WELCOME TO THE GOSPEL OF MARK
In chapter one there are three main points that stood out to me. Throughout this study we will dig into these points and discover why they are so important.
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
We start out in the gospel of Mark with John the Baptist pathing the way for Christ. This was foreseen by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:3 saying that a voice would cry out in the wilderness to path the way for the Lord
Let’s take a look at verse 3 where it says, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” John was preparing the hearts of those around him so that they would be ready for Jesus’ message. This is what our mission and our purpose is for. We are meant toprepare the hearts of others so that they may hear the truth of our Father. John prepared the hearts of those he met by teaching what Jesus would do for man-kind. In verse 8 John explains that he baptizes people with water, but Christ would baptize them/us with the Holy Spirit. John was telling the people that Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. Through Christ all things are made new.
The Baptism of Jesus
Jesus came from Nazareth to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. This act of Jesus being baptized is an example of how we should express our faith. We should not be afraid to proclaim that Jesus is Lord. The cool part about all of this is when Jesus comes up from the water the heavens opened. In verse 10-11 you can see for the first time the Holy Trinity together. The Spirit descended on Jesus like adovewhile a voice from the sky proclaimed that Jesus was the beloved Son. This is a very important picture to keep close. When we are baptized we are filled with the Holy Spirit, which brings us closer to God.
I remember the day I was baptized after rededicating my life to Christ. I was so nervous. The type of nervous you get when you know something good is about to happen. I remember the words said like it was yesterday, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” When I came up from the water I felt brand new. I knew that with God on my side nothing is impossible. This is what Jesus wants us to feel like.
The Temptation of Jesus and the Beginning of His Ministry
Mark uses the word immediately to explain that Jesus went from being so close and wrapped up in the security of God to being tempted by the enemy. Jesus was out by Himself being tempted by Satan the way we are each day. What is so awesome is that angels were there to minister to Jesus throughout this whole thing. This is a perfect example of what actually happens to us as well. We are all challenged by the enemy at times, but we also have the Word of God to help us turn away and shine our light. We have our church community to help keep us accountable. We also have prayer and just talking to God to help us through our lives. Jesus went through the same things we go through so that He may understand our struggles. Through this we are able to have that real life, raw, beautiful relationship with Christ.
Mark then moves on to explain the beginning on Jesus’ ministry. Jesus proclaimed in verse 15 was is to come for the world. Jesus explains that the kingdom of God is near and that we should prepare our hearts for that time. This is why there is the saying “Live everyday like it is your last.” We are never promised tomorrow so preparing our hearts and helping impact others is what our mission should be each day.
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
Through verses 16-20 Mark describes the calling of the first disciples. These men were fishermen. Simon, Andrew, James, and John left everything they had ever known to help spread the truth to the world. Jesus tells them to go out and fish for men, to go out and make disciples. These men showed faith. Think about it for a second. They must have been terrified to leave their home to go out of their comfort zone to live for Christ. That is what we must do as well.
LIVE FOR CHRIST, NOT FOR OUR COMFORT ZONES.
Jesus Heals Unclean Spirits and Sickness
The first of the three main miracles that are mentioned in chapter one that Jesus performs begins with speaking out a demon from inside a man. I find it very important to note that the very first miracle that Jesus performed was silencing the enemy. This portrays the ending where Christ will reign over all the earth and all who are here, even those who are with the enemy. What also surprises me about this first miracle is that while others whisper to figure out who Jesus might be, the enemy called out His name and knew that Jesus is the Son of God. Just saying…my best friend Jesus is AWESOME!
The second miracle that Jesus does is to heal the sick. Jesus was sent here to heal the broken and the sick. For Simon’s mother-in-law to have a fever one second and then up and serving the group must have been a sight. I’m not going to lie, I would have definitely been a little freaked out if this happened to my mom. Then again, I would have also been amazed that I was seeing the work of Jesus being done. It is amazing how powerful Jesus is. He can heal the sick in a second and he can also command the enemy to be silent. OUR GOD IS SO POWERFUL.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
There are two things that I take away from verses 35-39: 1) Jesus goes to a private place where it is just Him and God to talk and grow their relationship and 2) Jesus explains to the disciples what He is on earth for. When Jesus disappears into the dark to talk to God it made me think, ARE WE TALKING TO GOD IN PRIVATE LIKE WE DO IN PUBLIC? I know that sounds backwards, but you can’t go and have an impact with changing your world if you can’t be vulnerable in the private of your room with God. This is what Jesus was doing. He was being vulnerable even after doing miracles in public. He only wanted to be alone with God. When the disciples came to find Jesus, He told them that they must move to the next town because He came to preach of His Fathers love. In Isaiah 61:1 it explains what Jesus was sent for. He was meant to bring the good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and tobreak the chains of those who are bound. JESUS CAME TO SAVE US.
Jesus Cleanses the Leper
The third miracle mentioned in chapter one was the cleansing of the leper. The leper resembles faith. Even though he was not sure that Jesus was coming, or if Jesus could heal him, the leper went out into the open and just had faith Jesus could do what the leper had heard Jesus could do. Do we have that kind of faith? WE HAVE TO GET TO A PLACE IN OUR FAITH WHERE WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE AND EVERYTHING TO GAIN BY SPREADING THE WORD OF GOD.
Now later on in the story Jesus tells the now cleansed leper to go and tell the priest about what had happened giving the offering that was commanded by Moses for a cleanse (The laws of the cleanse are in Leviticus 14:2-32 if it tickles your fancy to read about it. It is pretty interesting if you do decide to read it). This was so that not only the cleanse would be seen as officially, but it was meant that there would be no question of what Jesus was really doing. The man didn’t listen and it ended up pushing Jesus out into the outskirts of town because of people coming to Him. Think of it as a celebrity getting away from fans and paparazzi.
Chapter one of Mark allows us to understand why we need to prepare our hearts so we can help others find Jesus. Jesus spent His life preaching and spreading the truth of His Father. Why not us?
Prayer for Chapter One:
God help me be more like you. Help me prepare my heart for what You have planned for me. I pray that I may have the faith to leave the things of my world to help impact the world. I pray that You can use me to go out and make disciples as Christ instructed for me to do.