St Mark 1 Reflections

The Gospel According to St Mark: Mark Chapter One: Read here:

01 fishermen

Christ Calling Peter and Andrew, by Harry Anderson

John the Baptist was sent before Jesus to prepare the way for the Lord’s ministry, as the prophets had foretold,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3).

John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. How about us? We may not have as great a calling as John, but we know Jesus will come again. What are we doing individually to prepare ourselves and others for that hour? Are we preparing the way of the Lord?

‘John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins’ (vs. 4-5).

These were large gatherings. John’s disciples were not few in number. John told the people,

“There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall not only baptize you with water, but with fire, and the Holy Ghost.” (vs. 9-11; JST Mark 1:6).

Being baptized with water is important, and we need to have this baptism administered by someone who holds the same priesthood authority as John the Baptist did. But that is still not complete. The Lord told Nicodemus that,

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

John held the Aaronic Priesthood and thereby could perform baptisms. Jesus held the greater priesthood, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. With these priesthoods again on the earth, men once again have the authority to baptize with water by immersion, unto repentance for the remission of sins, and to lay their hands upon the heads of those who’ve been baptized, to administer the Gift of the Holy Ghost and to confirm them members of Christ’s church. In that second ordinance, we are told to receive the Holy Ghost. We then bear the responsibility to do so.

Saint Mark recorded what John said about the Lord being the One to baptize us with fire and the Holy Ghost. He who knows each of us intimately and individually knows when we are ready and worthy to receive such a baptism.

‘And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying,

“Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (vs. 9-11).

Not only did the Holy Ghost ratify the act of Jesus’s baptism, but Heavenly Father did so Himself. It was well-pleasing to God that Jesus would humble Himself and accept this ordinance, though He was without sin. How pleasing it must be to our Father when we follow the Lord’s example!

The Spirit doesn’t seek to tempt us or to cause us to falter, but there are times that the Lord does allow us to be tempted, because we need to be tested so that we can prove our loyalty to God. Jesus was following the Spirit when He went into the wilderness to fast for forty days in preparation for his ministry. Of course, Satan sought to tempt Him during that time; but Mark tells us that angels came to minister to Him. Because Jesus resisted temptation and only worshipped the Father, when His body was weakened from fasting, His Father gave Him strength to continue to resist temptation. Likewise, when we stay true to God, we will be blessed with deliverance from Satan’s traps, even being strengthened by angels when necessary (see vs. 12-13).

After this period of fasting, with John in prison, ‘Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying,

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (vs. 14-15).

Jesus Calls Disciples to Follow Him: Mark 1:16-20.

‘Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them,

“Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”

‘And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

‘And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.’

Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John all heard Jesus beckon to them,

“Come follow me,”

And, they stopped immediately what they were doing, so that they could follow him. What does this tell us about these good men? And Zebedee permitted his sons to take leave and follow Jesus. What does this tell us about Zebedee? He was ready and willing to have his sons follow Jesus, even if it meant he suffered monetary loss through losing their help and perhaps having to hire more servants. All of them put the kingdom of God first.

Jesus taught in a synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath day. ‘And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes’ (vs. 21-22).

A man with an unclean spirit cried out,

“Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”

‘And Jesus rebuked him, saying,

“Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”

‘And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying,

“What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him” (vs. 23-27).

Further Thought: Sometimes I think we forget that evil spirits also recognize the Lord. They may be more apt to recognize him than apathetic souls are, which can give them power over those who are not vigilantly aware.

It must have been a marvelous thing to see Jesus walk among men and with power and authority bestow His loving grace healing the multitudes.

‘And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee’ (vs. 28).

‘And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them’ (vs. 29-31).

On this Sabbath day, they had been to synagogue, where Jesus cast an unclean spirit out of a man. After that they went to Simon Peter’s house, where Jesus healed his mother-in-law. But the multitudes were waiting for the Sabbath to end, so that they could bring all of their troubled souls to Jesus.

‘And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him’ (vs. 32-34).

While there was still quiet in the new day, awake ahead of the rest of them, Jesus sought alone time with His Heavenly Father.

‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed’ (vs 35).

He was not alone long.

‘And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him,

“All men seek for thee.”

‘And he said unto them,

“Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.”
‘And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils’ (vs. 36-39).

He wanted to preach in all the towns and villages throughout Galilee and to bless many people.

‘And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him,

“If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”

‘And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him,

“I will; be thou clean.”

‘And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him,

“See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

‘But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter’ (36-45).

Jesus asked this man not to make this known. But he blazed it abroad. Do we betray trusts that the Lord puts in us? Are there times that the Spirit gives us light or understanding that is just meant for us personally? Do we see miracles that are not meant for everyone? Do we break confidences with others, with our families, neighbors? Can we be trusted?

Because this man broke his trust, Jesus was not able to openly enter that city. Do we limit the work of the Lord if He cannot trust us? Is it worth limiting His presence in our own lives by betraying His trust?


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