Introduction: The Mark who wrote this Gospel was John Mark, the son of a widow named Mary, in whose house the church in Jerusalem sometimes gathered.
According to the early church fathers, Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome just before or just after Peter’s martyrdom. Most Bible scholars are convinced that Mark was the earliest Gospel and served as one of the sources for Matthew and Luke. Mark’s Gospel is written to the Gentiles in Rome and portrays Jesus as the servant, always giving of Himself.
The Forerunner of the Servant
Verse 1 – The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
While the other Gospels portray Jesus as the Son of Man, Mark mostly uses, the “Son of God.” The reason being, that there were many gods in Rome that people worshiped and he was mainly writing to the Gentiles living in Rome.
Verse 2 – As it is written in the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.”
Jesus came at a time in history when everything was relatively peaceful under Roman rule. There had been no God-sent prophets for 400 years, since the days of Malachi.
Verse 3 – “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD, make His paths straight (Isaiah 40:3).
Verse 4 – John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
In John’s ministry, baptizing was a way of showing that a person had decided to change their life. John took a known custom and gave it new meaning. The Jews often baptized non-Jews who had been converted to Judaism. The early church took baptism even a step further, to association it with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
Verse 5 – And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
John prepared people to accept Jesus as God’s Son.
Verse 6 – Now John was clothed with Camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
Verse 7 – And he preached saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.
Verse 8 – “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Verses 7 and 8, are not mentioned in Matthew nor John, but is mentioned with some varying circumstances by Luke.
This saying, “baptizing with the Holy Spirit” was very new to the listeners. The water baptism of repentance for sin, was the beginning of a Spirit filled life. Through the spirit, we are transformed by His power to live for Jesus.
Verse 9 – It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Verse 10 – And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the spirit descending upon Him like a dove.
If John’s baptism was for repentance for sin, then why was Jesus baptized? Jesus did this to give us an example to follow. We know that there was a difference between John’s baptism and the Christian baptism in the church because Paul had John’s followers baptized again (Acts 19:2-5).
Verse 11 – Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
This verse shows the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The Temptation of Jesus
Verse 12 – And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
Verse 13 – And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
Being with wild beasts is only mentioned in Mark, perhaps to show how remote this area was. When we go through temptations and the turmoil they bring, remember how Jesus fought back, through God’s written Word. To be tempted is not a sin. Tempting others or giving in to it, is the sin. Jesus had to be tempted by Satan to know every temptation known to man. So when we think Jesus doesn’t know how we feel, think again. He was already there, and knows exactly what we are going through.
Verse 14 – Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Verse 15 – and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
The “time is fulfilled.” This was the appointed time for sending the Messiah to preach God’s kingdom. Everything that is done is according to a plan laid out by divine wisdom. Jesus was born and showed up exactly when God designed it. Jesus established the kingdom of grace and begins with repentance of sin.
Verse 16 – And as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
Verse 17 – Then Jesus said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Verse 18 – And immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
In Mark’s gospel, he shows the authority Jesus had when He just simply said, “Come.”
Verse 19 – When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; who also were in the boat mending their nets.
So Jesus has four fishermen, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
Verse 20 – And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.
Did you notice they didn’t hesitate to Jesus calling? So why should we?
Verse 21 – Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.
Verse 22 – And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Verse 23 – Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
Verse 24 – saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”
Did you notice the unclean spirit said, “Let us, and what have to do with You?” There was more than one demon in this man. However, they recognized and knew who Jesus was immediately, so why are people so blinded when Jesus shows up on the scene?
Verse 25 – But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
Verse 26 – And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.
Verse 27 – Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey Him.”
Verse 28 – And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
Peter’s Mother-in-Law Is Healed
Verse 29 – Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Verse 30 – But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
I wonder how Peter’s wife and family survived after Peter went with Jesus? Maybe the rest of the extended family stepped in.
Verse 31 – So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus spoke to the fever. With each account, the writer chooses to emphasize different details of each story, so there is no contradiction in the gospels.
Verse 32 – Now at evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.
Evidently, the demons had been running rampant before Jesus came.
Verse 33 – And the whole city was gathered together at the door.
Verse 34 – Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
By commanding the demons to be silent, Jesus proved He had the authority and power over them. Jesus wanted the people to know He was the Messiah because of what “He” said, not what the demons said.
Verse 35 – Now in the morning, having risen long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
This is another example for us to follow. Start your day with prayer, and that way you will be prepared for what comes.
Verse 36 – And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.
Verse 37 – When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
Verse 38 – But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Jesus didn’t stay in one place).
Verse 39 – And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.
There was no time to sit idle by while souls were perishing for lack of knowledge. If only we had this same zeal that Christ had.
A Leper Is Cleansed
Verse 40 – Then a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing. You can make me clean.”
Today I hear people changing this to, “If it be Your will…” The leper fell down on his knees to show humility and appealing to Jesus’ love, the man was fully convinced of His ability. Our Lord is always willing to do what He is perfectly capable of doing.
Verse 41 – And Jesus, moved with compassion, put out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
Verse 42 – As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
Verse 43 – And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once.
Verse 44 – And He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Keep in mind they were still under the Law of Moses.)
Verse 45 – But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every quarter.
The Son of Man sowed the seed of the harvest. Multitudes of Jews were converted by the preaching of the Gospel; and the first Christian Church was founded at Jerusalem.