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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Mark 1:1

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Gospel;   Jesus Continued;   Scofield Reference Index - Gospel;   Mark;   Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Christ;   Divinity;   Divinity-Humanity;   Son;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;   John the Baptist;  
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jesus christ;   Mark, gospel of;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Evangelize, Evangelism;   God;   Gospel;   Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Matthew, the Gospel According to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Mark, the Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gospel;   Jesus Christ;   John the Baptist;   Mark, Gospel According to;   Way;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Benedictus;   Gospel;   Gospel (2);   Gospels;   Gospels (2);   John the Baptist;   Matthew, Gospel According to;   Names and Titles of Christ;   Preaching Christ;   Presence (2);   Son of God;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - New Testament;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Gospel;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Christ;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chronology of the New Testament;   Gospel;   Mark, the Gospel According to;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - New Testament;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for November 22;   Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for April 19;  
Unselected Authors

Adam Clarke Commentary

The beginning of the Gospel - It is with the utmost propriety that Mark begins the Gospel dispensation by the preaching of John the Baptist, he being the forerunner of Jesus Christ, and the first proclaimer of the incarnated Messiah. Gospel - for the meaning of the word see the preface to Matthew.

Son of God - To point out his Divine origin; and thus glancing at his miraculous conception. This was an essential character of the Messiah. See Matthew 16:16; Matthew 26:63; Luke 22:67, etc.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

15. Preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-17; John 1:19-28)

The preaching of John soon attracted opposition from the Jewish religious leaders. They sent representatives to question him and then report back on what he taught and who he claimed to be. John denied that he was promoting himself as some new leader in Israel. He did not consider himself to be either the prophet of Deu_18:15; Deu_18:18 or the 'Elijah' promised in Mal_4:5. He was only a voice calling people to turn from their sin and be baptized, and so prepare themselves to receive the Messiah. He was like a messenger sent ahead of the king to tell people to clear the way for the royal arrival (Matthew 3:1-6; Luke 3:1-6; John 1:19-23).

John commanded all people to repent, no matter who they were. Those who were descendants of Abraham were no more privileged in the eyes of God than the stones on the ground. All people, regardless of nationality, religion or social status, were to leave their selfish and sinful ways, and produce results in their daily lives that would prove their repentance to be genuine (Matthew 3:7-10; Luke 3:7-14).

Although John baptized people to show they had repented and been forgiven their past sins, his baptism gave them no power to live a pure life. It was merely a preparation for one who was far greater than John. Jesus Christ would give the Holy Spirit, which, like fire, would burn up the useless chaff of the heart, leaving the pure wheat to feed and strengthen the life (Matthew 3:11-12; Luke 3:15-17; John 1:24-28).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

The style of Mark is quick-moving and dramatic, his gospel being one of swift and vigorous action, and one of his favorite expressions being straightway. The entire first year of our Lord's ministry is presented in this first chapter. He summarized the ministry of John the Baptist (Mark 1:1-8), related the baptism of Christ (Mark 1:9-11), and recorded the temptation (Mark 1:12-13) in the first brief section of things preparatory to Jesus' ministry. He then immediately launched into his narrative of the Lord's ministry principally in the vicinity of Capernaum (Mark 1:14-4:34), the following events being related in this chapter: (1) Jesus begins to preach (Mark 1:14-15); (2) he calls four disciples (Mark 1:16-20); (3) casts an unclean spirit out of a man on the sabbath day (Mark 1:21-28); heals Simon Peter's wife's mother of a fever (Mark 1:29-31); casts out many demons (Mark 1:32-34); extends his ministry to all Galilee (Mark 1:35-39); and cleanses a leper (Mark 1:40-45). The student will observe that Mark made extensive use of the historical present, as in the above summary.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)

The gospel ... always means "the good news" in the New Testament. It is the joyful word of how men may receive the forgiveness of sins and restore the broken fellowship with God, a fellowship broken by the disaster in Eden. All kinds of collateral and tangential benefits flow out to men from the fountainhead in the gospel of Christ; but they are subordinately connected with it, the primary purpose of the gospel having ever been the redemption of men from sin and their endowment with the hope of eternal life. Social, political, and economic benefits, invariably associated with the spread of Christianity, do not appear in the New Testament as primary goals at all. This is not to decry such dividends as being in any way undesirable, but to emphasize the far greater concern for the souls' true redemption from sin.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God ... The compound title of our Lord is of heavenly origin. It was announced, evidently for the first time on earth, in the Saviour's intercessory prayer (John 17:3) and was repeatedly called the "name" which God had "given" (John 17:6,11,12,26). From this, in all probability, derived the apostolic preference for the expression, "Jesus Christ."

Son of God ... is a reference to the unique sonship of Jesus and is the equivalent of hailing him as a supernatural person and as having an equality with God. The Pharisees properly understood the implications of this expression, interpreting it as "making himself equal with God" (John 5:18).

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The beginning of the gospel - The word “gospel” literally signifies good news, and particularly the good tidings respecting the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. Some have understood the word “gospel” here to mean “history” or “life - the beginning of the history,” etc.; but Mark says nothing of the early life of the Saviour. The word “gospel” here has reference rather to the preaching of John, an account of which immediately follows, and means the beginning of the good news, or annunciation respecting the Messiah. It was very customary thus to prefix a title to a book.

The Son of God - This title was used here to attract attention, and secure the respect of those who should read the gospel. It is no common history. It does not recount the deeds of man - of a hero or a philosopher - but the doctrines and doings of the Son of God. The history, therefore, “commands” respect.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Mark 1:1.The beginning of the Gospel. Though what we have hitherto taken out of Matthew and Luke is a part of the Gospel, yet it is not without reason that Mark makes the beginning of the Gospel to be the preaching of John the Baptist. For the Law and the Prophets then came to an end, (John 1:17.) “The Law and the Prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, ” (Luke 16:16 .)And with this agrees most fully the quotation which he makes from the Prophet Malachi, (Malachi 3:1.) In order to inflame the minds of his people with a stronger desire of the promised salvation, the Lord had determined to leave them, for a time, without new prophecies. We know that the last of the true and lawful prophets was Malachi.

That the Jews, in the meantime, may not faint with hunger, he exhorts them to continue under the Law of Moses, until the promised redemption appear. He mentions the law only, (John 1:17,) because the doctrine of the Prophets was not separate from the law, but was merely an appendage and fuller exposition of it, that the form of government in the Church might depend entirely on the Law. It is no new or uncommon thing in Scripture, to include the Prophets under the name of the Law: for they were all related to it as their fountain or design. The Gospel was not an inferior appendage to the Law, but a new form of instruction, by which the former was set aside.

Malachi, distinguishing the two conditions of the Church, places the one under the Law, and commences the other with the preaching of John. He unquestionably describes the Baptist, when he says, “Behold, I send my messenger,” (Malachi 3:1 :) for, as we have already said, that passage lays down an express distinction between the Law and the new order and condition of the Church. With the same view he had said a little before, (which is quoted by Mark, [Mark 9:13;] for the passages are quite similar,) “Behold, I send you Elijah the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” (Malachi 4:5.) Again,

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,” (Malachi 3:1.)

In both passages, the Lord promises a better condition of his Church than had existed under the Law, and this unquestionably points out the beginning of the Gospel But before the Lord came to restore the Church, a forerunner or herald was to come, and announce that he was at hand. Hence we infer, that the abrogation of the Law, and the beginning of the Gospel, strictly speaking, took place when John began to preach.

The Evangelist John presents to us Christ clothed in flesh, “the Word made flesh,” (John 1:14;) so that his birth and the whole history of his appearance are included in the Gospel. But here Mark inquires, when the Gospel began to be published, and, therefore, properly begins with John, who was its first minister. And with this view the Heavenly Father chose that the life of his Son should be buried, as it were, in silence, until the time of the full revelation arrived. For it did not happen without the undoubted Providence of God, that the Evangelists leave out the whole period which Christ spent in private, and pass at once from his earliest infancy to his thirtieth year, when he was openly exhibited to the world, invested with his public character as a Redeemer; Luke excepted, who slightly touches one indication of his future calling, which occurred about his twelfth year, (Luke 2:42 .)

It had a very close connection with this object, that we should be informed, first, that Christ is a true man, (John 1:14,) and next, that he is “the Son of Abraham and of David, ”(Matthew 1:1 ;)as to both of which, the Lord has been pleased to give us an attestation. The other matters which we have examined, relating to “the shepherds, ” (Luke 2:8 ,)the “Magi,” (Matthew 2:1 ,)and “Simeon,” (Luke 2:25 ,)were intended to prove his Divinity. What Luke relates about John and his father Zacharias, (Luke 1:5 ,)was a sort of preparation for the Gospel.

There is no impropriety in the change of the person which is here made, in quoting the words of Malachi. According to the prophet, God says, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way Before Me. Mark introduces God as addressing the Son, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way Before Thee. But we see that Mark had no other intention, than to express more clearly the prophet’s meaning. Mark designates Christ the Son of God The other Evangelists testify that he was born of the seed of Abraham and David, and therefore was the Son of man, (Matthew 8:20 .)But Mark shows us, that no redemption is to be expected but from the Son of God

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Let"s turn to Mark"s gospel.

Mark was a young man when Jesus was crucified, perhaps about twelve years old. So, the gospel that he writes is considered to be the understanding that he received from listening to Peter relate the stories of Jesus Christ. Peter does call Mark his son; that would be son in the faith. And Mark was a companion of Peter through much of Peter"s ministry, and thus, heard Peter relate these stories of Jesus Christ. And so in his gospel, you have pretty much Peter"s account as written by Mark of Jesus.

There is only one part of Mark"s gospel that he probably wrote from personal experience. It"s a little insertion in the gospel of Mark that you do not find in the other gospels, and it is concerning the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Mark"s gospel tells us that there was a young boy there about twelve years old. And one of the soldiers grabbed him, but he wriggled out of his coat and left his coat in the soldier"s hand and ran home. And that is believed to be Mark"s personal account of his own experience as a little twelve-year-old boy. He happened to be there in the garden with Jesus and his disciples that night that Jesus was betrayed.

Mark"s mother"s name was Mary. She was a wealthy woman. She lived in Jerusalem and her home was a gathering place for the church. When Peter was imprisoned by Herod, the church had met in her home for that prayer meeting. And so when Peter was released by the action of the angel and came to the house and knocked on the door, and the young maiden came and saw it was Peter, and was so excited she didn"t even open the door, but ran back in and told the people, "Peter"s here." And they said, "Ah, you"ve seen a ghost." That was the home of Mark. His mother"s name was Mary, a wealthy woman who lived in Jerusalem. Her home was the gathering place for the early church.

Her brother"s name was Barnabas, and he was the companion of Paul on the first missionary journey. Mark also went with them on that first missionary journey, but Mark left them. And we don"t know why he left. There is speculation that Mark was afraid to go on into the more hostile areas of Asia, but that is only speculation. We do not know why Mark left Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey. But Paul evidently was offended by his leaving, so that when Barnabas and Paul were getting ready to leave on their second missionary journey and Barnabas wanted to take his nephew Mark along, Paul objected strenuously because of the fact that he had left the first time. And from this, the contention between Paul and Barnabas became so great that Barnabas took Mark and went off himself to the island of Cypress. And Paul took Silas and headed on out to Asia. However, this breach between Paul and Mark did not last long, for Paul makes mention of Mark being in Rome with him and ministering to his needs.

It was probably while Mark was in Rome with Paul that he wrote this gospel. It is one of the earliest gospels written, and thought to be written some time before the year sixty-three. It is thought to be written by Mark for the Romans, as he was there with Paul in Rome. Inasmuch as whenever he deals with any of the Jewish customs, he takes the time to explain it, which would not be necessary if he were writing to the Jews. But it is thought that he wrote this gospel for the Romans. Mark is brief in his style. He doesn"t go into a lot of details, but he just briefly relates the stories and he covers, therefore, a lot of territory.

Later, as Paul was writing, he asked them to send Mark to him with some of his things, because he said Mark had been such a comfort and a help to him. So, here we have the gospel according to Mark.

In the Bible, we have three beginnings. John"s gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God." Genesis 1:1 : "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." But Mark"s gospel is:

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

So, Mark does not tell us about the birth of Jesus. He leaves that for Matthew and for Luke. But Mark begins his story at the baptism of John. But this is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and so he is not going to tell us anything about the early years of Jesus, about his birth. But he starts right in with the ministry of Jesus Christ. So, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." And, being with Paul in Rome, probably he was thinking of Paul"s declaration to the Romans in his epistle to them prior to his going there, where Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation." We"ll find John referring much to the gospel. He is quoting Jesus as making reference to the gospel in many places. Mark sets out--it"s John Mark actually, Mark was his surname--he sets out Jesus as the servant. Matthew sets out Jesus as the King, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Mark emphasizes the servanthood of Jesus Christ. And so in Matthew, Jesus is the Lion; Mark, He is the servant; Luke, He is the Son of Man; and in John, He is the Son of God. These are the various aspects and the phases of Jesus" life that we see in the gospels.

As it is written in the prophets ( Mark 1:2 ),

And he begins, first of all, with a quotation from Malachi, and then he jumps to Isaiah and quotes from Isaiah. As it is written in the prophets:

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee ( Mark 1:2 ).

That"s a quotation from Malachi. It is a quotation concerning John, the forerunner of Jesus Christ. Now, quoting from Isaiah,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all of the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel"s hair, and with a girdle of skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 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. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with Holy Ghost ( Mark 1:3-8 ).

So, he briefly tells us of the ministry of John the Baptist, and he quotes the prophecies from the Old Testament that relate to the ministry of John the Baptist.

And then he tells us,

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in Jordan. And straightway [immediately] coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ( Mark 1:9-11 ).

Here again we see the three persons of the godhead as Jesus is coming up out of the water, the Spirit of God is descending upon Him and the voice of the Father declaring, "Thou art My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."

And now, he takes us from the baptism.

And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him ( Mark 1:12-13 ).

Now, Mark does not give us any of the details of the temptation of Jesus. He leaves that for the other gospel writers, Matthew and Luke.

Now after that John ( Mark 1:14 )

Do you see the brevity? He doesn"t go into details, where the other gospels give us a little bit more detail about that temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

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

Believe the good news.

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. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway [immediately] they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence [from there], he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway [immediately] he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him ( Mark 1:16-20 ).

Now as we read Mark"s gospel, because he doesn"t give us any background, it would appear that Jesus just walking along the shore of Galilee suddenly saw Peter and his brother Simon and said, "Come and follow me. I"ll make you fishers of men," and they just left their nets and followed Him. Well, that is what happened, but this isn"t the first time that they had met Jesus. This is when Jesus called them to discipleship, but they had met Jesus earlier. In fact, in the gospel of John, he tells us of their earlier meeting of Jesus. Andrew had met Jesus. And he came to Peter his brother and told him, "Hey, we have found the Messiah." And he brought his brother Peter to Jesus. And they knew Jesus; they had met Jesus. They had observed the miracles that He had done. But now, Jesus is calling them to a full commitment of discipleship. Knowing Jesus, immediately upon His call to them, they left their fishing, their nets to follow Jesus.

Notice James and John with their father Zebedee. Jesus later sort of nicknamed them the "sons of thunder." But they had hired servants. They left their father with the hired servants. So they evidently came from a well-to-do background. And so,

And they came into Capernaum [which, of course, is where Peter was living there in Capernaum]; and straightway [immediately] on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes ( Mark 1:21-22 ).

Now, when the scribes would teach the people, express an opinion as their own, they would say, "Now, Rabbi Hallel says of this that it means this or that or the other." And they were always quoting other rabbis. They would never just say flat out, "Now this is what the Lord is saying to us." They never would speak with authority. They would always in their teaching just quote the other ideas, the other thoughts, the other rabbis and what they thought this might have meant. Thus, when Jesus came, He spoke with authority.

We remember in the Sermon on the Mount He said, "You"ve heard that it hath been said by those of old time, "Thou shalt not kill," but I say unto you," and He spoke with authority. And they marveled at this kind of teaching. They weren"t use to this kind of teaching. They weren"t used to someone speaking with authority concerning the word of God. And so, they were astonished at his teaching because it wasn"t as they were used to hearing, but He spoke to them and He taught them with real authority.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God ( Mark 1:23-24 ).

James in his epistle said, "You say you believe in God, so what? That doesn"t make you a Christian. That doesn"t make you saved. For the devils believe and they fear and tremble before Him." So, just believing in God really doesn"t bring you salvation, which many people are mistaken in that. They say, "Well, I"m not an atheist; I believe in God." But that isn"t salvation. That"s just proving you"re not a fool. For it is the fool that has said in his heart, "There is no God." So you say you believe in God, then I believe you"re not a fool. But it doesn"t mean you"re saved. Salvation comes by believing into a vital relationship with Jesus Christ, a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. "But whosoever believeth into Him," into this vital life-changing relationship with Him, "shall not perish but have everlasting life."

Now, this demon crying out said, "I know Thee, whom Thou art. You"re the Holy One of God. What are you doing? You"re coming to destroy us?" He recognized the power of Jesus. He acclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God, but he wasn"t saved. It is possible for you to recognize the power of Jesus and acclaim that Jesus was the Son of God, and still not be saved. Salvation is a life-changing experience as you believe into this relationship with Jesus Christ.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him ( Mark 1:25 ).

Speaking with authority to the demon.

And when the unclean spirit [demon] had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him ( Mark 1:26 ).

Mark makes mention of many cases of exorcism by Jesus, demonstrating the power that Jesus had over these unclean spirits or demons. We"ll talk about that further when we get to the fifth chapter, in the man of Gadara.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee ( Mark 1:27-28 ).

So suddenly around the area of Galilee there"s a buzz about Jesus of Nazareth, the things that He is doing, the things that He is saying.

And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John ( Mark 1:29 ).

So, Simon and Andrew had a home there in Capernaum.

But Simon"s wife"s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. [That is, she fixed them dinner.] And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils [demons] ( Mark 1:30-32 ).

Not devils, plural, because there"s only one devil. And the word translated in Greek is demons.

And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers [different types of] diseases, and cast out many devils [demons]; and suffered not the devils to speak [he did not allow the demons to speak], because they knew Him ( Mark 1:33-34 ).

A busy day. The beginning of the ministry of Jesus. He started out in the morning with this man with an unclean spirit as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, and this man with an unclean spirit crying out and being cured. All day long they began to bring people to Him to be healed, on into the evening hours. How late we don"t know. "All the city was gathered together there at the door of Simon"s house." You"d say, "Ah, what a tough day. We better sleep in tomorrow." You"d been spiritually expended.

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed ( Mark 1:35 ).

It"s interesting that Jesus" concept of being renewed in strength and refreshed was not sleeping in, but getting out early before anyone else was up and communing with the Father. And He drew His strength from prayer. I do not know of any greater evidence of the necessity of our praying than the fact that Jesus prayed. Being the Son of God He resorted to prayer for strength, for guidance, for life itself. And if He, being the Son of God, saw the necessity of prayer, how much more do we need prayer? If He saw the need of getting up early to pray, how much more should we realize our need of prayer? How important prayer is to the spiritual life of the believer.

And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for Thee ( Mark 1:36-37 ).

So later on when they got up, Jesus was gone. But already there was a crowd of people around the door waiting. And when Simon and the others found Him, they said, "Hey, everybody is looking for You."

And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth [this is why I came]. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils [or demons] ( Mark 1:38-39 ).

And again, Mark makes note of the fact that He was casting out demons. Notice this is the fourth time that Mark makes a special emphasis upon this fact.

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and said unto him, I will [or, I am willing]; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly [sternly] charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without [had to stay out] in desert places: and they came to Him from every quarter ( Mark 1:40-45 ).

Now, Jesus was trying to have, perhaps, a little more freedom of movement. But when the news was going out the leper was cleansed and all of the healings that were being done, it got so bad that He could not come into the cities any more because of the throngs. In fact, we find Him spending a lot of His time in a little boat off shore so that they couldn"t press around Him so much. The crowds so often get unruly, pushing, shoving. And so, He would push out a little ways from shore in the boat, and there He would speak to them from the boat as they would stand on the shore. And His purpose in telling this man not to tell anybody is to give Him a little more freedom of movement, but the fellow didn"t obey and went everywhere telling everybody what had happened to him. It"s hard to keep a secret when God has worked in your life.

Now, it"s interesting, Jesus didn"t say, "Now look, I want to teach you how to witness, friend. Take this little booklet, the Four Spiritual Laws, and you go out and you take this religious survey and you ask all these questions, which opens the door. And then you say, "Well, do you know the four spiritual laws?"" You see, when God has done a marvelous work in your life, witnessing is the most natural thing in the world. How can you help but just share what God has done in your life? It"s just something that becomes so much a part of your life. That witnessing is a very natural thing, not a programmed thing, but a very natural thing. You couldn"t shut these people up. He didn"t have to have a Tuesday night witnessing night where we go out and canvas the neighborhood. God was working in the lives of the people. They were being affected and touched by that work of God and they naturally sought to share what God had done for them.

The interesting thing about this leper is, number one; his statement to Jesus, "If you are willing." Is the Lord willing to heal us? Jesus looked upon him with compassion and said, "I"m willing." The second thing is that Jesus touched him. Now, it was unlawful to touch a leper. If you touched a leper, you yourself were considered unclean for a period of time. However, Jesus touched him. But that really wasn"t unlawful, because the moment He touched him, he was cleansed. So he was no longer a leper. Immediately, he was cleansed. Jesus said, "Now go and show yourself to the priest, and offer those things which the law prescribed...go through the little ritual."

So, it is interesting to me that God, in the law, made provisions for a man who had an incurable disease, which ostracized him from society. God made provisions for that man with an incurable disease to be returned to society when he was healed of an incurable disease. But how can you be healed of an incurable disease? God made provision for Himself to work as He so desired. So this is the law for the leper in the day of his cleansing. And God, under the law, gave that law for the leper in the day of his cleansing. He come and showed himself unto the priest; he examines him and then he puts him in a house apart. And after seven days, he examines him again to see if there be any new blotches of spots for whatever. And if he is clean after the seven days, then he is to bring in this dove and they are to kill it...two doves, actually. They are to kill the one, put the blood in the basin and all, and they"re to take the live dove and dip it in this bloody water and then turn it free. And it flies away with the wings flapping of the blood and all of the dove that was killed as a sacrifice for his cleansing. And he was then cleansed and could return to society.

Interesting though, to me, that God would make provision for Him to work. Oh, let"s always give allowance for God to work. Let"s not try to put God in a box. So, leprosy is incurable. Well, give God the opportunity to work if He so desires. God left Himself room to work. And if God leaves Himself room to work, surely we ought to leave room for God to work. This is the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. That, to me, is just absolutely remarkable. I love that particular portion of the Levitical law where God made provision for Him to do a miracle. "If I want to work and heal a leper, all right, this is the law for the leper in the day of his cleansing."

It is interesting in that leprosy is always used in the scripture as a type of sin, because it was such a horrible, loathsome disease that slowly ate away. First of all, it actually doesn"t eat away, except that it destroys the nerve endings. And so, people became deformed as the result of the leprosy because they lost feeling. First it began in the extremities of their bodies, usually in their fingers or on their feet. And the first thing that leprosy does is numb your senses. It kills the nerves so you don"t feel anything. And because they can"t feel anything, pain or whatever, they"ve lost their sense of feeling. The lepers quite often have their feet gnawed away by rats, and they don"t feel it. While they are sleeping at night, the rats will just eat their feet and they don"t feel it because of the leprosy having destroyed the nerves. Or they will put their hand down on a hot plate or so, and they will burn their hands and get the gangrene and all as a result of the burns. They can"t feel it. And so the damage is done actually because they don"t have feeling. They say, "Oh, his finger dropped off." No, a leper"s finger doesn"t drop off, but because they have lost the feeling in their hands, in their fingers, many times they are burned or destroyed in other ways because of this loss of feeling.

Sin has a way of just anesthetizing a person. A loss of feeling, and slowly you"re destroyed. It"s incurable, except by a divine work of God. And so Jesus said, "I"m willing; be thou clean, go. Show yourself to the priest." "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A. The title of the book1:1 (cf. Luke 3:1-2)

Mark may have intended this sentence to introduce the ministry of John the Baptist since that is what follows immediately. It could also refer to the inception of Jesus" public ministry and therefore be a title of the Gospel"s introduction ( Mark 1:1-13). It seems more probable, however, that this verse is a title for the whole book. It summarizes Mark"s whole Gospel. Incidentally the New Testament never uses the word "Gospel" to describe a book of the Bible. That is a more recent use of the word.

"The term "gospel" or "evangel" was not a word first coined among the Christians. On the contrary, the concept was significant both in pagan and Jewish culture. Among the Romans it meant "joyful tidings" and was associated with the cult of the emperor, whose birthday, attainment to majority and accession to power were celebrated as festival occasions for the whole world. The reports of such festivals were called "evangels" in the inscriptions and papyri of the Imperial Age." [Note: Ibid, pp42-43.]

Possibly Mark began his Gospel as he did to recall the opening verse of Genesis. The good news about Jesus Christ provides a beginning of as great significance as the creation of the cosmos. When Jesus" came to earth and began His ministry, God created something new. This Gospel presents a new beginning in which God revealed good news about Jesus Christ. Thus this title might be a clue to the divine origin of the second Gospel.

"In Galatians 4:4-6, Paul viewed the gospel story as in two parts, God"s sending "his Son" and the sending to "the Spirit of his Son." Mark covers the first of these two sendings. The full apostolic message also included the sending of the Holy Spirit. But the story of the sending of the Son of God had its historical beginning with the coming of John the forerunner." [Note: D. Edmond Hiebert, Mark: A Portrait of the Servant, p27]

The word "gospel" is the modern equivalent of the old English "god-spel" meaning good news. The Greek word is euangelion. The gospel is the good news that God has provided eternal salvation through the ministry of Jesus Christ (cf. Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 41:27; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 61:1-3; Romans 1:16). This term is important in the theological emphasis of Mark"s narrative (cf. Mark 1:14-15; Mark 8:35; Mark 10:29; Mark 13:9-10; Mark 14:9).

""The Gospel is neither a discussion nor a debate," said Dr. Paul S. Rees. "It is an announcement!"" [Note: Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, 1:110.]

The word "gospel" also describes a certain type of literature, a literary genre. Gospel literature is not just history or biography. It is "preaching materials, designed to tell the story of God"s saving action in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth." [Note: R. P. Martin, Mark: Evangelist and Theologian, p21.] Mark"s Gospel contains the good news that the early Christians preached (cf. Acts 2:36). [Note: C. F. D. Moule, The Gospel According to Mark, p8.]

"Mark does not write as a disinterested historian. He writes as a preacher conveying God"s good news of salvation by emphasizing Jesus" saving ministry ... Mark also writes as a theologian, arranging and interpreting the tradition to meet the needs of his hearers." [Note: Wessel, p611.]

Jesus Christ is the subject of this gospel (objective genitive). He is also the source of it (subjective genitive). Probably the former meaning is what Mark had in mind here. He seems to have wanted to provide an account of Jesus" ministry so his readers could have a factual basis for their understanding of the gospel they had believed.

"Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew "Joshua" meaning "Yahweh is salvation" or "salvation of Yahweh." "Christ" transliterates the Greek word kristos that means "anointed." The Hebrew word for "anointed" is mesiah from which we get "Messiah." By the time Mark wrote his Gospel, "Jesus Christ" had become a proper name, not a name (Jesus) and a title (Christ), the original meanings of these words. However, Mark intended "Christ" to have its full titular meaning as well (cf. Mark 8:29; Mark 12:35; Mark 14:61; Mark 15:32).

Mark further identified Jesus Christ as the "Son of God." This title does not appear is some important early manuscripts of Mark, but it is probably legitimate. [Note: See Carson and Moo, p187.] It expresses Jesus" unique relationship to God and identifies an important theme in the second Gospel (cf. Mark 1:11; Mark 3:11; Mark 5:7; Mark 9:7; Mark 12:6; Mark 13:32; Mark 14:36; Mark 14:61; Mark 15:39). The title is messianic, but it connotes a subordinate relationship to God. Mark presented Jesus as the Servant of God particularly in this book. Rather than recording a nativity narrative that showed that Jesus was the Son of God, Mark simply stated that fact with this title. [Note: See Herbert W. Bateman IV, "Defining the Titles "Christ" and "Son of God" in Mark"s Narrative Presentation of Jesus," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society50:3 (September2007):537-59.]

". . . from the start the narrator of Mark"s story establishes with the reader a relationship of confidence by divulging the secret of Jesus" identity long before it becomes known to characters in the story, for the first line is an aside to the reader revealing that Jesus is the anointed one, the son of God. This technique puts the reader on the inside, among those who know, and enables the reader to understand more than many of the characters in the drama understand. This technique is an important foundation in this story which is concerned with what is hidden and what is secret." [Note: David M. Rhoads and Donald M. Michie, Mark as Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel, p41.]

"The Gospel is not a mystery story in which the identity of the main character has to be guessed; from the outset it is made clear who this Isaiah -the Son of God." [Note: E. Best, The Temptation and the Passion, p168.]

Taken together "Jesus," "Christ," and "Son of God" present Jesus as a man who was God"s special agent but who was also fully divine.

"The superscription refers to Jesus as "the anointed one, the son of God." At the end of the first half of the story, Peter acknowledges Jesus as "the anointed one" [ Mark 8:29] and at the end of Jesus" life the centurion identifies Jesus as "son of God" [ Mark 15:39]. The first half of the gospel emphasizes the authority of Jesus to do acts of power. The second half emphasizes the suffering of Jesus in filial obedience to God. Although the characterization of Jesus is consistent throughout, there appears, nevertheless, a clear development in the portrayal of Jesus from one half of the gospel to the next. In the first step, he serves with power; in the second, he serves as the one who suffers. Throughout the style and the structure of episodes the two-step progressions prepare the reader to be drawn more readily into seeing this larger second step and accepting this clearer, more precise understanding of Jesus." [Note: Rhoads and Michie, pp48-49.]

"In the gospel story he narrates, Mark tells, of course, of Jesus. Intertwined with the story of Jesus, however, are two other story lines: that of the religious authorities and that of the disciples." [Note: Kingsbury, p. vii.]

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable


This opening section of the book sets the stage for the presentation of Jesus Christ as the unique Servant of the Lord. Mark omitted references to Jesus" birth and youth. These subjects are irrelevant when presenting the life of a servant.

"The accent falls upon the disclosure that Jesus is the Messiah, the very Son of God, whose mission is to affirm his sonship in the wilderness. His encounter with Satan provides the background for the delineation of the conflict between the Son of God and the forces of Satan which is so prominent an element in the Marcan narrative of Jesus" ministry." [Note: Lane, p40.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,.... Not that the Gospel first began to be preached at this time, for it was preached by Isaiah, and other prophets before; and long before that, was preached unto Abraham; yea, it was preached as early as the times of our first parents, in Eden's garden; and is indeed that mystery, which was hid in God before the creation of the world; and was ordained before that was, to the glory of the saints: but the sense is, that this narrative Mark was about to write, began with the ministry of John the Baptist, and of Christ; which was a Gospel one, and was the beginning of the Gospel dispensation, in distinction from the legal one: the law and the prophets were until John, and they ceased and ended in him; when the עולם הבא, "the world to come", the kingdom of God, or Gospel state, took place. The design of this evangelist, is not to give an account of the genealogy of Christ, of his conception and birth, of what befell him in his infancy, or of any actions and sayings of his from thence, to his appearance in Israel; but to give an account of his ministry and miracles, sufferings and death: which is introduced with the preaching and baptism of John his forerunner, and which he chiefly intends by "the beginning of the Gospel": he first points out Christ, who is the author and substance, as well as the great preacher of the Gospel; the sum of which is, that he is Jesus, the Saviour and Redeemer of lost sinners; the Christ, the Messiah, that was to come; the Mediator between God and man, the prophet that has declared the whole mind and will of God; the great high priest, who has offered himself a sacrifice for his people, made peace, procured pardon, brought in everlasting righteousness, and obtained eternal redemption, and now lives to make intercession for them; and King of saints, who reigns over them, protects and defends them, and is no other than

the Son of God; equal with his Father; of the same nature with him, possessed of the same perfections, and enjoying the same glory; and which is a grand article of the Gospel, and without which he could not be an able Saviour, nor the true Messiah. Mark begins his account of the Gospel, and which he calls the beginning of it, with the same article of the divine sonship of Christ, as the Apostle Paul began his ministry with, Acts 9:20. Matthew began his Gospel with the humanity, Mark with the divinity of Christ: the one calls him the son of David, the other the Son of God, both true: Christ is the son of David according to his human nature, the Son of God according to his divine nature; so a testimony is bore to the truth of both his natures, which are united in one person.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Mark 1:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Ministry of John the Baptist.

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judæ a, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 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 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. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

We may observe here,

I. What the New Testament is--the divine testament, to which we adhere above all that is human the new testament, which we advance above that which was old. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, Mark 1:1. 1. It is gospel it is God's word, and is faithful and true see Rev. xix. 9 xxi. 5 xxii. 6. It is a good word, and well worthy of all acceptation it brings us glad tidings. 2. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the anointed Saviour, the Messiah promised and expected. The foregoing gospel began with the generation of Jesus Christ--that was but preliminary, this comes immediately to the business--the gospel of Christ. It is called his, not only because he is the Author of it, and it comes from him, but because he is the Subject of it, and it treats wholly concerning him. 3. This Jesus is the Son of God. That truth is the foundation on which the gospel is built, and which it is written to demonstrate for is Jesus be not the Son of God, our faith is vain.

II. What the reference of the New Testament is to the Old, and its coherence with it. The gospel of Jesus Christ begins, and so we shall find it goes on, just as it is written in the prophets (Mark 1:2) for it saith no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said should come (Acts 26:22), which was most proper and powerful for the conviction of the Jews, who believed the Old-Testament prophets to be sent of God and ought to have evidenced that they did so by welcoming the accomplishment of their prophecies in its season but it is of use to us all, for the confirmation of our faith both in the Old Testament and in the New, for the exact harmony that there is between both shows that they both have the same divine original.

Quotations are here borrowed from two prophecies--that of Isaiah, which was the longest, and that of Malachi, which was the latest (and there were above three hundred years between them), both of whom spoke to the same purport concerning the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the ministry of John.

1. Malachi, in whom we had the Old-Testament farewell, spoke very plainly (Malachi 3:1) concerning John Baptist, who was to give the New-Testament welcome. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Mark 1:2. Christ himself had taken notice of this, and applied it to John (Matthew 11:10), who was God's messenger, sent to prepare Christ's way.

2. Isaiah, the most evangelical of all the prophets, begins the evangelical part of his prophecy with this, which points to the beginning of the gospel of Christ (Isaiah 40:3) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Mark 1:3. Matthew had taken notice of this, and applied it to John, Matthew 3:3. But from these two put together here, we may observe, (1.) That Christ, in his gospel, comes among us, bringing with him a treasure of grace, and a sceptre of government. (2.) Such is the corruption of the world, that there is something to do to make room for him, and to remove that which gives not only obstruction, but opposition to his progress. (3.) When God sent his Son into the world, he took care, and when he sends him into the heart, he takes care, effectual care, to prepare his way before him for the designs of his grace shall not be frustrated nor may any expect the comforts of that grace, but such as, by conviction of sin and humiliation for it, are prepared for those comforts, and disposed to receive them. (4.) When the paths that were crooked, are made straight (the mistakes of the judgment rectified, and the crooked ways of the affections), then way is made for Christ's comforts. (5.) It is in a wilderness, for such this world is, that Christ's way is prepared, and theirs that follow him, like that which Israel passed through to Canaan. (6.) The messengers of conviction and terror, that come to prepare Christ's way, are God's messengers, whom he sends and will own, and must be received as such. (7.) They that are sent to prepare the way of the Lord, in such a vast howling wilderness as this is, have need to cry aloud, and not spare, and to lift up their voice like a trumpet.

III. What the beginning of the New Testament was. The gospel began in John Baptist for the law and the prophets were, until John, the only divine revelation, but then the kingdom of God began to be preached, Luke 16:16. Peter begins from the baptism of John, Acts 1:22. The gospel did not begin so soon as the birth of Christ, for he took time to increase in wisdom and stature, not so late as his entering upon his public ministry, but half a year before, when John began to preach the same doctrine that Christ afterward preached. His baptism was the dawning of the gospel day for,

1. In John's way of living there was the beginning of a gospel spirit for it bespoke great self-denial, mortification of the flesh, a holy contempt of the world, and nonconformity to it, which may truly be called the beginning of the gospel of Christ in any soul, Mark 1:6. He was clothed with camels' hair, not with soft raiment was girt, not with a golden, but with a leathern girdle and, in contempt of dainties and delicate things, his meat was locusts and wild honey. Note, The more we sit loose to the body, and live above the world, the better we are prepared for Jesus Christ.

2. In John's preaching and baptizing there was the beginning of the gospel doctrines and ordinances, and the first fruits of them. (1.) He preached the remission of sins, which is the great gospel privilege showed people their need of it, that they were undone without it, and that it might be obtained. (2.) He preached repentance, in order to it he told people that there must be a renovation of their hearts and a reformation of their lives, that they must forsake their sins and turn to God, and upon those terms and no other, their sins should be forgiven. Repentance for the remission of sins, was what the apostles were commissioned to preach to all nations, Luke 24:27. (3.) He preached Christ, and directed his hearers to expect him speedily to appear, and to expect great things from him. The preaching of Christ is pure gospel, and that was John Baptist's preaching, Mark 1:7,8. Like a true gospel minister, he preaches, [1.] The great pre-eminence Christ is advanced to so high, so great, is Christ, that John, though one of the greatest that was born of women, thinks himself unworthy to be employed in the meanest office about him, even to stoop down, and untie his shoes. Thus industrious is he to give honour to him, and to bring others to do so too. [2.] The great power Christ is invested with He comes after me in time, but he is mightier than I, mightier than the mighty ones of the earth, for he is able to baptize with the Holy Ghost he can give the Spirit of God, and by him govern the spirits of men. [3.] The great promise Christ makes in his gospel to those who have repented, and have had their sins forgiven them They shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, shall be purified by his graces, and refreshed by his comforts. And, lastly, All those who received his doctrine, and submitted to his institution, he baptized with water, as the manner of the Jews was to admit proselytes, in token of their cleansing themselves by repentance and reformation (which were the duties required), and of God's cleansing them both by remission and by sanctification, which were the blessings promised. Now this was afterward to be advanced into a gospel ordinance, which John's using it was a preface to.

3. In the success of John's preaching, and the disciples he admitted by baptism, there was the beginning of a gospel church. He baptized in the wilderness, and declined going into the cities but there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, inhabitants both of city and country, families of them, and were all baptized of him. They entered themselves his disciples, and bound themselves to his discipline in token of which, they confessed their sins he admitted them his disciples, in token of which, he baptized them. Here were the stamina of the gospel church, the dew of its youth from the womb of the morning, Psalm 110:3. Many of these afterward became followers of Christ, and preachers of his gospel, and this grain of mustard-seed became a tree.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Mark 1:1". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.