This reading is Mark 1.
Mark is action packed. Consider how much occurs just in chapter 1:
- Prediction and arrival of John the Baptist
- John baptizes Jesus
- Satan tempts Jesus in the desert
- Jesus preaches in Galilee
- Four fisherman follow Jesus
- Jesus teaches
- Jesus heals many
- Jesus preaches
- Jesus heals a man with leprosy
Mark starts off with a quote from the Old Testament (Isaiah the prophet), one of the many prophecies relating to the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. These prophecies were written hundreds of years earlier. This particular prophecy was about John the Baptist and how he would prepare the way for Jesus. John’s birth was predicted and so was Jesus’.
The books of Matthew and Luke start with the familiar stories of Jesus’ birth, but not Mark. The Jews were expecting the Messiah because of what the prophets spoke, including the message from Daniel that we just completed. The story of John the Baptist’s birth is told in Luke 1 and is very interesting as well.
John’s ministry focused on the baptism of repentance and the confessing of sins (verses 4-5).
Mark briefly mentions how Satan tempted Jesus in the desert. You can read Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 if you want more details. Satan is often portrayed as being symbolic, but if you note all the references to Satan in the Bible it is clear that he is a real being. He was an angel who rebelled against God.
There is a simple but powerful Gospel (good news) presentation in verse 15: “The time has come,” Jesus said, “The Kingdom of god is near. Repent and believe the good news.” It really is that simple. Repent of our sins (turn away from them and towards God) and believe the good news that Jesus took our punishment and reconciled us to God. There are so many important teachings in the Bible, but if we overlook this one we have missed the point.
Jesus recruits his first disciples by saying, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” I wonder how much they knew each other beforehand?
People immediately noticed Jesus’ authority to teach (in the spiritual sense, not the legal sense) .
Verse 40 has a powerful statement from the man with leprosy: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus said He was willing, and He made him clean immediately. We may not have leprosy, but we too can say, “make me clean,” and He will.
I love this book! I could go on and on. What stuck out to you as you read this chapter?
The next reading is Mark 2.