Year of the Bible – Mark 1:1-2:28

Year of the Bible - Advent Week One - Mark 1




The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1 

Mark 1:1 – 2:28 (1:1-18)

Mark’s Gospel tells us absolutely nothing about the facts surrounding the birth of Christ. It simply begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was called by God to prepare Israel for the Messiah. He stood in the tradition of the great prophets of Israel, dividing light and darkness, showing men their sins but also a gracious Savior. His clothing was dramatic—a fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi predicting that the forerunner of the Messiah would come in the spirit of Elijah the prophet.

To avoid any false supposition that John himself was the Messiah, John emphatically asserted that he was NOT the Messiah. John only came to prepare men to receive Him. Mark then proceeds to reveal to us who Jesus was and is—in the Baptism of Jesus and through His subsequent temptation in the wilderness. Mark’s Gospel gives us two parallels to Genesis to help us understand what Jesus came to do: (1) In his introduction to the Gospel, he repeats the phrase, “in the beginning.” We are thereby brought to remember the creation of the world at the beginning of the book of Genesis and, thereby, the fact that in Christ we become a new creation; and (2) from the temptation of Christ and His unharmed presence among “the wild animals”, that Jesus is the New Man who overcomes the evil that the first man could not withstand—the wiles of Satan and the darkness of unbelief.

The theme of Mark, therefore, is before us: Christ has come to destroy evil and reverse the consequences of the fall of man into sin. Mark proves that Christ has successfully brought about a reversal of the fall into sin by the way that Christ exercises: (1) Authority to call men to preach the Gospel 1:14, 2:13; (2) Power over demonic spirits, which He accomplishes through the power of His Word 1:21; (3) Healing of the sick. 1:29, 1:40, 2:1. Sickness came into the world along with sin and can only depart through the removal of sin; (4) The right interpretation of God’s Word—interpreting it with the spirit of the Gospel, proving that He Himself is the Word of God, the second person of the Trinity, the one and only source of saving light. 2:18, 2:23.

Questions – Mark 1:1 – 2:28:

  1. What information does Mark give us about the birth of Christ?
  2. What was John the Baptist sent to do?
  3. How did John go about fulfilling his calling?
  4. What literary allusions does Mark use in the first chapter to point us back to the beginning of the book of Genesis?
  5. What things did Jesus do to prove that He has the power and authority to save us from sin and evil?
Year of the Bible – Advent | Week One | Thursday – © John W. Fiene