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Mark chapter 1

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What does Mark chapter 1 mean?

The book of Mark is attributed to John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), who deserted Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip (Acts 13:13). Mark was quickly reconciled with Barnabas (Acts 15:37–39) and eventually renewed his friendship with Paul (2 Timothy 4:11). Scholars suggest Mark may have been the young man who ran away naked from Jesus' arrest (Mark 14:51–52), and if so, it would mean he actually knew Jesus. The book of Mark is one of the four Gospels which tell the story of Jesus' ministry on earth. It's believed Mark wrote his Gospel based on Peter's witness.

Mark's writing style is one of action, not heavy theology or quiet, scholarly contemplation. He skips Jesus' early life and opens with John the Baptist's ministry and Jesus' baptism. These two events stand as a transition from the era of the Old Testament prophets to the time of Jesus—a transition Jewish leaders found difficult to make. The remainder of the first chapter covers important events such as the temptation of Christ, the calling of the first disciples, and Jesus' earliest ministry in His home territory of Galilee. Woven into the action are various themes and struggles Jesus must face throughout His time on earth.

Like us, Jesus' first audience focused on what He could do instead of Who He was and why He had come. Where Jesus wanted to use His authority to teach, people instead looked to the signs of His authority—His miracles. Where He wanted to prove He was the Messiah through His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, His identity was instead publicly announced by demons. And although Jesus wished to explain His position in the legitimacy of the synagogue, His popularity quickly drove Him to the wilderness.

Mark chapter 1 illustrates that, despite Jesus' God-given authority and His temptation-tested righteousness, we too often would rather use Him to make our lives comfortable than listen and follow His words. We should not be quick to trek to the wilderness in hopes that Jesus will heal us, but neglect to obey Him in the comfort of our own homes. God has always used miracles to authenticate His servants so that people would listen to their message. Miracles are a tool, not the message.

Even so, Jesus' willingness to perform miracles and the way He performed miracles shows His love for us. He touched a woman (Peter's mother-in-law) and a man with leprosy—both unheard of for a man who claimed to preach the Word of God. As much as God wants us to follow Him, He also cares about us right here and right now. When it comes to healing, we should have the attitude of the leper who was convinced Jesus could heal him, but would only do so if it was according to Jesus' plan. True healing—spiritual restoration with God—comes from the gospel Jesus came to preach, through trusting His sacrifice on the cross to cover over our sins.
What is the Gospel?
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