Studying Mark's Gospel: The Kingdom Is Dawning

The Kingdom Is Dawning

 

Mark 1:21-45

 

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW

 

Lesson 1 examined the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry and proclamation of the Good News (the gospel) that God’s kingdom had come at last. Yet His kingdom came in unexpected ways. Mark didn’t start with Jesus’ birth or pre-existence like the other Gospels, but with the messenger sent before Him, John the Baptist. John was the servant of the true Servant. He proclaimed the need for confession of sin and repentance, and he used baptism to symbolize commitment to die to one’s self and turn to God. 

 

Jesus was confirmed not just as the Son of Man, but the Son of God. He was testified to by His own message and life, as we’ll see, by John’s testimony, by the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the form of a dove, and by the proclamation by God the Father,  “As for you, you are my Son, the beloved one; in you I am well pleased.[i] 

 

Rather than immediately entering into ministry, Jesus faced severe temptations in the wilderness for 40 days. Instead of breaking Jesus and destroying His purposes, these temptations became a triumph over Satan, the first step in showing us that the kingdom of God had indeed begun to come. Jesus emerged the Son of Man, able to relate to us as we face our own trials and temptations. The Galilean ministry began, and from the first Jesus’ message was the coming of the Kingdom. Jesus began seeking out men to accompany Him and help in His ministry. Unlike the rabbis, He chose His followers from not the cream of the crop, but some pretty unlikely characters. Yet these men made up for their lack of qualifications in the world’s eyes by their devotion to Him: “They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:18, nkjv).  As we study this week, we’ll see an action-packed beginning to His ministry in the region of Galilee, and see that there is much we can learn from this as well.

 

DAY ONE:  An Astonishing Authority

 

Please carefully read Mark 1:21-26 and answer the following questions.

 

After calling His initial four disciples, Jesus began ministering in Capernaum, which became His home base during this time. Capernaum was a town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, two to three miles from the mouth of the Jordan River. The existence of this city is well documented in other ancient documents, and archaeologists believe they have unearthed the very synagogue that Jesus ministered in, as well as possibly Peter’s house there.[ii]

 

1.  What did Jesus do on the Sabbath, and how did His hearers react (v. 21, 22a)?

 

NOTES:  The nlt indicates Jesus did this “every Sabbath day”; in fact the word Mark used, sábbasin, is plural.[iii] These people were astonished at Jesus’ teaching (meaning to strike someone out of their senses by some strong feeling, wonder, and joy; to be struck with shock, astonishment and amazement). 

 

2.  They were also amazed at Jesus’ authority (Greek exousia, authority delegated from one person to another; the right and ability to do something).  Why was this (v. 22b)?

 

NOTE: The title scribe in Greek is similar to our word grammar. These men were experts about the written and oral Law, and would explain it, probably boringly, in schools or synagogues. We see Jesus denouncing many of the scribes and Pharisees in the Gospels, but not all were antagonistic toward Jesus, as we’ll see later in Mark.[iv]

 

3.  What suddenly happened as Jesus was teaching (v. 23, 24)?

 

4.  What a shocking thing this would be—and who knows how long this guy had been going to the synagogue before it was revealed he was demon-possessed![v] The Amplified Bible expands the outburst of the demon, based on the context of the Greek, “he raised a deep and terrible cry from the depths of his throat” (v. 23). How did Jesus deal with this, and what was the result (v. 25, 26)?

 

5.  The demon inside the poor guy had one last fling with him—literally! The kjv describes this as having torn him. The Greek means convulsing him like a it was used to describe the rending or tearing done by an animal as it kills its prey.[vi] Jesus’ handling of this was to tell the demon to be quiet, or literally, be gagged and muzzled! This deliverance exhibits another proof of the Kingdom of God dawning. How so (Isaiah 61:1; 1 John 3:8)? 

 

Scripture Memory:  This week we will be memorizing Mark 1:41. Review the passage several times throughout the day each day this week, and by the end of the week, you should have it memorized completely.

 

Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."  Mark 1:41, nkjv

DAY TWO:  Amazing Reactions

 

Please carefully read Mark 1:27-31 and answer the following questions.

 

1.  How did those at the synagogue that day react to all of these things (v. 27)?

 

NOTES: The word amazed used here conveys the idea of being afraid or terrified as well as in awe. His teaching to them was also refreshing, as the Greek word means to be new in quality as compared to the stuffy rhetoric of the scribes.

 

2. What was the result of this great act of deliverance (v. 28)?

 

3.  After leaving the synagogue, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house for the rest of the Sabbath. Palestinian houses of this time were usually low and flat-roofed, sometimes having a guest chamber up on top, and usually the extended family dwelt together, including the married children.[vii] But what did they find out upon returning home (v. 30)? 

 

4.  The word Mark used for fever actually comes from the Greek root word for fire, so this phrase meant she was lying prostrate, burning with fever, not just a little ill. What did Jesus do about this, and what was her response to this (v. 31)?

 

5.  What a special touch at the end of verse 31—Peter’s mother-in-law went from extremely ill one moment to giving of herself in service to the Lord at the next. He has also done much the same for us: saved us from a certain death in hell and brought us literally from the fire that would have destroyed us. What do the following passages state about what our attitude should be in view of what He has done for us?

 

Psalms 116:12-14


Luke 17:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

 

Romans 12:1-2

 

Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.

 

Then Jesus, moved with _______________________, stretched out His hand and __________________ him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."  Mark 1:41, nkjv

 

DAY THREE:  Multitudes Ministered To

 

Please carefully read Mark 1:32-34 and answer the following questions.

 

1. As the Sabbath ended, what began happening (v. 32)?

 

NOTE: Mark distinguished between those who were physically ill and those who were demon-possessed (the Greek Word could be literally translated into English “demonized”). We may look at some of these people and think from our modern viewpoint that maybe many of these just had mental illnesses, which may in part be true, but demonic possession, oppression, and activity was and is a reality.[viii]

 

2.  What was the extent of the community’s response to Jesus (v. 33)?

 

3.  How did Jesus respond to the needs of this multitude of people, doubtless late into the night (v. 34)? 

 

NOTES: Once again Jesus commanded the demons He cast out to be quiet, for they knew Him (the Amplified Bible adds “knew Him intuitively”). The Greek phrase here indicates that they kept on bringing people to Him; also, He especially didn’t want or need the assistance of Satan and his forces telling people who He is![ix]

 

4.  The selflessness of Jesus is so apparent in Mark and the other Gospels. He met their needs regardless of His own. As Alexander Maclaren well said, “True pity always leads us instinctively to seek to come near those who are its objects.”[x] Compassion and action are linked for the believer, and demonstrated by Jesus’ example. What are some other ways that Jesus taught about selfless actions of compassion toward others?

 

Matthew 9:35-36; Matthew 20:26-28

 

Luke 12:42-44

 

John 13:12-17

 

Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.

 

Then Jesus, moved with _______________________, stretched out His _____________ and __________________ him, and said to him, "I am ___________________________; be cleansed."  Mark 1:41, nkjv

 

DAY FOUR:  The Messiah’s Inspiration

 

Please carefully read Mark 1:35-39 and answer the following questions.

 

1.  Despite a long night of ministry, what did Jesus do (v. 35)?


2.  The Greek phrase here indicates He was praying through the early morning hours, prolonged prayer in this secluded place. The use of the term “wilderness” or “solitary place” was the same used to describe the place of Jesus’ temptation; perhaps this too was a point of spiritual testing for Him, as the other two crucial times Mark records of Him praying at the middle (Mark 6:46) and end (Mark 14:35-39) of His ministry.[xi] What happened though as Jesus sought this precious time alone, seeking inspiration, strength and wisdom from His Father (v. 36)? What did they say when they found Him (v. 37)? 

 

NOTE:  The Greek phrasing used by Mark indicates they were hunting for Him, thus the Amplified Bible adds, “...pursuing Him eagerly and hunting Him out.” 

 

3.  At this point it seems that Jesus had discerned that the motives of the mobs may have been wrong. How did He respond to Peter and those with him, no doubt to their surprise (v. 38)?

 

4.  How did they press on from there (v. 39)?

 

5.  Jesus’ statement “Let us go...” is a verb form meaning “Let us get going and keep going,” emphasizing all the things that lay ahead of Him yet to accomplish. He was gaining fame and notoriety there in Capernaum, but knew this took Him away from His true purpose, even though leaving this place was less attractive.[xii] Jesus’ time spent with the Father in prayer redirected Him back to the task at hand. Jesus would later have great problems with many in the multitudes that had wrong motives for seeking Him. What did John’s Gospel record about this (John 2:23-25; John 6:22-27)?

 

Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.

 

Then Jesus, ______________ with _______________________, stretched out His _____________ and __________________ him, and said to him, "I am ___________________________; be ______________________."  Mark 1:41, nkjv

 

DAY FIVE:  Compassion, Cleanliness, and the Crowds

 

Please carefully read Mark 1:40-45 and answer the following questions.

 

1.  We aren’t told exactly when or where this incident took place, but what happened one day as Jesus ministered (v. 40)?

 

2.  Leprosy included several skin diseases, but true leprosy (Hanson’s bacillus) is a progressive, disfiguring disease, that according to the Law excluded this man from society (Leviticus 13).[xiii] The Jewish teachers of Jesus’ day (not the Scriptures) would blame leprosy on a person’s sin; lepers were considered “unclean,” and were to be shunned, especially not to be touched.[xiv] However, this man took the risk, came to Jesus, and believed He could (Greek, had authority to) heal Him if He was willing to. What was Jesus’ response to this man (v. 41)?

 

NOTES: Only Mark’s Gospel points out Jesus’ emotional response to this man’s situation; Mark’s Gospel is unique in recording emotional reactions of people.[xv] The Greek word for compassion is an inner feeling, to feel deeply or viscerally, and was Jesus’ attitude toward this man.

 

3.  Of course, Jesus had broken rabbinic teachings by touching this man...or had He? What does verse 42 say about it?

 

4.  After healing him, Jesus strictly warned, directed, and sent him away to follow the guidelines of the Law regarding being cleansed from leprosy (Leviticus 14:1-32). Instead, what did this man do, and how did this impact Jesus’ ministry at that time (v. 45)?

 

5.  It is understandable that this man forgot to follow Jesus’ instructions to go to the priest and follow the proper steps, which would have been a testimony to them. He was so excited that he was continually proclaiming and blurting out what Jesus had done for Him. But this excitement also hindered Jesus’ ministry to an extent. Why didn’t Jesus want this man, or the demons, or others to tell who He was at this point? It seems that Jesus was insisting on, as theologians call it, the “Messianic secret,” not letting His claims to being the Messiah come fully out at this time. How do John 7:6, Romans 5:6, and Galatians 4:4-5 shed some light on this?

 

Scripture Memory:  Can you write out this week’s passage by memory here below?  Give it a try, and keep reviewing the passage several times throughout the day.

 

Mark 1:41:

 

 

 

DAY SIX:  Following Christ

 

1.  As we read in the Introduction, between the time of the Babylonian captivity and the days of Jesus, the Hasidim (later the Pharisees) developed oral interpretations of what they thought the Law meant, and sadly began living more by their own interpretations rather than by the Law itself. Judaism became a religion of external activity rather than a relationship with God. After Jesus’ day, the rabbis complicated things even more. They assembled the memorized oral traditions in writing (the Mishnah); later commentaries were made on the Mishnah (the Gemarah). These in turn were compiled together in the Talmud in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries A.D.[xvi] They had taken the beautiful Law and Word of God and instead emphasized human ideas and interpretations, taking the life out of their synagogue services. Jesus’ teachings to the people were alive, unlike the boring droning on and on by the Pharisees and scribes. “The teaching was fresh, original as the dew of the morning on the blossoms just blown.”[xvii]

 

How are you approaching and proclaiming God’s Word to others? How are you seeking to embrace its freshness? Read the following passage, and record some thoughts about how you can better approach learning and sharing God’s Word to others: 


For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13, nkjv)

 

2.  Not only do we need to have a fresh view of the Scriptures, but we need to set aside time daily to be in prayer. Jesus’ example stood out to us of doing this. Even after ministering to others late into the night, He did not miss His time with the Father to seek inspiration, wisdom, and strength. How is your prayer life? What are some ways that you can more effectively pray and set aside that special time for communing with God? Write down your thoughts here, then as a group discuss these and seek to encourage each other in having a more effective life of prayer.

 

3.  Serving God and feeling compassion are linked together for us as believers.  Peter’s mother-in-law was a great example of serving in thankfulness for Jesus’ touch in her life.  Warren Wiersbe also pointed out that if Jesus came to the earth as a servant, “then being a servant is the highest of all callings.”[xviii] We can’t always do something about each situation that stirs God’s compassion in us, but there are many ways we can serve God and others each day. What are some situations you have come across lately that stirred compassion in you? How did you or could you have responded better in service to the person in the situation? In view of all that Jesus has done for you, how will you commit yourself to follow and serve Him?

 

Scripture Memory:  Hopefully you now can write out this week’s passage completely by memory. Do so now, and keep on reviewing it so you will be ready to share it with others in your group time.

 

Mark 1:41:

 

 


[i] Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1961), Mark 1:9.

[ii] Paul J. Achtemeier (ed.), Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 1st Edition (San Francisco:  Harper and Row, 1985), on Logos Research Systems, Inc., Bellingham, 2001-2004.

[iii] Except where indicated, all Greek definitions referred to in this Lesson are based on A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 5, 6 (Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Oak Harbor:  Logos Research Systems, Inc, 1932, 1933, 1997); James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:  Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order (electronic edition).  Woodside Bible Fellowship:  Ontario, 1996; Kenneth W. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).  In Logos Research Systems, Inc., Bellingham, 1984, 199; and Spiros Zodhiates ed., The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga:  AMG Publishers, electronic edition).  In Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1992, 1993, 2000.

[iv]Joel F. Williams, Mark.  In Darrell Bock ed., The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study: The Gospels (Colorado Springs:  Cook Communications Ministries, 2002), p. 118.

[v] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1 (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc.), p. 112

[vi] Joel F. Williams, Mark, p. 119.

[vii] Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament, 4th Edition (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1970, 1981, 1994, 2003), pp. 30. 31. 35.

[viii] James A. Brooks, Mark.  In David S. Dockery ed., The New American Commentary Vol. 23 (Nashville:  Broadman Press, 1991), p. 50.

[ix] Warren W.  Wiersbe, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Vol. 1, pp. 112, 113.

[x] Alexander Maclaren, Mark:  The God Who Serves (Old Tappan:  Fleming H. Revell Co., 1987), p. 41.

[xi] Joel F. Williams, Mark, p.119; also James A. Brooks, Mark, p. 53.

[xii] John D. Grossmick, Mark.  In John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications, 1983), p. 110.

[xiii] John D. Grossmick, Mark, p. 111.

[xiv] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary:  New Testament (Downer’s Grove:  InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 139.

[xv] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005), p. 1200; Warren W.  Wiersbe, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Vol. 1, p. 112.

[xvi] Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament, 4th Edition, p. 61, 62.

[xvii] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 5, 6 (Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Oak Harbor:  Logos Research Systems, Inc, 1932, 1933, 1997).

[xviii] Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 114.

 

 

© 2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2005-2006.

 

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