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Mark 1-1-13 Notes

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Mark 1:1-12 Notes

Mark 1:1-13 (NASB)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ”Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way; 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness,‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.’” 4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.” 12 And immediately the Spirit *impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.



BBC Gen The most common suggestion is that Mark wrote his Gospel to Roman Christians during the time of the great persecution in Rome, about A.D. 64.
    Mark wants his fellow Christians to understand that Christ’s call involves both power and suffering in their conflict with Satan’s forces.
    Mark wrote to a community that needed to be reminded that God heard prayers and would work through their witness and faith.
    They also needed to be reminded that this might cost them their lives in persecution.
    Finally, they could be reminded through the failure of the disciples in Mark that if they had not yet achieved the radical lifestyle their Lord’s words demanded, he would still work with them patiently to them get to the level of commitment.
    Jesus mission was completely different from any of the political views about messiahs circulating at the time; “messiahship” was thus an inadequate category for him until he could define it by the character of his mission.
ZBC Gen Ancient tradition connect Mark to Peter

|   |   | Key Themes:#. To fortify the faith of believers who were suffering.

  1. To explain the current suffering of believers.
  2. To admonish “cross-bearing” as integral to discipleship.
  3. To encourage believers with hope – in spite of their failures.


    Tradition associates Mark writing the Gospel in Rome.
NAC Gen From the verse 1 we see the conclusion of this story is only the beginning of the proclamation of good news about Jesus Christ that goes on to the end of time and to the ends of the earth.
    The term gospel did not yet refer to a literary genre when Mark wrote but refers to what is preached about God or about Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.
    The term gospel was originally associated with the emperor cult and were the glad tidings of what the emperor had done or was doing.
    The term Christ means “anointed one”.  The title Christ quickly assumed the force of a proper name and has completely lost its original force for the modern reader.  Some today may even assume that “Christ” is Jesus’ surname.  For the Greek-speaking Jews of Jesus’ day, however Christ (=Messiah) was a title of the one anointed by God to carry out specific tasks related to the liberation of Israel.
    In the religious world, the good news of Jesus Christ is watered down to good advice.  People are told to be kind, to smile a lot, to love all creatures, and think positively, and to feel good about themselves.  But the true gospel about Jesus Christ is something far more radical and explosive.  I t has to do with God’s redemptive action in Jesus, which reveals God’s love for humans and judgment on human sin and satanic evil.
    The gospel proclaims that God is involved with the very depths of human trouble and shame and allows the Son of God to be treated ingloriously on the gross to the effect our redemption.
    Throughout Mark, the disciples display a delight in power, glorious achievements, and personal ambition; they want a Messiah who is above suffering and who will give them their heart’s desire.  We too want a Messiah who graciously adapts his will to our desires and needs and is dedicated to serve us rather than all mankind.
    As was the case during Jesus’ ministry, so today many will not believe or will try to most Christ into their own images by telling him who he is and what he is to do.  Many try to domesticate the scandal, turn the cross into jewelry, and turn the Christ into a teacher of self-actualization.  The Gospel of Mark is the antidote to this distortion as it presents the foundation story of the gospel about Jesus Christ who suffers and dies on a cross.
Weir Gen Mark wrote for the Romans and his theme is Jesus Christ the Servant.
    The emphasis in this Gospel is on activity.  Mark describes Jesus as He busily moves from place to place and meets the physical and spiritual needs of all kinds of people.  One of Mark’s favorite words is immediately.  He uses it 41 times.  Mark does not record many of our Lord’s sermons because his emphasis is on what Jesus did rather than what Jesus said.
    If the Gospel of Mark was written sometime during the period A.D. 65-67, this passage from Tacitus sheds much light on its life setting. The Roman church was experiencing the fires of persecution. Even martyrdom was not unknown among its members. Mark addresses himself to this situation. His purpose in writing was "not historical or biographical, but it was intensely practical. He was writing a book for the guidance and support of his fellow Christians in a situation of intense crisis. The martyrdoms had fallen off, but there was no assurance--with Nero on the throne--when they might begin again; the last days could not be far off (Ch 13), and every Christian's lamp must be trimmed, every Christian's loins girded for the struggle"
NAC 1:1 The point of these opening scenes is to let the reader know from the start who Jesus is and to stress that he comes to fulfill divine promises and his divine commission.
ZBC 1:2 The gospel message continues a longer story stretching back to Isaiah.  Mark quotes from three texts: the law (Ex. 23:20), the greater prophets (Isa. 40:3) and the minor prophets (Mal. 3:1) to attest that God initiates the action. 
    By singling out Isaiah as the source, Mark informs the reader that the story is to be understood against the backdrop of Isaian themes.
NAC 1:2 Long before the promise-filled preaching of john the Baptizer, there was the promise filled preaching of Isaiah, which shows that God had planned things out long before John appeared on the scene and was the one who initiated the action.4 The prophets' hope was not a pipe dream; their prophecy still rings forth, and it will be fulfilled by God.
    By quoting these verses, Mark certifies that the Torah (Exodus), the Major Prophets (Isaiah), and the Minor Prophets (Malachi) confirm what he is about to tell.
    It is only on the second and third reading that we begin to realize that Jesus has come to prepare the way for us to follow him.
  1:4 John’s baptism differs significantly from normal Jewish immersions for ceremonial purification because it is done only once and does not need repeating.  It is not simply a rite of cleansing but an initiatory rite in which the one baptized repents and accepts God’s offer of forgiveness to be saved form the coming fiery judgment.
BBC 1:4,5 Non-Jews who were converting to Judaism would immerse themselves in water, probably under the supervision of a religious expert.
    To tell Jewish people that they had to be baptized or repent the same way non-Jews did would have been offensive, because it challenged the prevalent Jewish belief about salvation.  Most Jewish people thought that if they were born into a Jewish family and did not reject God’s law, they would be saved; John told them instead that they had to come to God the same way that non-Jews did.  They point of John’s baptism is that everyone has to come to God on the same terms.
  1:6 John’s clothing conjures up images of the prophet Elijah, who wore the same things.
NAC 1:6 To call all Israel to baptism implies that in some way all Israel is defiled. Mark tells us that for whatever reason they come to John in droves "the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem" to get this cleansing in the desert. They are, in effect, backtracking to the place where Israel had so many beginnings.
    The more powerful one who is to come is powerful because he will be the one who executes God's will. John comes as a voice crying, a lowly servant. Jesus comes as the beloved Son, who also will serve.
NAC 9-11 Mark apparently is untroubled by the theological problem of why Jesus would submit to a baptism of repentance. He is only interested in telling what occurs at that baptism.
    But Mark does not use the word "open" {anoigo), as some translations render it. Instead, he describes that the heavens are torn (scfci'zo),14 as one might imagine a bolt of lightning tearing  its fabric. It is a significant difference. What is opened may be closed; what is ripped cannot easily return to its former state.
NAC 12-13 The desert represents the uncultivated place of the curse, Paradise lost, and the realm of Satan. Now Satan must contend with a new Adam, who has the power of heaven at his side and angels as his cornermen. Mark does not report the outcome of this harrowing ordeal but does say that angels served him.
    His emphasis is on the one who comes who is more powerful than john, who will baptize with the Holy Spirit, who is announced from heaven, and who is tested by Satan in the desert. Jesus is the long-promised one, the Messiah, the Son of God, the bearer of the Spirit, and the victor over Satan. The passage is not about John, the nature or mode of baptism, meeting Cod, or fighting off Satan.
    The arrival of Jesus to be baptized with the mass of people has perplexed many because it might imply that he was an evildoer who was now reforming his ways or was in some way subordinate to John. But one should not understand repentance only as a turning away from something evil; it can also be understood positively as a turning toward Cod. Jesus' repentance here represents an openness to God.
    MARK. SHOWS N0 interest in listing Jesus' human credentials (as do Matthew and Luke) because those things might cause the reader to miss the divine dimension of who Jesus is. Jesus' status does not derive from his family pedigree but from Cod.
    The problem is that the way that Jesus prepares for us to go home is not the one we want to travel. It is arduous and paved with suffering, but it is one that we must journey to get home. If the church prepares the way for anything, it is for his return by following in the path he has laid out and in the worldwide proclamation of the gospel (13:10).

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