Mark's gospel was written to Christians in Rome who were being persecuted by the Roman emperor Nero in approximately 64 AD.
They were written for three reasons;
- Eyewitnesses were dying
- False teaching
- The Church was growing
There are also several different sources used to write this account:
- Eyewitness accounts (e.g. Peter)
- Oral traditions/ word of mouth
- Written sources
- Personal experience
- Inspiration by the Holy Spirit
Notes on Content
The general content of Mark's gospel is a narrative on Jesus' life and the miracles He performed. Notes:
- Presentation on the birth of Jesus
- No birth narrative
- Only a brief mention of the Temptation
1:1-8 John the Baptist Prepares the Way
- Old Testament fulfilment (Isaiah and Malachi)
- Preached repentance
- Baptised people in the Jordan River
- Camel hair clothes and ate locusts and wild honey
His message was that he was preparing the way for one more powerful. John said that he would not be worthy to untie this man's sandals, and that He would baptise with the Holy Spirit
1: 9-13 Jesus' Baptism and Temptation
Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptised in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
It is said that when Jesus emerged form the water:
- Heaven was torn open
- The Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove
- A voice same from heaven 'This is my Son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased'
- The Spirit send Jesus to the desert immediately, where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days before angels attended him
Today we have two kinds of baptism; infant and believer's baptism
1:14-20 The Calling of the First Disciples
- Jesus is asking people to repent because the 'Kingdom of God is near'
- Jesus was walking alongside the Sea of Galilee
- Andrew and Peter were casting their nets into the lake
- Jesus said 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'
- AT ONCE they left their nets and followed Him
- James & John were preparing their nets.
- WITHOUT DELAY He called them and they followed
- James and John left their father with the hired men.
1:21-28 Jesus drives out an evil spirit
It was the Sabbath day in Capernaum. Jesus went to the synangogue and began to teach. People were amazed; He taught with AUTHORITY. There was a man possessed by an evil spirit.
'I know who you are!' the spirit said 'The Holy One of God!'
'Be quiet!" Jesus said 'Come out of him!'
News about him spread all over Galilee
1:29-34 Jesus Heals Many
Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law had fever. Jesus managed to heal her and she waited on them.
That evening people brought ALL the sick to Jesus. When Jesus drove out demons, He did not let them say who He is.
1:35-39 Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
It was very early in the morning. The disciples could not find Jesus and so went looking for him.
'Everyone is looking for you!' they said when they found him.
Jesus travelled throughout Galilee and preached in synagogues
1: 40-45 A Man with Leprosy
A man with leprosy approached Jesus, begging on his knees 'If you are willing you can make me clean!'
Filled with compassion, Jesus touched the man
'I am willing- be clean!'
IMMEDIATELY he was clean.
Jesus told him 'Don't tell anyone, but show the priest'
However, the man talked freely. Jesus could no longer enter a town openly
2: 1-12 Jesus Heals a Paralytic.
Jesus reentered Capernaum. A large crowd had gathered and so there was no room in the house where Jesus was preaching.
4 men brought a paralytic friend to be cured by Jesus and so were dismayed when they saw there was no room. They made a hole in the roof and lowered their friend in through the roof. Jesus saw their faith and declared that their sins were forgiven.
Teachers of the law claimed it was blasphemy, as only God can forgive sins.
Jesus replied 'Which is easier, to say your sins or forgiven or to get up, take your mat and walk?'
To prove His power and His authority, he told the paralytic to take his mat and walk- and he did! This amazed everyone and they praised God.
2:13-17 The Calling of Levi
Levi, Son of Alphaeus, was sitting at the tax collector's booth. Jesus saw him and told him to follow Him. Levi followed.
Jesus had dinner at Levi's house with many tax collectors and sinners.
The Pharisees asked: 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus answered: 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners'
2: 18-22 Jesus Questioned about Fasting
Jesus was asked 'John's disciples and Pharisees' disciples fast, yours don't- why?'
Jesus replied that a bridegroom's guest can't fast while he is with them. On the day the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast.
He also said that you don't put a patch of unshrunk cloth on a torn garment- it will pull away, making the tear worse.
You also don't put new wine into old wineskins otherwise the skins will burst- NEW WINE IN NEW WINESKINS.
2:23-3:6 Lord of the Sabbath
Jesus and His disciples were going through some cornfields on the Sabbath. The disciples began to pick corn.
Pharisees asked 'Why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?'
Jesus replied by talking about how David ate consecrated bread and gave some to his companions. He also said 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.' and 'The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath!'
Jesus was preaching in a synagogue. Some were looking for something to accuse Jesus of. A man with a shriveled hand came and people were wondering if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath.
Jesus told the man to stand up in front of everyone and asked 'Which is lawful to do on the Sabbath; good or evil?'
There was no reply. Jesus, angry at the stubborn hearts of the Pharisees, asked the man to streatch out his hand- it was completely restored.
3:73:12 Crowds follow Jesus
Jesus and his disciples withdrew to the lake. Large crowds from Galilee followed.
Evil spirits say 'You are the Son of God'
Jesus told them to keep quiet
3:13-19 The Appointing of the Twelve Apostles
Jesus went up a mountainside and called 12 designated apostles. They were Jesus' inner circle and were to:
- Be Jesus' friends/companions
- Drive out demons
3:20-30 Jesus and Beelzebub
There was a large crowd. Jesus was so busy preaching and such He forgot to eat. His family said that He was 'Out of his mind!' and the teachers of the law claimed that he was possessed by Beelzebub.
Jesus spoke to them in parables:
How can a kingdom divided against itself stand?
Unforgivable sin; blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
3:31-35 Jesus' Mother and Brothers
Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. The crowd told Him that His mother and brothers were looking for Him.
Jesus said that whoever does God's will are His mother and brothers.
4:1-20 Parable of the Sower
Farmer (God) sows seed (His word).
Some landed on the path but the birds ate it. (Satan taking the Word away. Hard-hearted person)
Some landed in the rocky places. It had shallow soil, and the seed sprung up but was soon scorched by the Sun as it had no root. (Recieve God's Word with joy but no root- fall away because of trouble).
Some landed among thorns. The thorns grew and choked the plants so they didn't bear grain (worries of life choke God's Word- unfaithful person)
Still some landed on good ground. This produced a crop 30, 60 or 100 times what was sown (A person who hears and accepts the word and produces crop)