Mark Chapter 1
John the Baptist Prepares the Way for Jesus:
(Read: Mark 1:1-13)
The message of Mark's gospel is the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy that he would prepare the way for the Lord’s coming (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3). When Jewish leaders called for strict performance of the Law, John called for repentance. Repentance means a change of heart that turns away from sin to God. John prepared the way for the coming Jesus by preaching repentance and baptizing people. Repentance is not merely admitting guilt but a change of heart to seek God’s help to overcome sin (1 John 1:9). John the Baptist never sought personal comforts or celebrity status. He gave Christ glory in all that he did. He said “I baptize you with water, but Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). His message was marked by humility, clarity, simplicity, and authority. John was not ashamed to admit that he is an unworthy servant and said that ``He must increase, but I must decrease”. There was an urgency in his message. Jesus came to Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan river. Jesus humbled himself to identify with sinners by being baptized by John. At his baptism the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus and a voice came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. Though Jesus is the unique sinless Son of God, he was willing to identify with sinners. In his baptism we see the unique involvement of the three persons of Godhead: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit for the ministry. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon people for the ministry (1 Samuel 16:13). But in the New Testament the believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit forever (John 14:16). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit we serve God today.
The Temptation of Jesus.
(Read: Mark 1:12-13)
Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. It was Satan's effort to hinder Jesus from the mission he came to do (Matthew 4; Luke 4). Throughout the life of Jesus, he overcomes Satan by relying on his Father. Jesus came not to be mastered but to minister and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). In his temptation we see the conflict between God and Satan. Jesus was tempted in the area of the lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). After his temptation angels were sent to minister Jesus. The believers are not immune from temptations. But God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure and make the way of escape that we may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). When Adam failed in the perfect environment in Eden, Jesus succeeded in the wilderness. John the Baptist served Christ with integrity, humility, and dedication? Serving Jesus Christ is the greatest privilege and blessing in the Christian life. We are entrusted with the gospel to lead people to the saving knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ. Victory over temptation comes by relying on Christ?
Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee:
(Read: Mark 1:14-45).
Jesus began his ministry by preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is His reign in the lives of his people. It is a spiritual experience and centered in the finished work of Christ on the cross. People enter the kingdom of God by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe means to be persuaded about the person, work and claims of Jesus Christ. Repentance means change of attitude toward sin, self, and God. Sin alienates us from God. The message of the gospel is that God is able to forgive sins and restore our lost relationship to him through the death of Jesus Christ. In verses 16-20, we read about the calling of the first four disciples. Jesus saw Simon, Andrew, James and John and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men ''. They were fishermen. They left everything and followed Jesus. Why did Jesus’ call fishermen to follow him? It was to show that they can serve God only by the power of God and not by their own strength (2 Corinthians 4:7). They must learn that discipleship is costly and requires ongoing growth in their understanding of the gospel. Jesus went to Capernaum and on every Sabbath day he taught in the synagogue. People were amazed at his teaching, for he taught as one who had authority unlike the religious teachers. The Christians are blessed with the same authority to become witnesses of Christ (Matthew 28:18). Early in the morning Jesus went out to a solitary place to pray. Jesus wanted to spend solitary time with his Father. Prayer was his lifeline to God. If prayer was so necessary for Christ, how much more prayer is important in our lives. Also, Jesus performed many miracles. He healed the demon possessed man and cleansed the leper. Demons recognized Jesus as the “Holy one of God''. He also healed the mother-in-law of Peter. Her fever left her immediately and she ministered them. Jesus had mercy on the leper and touched him. He was healed immediately. Those with leprosy were outcast in the society but that did not exclude them from the reach of the mercy of Christ. Jesus had power over the incurable diseases. All of us are infected with the incurable disease called sin. Jesus is the Savior who pities over those who are helpless. He is able to cleanse us from all our sins (1 John 1: 7-9). Christ came to help the helpless and to forgive their sins. His primary mission was not to do miracles but save sinners. This is the primary mission of the church today.