February 25, 2010

Gospel of Mark: Chapter 1

I am co-teaching a class through the Gospel of Mark with another pastor (Rodney Frieden) on staff with me at Castleton UMC over the next 5 weeks. We are taking turns teaching through Mark with me kicking things off last night with chapter 1. Here is a summary of my notes and thoughts from last night...

Chapter 1
Vs 1 - Mark's gospel message conveys that Jesus is not solely the Jewish Messiah but that he is also the strong Son of God who is able to deliver us from the bondage of sin and claim victory over death.

Vs 2-3 - It was not uncommon to hear of kings who would send slaves/workers ahead of their chariots to smooth out the rough places to make it easier for them to pass through. John the Baptist serves this same sort of purpose for the ministry of Jesus, who is the King of kings.

Vs 6 - "camel's hair" could be camel skin or a fabric woven of camel's hair, which is more likely because it was much cheaper. 2 Kings 1:8 shows that Elijah's garments fit a similar description to that of John's.

Vs 7 - The word "powerful" or "mightier" was typically used for great supernatural beings (cf Rev. 10:1; 18:8, 21).

Vs 10 - Mark uses "immediately" 41x in his gospel, not always to note some sort of speedy action but to help us understand the sequence of events and how they unfolded. In regards to Jesus' baptism, I've often wondered if everyone else heard the "voice" and saw the "dove" and am thinking that they didn't. The reason I say this is based on John the Baptist, the one who would have heard or seen anything if there was something to see, does not know if Jesus is the Messiah a while after his baptism (Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23).

Vs 11 - Paul had a similar experience on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9).

Vs 15 - "repentance" is not a major theme of Mark's gospel as he targeted a primarily Gentile audience, rather he focuses on salvation through Christ as God's rescuing act redeeming lost and helpless mankind from slavery to sin. Remember, Mark highlights Jesus' strength as the strong Son of God.

Vs 16-20 - Mark is emphasizing the quickness of their responses.

Vs 22 - "authority" literally means in the Greek "out from himself" which would mean that Jesus' authority came from himself because he IS authority. He Is the expert.

Vs 30 - Being a disciple of Jesus does not mean you ignore your normal, day to day life. We know that Simon Peter had a wife and he still followed Jesus, as well as many others (1 Cor. 9:5). Our discipleship is lived out in our normal lives, in our roles as spouses, bosses, parents, children, neighbors, employees, teachers, students, etc. To disconnect discipleship from your everyday life is to fail as a disciple.

Vs 40 - Mark wanted to emphasize who Jesus was and what he did, he doesn't spend as much time emphasizing his teachings. Jesus had the power and authority to heal and Mark makes that clear from the very beginning. The Gospel of Matthew spends considerably more time on Jesus' teachings than does Mark. This does not mean Mark didn't value his teachings but rather goes about his gospel in a different, more condensed way.

*If you have any questions, thoughts or comments please feel free to share by making a comment below.