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Chapter 1

Mark 1 Commentary

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Mark 1:1 meaning

Mark, writing to the Gentiles, begins his gospel emphasizing the deity of Jesus and His role as Savior of the world.

Mark 1:2-3 meaning

Consistent with his straightforward writing style, Mark goes directly to the point by referencing two Old Testament prophecies about the forerunner who will precede and announce the coming Messiah.

Mark 1:4-6 meaning

Mark now reports an oddly appareled John the Baptist actively fulfilling his Messianic forerunner role as evidenced by all the country of Judea going out to him in the wilderness, confessing their sins, and being baptized in the Jordan river.

Mark 1:7-8 meaning

John the Baptizer answers the question posed by all of Judea and Jerusalem: he is not the Messiah. However, John the Baptizer unequivocally announces the Messiah is coming, and He will baptize with the Holy Spirit who is the down payment and assurance of salvation.

Mark 1:9-11 meaning

Jesus arrives from Galilee to be baptized; the Holy Spirit descends on Him and the Father approves. The Spirit's descent is visible evidence that Jesus was equipped to fulfill His role to baptize with the Holy Spirit. Having all three Persons of the Godhead present underscores the significance of this commissioning event.

Mark 1:12-13 meaning

Immediately after Jesus's temptation, the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness. By yielding to and obeying the Holy Spirit, Jesus sets the example for everyone on how they ought to live. His time in the wilderness also reveals that God allows testing in the lives of those living a life that pleases Him as preparation for great service.

Mark 1:14-15 meaning

Mark's terse statement, "Jesus came," is in effect a first-century press release with three points: the time is fulfilled; the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe. Jews needed to repent from believing Jesus was an illegitimate son of a carpenter from a backwater town, to believing He was the Messiah foretold by the prophets and announced by John the Baptizer. Gentiles needed to repent from believing Jesus was an erudite eccentric Jewish philosopher from a backwater country, to believing He was the savior of the world.

Mark 1:16–20 meaning

Jesus begins to recruit His disciples. As Jesus walks along the shore of Galilee He sees two sets of brothers who are fishermen: Simon and Andrew and James and John. Jesus calls each pair to leave their livelihood and follow him. They do so immediately.

Mark 1:21-22 meaning

Jesus and His new disciples go to the Galilean town of Capernaum. On the Sabbath they enter a synagogue, where Jesus teaches. Those in attendance are amazed at the authority with which He teaches.

Mark 1:23-28 meaning

While Jesus is teaching in a Capernaum synagogue, a man with an unclean spirit begins crying out, identifying Jesus as the Holy One of God. Jesus swiftly rebukes the spirit to keep quiet and leave the man. It does. The crowd's amazement at Jesus's authority increases because He not only teaches with authority, He even commands unclean spirits and they obey Him. News of this amazing event spread all throughout the district of Galilee.

Mark 1:29–31 meaning

Mark records Jesus’s first miracle of physical healing in his Gospel. Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. 

Mark 1:32–34 meaning

Later that evening some people bring Jesus many who are demon-possessed. Jesus frees them from their spiritual bondage and commands the demons to be silent because they knew Him to be the Christ.