospel of Luke.

The Gospel of John - John's Gospel emphasizes Jesus in the office of the pastor. Thus, John describes Jesus as a Shepherd gathering His flock and gently leading the disciples. In this Gospel Jesus begins His public ministry in the office of a pastor by gathering His first disciples: John , Andrew, Simon Peter, Philippians , and Nathanael ( John 1:35-51). He will not move into the offices of Evangelist, Teacher, and Prophet until after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Mark 1:14Comments - Josephus tells us that John the Baptist was imprisoned in the fortified castle located at Macherus, saying, "Accordingly he [John the Baptist] was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death." (Antiquities 1852) A description of the fortification of Macherus is given by Josephus in Wars 761and is believed to be located east of the Dead Sea approximately in line with Bethlehem.

Comments- The Synoptic Gospels begin recording Jesus" ministry after the death of John the Baptist, while John's Gospel begins with the first days of His earthly ministry.

Matthew 4:12, "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;"

Mark 1:14, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,"

Luke 3:19-21, "But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip"s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,"

Matthew 4:17 tells us that this particular event marks the beginning of Jesus" preaching ministry.

Matthew 4:17, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Thus, the reason the Synoptic Gospels begin at John"s death is because this is also when Jesus began to preach and to teach publicly.

We know from a study of the Gospel of John that the imprisonment of John the Baptist took place between the First ( John 2:13) and Second Passover ( John 6:4). Therefore, there was up to a year difference between the time when Jesus was baptized and when He began His public ministry. The Synoptic Gospels tell us that Jesus began His public ministry at John"s death, although the Gospel of John gives us testimony of earlier miracles in Jesus' ministry. Why would Jesus wait up to a year to go public? Perhaps an answer lies in the suggestion that Jesus respected the ministry of John the Baptist so that He did not make a public display until John's ministry had come to an end. It is interesting to see how God never seems to be in a hurry.

Regarding Jesus' respect for John the Baptist's public ministry, I suggest this reason for Jesus waiting until John's death to go public because of a careful study of the lives and ministries of some of the apostles both within and outside of the Scriptures. This study reveals such an attitude between the apostles themselves. There was a tremendous respect and reverence for one another's ministry and hesitancy to overlay the other's work, lest one gain undue credit above the other. The apostles may have learned this respect for one another as a result of observing Jesus' behavior towards John the Baptist.

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 1:15 — "The time is fulfilled" - Comments- We find Paul making a reference to this fullness of time when Christ was born in Galatians 4:4, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Song of Solomon , made of a woman, made under the law."

Mark 1:15Comments- The message that Jesus Christ preached was two-fold: repent and believe. We find John the Baptist preaching the same two-fold message. He preached a baptism of repentance of sins ( Mark 1:4) and he asked the people to believe upon Him who was coming after him ( Mark 1:7-8). It is important to note that this two-fold message is reflective of the first two foundational doctrines of the New Testament, which is (1) repentance from dead works, and (2) faith towards God.

Hebrews 6:1, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"

Mark 1:16-20 — Jesus Calls His Disciples ( Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-11) - Mark 1:16-20 gives us the account of Jesus calling four of His disciples by the Sea of Galilee, Peter and his brother Andrew, and John and his brother James. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus had already been introduced to three of these disciples immediately after His water baptism and public presentation by John the Baptist ( John 1:37-42). At this encounter by the Sea of Galilee Jesus calls these four men to forsake all and follow Him.

Jesus Calls His Disciples While They were Busy - Notice that when Jesus called His disciples in the first two chapters of Mark's Gospel, they received their calling in the midst of a busy working day. In developing nations, with poor economies and large unemployment, there are always idle people standing around the market places and streets. Jesus made reference to the idleness of His day in the parable of the workers in the vineyard ( Matthew 20:3). Thus, Jesus appointed men that were busy in the midst of idleness. When my pastor called me to the mission field in July 1997, I was also busy at work that day. I had been with my company for eight years, and had moved up from a labourer to a supervisor with a number of promotions and raises. The day my pastor called me to come to a meeting regarding this calling, I had to cancel two other appointments and leave my job that afternoon with the permission of my boss. Jesus calls those who have good work ethics.

The twelve apostles are listed in the four Gospels in the order of their importance and contribution to the kingdom of God. For example, Peter is always listed first by the Evangelists. Thus, Mark mentions him in front of his brother Andrew ( Mark 1:16) for this reason. In the case of James and John , we would have listed John first because we see his contribution as being greater than that of James because he wrote five books of the New Testament canon. Mark chooses to list James first, perhaps because during the writing of his Gospel in the middle part of the first century, James was viewed and honored as one of the early Church martyrs, long before John had made his way to Ephesus and served over the churches in Asia Minor and finally writing his five books. In fact, Church tradition tells us that John cared from Mary, the mother of Jesus, for fifteen years after Christ's ascension into Heaven. Thus, from Mark's view, James would be listed ahead of John as the greater of the two.

Jesus Called His Disciples Publicly- Billy Graham once noted that every person Jesus Christ called to follow Him was called publicly. 86] This is one reason why preachers give a public altar call for people to commit their lives to Him publicly.

86] Billy Graham, "Classic Sermons," Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (Charlotte, North Carolina), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

God Prospers His Servants - Did Jesus Christ cause Zebedee's business to suffer loss when He took the two sons of Zebedee from him? I believe Zebedee consented with his two sons, who gave their lives to Jesus because his wife took part in Jesus' public ministry ( Matthew 20:20; Matthew 27:56). I believe that God is always concerned about the finances of His children, and He would be concerned about the prosperity of Zebedee's business. God is a God of prosperity. I believe God prospered Zebedee, the father of James and John , for the sacrifice he made in giving his two sons to work for the Lord ( Mark 1:19-20). God delights in the prosperity of His servants ( Psalm 35:27). During my thirteen years as a missionary in Africa, I witnessed prosperity in my parents' lives. For example, my father bought and sold land that reached a value of over one million dollars through divine business encounters and impartation of wisdom. Thus, I believe Zebedee prospered as well.

Matthew 20:20, "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee"s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him."

Matthew 27:56, "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee"s children."

Psalm 35:27, "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant."

Mark 1:16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

Mark 1:17 — "and I will make you to become fishers of men" - Comments- Within the context of Mark's emphasis upon the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus' statement, "and I will make you to become fishers of men," meant that He would make His disciples preachers of the Gospel.

Mark 1:18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Mark 1:19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

Mark 1:20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Mark 1:21-34 — Jesus Preaches in Capernaum - During Jesus' first public ministry in Capernaum, Mark records a series of miracles that He performed that accompanied His preaching.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Casts Out a Demon — Mark 1:21-28

2. Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-Law — Mark 1:29-31

3. Jesus Heals the Sick & Casts Out Demons — Mark 1:32-34


Verses 14-34

Indoctrination Through Preaching and Healing - In Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34 Jesus begins to indoctrinate those who believe in Him through His public ministry of preaching and healing. This section of Mark can be divided into narrative material ( Mark 1:14 to Mark 3:35) and sermon material ( Mark 4:1-34).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Narrative: Indoctrination Through Preaching and Healing — Mark 1:14 to Mark 3:35

2. Sermon: Jesus Teaches on the Kingdom of Heaven — Mark 4:1-34


Verses 14-35

Narrative: Indoctrination Through Preaching and Healing- The message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God within Mark's Gospel is two-fold: to repent and to believe ( Mark 1:4-7; Mark 1:15), which is the basis of our justification. When the people humbly repented, they also experienced the manifold healings that accompany the preaching of the Gospel because of their faith in God, as listed in Mark 16:17-18. When some of the Jews confronted Jesus with their doubt and unbelief, Jesus responded by teaching them and working miracles through the gifts of the Holy Spirit as a testimony that His message was truly from God. Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:20 that the Father would work miracles through Him so that they may marvel. Thus, miracles are primarily for the unbelievers as a witness to the truth that is being preached.

John 5:20, "For the Father loveth the Song of Solomon , and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."

As we examine Mark's Gospel, which emphasizes the proclamation of the Gospel with signs following, we find many verses where the people marveled or feared after witnessing the miracles of Jesus Christ ( Mark 1:22; Mark 1:27; Mark 2:12; Mark 4:41; Mark 5:15; Mark 5:20; Mark 5:42; Mark 6:2; Mark 6:6; Mark 6:51; Mark 7:37).

Each book of the Holy Bible is structured in a way that reflects one aspect of our spiritual journey. The book of Mark is structured to reveal to us a journey that will take us into a lifestyle of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ with signs and wonders accompanying it, just as Jesus preached and miracles followed. This is the promise that Jesus made to His disciples in the closing verses of Mark's Gospel when Jesus said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe…" ( Mark 16:17)

Thus, upon closer examination, we see that the narrative material of Mark's Gospel alternates between Jesus preaching or teaching and with signs following. This is because the theme of Mark's Gospel is the testimony of Jesus' miracles through the preaching of the Gospel. Every evangelist desires to see miracles accompanying the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; for this is the passion of an evangelist, to see lives transformed and people healed. In fact, Mark closes his Gospel by saying, "And these signs shall follow them that believe." ( Mark 16:17) Thus, the ministry of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark is structured in this same way.

Outline: Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Begins His Preaching — Mark 1:14-20

a) Jesus Preaches Repentance & Faith — Mark 1:14-15

b) Jesus Calls Disciples — Mark 1:16-20

2. Jesus' Ministry in Capernaum — Mark 1:21-34

a) Jesus Casts Out a Demon — Mark 1:21-28

b) Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-Law — Mark 1:29-31

c) Jesus Heals the Sick & Casts Out Demons — Mark 1:32-34

3. Jesus' Ministry Throughout Galilee — Mark 1:35 to Mark 2:12

a) Jesus Preaches in Galilee — Mark 1:35-39

b) Jesus Heals a Leper — Mark 1:40-45

c) Jesus Heals a Paralytic — Mark 2:1-12

4. Jesus Faces Opposition — Mark 2:13 to Mark 3:6-17

a) Jesus Calls Levi — Mark 2:13-17

b) Jesus Teachings On Fasting — Mark 2:18-22

c) Jesus Teaches About the Sabbath — Mark 2:23-28

d) Jesus Heals Man with Withered Hand — Mark 3:1-6

5. Jesus' Ministry Grows — Mark 3:7-35

a) Jesus Heals the Multitudes — Mark 3:7-12

b) Jesus Calls the Twelve — Mark 3:13-19

c) Jesus Faces More Persecutions — Mark 3:20-30

d) Jesus' Family Comes for Him — Mark 3:31-35


Verses 14-37

The Preaching Ministry of Jesus Christ - Mark 1:14 to Mark 13:37 describes the preaching ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the miracles that accompanying the proclamation of the Gospel. His public ministry can be divided into sections that reflect God's divine plan of redemption being fulfilled in Jesus's life.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Indoctrination- The Preaching of Jesus Christ in Galilee — Mark 1:14 to Mark 4:34

2. Divine Service - Training the Twelve in Galilee — Mark 4:35 to Mark 6:13

3. Perseverance: Preaching against Man's Traditions — Mark 6:14 to Mark 7:23

4. Perseverance- Beyond Galilee — Mark 7:24 to Mark 9:50

5. Glorification- In Route to and in Jerusalem — Mark 10:1 to Mark 13:37


Verses 21-28

Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Demon ( Luke 4:31-37) - Mark 1:21-28 gives us the account of Jesus casting out an unclean spirit from a man in the synagogue. In the midst of Jesus' teaching, a miracle is performed. This event fits the theme of Mark's Gospel, which is the testimony of Jesus' miracles. These testimonies of the miracles of Jesus are presented in the context of Mark's record of Peter's preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

Mark 1:21Comments- What did Jesus Christ teach in the synagogues of Galilee? We must refer to Luke 4:16-21 to find the testimony of the message He taught.

Luke 4:16-21, "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 1:22Comments- When Jesus responded to Nicodemus with the opening phrase, "verily, verily…" in John 3:3, He offered Nicodemus the highest source of authority, which is Himself. While the Jewish rabbis often referred to the long, traditional of rabbinic authority in order to interpret the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus shifts the weight of authority from Jewish tradition to Himself, something Nicodemus would be keen to pick up because he has just told Jesus, "we know that thou art a teacher come from God…" Likewise, in the synagogues Jesus spoke with divine authority rather than teaching by rabbinic authority.

Mark 1:27"And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this" - Comments- The people asked this question because of the miracle that had just occurred while Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. This is a clear illustration of how Jesus preached and taught in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

1 Corinthians 2:4, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man"s Wisdom of Solomon , but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:"

Mark 1:28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.


Verses 29-31

Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-law ( Matthew 8:14-15, Luke 4:38-39) - Mark 1:29-31 gives us the account of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law.


Verses 32-41

Comments- Jesus touched them in the process of healing them.

Mark 1:32-34 — Jesus Heals the Multitudes ( Matthew 8:16-17, Luke 40-41) - Mark 1:32-34 gives us the account of Jesus healing the multitudes.


Verse 35

Jesus Preaches Throughout Galilee- After calling His disciples ( Mark 1:16-20), Jesus began His public ministry in Capernaum ( Mark 1:21-34). He now expands His preaching ministry to other cities in Galilee.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

a) Jesus Preaches in Galilee — Mark 1:35-39

b) Jesus Heals a Leper — Mark 1:40-45

c) Jesus Heals a Paralytic — Mark 2:1-12


Verses 35-39

Jesus Preaches and Works Miracles in Galilee ( Luke 4:42-44) - Mark 1:35-39 gives us the account of Jesus preaching the Gospel in the regions of Galilee with signs and miracles accompanying His ministry.


Verses 40-45

Jesus Heals a Leper ( Matthew 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16) - Mark 1:40-45 gives us the account of Jesus cleansing a leper.

Mark 1:45Comments- When Jesus began His ministry, He tried to keep certain matters silent, like His identity. The reason is so that He could enter a city in order to preach and heal the lepers and sick ones because of the crowds that it created. Also, note Matthew 12:15-21 for the reason. It was to fulfill a prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Mark 1:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/mark-1.html. 2013.


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Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
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