Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior - Lesson 01 - “Ministry Beginnings” - Mark 1:1-34

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior
Lesson 01--“Ministry Beginnings”--Mark 1:1-34
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark chapter one to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 1:1-34 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use.  Read Malachi 3.1 and Isaiah 40.3 which are quoted in this section.  Matthew and Luke do not get to the Malachi/Isaiah quote until chapter three.  What events do Matthew and Luke include that Mark leaves out?
1.     ID/CR: (1.1-3) What do we learn about who Jesus is in these first verses? (Note who is equated to Yahweh in Isaiah 40.3)
2.     ID/CR: (1.2-8) Who was John the Baptist? What was he doing? What did he look like? (Compare with 2 Kings 1.7-8.) What was his message? 
3.     ID: (1.9-13) What two things happened to Jesus as He began His formal ministry?  Why do you think it was important for Mark include them?
4.     ID: (1.14-20) What did Jesus preach and say?  Who responded?  
5.     ID: (1.21-28) What was the key characteristic of Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue?  What were the responses?  (Trivia: Which book of the Bible uses the name “The Holy One” most often?)
6.     ID: (1.29-34) With what miracles did Jesus initiate His public ministry?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     John helped prepare people for Jesus.  In whose life have you (can you) play the role of John the Baptist?  Where is God calling you to be a messenger?
2.     What did Jesus mean by “fisher of men?”  Would you describe yourself as a fisher of men?
3.     Have you been in a “spiritual wilderness?”  What did you learn?
4.     In what ways did Jesus demonstrate humility in this passage?  Which are most meaningful to you? Why?
5.     Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response?
Going Beyond: 
1. In verse 15 we see the first mention of the “kingdom of God” in Mark.  We also see his first miracle.  Use the sheets provided for this study to list the references to the “kingdom of God” and to keep track of Christ’s miracles in Mark.
2. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
   The Bible     God    God the Father    Jesus Christ      The Holy Spirit      Man     Salvation     The Church     Angels & Satan     Future Things –
An Introduction to the Gospel According to Mark
by Phil Martin
“It [Mark] is intended to be neither a formal historical treatise nor a biography of Jesus, but a proclamation.”[i]  Gospels are similar to biographies in that they focus on one person as the “hero”.  This person in the NT gospels is obviously Jesus. The Gospels are not biographies though. The main difference is that the Gospels are not intended to describe every event in Jesus’ life.  They are highly focused and emphasize more on Jesus’ role in the plan of salvation than telling his life story.  They show how Jesus is the Messiah, God’s son, who came down from heaven and took on flesh in order to redeem us from sin and death. [ii]
“An unbroken tradition affirms that the evangelist was intimately associated with the apostle Peter and that the contents of this Gospel depend significantly upon the message he proclaimed.”[iii]  1st Clements, Papias (as quoted by Eusebius), Justin Martyr, The Anti-Macrcionite Prologue to Mark, and Irenaeus are among the early witnesses to Mark’s authorship of the Gospel.  Some specifically make the point that Peter’s preaching was the source of Mark’s material.[iv] 
Mark’s mother was a well known believer in Jerusalem in whose house the church met (Acts 12:12), and he was possibly the man referred to in Mark 14:51-52.  Mark was a companion and co-worker with Peter (1 Peter 5:13).  His uncle, Barnabas, was a close associate and fellow missionary with the Apostle Paul (Acts 13:5, 13).  Though Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey, he later came to be a partner that Paul found useful (2 Timothy 4:11).
“Mark wrote for the Romans, and his theme is Jesus Christ the Servant. If we had to pick a “key verse” in this Gospel, it would be Mark 10:45—“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”[v] 
Mark could be thought of as a “Reader’s Digest” Gospel or possibly a source for Matthew and Luke.  “Mark has 661 verses; Matthew has 1,068 verses; Luke has 1,149 verses.  Of Mark’s 661 verses, Matthew reproduces no fewer than 606 . Of Mark’s 661 verses Luke reproduces 320… So the result is that there are only 24 verses in Mark which do not occur somewhere in Matthew and Luke.” [vi] 
Mark is a fast moving account emphasizing what Jesus did more than what He said.  The expression “immediately” or “straightway” occurs some forty times.  Dr. Constable notes that Mark used a relatively limited vocabulary, sometimes had rough and ungrammatical Greek, addressed his readers directly, recorded many intimate details that only an eyewitness would observe, and stressed the humanity of Christ.[vii] 
Mark can be divided geographically into four parts:  a Galilean ministry (1:14-6:13), the ministry outside Galilee (6:14-8:30), the journey to Jerusalem (8:31-10:52), and the last week in Jerusalem (11:1-16:8).  The first two sections climax with Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ (8:29): The second two sections build toward the centurion’s confession that Jesus is the son of God (15:39). 

[i]  Lane, William L. The Gospel According to Mark: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974. Print. (p.1)
[ii] Friend, T.J. "Genre: Gospel." How to Study the Bible. 11 Nov. 2009. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. .
[iii]  Lane, William L. The Gospel According to Mark: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974. Print. (p. 7)
[iv] Utley, Bob, “The Gospel According to Peter: Mark and 1 & 2 Peter.” Free Bible Commentary. ©2014 by Bible Lessons International, Marshall, Texas. Web 15 Sept. 2015. <>.
[v] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996, (p. 110)
[v] Constable, Thomas “Expository Notes on Mark.” Sonic Light. © 1999-2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. .
[vi] Barclay, William. The Gospel of Mark. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975. Print.
[vii] Constable, Thomas “Expository Notes on Mark.” Sonic Light. © 1999-2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.

Note the attachments:
1. A PDF of parallel translations for our passage.
2. Lesson 1 – M ark 1:1-34.
3. Three charts: The Kingdom of God in Mark Chart, Miracles in Mark chart, and Titles Given to Jesus in Mark Chart.  (These three charts are for the men who would like to keep track of these items in this Gospel).
Context: It is interesting to note what events Matthew and Luke include about Christ that Mark does not.
1. These verses contain a strong witness to the deity of Christ.  The use of the word Yahweh to prophesy about Christ is significant.
3.  It is interesting that even though Mark did not expound these events, he felt it was important to record that they had happened.
5. His authority was the key characteristic and the demonic response was sudden and strong.
4. This question is key to the theme of Mark’s Gospel.  It would be worthwhile to take some time to discuss how Christ demonstrated humility.  How does his example speak to us?
Jim is adding this question to the walk section.  You may want to discuss it too.
What are characteristics and tools of a fisherman?    
·       working to cast nets and "baited" lines,
·       being in or near the water where the fish are,
·       prepared w/ proper equipment, training and tools
·       rising early because that is when the fish bite,
·       persistent,
·       investing time and energy, working hard at the task,
·       understanding that some days the fish do not bite,
·       able to "read" the weather/conditions,
·       accepting the sovereignty of God in "catching" fish
I have included a short “Introduction to the Gospel of Mark.”  I tried to capture the key points from several sources.  Each week I will try to include something related to the Gospel of Mark or Bible study principles.
The footnotes for the introduction give some helpful sources to complement the study.  Two of the many good online Bible study tools mentioned in my blog are Bob Utley’s commentary and Thomas Constable’s Expository Notes that are both available for free online.
A Harmony of the Gospels (NASB) and  The NIV Harmony of the Gospels by Robert L Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry organize the events in Christ’s life and allow you to read the different accounts of the events and sermons side by side.  If you have the classic A Harmony of the Gospels by A.T. Robertson is has a similar format.  The Chronological Life of Christ by Mark Moore is a synthesized account of the Gospels with commentary.

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