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Previous Lessons: 1

Mark 1:1-20

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
    who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review the background and setting of the book of Mark from lesson 1 (link above).

2. What two titles does Mark ascribe to Jesus in verse 1? What does the word “Christ” mean, and why is it an important title for Jesus? What does it mean that Jesus is the “Son of God“?

3. How many times does Mark use the word “immediately” in chapter 1? How might the repeated use of this word have given Mark’s audience – first century Gentiles – a sense of urgency about Jesus’ mission and their need for salvation? Does it give you a sense of urgency about these things as you read?

4. What was John the Baptist’s mission as prophesied by Isaiah? (2-3) How did John “flesh out” that mission? (4) How did John’s message of repentance and the baptism of repentance help “prepare the way of the Lord” – “prime the pump” or get people’s hearts ready – for the gospel Jesus would preach? (5, 7-8) What can we learn about John’s character from this passage?

5. How does John’s message of repentance preceding Jesus’ message of the gospel demonstrate that repentance is a crucial aspect of saving faith in Christ? (1-15) Would God have sent John to preach the message of repentance if He did not consider it a vital part of salvation? What does Mark indicate was the theme of the message Jesus preached? (15) Some people say repentance is not necessary for salvation- that only belief in Jesus is necessary. Did Jesus consider repentance to be part of the gospel? (15)

6. Examine verses 9-11. Since Jesus was without sin, why did He take part in a baptism of repentance? How does Jesus’ baptism set an example for believers to follow Him in being baptized? How does this passage reveal the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) to us? How does this passage refute the false teaching of modalism/Sabellianism and show us that God is one God in three Persons?

7. Who led Jesus to the place where He would be tempted by Satan? (12) Can we surmise from this that it was God’s plan for Jesus to undergo temptation? Why?

8. What two main characteristics did Simon and Andrew, and James and John, have in common? (16,19) Today, we might call them “blue collar” or “rednecks”- why do you think Jesus chose simple, uneducated fishermen as His first followers? (16-20) What message might this have sent first century Gentiles hearing, for the first time, about Jesus and His disciples? What did Jesus mean when He said He would make them “fishers of men”? (17) Considering what you know about them from the rest of the New Testament, did Simon, Andrew, James, and John become fishers of men?

9. What is the overall theme, purpose, or main idea of Mark 1:1-20?


Homework

Imagine yourself as a first century Gentile in a polytheistic society. You have little, if any, knowledge of the God of the Jews or the Old Testament, but you’re curious about this Jesus and why some of your Jewish and Gentile neighbors have begun to worship Him. Make a list of five to ten questions you’re going to want answered about Jesus so you can decide whether or not you want to worship Him, too.

Keep your list of questions handy as we study Mark. As you discover the answers to each question, write them down. Be reminded of who Jesus is and why He is worthy of your faith, worship, and obedience. Share what you’ve discovered with an unbelieving friend who needs to know Jesus.

 

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