Notes Mark 1 A
Last week we had our introduction to the Book of Mark. We found out a little of Mark's background and maybe part of the reason he was so amazed with Jesus, the Ruler that Served and Servant that Ruled. Now let us dive right into the Book of Mark.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
Once again we see where Mark feels the “The Beginning of the Gospel” is. Mark with a gentile (Non Jewish) audience in mind skips the geology which was very important to the Jews; he skips the story of Jesus’ trip into Egypt and the story of Jesus as a boy. Mark starts the beginning of his gospel or ‘Good News” with the voice crying in the wilderness preparing the way of our Lord.
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.
As John the Baptist sets the stage for the appearance of Jesus we see a great spiritual hunger in the land of Israel. Look at Mark 1 verse 5 “And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem…” It is estimated that 40,000 people lived in Jerusalem at this time while 4-5 million Jews lived in the whole of Judea and they did not include Samaritans and pagans. The people were hungry for a spiritual change they were tired of “church as usual”. You see these people had all their lives under the burden of the Law. Now the Law has no ability to justify (excuse us).
Now we know that what things so ever the law says, it says to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified (excused) in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Then John the Baptist, clothed in camel’s hair; one that ate locusts and wild honey comes on the scene. He is not preaching in a beautiful temple but out in a waste land, dry and parched yet the Bible said that the people journeyed out to hear this Voice crying in the wilderness. They would have had to walk some 20-30 miles to hear John yet they left their homes, there recreations and journeyed out into the wilderness. Isn’t it just like God to pick a place that pictures the heart of those He is calling; the barren, the dry the thirsty. Come John says, prepare your hearts for Messiah (your savior) is coming. Come!
These people were burdened by sin, carrying the weight of guilt and fear and under the bondage of religion. They went out to this one who was saying “your Messiah (Savior, healer) cometh.”
You have to remember John was born of the Levitical Priesthood. His father Zechariah was a priest Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron who was Israel’s first priest chosen by God. Zachariah and Elisabeth were old and had no children until the angle appeared to him and told him he would have a son.
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;
Many feel at most likely Zachariah and Elisabeth were not alive at this time. They were old when John was born and now John would have been 30 years old so it is very possible that they were not alive. But can you hear the other Pharisees and priest of the day.
He had so much potential, Zachariah would roll over if he saw him now.
Yet here was John clothed in camel's hair with a girdle of skin and eating locusts and wild honey.
The gospel has simple beginnings. It does not take fanfare to touch the hearts of man. It does not have to be preached from the pulpits of great cathedrals to touch the hearts of man; but it can be preached in wilderness places and the hearts of many can be turned to the Lord.
Let us take a moment and look at what Jesus had to say about this man.
Matthew 11: 7-11
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Notice that Jesus is using contrasting analogies to describe John.
1. Jesus begins by making the point What are your motives.
“what did you go out to see”…The unusual appearance of the person bringing the message or were you going out to “hear the message”. Were you going out more for curiosity than for conscience sake? Were you going to be seen or to say you had been there?
2. Jesus asked the people if they went to see; A reed shaken with the wind?
John was not wishy washy in his convictions. He stood firm in the face of the Pharisees who came out to question him.
Do you stand strong in your convictions; or do you amen when someone is preaching the law and amen when someone is preaching the good news of God's grace, the power of His Spirit and the finished work of Christ.
We too should be strong in our convictions.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
3. But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
Do you judge a person by what they ware; the cloths makes the man philosophie. Heriodian spirit.
4. Did you come to see a prophet …you saw more than a prophet.
John was more than a prophet who saw the coming of the Messiah from a great distance.
John not only saw his coming but he was the great announcer.
John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
If you read on down to verse 40 you will discover that one of the disciples who stopped following John the Baptist and began to follow Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peters brother and the other was probably John for he never mentions his name in the gospel of John 20:2-4
Perfect example of John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.
5. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
John knew the Messiah was at hand. He had received revelation from God of the sign he would receive of who the Messiah was.
Notice how Jesus describes John the Baptist... Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist
Is Jesus saying that John was better than all the prophets that had come before him. Better than Moses or Elijah or Isaiah. Yes but not for the reason we might think. It was not because he was more gifted, for Isaiah saw the Lord seated upon his thrown with the six winged seraphim's crying holy, holy, holy is the Lord. Was it because he was more humble,
Numbers 12:3 Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.
Was it because he had more conviction; I don't know I do know that Elijah stood up against all the false prophets of Israel by himself.
No it was not John himself that made him the greatest among those born of women but it was the message he carried. He was the forerunner to Messiah; his message was not just He is coming, but He is at hand and behold the Lamb of God.
Jesus goes on to say;
notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Many are confused over the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.
Kingdom of God is the sovereignty of God over the universe and includes the Kingdom of Heaven, therefore many things can be said of both. The Kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of the heavenlies that kingdom just beyond the veil of our senses. It is the kingdom where Jesus rules as supreme. However this did not come in its fullness until Jesus died and conquered death and hell.
It is that kingdom just beyond the veil where Jesus rules as supreme. John began preaching the Kingdom of God. Jesus told his disciples to preach that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Jesus in his earthly walk ruled over the Kingdom but not in the fullness. It was not until Jesus died and conquered death and hell that he could truly rule as supreme.
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
One of the most important parts of this passage is how Jesus describes John the Baptist... Among them that are born of women
You see those of us who live after the cross and have accepted Jesus as our savior are not just born of women but we are now born of the Spirit and although John was the greatest among those born of women; he can't be compared with those of us who are born of the Spirit.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
We now who are the least in the Kingdom of heaven are greater than John the Baptist.
We too should be a voice of one crying in a wilderness; but our message is so much greater than John's.
John's message was He is at hand and behold
Our message is He has come. Our redeemer has finished His work we are redeemed. It is finished...He has come to bind up the broken hearted.
He has come to heal the sick.
Greater is His that is in me than He that is in the world
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Many of us think it is our job to tell the world He is coming. That is not our job. It is our job to remind those In Christ He is coming again. But the world needs to hear, He has come and you can be healed, delivered, helped.
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.
John was not pointing people to his ministry. He was not trying to build a congregation of his own but he was focused on pointing people to Jesus. He had a great following but he was not seeking a great following he was only seeking the exaltation of the Lord.
Again; John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.
I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
John reveals that he can only lead you as far as an outward cleansing a sign of repentance. Only the Holy Spirit can cleanse and change a heart.
A preacher can prick your heart and he can even give you hope; but it take the Holy Spirit to cleans you and change you and empower to live the life the preaching of the word has revealed you can have.
You can have peace...but it takes the Prince of Peace
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.
Jesus came to be baptized of John in Jordan. But that is not the whole story, if you look at Matthews account
3:14 But John forbad him, saying I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Yet you see at this time John did not know Jesus was the Messiah. The gospel of John tells us: And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him And I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me. Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”
So as you see John did not know Jesus was the Messiah but he knew Jesus. Jesus was his cousin, they we almost the same age. Yet it is most remarkable that when Jesus, John’s cousin comes, John says of him, "You don't need to be baptized. Why are you coming to me?" (Matthew 3:14). There was nothing in Jesus' life that John had seen which required repentance or the confession of sins.
SO WHY WAS JESUS BAPTISED?
1.As stated in Matthew 3:15: "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus was identifying with our sin. That is why he came. He was to be our substitute; therefore He must identify with the sins of man. 2.To allow John to recognize Him as the Messiah. John was going to have to let go of his disciples to follow Jesus. John needed to know by the sign God gave him that Jesus was the Messiah. 3.Anointing for ministry, the descending of the dove. You may ask; wasn’t Jesus already filled with the Spirit. Yes, but this was an anointing for ministry. As Isaiah says. 1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. We to must be filled with the Spirit for ministry, do you remember the last instruction Jesus gave his disciples. Terry in Jerusalem until you are endowed with power. 4.It was an assurance of God acceptance and approval. 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.
Notice the strong language Mark puts it in. His account is very brief, but it is highly suggestive. There are three things here:
1.And immediately the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness. Drove him. That means Jesus felt a strong inner compulsion, a powerful urge to go into the wilderness and face the tempter on his own ground.
2. Jesus is our example and no one dare go out to a ministry while he was yet untried.
3 Although Jesus was out in the wilderness He was not alone. You might feel like you are in a wilderness place right now but you are not alone! 1 Cor. 10:13 there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bare it.
Jesus said; I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
Notice in verse 13 Mark tells us Jesus was tempted the full 40 days. We only read of 3 temptation but there were many more. For forty day Satan tempted him. Hebrews 4:14 tells us Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are yet without sin. These 3 are only examples of the three areas from which temptation come.
Love not the world, neither the things that a in the world….For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16
If we look at the 3 examples you will see these three areas.
1.If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. The lust of the flesh. 2.If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash they foot against a stone. The pride of life. 3.Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. All these things will I give thee, if thou will fall down and worship me. The lust of the eye.
Yet with every temptation Jesus answered the tempter with the Word of God! And you too will overcome the temptations you face in the same way.
It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
This too is how were will overcome temptation and the wilderness experiences in our life.
Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word (Logos or Word of God) of their testimony.
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 (Strongs 3340 to think differently) ye, and believe the gospel.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
Then if you look up the word thinketh in the strongs the Hebrew word means to "act as a gatekeeper".
To repent...think differently and believe... being sorry about something usually will not change you or the situation. You MUST begin to think differently... believe the Good News.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
I can do all things through Christ who straightens me.
for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
JESUS SAID REPENT (Change your thinking) and then Believe.
You will raise up and say...I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus
He became sin that I might become righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
What you truly believe you will act upon.
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.
We see Jesus is now calling his first disciples.
It seems odd that Jesus does not go into the synagogue to pick from the fine educated young men of Israel to be his first disciples. The word says he had been preaching and teaching in the synagogues. No Jesus goes to those who are not even in the synagogue on the Sabbath and He tells them Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
This is exciting to me because it tells me that Jesus sees potential when no one else does.
You see at age 3 young children would begin learning at home. Careful training of the memory commenced, verses of Scripture, benedictions, wise sayings, etc., were impressed on the child.
At six years of age he would be sent to school; not to an academy, or "beth hammedrash," which he would only attend if he proved apt and promising;
It was at about age 12 that it was decided if a young man would be chosen to continue his education or would be sent home to learn his fathers business or enter into a trade.
Then as the education continued they would be interviewed to be excepted as a pupil of a great Rabbi,. And then only the best of the best or brightest of the bright became part of the Sanhedrim.
So these men setting by the shore had been weeded out so to speak by the religious community as undesirable. But not to our Lord, it was to these He came and it was from these He chose His disciples.
According to the world they might have been undesirable but not to Jesus...He sees your potential.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
You might feel like you are in a wilderness, in a dry desert place, but God has a plan for your life, plans to prosper you NOT TO HARM YOU.
But you need to repent....Change you thinking and Believe the Gospel