Mark 1 Lesson

The Importance Of Acting On Our Faith

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

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

  1. The word “Immediately” is used forty times in the Gospel of Mark – more than anywhere else in the New Testament.  In this gospel, 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 eighteen 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.

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 immediately 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 do his best 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 act and do His will immediately.  God wants us to be people of strong faith that trust in His plan, and are ready to act! 

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 the Gospel of Mark, we will observe many times where 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 doing the same!  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.  And then we need to act on our faith! 

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following verses about the importance of acting on our faith:

  • “What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?  In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” – James 2:14-17.

Comments

Dan W

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

Reply
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.

Reply