Lord, help me live a life marked by the gospel. May my life be a living witness, and may my voice speak much of the gospel. Help me understand more clearly the height, depth, and breadth of Your mercy and grace. Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in Your Word today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Mark 1
Mark 1:1–8 Unlike the other Gospel writers, Mark didn’t spend time focusing on the events leading up to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He didn’t see a need to spend time establishing the genealogy of Christ. Matthew and Luke both did this; John opened his gospel with the theological foundation of the coming and ministry of Jesus. But Mark got straight to the gospel.
This is characteristic of Mark. His gospel is action-packed and to the point. It reads like a docudrama, as clips of Jesus’ life and work are brought into vision, and His teachings on discipleship jump off the page in high-definition.
In Mark 1:4, John the Baptist called people to repent. Repentance is both a turning away from sin and a seeking of God’s forgiveness. John called people to repentance before he baptized them. Even John’s baptism was one that symbolized repentance, an inner work of the Holy Spirit, rather than the means by which people were saved. God was clearly working in the hearts of the people to call them to confess their sins and turn back to Him. This was a necessary work that needed to be done before they would be ready to receive the Messiah and His good news.
Mark 1:9–11 Jesus, though He was without the need of repentance, was baptized by John. Even though He was free from sin, He went through the baptismal waters identifying Himself with the sins of the world. Furthermore, His baptism is an example to us of humble obedience. Jesus humbled Himself by being baptized by John.
His baptism also clearly points to the humanity and divinity of Christ. He was baptized by His earthly cousin, John. At the same time, Jesus’ place in the Trinity was clear as the Spirit descended on Him and the voice of His Father declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus didn’t equate equality with God as something to be taken advantage of but instead cast it aside in order to identify with sinful man and rescue His beloved. The rescue mission has begun!
Mark 1:12–15 Notice how quickly Mark moved. Almost in passing, he mentions that Jesus experienced intense spiritual warfare in the wilderness as Satan tempted him and also that John the Baptist was arrested.
Instead, he goes straight to the fact that Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the gospel. Clearly, Mark’s focus is on the gospel. There is a clear juxtaposition of the spiritual torment of Jesus at the hand of Satan and the suffering of a faithful servant, John, with the ongoing, unstoppable work of the gospel. Arrests, deaths, beatings, floggings, spiritual attacks, and suffering will not eliminate the reality that the “time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” The gospel will not fail.
Mark 1:16–45 In this long section, Jesus calls out the first disciples. He called, and they immediately responded. In these verses, the authority of Jesus is on full display. He has authority over men as they responded to His call. He has authority over sickness as He healed many. He has authority over evil spirits as they cowered before Him and fled. He has the authority of a teacher as He taught in the synagogue with “great authority.”
15 The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
- What lengths would you go to, on a daily basis, to humbly identify with those you’re seeking to evangelize?
- When trials come, are you tempted to doubt the reality that the kingdom of God is at hand? Where do you go to remind yourself that God is in control and His gospel will never fail?
- How does the knowledge that Jesus has such commanding authority help you in your daily struggles and battles?
- What role does prayer play in your evangelism? How much of your evangelism is based on your own efforts and strategies? This week, write out a list of those you’re currently witnessing to, or hoping to witness to, and pray for them each day. Ask specifically that the Holy Spirit would prepare their hearts and bring them to a place where they can humbly acknowledge they are sinners in need of a Savior.
- If you would like to improve at memorizing Scripture, read this free resource to get you going: An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture.
- Prayerfully look out for opportunities this week to share the good news.
- Choose a chapter or a several-chapter passage you want to teach on. Prepare a summary of the main points of the text, like the “Read and Learn” section of Deepen Discipleship. Focus on the clear main teachings of the passage, not the parts that are difficult to understand. Share it with a friend outside of Deepen Discipleship and get their feedback. [Teaching Simply]