Mark 1 Lesson

Acting on faith

Today we will begin our study on the Gospel of Mark. Mark is made up of 16 chapters. It is estimated that it was written by Mark in approximately 55-65 AD.

There are 4 points that we will highlight during our study of Mark’s Gospel:

  1. The word “Immediately” is used 40 times in the Gospel of Mark – more than anywhere else in the New Testament. You will see people acting on their faith with a sense of urgency.  In the same way, we should not hesitate to act on our faith when the Spirit compels us to act. 
  2. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. Mark writes in chapter 10:43-45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” He also writes in 8:34-37, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
  3. There are 18 miracles recorded in this, the shortest of all the Gospels.
  4. Almost half of Mark’s Gospel is devoted to the final 8 days of Jesus’ life here on earth.

The Gospel of Mark begins with an account of John the Baptist. Mark writes about how he was the one spoken about through the prophet Isaiah when he said:

“Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’” - Mark 1:2-3.

Mark also writes that John the Baptist was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Verses 7-8 say:

“And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.  I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Verse 9 talks about how Jesus Himself was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. After Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened, and a voice came out of the heavens:

“You are My beloved Son; in You I am well-pleased.” – Mark 1:11.

How good it must feel to hear God say that He is well pleased with you! Through our obedience to God and His commandments, we too can hope to one day hear the words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

Jesus performs multiple miracles in this chapter including driving the unclean spirit out of a man in the synagogue, healing Peter’s mother-in-law, and cleansing the leper.

It is worth watching to see how many of Jesus’ miracles follow this sequence:

  1. Jesus performs a miracle.
  2. People hear about it.
  3. Crowds form.
  4. Jesus teaches them.

*This pattern does not happen with every miracle, but it happens quite often.

For today’s study, we will focus on the word, “Immediately”. When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, the Bible tells us that they, “Immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Mark also writes that when Jesus called James and John, they left their father in the boat with the hired servants and went away to follow Him.

There will be times in our lives when we are called to do something by God. When this happens, will we be like these disciples who acted immediately? Or will we find an excuse not to act?

Satan will use others to question our plans and try to dissuade us from serving the Lord. He may bring doubters into our lives who provide excuses for us not to act. If we are not careful, we can get talked out of following God’s plan for us, which would be a tragedy.  

We need to remind ourselves how pleased God is when we take action to do His will immediately. God wants us to be people of strong faith that trust in His plan for us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“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.”

As we read through the Gospel of Mark, we will observe how many times people were moved by the Spirit to act immediately. We will see examples of people that stopped what they were doing to follow Jesus.

There is nothing preventing us from following Jesus immediately. All that we need is faith in Jesus, which we obtain through the reading of God’s word.

Romans 10:17 says:

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

As we read the Gospel, we need to open our hearts and our minds to God’s message and determine what we are being called to do.

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following verse about faith taken from the book of Hebrews:

“And without faith it is impossible to please  Him , for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and  that  He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him. ” – Hebrews 11:6.

Comments

Dan W

Thank you for pointing out the urgency reflected in the word “immediately”. We need to be urgent about spiritual things

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Mustang

Jesus had compassion. He healed many. He also valued quiet time and quiet spaces, as is evidenced in this chapter of Mark where He got up early, before sunrise, and went to pray.

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