A New Year, a New Chapter.

The Gospel of Mark Chapter 1

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.  And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.  And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.  And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

The gospel of Mark is the only account not written by a disciple of Jesus, but Mark was a fellow believer and contemporary of Peter and Paul.  Many scholars from the early church on believe Mark is John, who was also Mark as described in the Book of Acts.

Mark begins with prophecy concerning John and Jesus and goes on from there concerning Jesus’s baptism, calling the disciples and his miracles.

We see with Jesus’s baptism one of the most beautiful displays of the triune nature of God with the Spirit of God coming down as a dove, and God the Father’s voice saying “Thou art my beloved Son..

While the word trinity isn’t in the scriptures, this verse along with many other verses back up with scriptural authority that there are three distinct offices or persons of God, each having different positions, yet being of One Holy God.

What stood out to me this time is what comes next immediately after his baptism.  He is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.  Once someone becomes a Christian, it doesn’t mean they will be perfect and live an awesomely abundantly material life.  This short verse seems to lend more credence to Jesus’s words concerning those who follow Him, that they will be persecuted and suffer trials.  Immediately after His baptism, Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and tempted.   I don’t know about everyone else, but I know when I became a born again believer, temptations and trials came on like gangbusters. And unlike Jesus, I failed at most of them.   It’s important for people to understand how much of a life changing event being born again of the Spirit into the family of God is- both good and bad, but that when we mess up so hugely as I did, that God still forgives and gives us ways to use those messes to help others.

The Scripture also says Jesus was ministered to by angels.  That’s a comforting part right there and reminds us that even through our worst wilderness experiences, we’re not alone, and while we might not feel them, we are being ministered too as well.

Mark’s gospel seems to cut to the chase so to speak, he doesn’t give a whole lot of detail in events, but records them diligently.  He suggests the immediacy of Jesus’s ministry and considering the fact that He really only had His ministry for about 3 years it’s not surprising that Mark would record those events with a sense of urgency.

No detail is given here on John’s imprisonment, just the fact that he was sent to prison, then Jesus began to preach.  It’s interesting to note here that while John’s voice may have been silenced by prison, Jesus came immediately and preached.  The message of the Good News will be preached no matter how hard the enemy tries to suppress it.

Even choosing His disciples in this verse seems hurried, as well as those He called, immediately followed Him.   When I consider how long it takes for some of us to actually follow Jesus, all I can do is thank God that those whom He called first did it immediately. Jesus obviously knew their hearts and knew who He could count on in the short time He had to disciple.

Straightaway Jesus taught on the Sabbath, in the synagogue- not as the scribes did, who basically repeated by rote of the law of Moses, and not as many today who teach from the heart- but as one that knew the mind of God, and had the authority to declare it.

It’s interesting there’s a man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit. Matthew doesn’t give an account of this, but Luke’s gospel does.  Notice how the guy knew who Jesus was, and called him Jesus of Nazareth? Planting a seed in the minds of those there, that similarly Nathaniel who was told of Jesus by Phillip had replied, What good can come from Nazareth?  And yet the spirit knew and admitted who Jesus is, Holy One of God, and also knew of his eventual doom, “did you come to destroy us?

Jesus rebukes the spirit and orders it out of the man.  The spirit must leave on Jesus’s authority, but not without spite and malice towards it’s victim.  They don’t literally tear apart, nor spew green pea vomit a la the exorcist, but they can do physical and mental harm when they leave.

And ordering the spirit out made for quite a spectacle for the people, and Jesus’s fame grew from there.  The fact that right after, as they came to Peter’s house and found Peter’s mother in law sick, Jesus healed her, leading many others of physical and spiritual infirmities to come for the same healing.

Mark also cuts to the chase showing Jesus’s authority and his compassion to heal, but also to teach.  Yet even with so little time and so much to do, Jesus still needs time to recharge and we see that after healing so many that early in the morning, he went out to a solitary place to pray.

He wasn’t granted much time however before Peter and the others came to find Him. And from there, they traveled throughout Galilee and doing the same in other synagogues and towns, where finally Jesus is approached by a leper.

Notice the leper comes humbly yet also believing, “If thou wilt… Thou canst make me clean.”

It’s not that God can’t, it’s whether He will. Sometimes He will, other times there are other purposes we might not understand.  The account of Job is a good example, yet God did eventually heal and restore him.   We also see a similar story in John chapter 9, when there was a blind man, the disciples assumed it was sin, either of the man, or his parents which caused him to be blind.  Jesus answers, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

So yes Jesus healed the blind as well, but not all infirmities are healed, yet somehow works of God will be made manifest through them.

Back to the leper, who understood that it’s dependent on God’s will, if thou wilt…  and Jesus had compassion on him and spoke healing while touching him.  Immediately the leprosy was cured.  But then Jesus warns him before sending him to the priests to approve his cure, but as a witness to Jesus’s healing.  While in some cases through the old testament it was used as a judgement (Miriam’s, Naaman & Gehazi’s, and Uzziah’s), it doesn’t say here whether this man’s was due to judgement or not, but Jesus in essence gives the same warning He gave to the adulterous woman, go and sin no more.

One can’t really blame the leper for sharing his healing “blaze abroad” and yet that made it difficult for Jesus to find any solitude or quietness after.  Jesus may be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but when He was Emmanuel, God with us, He was present in one body, and one body can only be in one place at a time.  Give thanks to Him that when He returned to His place in Heaven, that He sent His comforter, the Holy Spirit who can move across the globe at any given time, and be present in you and me, and every other believer at the same time, wherever He is welcome.

Looking forward to seeing what more we can learn in the Gospel of Mark. Have a blessed day all!

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