|READING MARK CHAPTER ONE
Read Mark chapter one, verse one, then read the following explanation.
CHRIST.The word “Christ” comes from a Greek word, and has the same meaning as the Hebrew word “Messiah”. (The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Hebrew is the language of the Jews). Both of these words refer to a king. The Old Testament contains many promises that one day a great king will come. This king will save all people and bring peace. (You can read one of these promises in the Old Testament, in the book of Isaiah, chapter 9, verses 6 and 7.) When Mark calls Jesus by the title “Christ”, Mark means that Jesus is this king and savior. The Messiah has arrived.
SON OF GOD. In Jewish culture, if someone was called “Son of God”, it indicated that He really was God. By using this phrase, Mark wants us to know that Jesus is not only a man, but is also truly God. (You can read about the Jewish understanding of the term “Son of God” in the New Testament, in John 5:18.)
Read verses 2 and 3, then read the following:
ISAIAH. Mark mentions a man named Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet. A prophet is a person who tells messages that he received from God. Isaiah lived about 600 years before Jesus. Isaiah’s writings are found in the Old Testament, in a book called “Isaiah”, Isaiah told several details about the Messiah (the king who will come to save the world).
Isaiah wrote that someone would appear in the wilderness to introduce the Messiah. As a result of the coming of the Messiah, mankind would see the nature and power of God (You can read this promise in Isaiah 40:3-5). Another Old Testament prophet named Malachi calls this person a “messenger” (see Malachi 3:1).
WHY? Why does Mark quote these Old Testament prophecies? His purpose is to prove that Jesus is the great king that the prophets wrote about (the Messiah). The prophets said that there will be a messenger who appears in the wilderness in order to introduce the Messiah. If Jesus would say “I am the Messiah”, but there was no one who appeared in the wilderness to introduce him, then we would know that Jesus is not the Messiah. But if the prophet’s words come true, then it is likely that Jesus is the Messiah.
Read verse 4. Mark tells us that the words of the prophets came true. The time was about 30 AD. A man named John went into the wilderness and told people to prepare to receive this great king.
JOHN. This John is not the same as the John who wrote the “Gospel of John”. This John’s mother was related to Jesus’ mother. (You can read about these two mothers in Luke 1. In verse 35, God tells Jesus’ mother, Mary, that Mary will have a son. In verse 36, God tells Mary that her relative will also soon have a son. In verses 41 to 45, Mary visits her relative. In verses 57 through 63, the baby is born and gets his name.) In order to distinguish the two people named John, this one is called “John the Baptist”.
BAPTISM. Baptism is a ceremony with water. The meaning of John’s message was, “If you are sorry for everything you have done wrong, then come to me and I will put water on you. God will forgive you.” After Jesus rose from the dead, as he was about to return to heaven, Jesus told us to make use of baptism (this command is in Matthew 28:18-20), Christian baptism has a deeper meaning than John’s baptism. People received John’s baptism to show that they were sorry and wanted forgiveness. In Christian baptism, we are united with Christ, and therefore we know that we have forgiveness. (You can read about Christian baptism in Galatians 3:26-27).
SINS. In the Bible, “sins” means anything we do that is against God’s will. (You can read a list in Galatians 5:19-21). Because we have sinned against God, therefore we need a savior who will forgive our sins. The Gospel of Mark tells us that this savior is Jesus.
Read verse 5. Judea was a province in the country we now call Israel. A river along the eastern edge of that province was called the Jordan River. To see its location, click on location map and scroll to see Map A. When people admitted to John that they had disobeyed God, John put water from the Jordan river on them. Jerusalem was the biggest city in Judea.
Read verse 6. John wore unusual clothes and ate unusual food. Therefore people were curious about him and many came to hear him speak.
Read verses 7 and 8. The One who is coming soon is the Messiah.
HOLY SPIRIT. The Bible tells us that there is one God, who has always existed as these three: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Only God the Son became a human being, with the name Jesus. (Read John 14:26 to see Jesus talking about the Father and the Holy Spirit. Read I Timothy 2:5-6 to see that God is one.) The Bible talks about the Holy Spirit as a source of power. For example, the heroes in the Old Testament were strong because they were “filled with the Spirit”. Jesus has promised to give the same power from the Holy Spirit that the Old Testament heroes received to all believers. The purpose of this power is to be able to obey God and to be able to spread his message to everyone. (In the Old Testament, in Ezekiel 36:25-27, God promised to give the Holy Spirit to believers so we can obey God. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said that his followers will have this power from the Spirit. You can read about the influence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers in Acts 4:8-10. Read Titus 3:3-7 to see that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit give new life to us.)
Read Verse 9. Galilee was a province in the north of Israel. Jesus grew up in a town there called Nazareth. Jesus asked John to baptize him. In this way Jesus showed that he was willing to do all those things that God wanted people to do. (Romans 5:19 says that we are saved because Jesus obeyed God, even though we have not obeyed God.)
Read verses 10 and 11. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit appear together in this event. The Spirit takes the form of a dove. The Father speaks from the sky. The words which God says have a special meaning. These are words which the Old Testament use to describe the Messiah. (You can read about this in Psalm 2. The end of verse 2 mentions the “anointed one”, which means Messiah. Verse 6 says that Messiah is king. In verse 7, God says the Messiah is His “Son”. The concept that God will say He is pleased with the Messiah is in Isaiah 42:1.) Mark quotes these words to help us see that Jesus is the same Messiah that the Old Testament talked about.
Read verse 12. The Holy Spirit gave directions to Jesus. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always work together.
Read verse 13. SATAN. God created many invisible workers, called angels. Some of these angels rebelled against God, and are called evil spirits or demons. They are not humans who have died. The leader of those evil angels is Satan. Satan tempted Jesus to do something wrong, because if Jesus had done wrong, He would not be qualified to be the savior. (You can read more details about this event in Luke 4:1-13. In addition, Acts 5:3 explains how Satan treats people, Revelation 12:9 says that Satan is also called “the devil”, and the final destruction of Satan is prophesied in Revelation 20:10.)
Read 14 and 15. “The time is fulfilled” means that the Messiah who was promised in the Old Testament has arrived. “The Kingdom of God” means “God ruling over all”.
Read 16 and 17. Jesus promises to make His disciples able to share God’s message in such a way that others will believe in Him and enter God’s Kingdom, so they will “catch men” just like they “catch fish.”
Read 18 to 20. When Jesus called them, they all went with him immediately. Is there anything holding us back from following Jesus completely? (Read Hebrews 12:1-3.)
Read 21. Capernaum is on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (on location map, Map A).The Sabbath is Saturday. In the Old Testament God commanded the Jews not to work on Saturday. Synagogue means gathering place in Greek. The Jews met there every Saturday to pray and study the Bible.
Read 22. “Scribes” were people who were trained to read and write, and so they commonly explained the Bible to the people. When explaining, they would state their opinion of a Bible verse, but they would not dare to say that their opinion was correct. Jesus was different because Jesus spoke as though he was sure of the meaning.
Read 23. This spirit was one of the evil angels who follow Satan.
Read 24. Even though the people did not know that Jesus was the Messiah, yet the evil spirit recognized Him. The evil spirit also knew the purpose for which Jesus came to earth: to save people from Satan and bring them back to God. (You can read Acts 26:18 and Hebrews 2:14-15 to understand what Jesus came to do for us.)
Read 25 and 26. Jesus has more power than evil spirits (which are also called “demons”). Jesus wanted the demon to “be quiet” because it is not appropriate that someone as wonderful as Jesus would be introduced to the world by something evil. Although the demon is invisible, everyone knew he had left the man because the man’s body shook.
Read 27 to 32. Jesus healed two kinds of people: those who were sick, and those who had problems with demons. Jesus knew the source of the problem and how to help.
Read 33 and 34. Jesus’ power attracted large crowds, but Jesus did not want them to find out that he was the Messiah from the words of demons.
Read 35. Jesus went to an isolated spot so He could pray without being disturbed.
Read 36 to 40. A leper was a person with a disease that usually resulted in skin infections. Therefore the Jews felt that the leper was not qualified to take part in religious ceremonies. They called the leper “unclean”. According to the Jewish cultural viewpoint of that time, when a leper was healed, he was called “clean”.
Read 41 to 44. Jesus did not want publicity for his miracles because he knew people would not understand His true mission. They would regard Him only as someone who could fight their enemies and do miracles to help their immediate needs, but they wouldn’t realize that Jesus was also someone who came to die for their sins.
MOSES. Moses was an Old Testament leader who lived more than 1000 years before Christ. He gave God’s commandments to the Jews. One of the Old Testament laws said that a leper who had been healed should go to a priest to verify that he was now fit to take part in the religious ceremonies. A priest was someone who made sacrifices. (You can read about this law and the instructions for the offering in Leviticus 14. Since the death of Jesus has paid for our sins, we no longer make animal sacrifices. See Hebrews 10:4, 10, 18.)
Read 45. Is there anything keeping you from telling others about God’s love for you?