Here is a series on the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ, and this series is titled as Jesus’ Ministry. Here we will be studying the Gospel of Mark as this gospel clearly answers the question: ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ So, today we will look into the introduction of this Gospel.
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
The word ‘good news’ means ‘the gospel’ but this is not just any good news. The gospel is the good news that Almighty God, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God came to earth as a man and He also lived among us a sinless human. Jesus voluntarily went to the cross and shed his blood in our place. However, the crucified Jesus was buried and he rose from the grave on the third day. Jesus then ascended back to heaven and He is now interceding for us. All men and women who put their faith and trust in Him and what he did for us have their sins forgiven by God and are set on the way to heaven for eternity. That is the good news and that is the gospel.
This little book of the NT opens with the words
The beginning of the good news or gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, as far as the gospel is concerned I do not think this is the beginning. Even before this world was ever created, before Adam was even placed on this planet, God in his great omniscience knew that a day would come when Adam would sin and that man would become estranged from God. So before this world was ever created the plan of the gospel was with God.
Then the gospel was preached there in the Garden of Eden when God himself promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, speaking of Jesus. The gospel was preached throughout the OT. Every time a little lamb was sacrificed there in the temple of God was a picture of Jesus Christ and the good news that He was coming.
So when Mark says ‘the beginning of the good news of Jesus’, this is very clear, it is about begining of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as He begins to live out that earthly ministry which would culminate in his crucifixion and resurrection.
Mark is one of the first gospels to be written. Remember Mark is not among the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, but Mark was an NT minister. He ministered with Peter, Paul, and Barnabas but they are all now getting old. It was time where the church is persecuted, the first disciples are getting old, and there is an urgency to show who Jesus is at least in some written format So Mark writes his gospel.
1The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” 3“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
Mark is beginning by presenting the forerunner of Jesus quoting from the OT books of Malachi and Isaiah and we also know who he is speaking about, he is speaking about John the Baptist. Some of his audience has seen John and Mark also beautifully brings John to the scene to present Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist prepares the Way
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
So John appears in the scene. He is there in the wilderness. Now this is not the dreadful wilderness without population. This is the Jordan valley. There were little towns and cities there, but John was outside in the wilderness in the great open spaces.
The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
There was John in the Jordan River and he was preaching about sin, judgment, and salvation. The Bible also tells us that John was a man who was rough in his appearance and ate simple food. John is slowly introducing Jesus and his Good News.
7And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Now John has great multitudes coming to him. He is preaching and baptizing. The baptism of John is identified as the baptism of repentance. This was a baptism which asked people to repent of their sins. John was preaching that there was one coming who would take care of their sins.
See John was preparing people to repent but he taught that Jesus can only wash way our sins. So his message not only spoke of repentance but he was teaching that the pictures provided in the OT in the tabernacle and the temple were pictures that someone would come to take their sins. They were to understand that the law was given not to bring righteousness but to show them that they were sinners and bring them to Jesus Christ who could save them.
So as John preached many of the people heard his preaching and were convicted. They acknowledged that they were sinners and were baptized. This is the baptism of repentance but this baptism did not save them. So, this pointed to Jesus Christ who could forgive their sins and save them.
The Baptism and Testing of Jesus.
As John was preaching and baptizing, Jesus comes into the scene.
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
When we meet Jesus in Mark 1, we do not meet him in Bethlehem, nor do we meet him in his youth at the temple as the other gospels portray Jesus. Jesus’ childhood is important but Mark introduces Jesus when he is about 30 years of age.
Jesus was about to embark on himself on 3-1/2 years of journey of deprivation, difficulty, suffering, and pain. As Jesus was about to step out onto that stage, the Father gave him verbally a voice which he could hear, a testimony of encouragement:
10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark then takes us to the wilderness of Jesus. The Holy Spirit began to empower Jesus and drives him into the wilderness.
Jesus was in the wilderness already, because John was baptizing in the wilderness down by the Jordan, but the wilderness to which the Holy Spirit took Jesus was much more remote. It was a rugged, hot, dry place with rugged mountains.
12At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
You will think a man might be harmed in those kinds of circumstances, we know how some animals are. I think when those wild animals came around, they sensed that this was their creator and so they did not attack him, they did not destroy him. Oh! But there was someone else waiting to attack Jesus. Satan was there, much worse than any of the wild animals. When the wild animals recognized their maker, satan tried to use this opportunity to destroy Jesus.
Now it was impossible for Jesus to be tempted as God, but the devil thought he could tempt Jesus as a man. This is Lucifer who at one time had said, “I will ascend above God.” Now Jesus was weak in his body, all alone, no one to comfort him, without food for 40 days and satan thought he could defeat Jesus as he was all alone in this world.
At the end of the 40 days, Jesus had victory over Satan, so here Jesus was in man form, and yet he was victorious. Therefore, his gives us hope that we too can be victorious over Satan and his forces. But what was the resource that Jesus used?
The blessed Holy Spirit came upon Jesus on baptism. You and I have the Holy Spirit available to us today to give us victorious Christian lives.
b. Word of God.
Jesus lived his life among us victoriously through the Word of God. Jesus used the Word of God against the devil. You and I have the Word given by God today.
Prayer was a constant part of Jesus’ life. I believe Jesus would have prayed these 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus had victory through prayer.
Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has at his disposal all 3 of those today to live victoriously in this world. I do not know what temptations you are falling prey to. I do not know where you are facing defeat. But you and I can be victorious if we follow the model of Jesus Christ our Lord. You may be all lone fighting your battle, but do not worry you can still be victorious. Follow the Holy Spirit, read the Word, and pray to God then you will be successful right where you are in the way God wants you to be.
After showing us the temptation of Jesus, Mark moves fast in presenting Jesus Christ and the Good News.
Jesus Announces the Good News
14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The time has come. The time for Jesus to start his ministry has come. Men had repented of their sins and made their hearts ready at the preaching of John and, Now Jesus is telling believe in me for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will be part of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus then calls 4 of his disciples: Simon, Andrew, James, and John and they left immediately what they were doing with their nets and they followed him. There was nothing for them to think; they immediately followed Jesus.
After beautifully bringing Jesus to the scene Mark now proceeds to show us a glimpse of Jesus as to who he is right in chapter 1.
The authority of Jesus
Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum. On the Sabbath day he went to the synagogue and taught.
21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
a. Jesus has authority over the Word.
They were astonished at his doctrine. Jesus opened the Word of God in the synagogue and he taught them with authority, not as the scribes. When Jesus opened the Word of God he did not please people, he did not please the rabbis. Jesus, himself the Word in flesh, opened the written scriptures of the OT and he preached to them the gospel out of the OT prophesies. He preached to them the Messiah who would come. The people were astonished because of his authority and preaching that day. Jesus is a man with authority, authority over the Word.
In the synagogue was a man who was possessed of a demon with an unclean spirit. This unclean spirit said:
24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
b. Jesus has authority over the demon world.
Jesus showed authority over the demons.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
The people saw him teaching with authority and now all of a sudden they see that he has authority even over the demon world and they are saying what kind of man is this?
After a while Jesus went with James and John into the house of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a terrible fever.
Now imagine the scene with me. Jesus and these 4 disciples have gone to this house where Peter and Andrew have been living in Capernaum on the shores there as they worked as a fisherman. I can imagine as they sat around with the other people in the house that perhaps they were saying quietly to themselves, “You saw what just happened in the synagogue? Should we tell Jesus about Peter’s mother-in-law? She is sick with a high fever, very dangerous for her age and health. She may die. Should we tell him?”
Finally, they did. Jesus went in where she was lying on the bed because she could not be up. She had all the symptoms which go with the terrible fever. Jesus lifted her up and before it was over she had gotten up. She went into the rest of the house and joined in serving Jesus and these disciples and also she now has none of the symptoms which would follow a big fever. There were none of the weaknesses which a person would normally experience. Rather she immediately in full strength began to serve them and all were amazed at this.
c. Jesus has authority over human sickness.
At the end of the day at the evening when the Sabbath was over, the city begins to gather around this house and they brought all the sick, those possessed by demons and Jesus healed them. Jesus proved his authority over all human illnesses.
Jesus had shown his authority over scripture. He had shown his authority over the spirit world. He now has demonstrated his authority even over the physical body and sickness.
As Mark begins to show us who is Jesus right in the very first chapter itself he demonstrated a small glimpse of Jesus. As this book goes further in our studies we have a lot to know who Jesus is.
For today let us understand, Jesus has authority over the Word of God and He has authority over the spiritual world, He also has authority over our physical body.
So my dear friend my question to you today is this: Who is Jesus Christ to you? What is that you want from Jesus? He knows your needs. He knows your pain and your heartbreaks and He also knows your sufferings and he can deliver you just like that if you come to him. Will you present your needs to him as the disciples today? Pray for healing.
If you study this chapter the greatest miracle that Jesus can ever do to a person is to receive you in His Kingdom. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”