Mark Chapter 01:1-20
Memory verses for
this week: Luke 9:5 And whosoever will
not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust
from your feet for a testimony against them.
begin a new study on the Gospel this week as we study the Gospel as
written by Mark. (Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit). Mark’s
account of the Gospel is primarily the one showing the gospel in
action. Over 40 times we find the words ‘immediately’, ‘straightway’,
or ‘forthwith’. All these words are translations of the same Greek
word, ‘eutheos, showing something happening. Mark is mentioned in 12
Chapter of Acts in verse 12 when Peter was released from prison and
says that he went to the home of “Mary the mother of John, whose
surname was Mark.” John was his Jewish name, whereas Mark was his
Roman name. Perhaps no chapter is more full of information (with
possible exception of Genesis Chapter 1), than the first book of
Mark. It covers the ministry of John the Baptist after going back to
the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi. It takes in the first year’s
ministry of Jesus. It shows him busy on a Sabbath Day and ends with
the mighty work of cleansing the leper. In spite of the pressure of a
busy life, Jesus took time to pray. This chapter of crowded content
is made striking by the absence of genealogy which is so prominent in
Matthew and Luke. We have already stated why. A king must have a
genealogy. A servant needs references, not a “birth certificate.” It
is not a question as to His ancestors, rather as to His actions—can He
do the job? Jesus as a servant is marked out here by His
I. The Title
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of
The word “gospel” mean is “good news.” Never has there been
better news than when Jesus came to this earth, lived a perfect life,
died according to the scriptures, and then arose for our
justification. The title of this chapter could be “The Beginning of
the Glad Tidings about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” What peace we
that know Jesus as Lord and Savior have as we face each day of our
life. The good news of salvation begins with the historical fact of
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. It is the glad tidings that
tell us what Jesus had done for us on the cross, something that we
could never do for ourselves. If we want to enter heaven, we must
come to God through Jesus Christ. His blood and his blood alone
washes us from our sins.
II. The Ministry of
John the Baptist
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 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the
way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
All accounts of the gospel present the events connected with
Jesus’ life and ministry as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Mark quotes both Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 explaining how John had
come to do the work as the forerunner of the Messiah. John came to
prepare the way for Jesus.
Mal 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.
Isa 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 1:4 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.
John preached that men should be baptized upon repentance of
their sins. If you note verse 8 of Matthew Chapter 3, John demanded
that the people bring evidence of repentance before he baptized them.
Mat 3:8 Bring forth
therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Mat 3:9 And think
not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say
unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto
Mat 3:10 And now
also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree
which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the
Mat 3:11 I indeed
baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is
mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize
you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Many religious groups confuse the purpose of Baptism and make
it part of the salvation experience. We have many examples of people
who were saved and then requested that they be baptized. On the
cross, the thief cried out for mercy to Jesus, and He told him that
“Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The man was saved by faith
and was never baptized. We should make baptism our first act of
righteousness after we are saved. It is what places us into the
church and makes us an official member of the church.
We see that those who were baptized were baptized in the
river Jordan. Baptism was a confession that they had received
remission of sins. They were confessing that they had died to the
old nature and like Christ was raised from the dead to walk in newness
of life. Baptism is truly a picture (or image) of that which saves,
but not the real things that saves. It pictures the death, burial,
and resurrection of Jesus.
1 Pet 3:18 For
Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that
he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but
quickened by the Spirit:
1 Pet 3:19 By which
also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1 Pet 3:20 Which
sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited
in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that
is, eight souls were saved by water.
1 Pet 3:21 The like
figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting
away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience
toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1 Pet 3:22 Who is
gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and
Just as it was not the water that saved Noah and his family,
but the ark, Jesus (our ark) is the one who saves us. All who flee to
him for safety will be saved and none will perish.
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 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I
after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and
Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall
baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
John did not come in fancy clothes, but came in humble
clothing of camel’s hair and girdle of skin about his loin. His diet
consisted of locusts and wild honey. He came humbly, but he came
with a powerful message. He preached about one mightier than he that
would come. He states his own personal unworthiness in comparison to
that of Jesus. Yet Jesus said that there was none greater than John
the Baptist born of women.
Mat 11:7 And as they
departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What
went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Mat 11:8 But what
went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they
that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
Mat 11:9 But what
went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than
Mat 11:10 For this
is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy
face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Mat 11:11 Verily I
say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a
greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the
kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
When we realize how truly important John the Baptist was in
God’s eyes, it should cause us to bow our heads in shame if we try to
be exalted of our own worthiness. Without Jesus, we truly are
nothing. We are but branches, and he is the true vine. Without him,
we can’t accomplish anything. John thought so highly of Christ that
he declares that he is not even worthy to untie the shoes of Jesus.
In verse 8, he foretells how Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost.
This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:1 And when
the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in
Acts 2:2 And
suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Acts 2:3 And there
appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon
each of them.
Acts 2:4 And they
were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:5 And there
were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under
Acts 2:6 Now when
this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were
confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own
Acts 2:7 And they
were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not
all these which speak Galilaeans?
Acts 2:8 And how
hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Acts 2:9 Parthians,
and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in
Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Acts 2:10 Phrygia,
and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and
strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Acts 2:11 Cretes and
Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of
Acts 2:12 And they
were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What
III. The Baptism of
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 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the
heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Jesus appears on the banks of the Jordan River to be baptized
by John. We know that baptism could not have anything to do with
salvation or Jesus would never have partook of it since he had never
sinned. He had nothing to repent from. He did it to set an example
for you and I and to fulfill all righteousness.
John’s baptism was the voice of God to Israel, and the
believing remnant responded. It was an act of righteousness on the
part of Jesus who had become an Israelite in the flesh. He was taking
his place with the believing remnant. It is at the baptism of Jesus
that we have the first clear revelation of the divine 3-head Trinity.
The Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove on Christ, and the
voice of the Father proclaims “Thou art My Beloved Son.” Here the
three separate persons that makeup the Trinity are clearly
Mat 3:13 Then cometh
Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
Mat 3:14 But John
forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest
thou to me?
Mat 3:15 And Jesus
answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh
us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Titus 3:5 Not by
works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy
he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Titus 3:6 Which he
shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Titus 3:7 That being
justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope
of eternal life.
J. Vernon McGee said this about Christ coming to John.
Notice Mark’s headline—“JESUS CAME.” What a thrill! Jesus is coming
again someday. That’s another wonderful headline. But here, the Lord
Jesus came from the obscurity of thirty years of quiet training in
little Nazareth. He comes now and identifies Himself with the human
family in His baptism. You remember that Jesus had said to John, “…
Suffer it to be so now …” (Matt. 3:15), because John didn’t think he
should baptize Jesus.
Notice also that His name Jesus is used here. Jesus came. We
will find that it is His common name that is used in this Gospel. The
name Jesus is used more frequently in Mark than any other name.
IV. The Temptation
Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the
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
The first three accounts of the gospel place the temptation
of Jesus right after His baptism. No matter what type of spiritual
mountaintop we may achieve, be sure that Satan is waiting right around
the corner to try and trip us up. Without Christ, we are no match
for Satan. But he truly can not touch our souls once we know Christ
as Lord and Savior. But he can destroy our testimony and leave us
defeated and ineffective in this life if we are not on our guard.
It says in verse 12 that the Spirit driveth him into the
wilderness. Much is said about the wilderness in the word of God.
Israel wandered 40 years in the wilderness. John was here in
wilderness proclaiming the Gospel. Now Jesus is driven into the
wilderness. It says he was here 40 days and 40 nights. Christ was
tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin. We can’t come to
Jesus and say “You don’t understand what I am going through.” He not
only does, but went through more than you and I will ever begin to
Heb 2:17 Wherefore
in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that
he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining
to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that
he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them
that are tempted.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then
that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb 4:15 For we have
not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
Heb 4:16 Let us
therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
J. Vernon McGee points out that this was in God’s plan to see
is a word of fierceness and seriousness. The Spirit of God moved Him
right out into the wilderness that He might be tempted. This is
something that is very important for us to see. We come again to that
question: Can He do the job? Other men had failed; they couldn’t stand
up under temptation. Adam failed. Noah got through the Flood, and then
he fell miserably on his face. We saw that Abraham failed. Moses
failed—he led the children of Israel out of Egypt, but he wasn’t
permitted to enter the Promised Land. And poor David failed. So we see
that the temptation initiates Him into His work.
V. The First
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into
Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
We see that the arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist
marked the commencement of Jesus’ great Galilean ministry. Jesus’
ministry did not start until John was cast into prison. When he was
imprisoned, this was the start of Jesus’ Galilean ministry.
Jesus preached what John had preached. He preached that the
kingdom of God was near, and that the gospel was the way of salvation
to all who would come. The kingdom for which Israel had so long
looked and desired was at hand and their new King was in their
presence. Jesus tells them to repent, and ‘believe the gospel.’
Why God chose preaching of the gospel as his method to save, I do not
know. He could have had the stars declare it in writing in the
heavens. He could have it listed on every television channel of the
world. But rather, he chose the foolishness of preaching to save
those who will believe.
1 Cor 1:20 Where is
the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?
hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1 Cor 1:21 For after
that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Cor 1:22 For the
Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
1 Cor 1:23 But we
preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the
1 Cor 1:24 But unto
them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God,
and the wisdom of God.
1 Cor 1:25 Because
the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is
stronger than men.
VI. The Call of
Peter and Andrew
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 1:18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed
Mark 1:19 And when he had gone a little farther 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
Jesus did not choose the noble of the world to be His
disciples. Rather he chose the normal working man. And just like he
chose those of little acclaim, he also came to the simple man to
preach the gospel. Why didn’t he choose to come to the spiritual
leaders of the day? I think it was because they had so polluted the
word of God that they were not a help to the people. These men
didn’t argue with Jesus. It says they forsook their nets and followed
1 Cor 1:26 For ye
see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the
flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1 Cor 1:27 But God
hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and
God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things
which are mighty;
1 Cor 1:28 And base
things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen,
yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1 Cor 1:29 That no
flesh should glory in his presence.
1 Cor 1:30 But of
him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1 Cor 1:31 That,
according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the
Matthew Henry said this
about the call of Simon and Andrew.
Christ appearing as a teacher, here is next his calling of
disciples, v. 16–20. Observe, 1. Christ will have followers. If he set
up a school, he will have scholars; if he set up his standard, he will
have soldiers; if he preach, he will have hearers. He has taken an
effectual course to secure this; for all that the Father has given
him, shall, without fail, come to him. 2. The instruments Christ chose
to employ in setting up his kingdom, were the weak and foolish things
of the world; not called from the great sanhedrim, or the schools of
the rabbin, but picked up from among the tarpaulins by the sea-side,
that the excellency of the power might appear to be wholly of God, and
not at all of them. 3. Though Christ needs not the help of man, yet he
is pleased to make use of it in setting up his kingdom, that he might
deal with us not in a formidable but in a familiar way, and that in
his kingdom the nobles and governors may be of ourselves, Jer. 31:21.
4. Christ puts honour upon those who, though mean in the world, are
diligent in their business, and loving to one another; so those were,
whom Christ called. He found them employed, and employed together.
Industry and unity are good and pleasant, and there the Lord Jesus
commands the blessing, even this blessing, Follow me. 5. The business
of ministers is to fish for souls, and win them to Christ. The
children of men, in their natural condition, are lost, wander
endlessly in the great ocean of this world, and are carried down the
stream of its course and way; they are unprofitable. Like leviathan in
the waters, they play therein; and often, like the fishes of the sea,
they devour one another. Ministers, in preaching the gospel, cast the
net into the waters, Mt. 13:47. Some are enclosed and brought to
shore, but far the greater number escape. Fishermen take great pains,
and expose themselves to great perils, so do ministers; and they have
need of wisdom. If many a draught brings home nothing, yet they must
go on. 6. Those whom Christ called, must leave all, to follow him; and
by his grace he inclines them to do so. Not that we must needs go out
of the world immediately, but we must sit loose to the world, and
forsake every thing that is inconsistent with our duty to Christ, and
that cannot be kept without prejudice to our souls. Mark takes notice
of James and John, that they left not only their father (which we had
in Matthew), but the hired servants, whom perhaps they loved as their
own brethren, being their fellow-labourers and pleasant comrades; not
only relations, but companions, must be left for Christ, and old
acquaintance. Perhaps it is an intimation of their care for their
father; they did not leave him without assistance, they left the hired
servants with him. Grotius thinks it is mentioned as an evidence that
their calling was gainful to them, for it was worth while to keep
servants in pay, to help them in it, and their hands would be much
missed, and yet they left it.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: email@example.com
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be
Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible
commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.
Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file],
electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas
Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s
Commentary on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.