Summary: Jesus brought the Good News of salvation to the world, and He called ordinary folks to join Him in sharing God's redemptive love everywhere and by ministering to needs beyond the walls of worship facilities.
GOOD NEWS PRESENTED BY MARK
Study of the Gospel According to Mark
As you read Mark, be aware that you are reading the very first written account of the ministry of Jesus – a fact well documented by credible Bible scholars. Quite naturally, we want to know who Mark was, and we find that he is mentioned frequently in the New Testament.
What we know about him is that he was the son of a very well-to-do woman in Jerusalem; her name was Mary, and her home became the center of early church get-togethers. So, you can imagine that Mark was there when Jesus’ closest followers came to his mother’s house for a “church council” meeting. Peter the chief elder referred to Mark affectionately as “my son.”
Mark was also the nephew of Barnabas who talked Paul into letting the youngster go with them on one of their missionary journeys - which, you may recall, resulted in Mark’s falling out of favor with Paul by leaving and going back home. However, it’s interesting to note that, years later, when Paul was in prison, facing execution, he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him, “for he is a most useful servant to me.”
I suppose Paul saw in this young man a Christian who had the ability to write; and, apparently having redeemed himself, he could now be counted on to carry out Paul’s wishes. This explanation is plausible because Mark had served as Peter’s scribe and, as such, had written much of what Peter related to him about his eye witness account of the ministry of Jesus.
MARK SERMON I – MARK 1:1-31 . . .
PROPELLED BY THE POWER OF GOD TO PROCLAIM GOOD NEWS
Mark’s purpose in writing is stated very simply but clearly, basically saying, “This is the story of how Jesus Christ, the Son of God, brought the good news to men” (Mark 1:1). Following that brief introduction:
Mark picks up the story thirty years after the birth of Christ – with an account of John the Baptist setting the stage for Jesus’ ministry by preaching repentance and baptizing those who repented (Mark 1:2-8).
As a way of identifying with John’s pronouncement of the coming of the messiah - “one mightier than I” - Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism (Mark 1:9-11) – which was to become the church ordinance by which repentant sinners would identify themselves with Christ and His Church.
Whereas Jesus’ baptism may be looked upon as a prediction of His “death, burial and resurrection,” our baptism represents a declaration of our repentance (death to sin and burial of the old nature) plus our identification with and commitment to Jesus Christ (resurrection to a new life in Christ).
John’s preaching had become popular with the people since, for such a long time, they had waited to be rescued from servitude at the hands of evil empires. So, when this powerful preacher came on the scene announcing the imminent coming of the promised Messiah, people excitedly came to hear John preach; and that gave John the chance to call upon every one of them to repent, “for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Then Jesus came! John pointed to Him and declared “He is the One!” “Hear Him! Follow Him! Commit your way unto Him, for He has come to usher in the Kingdom of God – and you can be a part of it.
Mark began his gospel with the preaching of John the Baptist so that folks might understand that prophecy was being fulfilled before their eyes and they were witnessing the transition of preaching power from the one who prepared the way to the one who was (is) the Way.
Only briefly did Mark mention the temptation experience of Jesus (Mark 1:12-13). I suppose he assumed that, as subsequent events unfolded, it would become clear to the reader that Jesus indeed passed the initial test of doing battle with Satan - since Jesus obviously emerged from the wilderness victorious and began His ministry which would culminate in His crowning achievement of defeating Satan once and for all!
Having described events that paved the way for Jesus to launch His task, Mark then tells how Jesus went about it --- Mark 1:14-15 . . .
Preaching the gospel of a kingdom not of this world had not set well with the religious rulers in Jerusalem, so the inevitability was that anyone advocating a new kingdom would be considered a threat to the hierarchy and, therefore, must be silenced. So, for that reason, John was arrested.
However, the “powers that be” had not anticipated there would be a successor to John. Were they in for a shocking revelation! One “mightier” than John - Jesus of Nazareth - took up where John left off by preaching repentance as the first step in the process of establishing God’s kingdom.