Read Mark 1:1-45
The Gospel of Mark is the second of the four “gospels” that, in part, make up the present-day canon of the New Testament. John Mark, the author of this book, was a writer and attendant for Peter… THE Peter. You know… the one who kept putting his foot in his mouth around Jesus. Peter was part of Jesus’ “inner circle”, and the purpose of Mark’s book is to tell the story of Jesus from Peter’s perspective. So, consider, as you read this chapter, that the words Mark is writing are being spoken by Peter, a FIRST-HAND (the fancy word for this is “apostolic”) account of the teachings, sayings, actions, miracles, and life of Jesus of Nazareth. You get to see Jesus through the eyes of Peter, and what a precious gift that is to us in 2022.
The first chapter begins with John the Baptist, and ends with Jesus teaching and performing miracles in Galilee. One of the key things Mark is trying to begin to establish in the opening chapter is Jesus’s perfect authority.
See some examples:
Jesus’ baptism: In verse 7, John proclaims the greatness of Jesus by saying “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strop of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie”. After Jesus is baptized, Mark says after he was baptized, he saw the heavens being “torn open” (sounds like a little more than just the clouds parting, doesn’t it?), the Spirit descending on him “like a dove” a voice from the heavens proclaiming Jesus as God’s son.
Jesus calls his first disciples, Simon and Andrew with two words; “Follow me.” They drop their nets and follow. No questions, no hesitation, and no doubt. We see Jesus command unclean spirits who recognize his authority. (“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”) He heals many sick, and casts out many demons. His teaching is recognized as “a new teaching with authority” in verse 27.
So, as you read this, marvel at Jesus’ miracles, but try to imagine this from the perspective of poor Jewish peasants, with little to hope for, and little going right for them. Try to imagine a world where you have been promised a Messiah, but until this moment that promise has been little more than a prophesy or a bit of folklore. Try to imagine the HOPE and the JOY with which you would receive this prophet, and the zeal with which you would follow him. Consider your walk with Jesus today… do you recognize Him as your first and only authority? Do you give him the first of everything, or what’s left? Look at Jesus as if you’re seeing Him for the FIRST TIME, in the flesh, and enjoy the journey through Mark as you see Jesus assert his perfect authority over and over again, and be encouraged by the One who is worthy of our devotion.