The Gospel of Mark begins with Jesus’ baptism by John, and then launches into a whirlwind of incredible ministry moments with Jesus in the region of Galilee. Jesus proclaims that “the kingdom of God is near,” and so doing, finds allies (the disciples) and enemies (demons, Pharisees).
Notice the theme of authority that emerges in these chapters (1:22, 1:27, 2:10, 3:15). Even the wind and the waves obey Jesus (4:41). Jesus’ authority and power both reveals the nature of this Kingdom of God, and also confirms his divine identity, revealed in the first line of the book - “the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
This kingdom is good news because it is comprised of repentant sinners (2:17). All are welcome, if we would repent and come to Jesus. The greatest risk is not our sin, but our pride and lack of compassion, both evidenced by the Pharisees throughout Mark.
How has this Gospel challenged your understanding of Jesus’ ministry? Did you expect it to be this supernatural (exorcisms, miracles, etc)? In what ways do you struggle to accept the authority of the One who calmed the wind and the waves?
As you read this week, look for the following:
- Two feedings of the multitudes (the 5,000 and the 4,000) - why two similar miracles?
- A miracle where Jesus has to try twice to heal a blind man - why does he heal him in stages?
- Peter’s famous confession of Jesus’ identity - How does Jesus respond to Peter, and what happens in their interchange?
- Jesus repeatedly discussing his coming death, to the dismay of the disciples - Are the disciples more supportive, or combative, with Jesus in this section? Why is Jesus’ prediction of his own suffering so upsetting to the disciples?
As always, each time you read, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to God, that you might know Jesus better through your reading of Mark.