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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Mark
Themes of this chapter: John the Baptist introduces Jesus the Servant; God the Father identifies Jesus the Servant; Satan’s temptation initiates Jesus the Servant; works and words illuminate Jesus the Servant; Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom; the call of disciples; the man in synagogue; preaching in Galilee; Peter's wife's mother down with the fever, and others healed; demons in Galilee; leper healed.
There is probably more content in this first chapter of Mark than any other chapter in the Bible with the exception of Genesis chapter 1. It covers the ministry of John the Baptist, going back to the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi. It covers the first year's ministry of Jesus and follows Him through a busy Sabbath. It concludes with the mighty miracle of cleansing the leper. But, in spite of the pressure of a very busy life, Jesus always took time to pray, an encouragement for us, OR a warning.
This chapter of jam-packed content is made more remarkable by the absence of genealogy, which is so prominent in Matthew’s Gospel. WHY? A King must have a genealogy . . . BUT a Servant must have references, NOT a birth certificate. This Gospel is not a question as to who His ancestors were, but instead, considers His actions . . . . Can He do the job? God's Servant is shown very clearly here by His actions. And too, the Romans or other Gentiles would not be concerned with the genealogy of Jesus, which is traced back to Abraham.
As we begin the study of this remarkable Gospel, let us humbly ask God the Father to bring us into a closer relationship with His only begotten Son, Jesus. No better Friend can we ever have than Jesus.
John The Baptist Introduces Jesus The Servant (Mark 1:1-8)
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; (KJV)
The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . not that the Gospel was first preached here . . . for long before this time, it was preached by Isaiah and other prophets . . . and in fact, even long before the prophets, for it was preached to Abraham; and even before that, when it was preached in the times of our first parents, in the Garden of Eden. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the mystery, which was hid in God (Eph.3:9), before the Creation of the world; and was ordained before that to the glory of the saints (Tit.1:2). The sense here is, that this narrative Mark wrote began with the ministry of John the Baptist, and of Christ; and was the beginning of the Gospel dispensation, different from the legal one, the Law. The law and the prophets were until John (Lk.16:16), and they stopped and ended in him (John the Baptist) . . . when the Kingdom of God, or Gospel state, started. The plan of this writer is NOT to give an account of the genealogy of Christ, nor His conception and birth, nor what happened to Him when he was a Baby, nor of any actions and sayings of His to His appearance in Israel; but to give an account of His ministry and miracles, and His sufferings and death: which is introduced to us with the preaching and baptism of John the Baptist, His forerunner, and which he mainly intends to be "the beginning of the Gospel".
Mark first points out Christ, who is the Author and Substance, as well as the Great Preacher of the Gospel . . . the sum of which is, that He is Jesus, the Saviour and Redeemer of lost sinners; the Christ, the Messiah, that was to come; the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet that declares the whole mind and will of God; the Great High Priest, who offered Himself a Sacrifice for His beloved people. His Sacrifice made peace, obtained pardon, brought in everlasting righteousness (Dan.9:24), and obtained eternal redemption (Heb.9:12), and now lives to make intercession for them (Isa.53:12). He is the King of saints (Rev.15:3), who reigns over them, protects and defends them, and He is no other than the Almighty Son of God; who is equal with His Father; of the same nature as Him, possesses the same perfections, and enjoys the same glory; and HE is the Grand Object of the Gospel. Christ is the son of David (Mat.1:1) according to His human nature, the Son of God (Jn.3:16) according to His divine nature. So a testimony is told to the Truth of both His natures, which are united in ONE Person. Mysteries of redemption: (Deut.29:29; Job 15:8; Ps.25:14; Pro.3:32; Amos 3:7; Mat.11:25; 13:11,35; Mk.4:11; Lk.8:10; Jn.3:8-12; Rom.11:25; 16:25-26; 1 Cor.2:7-10; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; 2 Cor.3:12-18; Eph.1:9-10; 3:3-5,9,18-19; 5:32; 6:19; Col.1:25-27; 2:2; 4:3-4; 1 Thes.2:7; 1 Tim.3:9,16; Heb.5:11; 1 Pet.1:10-12; Rev.1:20; 10:7; ).
Mark 1:2-3 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (KJV)
As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee . . . two prophets are quoted here. Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (KJV)
Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee . . . John the Baptist is here called a messenger, and the message he was sent and came with, was of the greatest importance, and required the closest attention to it; therefore this passage is introduced with a "behold!" That word means to pay attention because something important is about to be said . . . and indeed, the work of this messenger was extremely important! He was about to declare that the long expected Messiah was born; that He would soon make His public appearance in Israel; that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand; and that it would be wise if the Jews would repent of their sins, and believe in Christ. John the Baptist is called "my messenger"; because He was sent and sanctified by Almighty God, he was called to, and qualified for his work by Him (Jn.1:6-7). His father Zechariah says, he should be called the prophet of the Highest (Lk.1:76).
Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (KJV)
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins . . . John was baptizing in the wilderness of Judea (Mat.3:1), where he first came as a preacher. It is this same wilderness Isaiah speaks of in the above prophecy (Isa.40:3). Because John demanded repentance before he baptized anyone, it seems that only upon a person’s profession of repentance, would he baptize them. For the remission of sins . . . neither repentance nor baptism were the reasons of pardon of sin. I feel sure, very sure, that John preached that men should repent of their sins, and believe in Christ, who was to come; and upon their repentance and faith, be baptized. In this ordinance, they might be led to a fresh view of the free and full forgiveness of their sins, through Christ; whose precious Blood was to be shed for many, to obtain it (Acts 2:38).
Mark 1:5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (KJV)
And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins . . . the people of the land, a great number of them from all over that area.
They were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins . . . that is, those who were brought to see and sense their sins, and confessed them (1 Jn.1:8-9). These he baptized, or immersed, in the river Jordan. It is most certain that there were many of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came, whom he rejected (Mat.3:5-8).
Mark 1:6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; (KJV)
And John was clothed with camel's hair . . . this is a description of John by his clothes (Mat.3:4), to which may be added, that it was usual for penitents, and men of rigid lives, and considered to be holy, to live in deserts, to live hard, and wear coarse apparel.
And with a girdle or skin about his loins . . . a leathern one, as in (Mat.3:4), NOT a golden one, such as the high priest wore, although the Jews did call John a high priest. John was indeed of the priestly race: his father was a priest (Lk.1:5), but John did NOT wear a priestly girdle, nor any of the priest's garments.
And he ate locusts and wild honey . . . locusts (Lev.11:22). See: Matthew 3:4-6.
Mark 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. (KJV)
And preached, saying, there cometh one mightier than I after me . . . it seems that John was certainly a preacher of Jesus Christ; realizing the dignity of His Person, the excellency of His office, and the nature and importance of His Work.
The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose . . . expressing the great reverence he had for Him, and the greater sense he had of his own unworthiness. John was concerned with the lowest service of life for Jesus, and that he was far from being worthy of the high honor done him, to be His messenger and forerunner (Mat.3:11).
Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
I indeed have baptized you with water . . . this is what was said to the baptized persons, partly to remove their dependence on John and his baptism; and partly to direct them to Christ, from Whom the gifts and graces of the Spirit are alone to be had.
But he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost . . . (Mat.3:11). One writer adds, "and with fire" (Lk.3:16).
Baptism of or with fire:
#1. Some interpret the baptism of fire to refer to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent from Heaven. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2-3). It is VERY important to see that these were tongues as of fire, NOT literal fire.
#2. Some think that the baptism with fire refers to the Holy Spirit’s office as the purifier of evil within, because of the warning “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thes.5:9). I think that this command to the believer is for us NOT to put out the Spirit’s fire by suppressing His movement in our life.
#3. Personally, I think the correct interpretation of the baptism of fire refers to Judgment Day. In the Gospel Passages mentioned above, Mark and John speak of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but only Matthew and Luke mention the baptism with fire. The immediate context of Matthew and Luke is judgment (Mat.3:7-12; Lk.3:7-17). The background of Mark and John is not (Mk.1:1-8; Jn.1:29-34). We do know that the Lord Jesus is coming in flaming fire (2 Thes.1:8-9), to judge those who do not know God (2 Thes.1:3-10; Jn.5:21-23; Rev.20:11-15). But praise be to God that He will save ALL those that will come to Him and put their trust in Him (Jn.3:16).
God The Father Identifies The Servant ( Mark 1:9-11)
Mark 1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. (KJV)
And it came to pass in those days . . . John was preaching and baptizing in the wilderness, and had large crowds of people flocking to him, some came to see him in person, some came to hear his doctrine, and some came to be baptized by him.
Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee . . . Galilee was the place where he had been brought up, and lived. He had lived in Galilee from His infancy, to this time.
And was baptized of John in Jordan . . . this was the reason why He came from Nazareth to him (Mat.3:13), and where this is observed; and in some verses following, an account is given of what passed between Christ and John, on this occasion. In Jordan . . . the preposition here used "in" means into, and it represents the passage of the Person of Jesus INTO the water as the act of baptism took place. "Baptized in the Jordan" would not be unclear or doubtful; but "baptized into the Jordan" is more correctly expressed.
Mark 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: (KJV)
And straightway coming up out of the water . . . this does not mean John as many think; although it was true that John too came up out of the water, as the administrator of the ordinance of baptism to Christ . . . but this I think this means Christ Jesus Himself . . . who having descended into the water of the Jordan River, and being baptized by immersion in it by John, came UP out of it . . . not from the river side, and up the descent to it, but out of the river itself . . . when
He saw the heavens opened . . . rent, ripped, torn open. This can be understood, both of John, who was the spectator of all this, which was done for the exhibit of the Messiah to him, and the confirmation of his faith in Him, and that he might bear record of Him (Jn.1:30,33-34), and too, of Christ Jesus Himself, who came up out of the water; and when He did, He saw the heavens part . . .
And the Spirit like a dove descending upon him . . . there is a little different wording in: Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (KJV)
If it was the form of a dove, that the Spirit of God descended in, it was very appropriate. The dove is a very proper symbol of the Spirit of God. He may be compared to a dove, for its simplicity and sincerity; He guides into all Truth as it is in Jesus, and He teaches us to speak the word in all plainness, openness and sincerity. He preserves the saints in the simplicity of the Gospel; and for its mildness and meekness; one of the fruits of the Spirit of God is meekness (Gal.5:23). And this it produces in converted persons, making them meek; humble, and gentle: and also for its harmlessness and innocence; and which appears, or at least should, in those who mind the things of the Spirit: and also that advice of Christ, "be harmless as doves" (Mat.10:16). Also for its purity and cleanness; the Spirit of God is a Spirit of holiness, He is the Author of sanctification; such as are washed, sanctified, and justified, are so in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor.6:11). The dove is a mournful and lamenting creature; and the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom.8:26). Too, we must remember Noah's dove, bringing the olive leaf in its mouth, as a sign, of peace and reconciliation, fitly resembled the Holy Spirit, one of whose fruits is peace (Gal.5:22). Christ is altogether lovely; and especially His great love, which is set and fixed upon His church and His people. With this descent of the Spirit as a dove on Christ, see (Isa.11:2; 61:1).
Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (KJV)
And there came a voice from heaven, saying thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased . . . in Matthew, it is "this is my beloved Son" (Mat.3:17). It seems that these words were spoken to others, and to John, the administrator of baptism to Him, and to those that were spectators that day; directing them to Christ, on WHOM the Spirit had descended, and testifying to them just WHO this Person was . . . the divine and only begotten Son of Almighty God . . . and how the Father was very well pleased with Him (Ps.2:7).
This was not the first time, nor the only time that this was said unto Him, but also for the sake of those that stood by. It may be observed, that Jesus is not only called God’s Son, but His "beloved Son". (Mat.3:17; Mk.1:11; 9:7; Lk.3:22; 9:35). The Spirit descended like a dove on Jesus, and the Voice from Heaven proclaimed the Father's approval of Jesus as His divine Son. This is one of the Passages where we see all three Members of the Trinity together . . . God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. See also: (Mat.28:19; Lk.1:35; Jn.15:26; 1 Cor.12:4-13; 2 Cor.13:14; Eph.2:18; 1 Thes.1:2-5; 1 Pet.1:2).
Jesus Begins His Ministry
When Jesus came from His home in Nazareth to begin His ministry, He took two steps in preparation for it: baptism by John in the Jordan River and temptation by Satan in the rough Judean wilderness. After the temptations, Jesus returned to Galilee and later set up His home base in Capernaum.
The dove and the Voice from Heaven were signs that Jesus was/is the Messiah. Far too many people, then and now, want something physical, visible, and real before they will believe. Because of this, Jesus healed many and did other miracles, and after Jesus died on the cross for you and for me, God raised Him from the dead. Still, so many people doubt (Lk.16:31). Will visible signs convince anyone today? Jesus tells us of the only sign we need. Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (KJV)
The Temptation Initiates The Servant (1:12-13)
Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. (KJV)
And immediately . . . as soon as Jesus was baptized, and the testimony from God the Father had been given of His divine Son-ship, the very same day.
The Spirit driveth him into the wilderness . . . Matthew says that Jesus was "led" by the Spirit into the wilderness (Mat.4:1), Mark says "the Spirit driveth him." Into a very remote and desolate part of the same wilderness where John was baptizing and preaching, when Christ came and had the ordinance of baptism administered by him. It was the same Spirit that descended on Him at His baptism, which remained with Him; and by whose impulse He was moved, although NOT against His will, to go into this lonely and forsaken place. The word driveth does not mean that Jesus was compelled forcibly against His will to go there, but that He was inclined to go there by the Spirit, or was led there. The Spirit of God, for important purposes, caused Him to go, and He went.
Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. (KJV)
And he was there in the wilderness forty days. . . some versions add, "and forty nights" . . . for so long was he there, Forty days: (Gen.7:4,12,17; 8:6; 50:3; Ex.24:18,28; Num.13:25; 14:34; Deut.9:9,11,25; 10:10; 1 Sam.17:16; 1 Ki.19:8; Eze.4:6; Jonah 3:4; Mat.4:2; Mk.1:13; Lk.4:2; Acts 1:3).
Tempted of Satan . . . by multiple temptations of Satan, but they were overcome by Christ, and are for the most part related by the Matthew (Mat.4:3-11), which Mark omits, and is not mentioned there. Mark states that Jesus was tempted forty days, Matthew tells us that at the END of the forty days "the tempter came to him." Luke's statement is like Mark's (Lk.4:2). It could be that both Mark and Luke consider the forty days' fast as a part of His temptation; and rightly so, because the fast was a necessary preparation for the trial in regard to the bread. Had it not been for the extreme hunger brought on by the fast, Satan’ words, "Turn these stones into bread," would have had no power on Jesus, the Man.
And was with the wild beasts . . . only Mark mentions the presence of wild beasts. Their presence surely added considerably to the dreariness of the forty days of fasting, and probably was intended to make Jesus impatient of the long detention. The wild beasts show, that He indeed was in an uninhabited part of the desert, where only the most fierce and savage of creatures lived; and yet Jesus was as secure and unhurt by them, being the Lord of them, as Adam in Eden's garden, or Daniel in the lions' den. His not being hurt by them, may state, partly His innocence, as Man, being as pure and holy as the first man, Adam was in his state of honesty, when all creatures were brought before him, to give them names; and partly the power of God, who shut up the mouths of these creatures, that they did Him no hurt; and also may mean, the awe they stood in of Him, who, as God, is Lord of all. These wild beasts were more gentle to Christ than the wicked Jews, among whom He dwelt, who are compared to lions, dogs, and "bulls" of Bashan, (Ps.22:12-13,16,20-21).
And the angels ministered unto him . . . after all Satan’s temptations were over, and Satan had left Him, angels came to Him, caring for Him, and bringing Him proper food, after so long a fast. They waited upon Him, and served Him as their great Lord and Master (Mat.4:11).
Mark's account of the temptation is very brief. He barely mentions the fact as he hurries on to the chief theme of this part of his narrative, the ministry of Jesus in Galilee.
In this section Mark has set forth three facts which have an important bearing on his proposition that Jesus is the Son of God: #1. that the prophet John, with direct reference to Him, announced the speedy appearance of One so much more exalted than himself, that he was not worthy to stoop down and loosen His shoe; #2. that when Jesus was baptized, God Himself, in an audible Voice, declared Jesus to be His Son; and #3. that immediately after this proclamation, Satan began to work against the Lord Jesus such a horrific warfare, as we would clearly expect him to wage against God's Son in human flesh.
The Beginning Of Jesus’ Ministry
Preaching The Gospel Of The Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15)
(Mat.4:13-17; Lk.4:14-15; Jn.4:1-3)
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (KJV)
Now after that John was put in prison . . . John’s imprisonment is the only event named in the Gospels to set the time when the Galilean ministry of Jesus began (Mat.4:12). Mark does give an account of the imprisonment in Mark 6:17-20. John was imprisoned in the castle of Macherus, by Herod, for reproving him for taking his brother Philip's wife:
Jesus came into Galilee . . . Jesus came into Galilee. He left Judea, and went into the more retired country of Galilee. He supposed that if He stayed in Judea, Herod would also persecute Him, and attempt His life. His time of death had not come; and He therefore carefully sought safety in retirement . . . from this we may learn, that when we have great duties to perform for the church of God, we are not to endanger our lives. If we can secure them without a sacrifice of principle, we should do it.
Preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God . . . the good news and glad tidings of the Kingdom of the Messiah, or Gospel dispensation; lies NOT in worldly pomp and splendor, NOT in outward observances, NOT in legal rites and ceremonies, but in righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom.14:17); in peace and pardon by the Blood of Christ (1 Pet.1:18-19), in justification by His righteousness (Rom.5:1; 1 Cor.1:30), and in free and full salvation by Christ Jesus alone (Jn.14:6; Eph.2:8-9; Rom.6:23).
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (KJV)
And saying, The time is fulfilled . . . the time for the appearance of the Messiah. The time, so long foretold, has come. Time is come: (Dan.2:44; 9:25; Gal.4:4; Eph.1:10).
The kingdom of God is at hand . . . this is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat.3:2; 4:17).
Repent ye . . . reveal sincere sorrow for your sins, and turn away from them.
And believe the Gospel . . .simply, trust in the Gospel, believe the good news about salvation.
John the Baptist called them to repent, not only of their former sins and vicious course of life, but of their bad principles and false ideas, concerning a temporal kingdom of the Messiah; concerning merit and free will, justification by the works of the law, and salvation by their obedience to the ceremonies of the Law, and the traditions of the elders. He warns them to change their evil ways, and accept the Gospel, which proclaims liberty from the law, peace, pardon, and righteousness by Christ, and salvation and eternal life by the free grace of God (Eph,2:8-9).
Call Of The Disciples (Mark 1:16-20)
Mark 1:16 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. (KJV)
Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee . . . this is the same as the sea of Tiberias (Jn.6:1).
He saw Simon . . . whose surname was Peter, the son of Jonas (Jn.21:15-16).
And Andrew his brother . . . the brother of Simon,
Casting a net into the sea . . . of Galilee, in order to catch fish . . .
For they were fishers . . . fishing was their occupation, this is what they did for their living (Mat.4:18).
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me . . . the Lord told them to leave their worldly job, and become His disciples.
And I will make you to become fishers of men . . . fishing was a major industry around the Sea of Galilee. Fishing with nets was the most common method. When the Lord, Jesus called the disciples, He wanted them to fish for people with the same stamina they had used to fish for food. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is like a net (Mat.4:19; 13:47-48; Lk.5:10), lifting people from dark waters of sin, into the bright light of day, and transforming their lives. The Gospel can make missionaries of all God's people. Fishing for people is a much more excellent and honorable employment, as men, and the souls of men, are more excellent, and of much more worth than fishes (Mat.4:19).
Mark 1:18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. (KJV)
And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him . . . straightway . . . means right NOW! They did NOT have to consult each other as to whether to follow Jesus or not, they simply left their nets and went with Jesus! Straightway: (1 Sam.9:13; 28:20; Pro.7:22; Dan.10:17; Mat.3:16; 4:20; 14:22,27; 21:2-3; 25:15; 27:48; Mk.1:10,18,20,21; 2:2; 3:6; 5:29,42; 6:24,45,54; 7:35; 8:10; 9:15,20,24; 11:3; 14:45; 15:1; Lk.5:39; 8:55; 12:54; 14:5; Jn.13:32; Acts 9:20; 16:33; 22:29; 23:30; Jam.1:24).
Mark 1:19 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. (KJV)
And when he had gone a little further thence . . . from where Simon and Andrew were casting their nets, this was still by the sea side.
He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother . . . these too, were also fishermen. James is the one whom later Herod killed with the sword (Acts 12:1-2), and John was the beloved disciple and author of the Gospel of John. Beloved disciple: (Jn.13:23; 19:26; 21:7,20,24; 20:2).
Who also were in the ship mending their nets . . . Simon and Andrew were on board the ship, casting their nets into the sea to catch fish; James and John were also in a ship, further along the sea shore, mending their nets, so they could catch fish (Mat.4:21).
Mark 1:20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. (KJV)
And straightway he called them . . . there is that word again: straightway! Jesus did not hesitate to call James and John. I feel certain that Jesus had already appointed all four of these men, long before this day, to the service which He now called them to. James and John also left what they were doing immediately! NO hesitation! Do YOU hesitate to follow Jesus when He calls you to a job?
And they left their father Zebedee with the hired servants, and went after him . . . it may have seemed strange, had they left their father alone in the ship, to have taken the care of it, and therefore it is added, "with the hired servants". Zebedee was not left alone, but had men who were hired to help, mending the nets and casting them, and handling the ship. The presence of hired servants is the only thing added by Mark to those given by Matthew. The fact that the four partners (Lk.5:10), Simon and Andrew, and James and John, with Zebedee, the father of the latter two, had hired servants, shows that they probably were conducting a business of proper proportions. Although their investment may have been small, they were capable business men.
Demonic Man In The Synagogue Healed (Mark 1:21-27)
Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. (KJV)
And they went into Capernaum . . . Jesus and His four disciples He had just called, Simon and Andrew, James and John.
And straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught . . . here we have that word again: straightway! This means immediately, as soon as He entered the city, it being then Sabbath day; He went to the synagogue at Capernaum, and His disciples with Him; where the people met weekly to hear the law read, and to be instructed in divine things; where Christ preached the Gospel to them, and teach them things concerning the Kingdom of God.
Straightway . . . I looked it up and found that word is used by Mark 23 times. Matthew uses it 10 times. Luke uses it 4 times, and John uses it only once. It is only in Acts 5 times and just 42 times in the entire Bible. So, Mark uses this word quite often.
Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. (KJV)
And they were astonished at his doctrine . . . the nature and importance of it, for it was not what they were used to hearing. They were amazed at His preaching, which was with much grace, seriousness and majesty, and was spoken with so much power.
For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes . . . not the subject matter of it, but "He taught them as One that had authority, and not as the scribes" (Mat.7:28-29). They had not yet believed in His divinity, and they could not reconcile His manner of divine authority with His human nature and His humble position.
Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, (KJV)
And there was in their synagogue . . . in the synagogue of the Capernaites, at the same time that Jesus was teaching there,
A man with an unclean spirit . . . the spirit in this demoniac was called “unclean” because of his wickedness. Uncleanness in the Mosaic law, excluded persons affected by it from the congregation. It is possible that this man had lucid intervals, where he was rational and mentally clear, or he would not have been admitted into the synagogue. But it seems that while he was there, one of his fits came on him and he suddenly cried out Mat.4:24; Lk.4:33).
And he cried out . . . it seems to me that it was the unclean spirit who had possessed the man's body, that cried out, because of the majesty of Christ, whose Presence he could not bear and through fear of being dispossessed from the man, in whom he was.
Mark 1:24 Saying, 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. (KJV)
Saying, let us alone . . . although just one impure spirit is stated as possessing this man, yet that spirit seems to speak for others. These were all leagued together in the work of evil, and this one knew that if he was punished, others would also share the same fate.
What have we to do with thee? . . . this seems to mean, "Have we injured thee?" or, We have done nothing to injure thee (1 Ki.17:18). But . . . the possession of the man was a direct assault on God and His Works. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and He had a perfect right to free the captive, and to punish him who had possessed him. So too it is today, Satan still considers it an infringement of his rights, when God frees a sinner from bondage, and destroys his influence over the soul. And so too today, he is still pleading to be let alone, and to be allowed to lead men captive at his will. BEWARE!!! Be on guard at all times!
Art thou come to destroy us? . . . this implies that this could not possibly be the intention of the compassionate Messiah; that to be cast out of that man would, in fact, be his destruction, and that therefore he might be allowed to remain. Or implying, as in Matthew 8:29, that the time of their destruction had not come, and that he should not to destroy them before that time.
I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God I know thee . . . evil spirits seem to have been acquainted with the Messiah, and too, they had learned from His miracles that He most certainly was the Messiah, and had power over them (Dan.9:24).
The Messiah, He is called the Holy One of God, because,
#1. He was exceedingly pure;
#2. He was the only begotten Son of God, equal with the Father; and,
#3. He was anointed, or set apart to the work of the Messiah, the Mediator between God and man.
Mark 1:25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. (KJV)
And Jesus rebuked him . . . r commanded him with a threat, to be still . . . NOT the man that Jesus rebuked, but the evil spirit. . . and then He commanded the evil being to come out of the man. I do not think in any of this, that Jesus ever spoke to the man. The total conversation was with evil spirit; proving without a doubt that it was not just a disease or imbalance; for the Son of God could not hold conversation with a disease or fever. The being with whom He spoke, felt, reasoned, complained, resisted and KNEW Him. Let this be a warning to us all . . . there ARE evil spirits; and those spirits have been known to take possession of people. People possessed by evil spirits: (Mat.4:24; 8;28; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22; 17:15; Mk.1:23,32;5:2; 9:17; Lk.4:33; 8:2,27; 9:39; Acts 5:16).
Saying, Hold thy peace . . . shut up, refrain yourself, stop complaining. This was proof of the power of Jesus, to be able, by a word, to silence an evil angel . . .
And come out of him . . . the power of Jesus could also against the evil spirit’s will, force him to leave a man whom he delighted to torment. The Lord Jesus gave a grand testimony of Who He was, by the dispossessing the evil spirit out of this man.
Mark 1:26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. (KJV)
And when the unclean spirit had torn him . . . not that the evil spirit had torn any limb from him, or had made any wound in any part of his body; but he shook him; and as Luke says, "threw him in the midst" (Lk.4:35) of the people, or synagogue. He threw him into convulsions, and laid him flat on the floor.
And cried with a loud voice, he came out of him . . . totally against his will, as his loud cry showed, and being forced to do it by a superior power. “He came out of him, and hurt him not.”
Mark 1:27 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. (KJV)
And they were all amazed . . . the people that were in the synagogue, who had met together for worship, were astonished, not only at Jesus’ doctrine, as before, but now at this miracle and awesome power of His in casting out devils.
Insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, what thing is this? . . . they spoke among themselves (Lk.4:36); they questioned one another; they consulted together, talking over the point, and disputed among themselves, concerning both the doctrine and the awesome power of Christ . . . what, and how wonderful His works were.
What new doctrine is this?. . . this they said, not as setting a kind of novelty on it, as the Athenians did on Paul's doctrine (Acts 17:19), but as admiring it; being that it was rare and unusual, and which they had never heard from their Rabbis and Scribes, and which was confirmed by miracles.
For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him . . .
they not only saw and heard the authority with which He delivered His doctrine, but the authority with which He cast out devils, simply by speaking a word. He not only commanded them to come out, BUT they immediately came out! Their exorcists took authority upon themselves to command, but could NOT force the devils to obey. But when Christ Jesus commanded that the unclean spirits come out, they were forced to obey.
Mark 1:28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. (KJV)
And immediately his fame spread abroad . . . not only in the city of Capernaum, where these things were done, and where His fame was first spread, but also
Throughout all the region round about Galilee . . . and not only throughout Galilee, but throughout all the country that bordered it, and adjacent to it (Mat.4:23,25). Some versions read: "through all the provinces".
Peter's Wife's Mother And Others Healed (Mark 1:29-34)
Mark 1:29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. (KJV)
And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue . . . the word forthwith is in the Bible only 10 times, and it is in Mark 3 of those times (1:29; 1:43; 5:13). It means the same as straightway, or immediately! The Lord Jesus having performed the miracle, and finished His sermon, and the synagogue service being over, it was usual for everyone to go to their own houses. He and they that were with Him, left the synagogue immediately, and being not far from it,
They entered into the house of Simon and Andrew . . . who were brothers, lived together in a house at Capernaum, where it seems they were now inhabitants, although their native place was Bethsaida (Jn.1:44-45).
With James and John . . . whom they took along with them, being fellow disciples of Christ.
Mark 1:30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. (KJV)
But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever . . . "a great fever" (Lk.4:38), a very violent one, which threatened death, and must have been dangerous to an old person (Mat.8:14).
And anon they tell him or her . . . it seems it was soon after He entered the house, that the Lord was told about the situation. From this Passage, you can clearly see that Peter was married, contrary to the Catholic belief.
Mark 1:31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. (KJV)
And he came and took her by the hand . . . He went into the room where she lay, took hold of her hand; not to feel her pulse, but to restore her.
And lifted her up . . . and she sat upright in the bed, who had before had been laid on it, being so weak she was not able to turn herself, much less to sit up.
And immediately the fever left her . . . there was NO symptom left . . . such was the power that went forth from Christ, just by His touch.
And she ministered unto them . . . she immediately got up from the bed, and put on her clothes, being immediately in perfect health, with her strength returned. In gratitude to her Saviour and Physician, she assisted in preparing food for Him and His disciples, and served them. Touch of Jesus: (Mat.8:3,15; 9:20-21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mk.1:41; 3:10; 5:27-28,30-31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Lk.5:13; 6:19; 7:14; 8:44, 45,46;47; 18:15; 22:51; 23:14).
As you see, Mark gives us the most healings by the “touch” of the Lord Jesus.
Mark 1:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. (KJV)
And at even, when the sun did set . . . it was the Sabbath, for the company in Simon's house had come immediately from the synagogue when the assembly had adjourned. The healing of Simon's mother-in-law, the first cure of the kind done in Capernaum, was the sign for a general rush of the people to receive healing of their sick. The common interpretation of the Sabbath law, which prohibited the bearing of burdens on the Sabbath-day (Jn.5:10), restricted them until after sunset, when the Sabbath was over, and when they then were at liberty to do any kind of work (Mat.8:16). So, according to the Jews, it was not lawful to heal on the Sabbath, so they did not bring their sick to Him on that day . . . but as soon as the sun set, the Sabbath was over, and there was no more restriction.
They brought unto him all that were diseased . . . with any kind of disease, all that were in their city.
And them that were possessed with devils . . . some versions say "epileptics", meaning those who were troubled with the falling sickness, as many were, whose bodies were possessed with evil spirits (devils).
Mark 1:33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. (KJV)
And all the city was gathered together at the door . . . meaning the inhabitants of the city of Capernaum, a great number of them, who having either heard of, or seen the dispossession of the unclean spirit in the synagogue. They were more than willing to see what other miraculous cures might be done by Christ Jesus upon the diseased and possessed that were brought to Him. Great crowds gathered around the door of the house of Simon and Andrew where Jesus now was.
Mark 1:34 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. (KJV)
And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases . . . He healed all that came, or were brought to Him, which were many, of every kind of disease, which were of many different varieties, with which the people were afflicted.
And cast many devils . . . to as many that were brought to Him, or were possessed with any evil spirits.
And he suffered not the devils to speak . . . Jesus commanded them not to speak, either in His favor, or against Him . . . revealing His great power over them.
Because they knew him . . . because these devils knew WHO Jesus was He would not allow them to say a word about Him, because He knew that they knew that He was the Christ, the Son of God. He would not permit them to say who He was; because He had others to bear witness of Him, who would have better testimonies than theirs, and lest His enemies should criticize Him with being too familiar with them.
Demons In Galilee (Mark 1:35-39)
Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (KJV)
And in the morning, rising up a great white before day . . . This is Mark's first mention of the prayer life of Jesus. There are two circumstances connected with this prayer that are worthy to consider: #1. the very early hour . . . "a great while before day" . . . at which He arose and went out to the solitary place where he prayed; and #2. His abrupt departure when He learned that the people were seeking for Him (verses 37-38). The abundant admiration with which the people were regarding Him, would have puffed up the common person’s vanity to an all-time high. Since He was 100 % Man, it may be that He chose prayer to keep Him meek and humble. It could be that prayer was the answer to guard against this weakness. The Lord Jesus lived a perfectly spotless life, not just because He was the Son of God, but because He used, with consistent and unfailing success, the means of resisting and of avoiding temptation. We are to use Jesus as our role model, because we are by nature so pathetically weak! Any time that temptation comes near, we must go to the Lord in prayer. Let us pray in solitude while the world around us fast asleep . . . and if the temptation will not subside, let us submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you (Jam.4:7). Luke says “when it was day” (Lk.4:42), yet He rose up very early as the light of day were coming on, and before the day broke.
He went out . . . of the house of Simon and Andrew, and out of the city of Capernaum, leaving His disciples and friends behind.
And departed into a solitary place, and there he prayed . . . in that desert place, He as Man, prayed to His God and Father. His early and private devotion should be a good example to us.
Mark 1:36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. (KJV)
And Simon, and they that were with him . . . Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John,
Followed after him . . . some time later, after He was gone . . . because He had privately withdrawn from them, so that they might not be aware when He went, nor explained His departure . . . for it seems Jesus was very eager to be alone. After a while, they set out in eager pursuit of Him, until they found Him.
Mark 1:37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. (KJV)
And when they had found him . . . in that lonely desert place, where He had been praying.
They said unto him, All men seek for thee . . . meaning many men, or multitudes. The search for Him was general. They told Him this, clearly to persuade Him to leave, and to persuade Him to appear publicly, to instruct the multitudes.
Mark 1:38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. (KJV)
And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns . . . instead of returning with His disciples to Capernaum, as they thought He would, and especially since there was such a great gathering of people, Jesus intends to go to "the next towns". These were the places Christ judged it proper to go to. He had already preached at Capernaum, the day before, and had confirmed His doctrine by His miracles, which was sufficient for the present, and therefore He thought it right to go elsewhere.
That I may preach there also . . . so the Gospel would be spread, and have its usefulness in other parts as well as Capernaum.
For therefore came I forth . . . the reason Christ came was to preach the Gospel to other cities also, both in Galilee and Judaea . . . to all the inhabitants of that country, to all the lost sheep of the house of Israel; for this was according to the commission (assignment, command), given to Him by His Father.
Mark 1:39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. (KJV)
And he preached in their synagogues . . . in the next towns, in the village cities (Mat.4:23), and
Throughout all Galilee . . . taking every town and city in His circuit, He continued preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom in one place after another, until He had gone over the whole country.
And cast out devils . . . out of the souls, out of the bodies of men, whereby confirming the doctrine He preached (Mat.8:1-4).
Leper Healed (Mark 1:40-45)
Mark 1:40 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. (KJV)
And there came a leper to him . . . after He came down from a certain mountain, in Galilee, where He had been preaching to the people (Mat.8:1), and when He was in a certain city (Lk.5:12), either Capernaum, or some other city of Galilee. This man was full of leprosy, as Luke says, and was probably believed to be incurable.
Begging him . . . begging, pleading to Jesus to cure him of his leprosy.
And kneeling down to him . . . a sign of submission, respect and reverence, and to worship Him.
And saying unto him, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean . . . (Mat.8:2); Mark omits the word "Lord".
Mark 1:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. (KJV)
And Jesus, moved with compassion . . . at the sad and dreadful case the poor man was in. Being a merciful High Priest, with no desire to be popular, nor wanting vain glory.
Put forth his hand and touched him . . . although the leprosy was spread all over the man, and there was no place on him that was clean, touching him was forbidden by the law (Leviticus ch.13 & 14). Jesus did touch this man, He was NOT afraid to touch the leper, even if it was forbidden.
And saith unto him, I will; be thou clean . . .Mat.8:3).
Mark 1:42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. (KJV)
And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed . . . at the above words, the man’s leprosy was completely gone, and which seems to have been done NOT by touching the man, but by the words spoken, which were accompanied with such power, as to effect the cure in an instant. I do not know if it was the touch or the words that cured the leper, but I am certain that it could have been either one.
Mark 1:43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; (KJV)
And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away . . . some interpret this to mean to take care that the man sin no more, lest a worse evil should befall him; for sin was at times the cause of leprosy, as the cases of Miriam (Num.12:1-10); Gehazi (2 Ki.5:27); Uzziah (2 Chron.26:20-21). Leprosy was said to come upon a person for seven things: that being the seven abominations mentioned in (Pro.6:16-19). Whether this man's sin was any of these, or what it was, is not certain. But, he was by this cure, put under an obligation for the future, to avoid it, and all other sins. I tend to think that the charge was to tell no man of his cure, before he went to the priest, and not even to tell him or any other, how he came by it, and by Whom he was healed.
It seems that this man was unwilling to go away from Jesus, but instead wanted to continue on with his kind benefactor. This seems to read that Jesus cast him out, or Jesus urged the cured leper to go without delay.
Mark 1:44 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. (KJV)
And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man . . . on the way to the priest.
But go thy way, shew thyself to the priest . . . it seems that any priest could judge of the cleansing of a leper.
And offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them . . . the cleansing of a leper was to follow a Mosaic ritual. Our Lord did NOT break the Mosaic Law. And Jesus saith unto him, see thou tell no man . . . not that this fact could be concealed, for it was done publicly, before the multitude. Possibly it was Christ's design that he would speak of it to no man, before he came to the priest, lest out of ill will to Christ, they should refuse to pronounce him clean. Christ orders him to go directly to Jerusalem; and present himself to one of the priests, to be examined, to see if he were free of his leprosy. Then he was to offer what was ordered by the law of Moses in such cases: for as yet the ceremonial law was not abolished: and therefore, as Christ was subject to it Himself, so He tells others to observe it. There was a twofold offering, according to the law of Moses, on account of the cleansing of the leper (Lev.14:1-57). The one was on the first day of his cleansing, when he first showed himself to the priest, and consisted of two birds, alive and clean, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop; the other, and which was properly the offering on the eighth day, was, if the man was able, two he lambs and one ewe lamb, with a meat offering; but if poor, one lamb, with a meat offering, and two turtle doves, or two young pigeons.
Why the Secret?
Each of the Gospels is intended to proclaim WHO Jesus is, to present Him to the world, so that people will pledge themselves to Him and become His disciples. But within the Gospels, especially in Mark, there is the curious occurrence of Jesus' commanding people NOT to tell others WHO He is. If the Lord wants people to believe . . . WHY??? . . . does He NOT allow the open confessions of those who really know Him? In the case of people possessed with devils, is this not ONE time that demons were telling the truth? Do you think that Jesus had doubts about who He was? I do NOT think so! But yet this so-called Messianic secret keeps popping up in Mark.
Let us seriously consider the situations. Jesus commands silence on three kinds of occasions. #1. In the demons, who "knew who he was." #2. In the people who have been healed, who may not understand WHO He is, but desperately desire to tell the story about what He has done. "See that you don't tell this to anyone," Jesus says to a leper He heals. Compare Mark 1:44 and Mark 5:43) #3. Involves the disciples after they confess Him as "the Christ" (Mk.8:30; 9:9). WHAT is the Lord’s purpose of all this secrecy? Each of these circumstances has a little different explanation.
***** #1. The demons absolutely knew WHO Jesus was. They knew far better than His disciples, WHO Jesus was. It is only those devils who use the title "Son of God" . . . until the very end of the Gospel (Mk.15:39). We are not told what their motives are for crying out was. It could just be a impulsive and surprised scream upon meeting their match, but it could have had a more menacing purpose. Whatever it was, Jesus always silenced them, but He never does say why He did so. I think He had several reasons for wanting to keep them silent.
(a) "the teachers of the law" associated Jesus with Beelzebub, "the prince of demons" (Mk.3:22). Had there been any tendency to show that He accepted the demons would have given extra evidence to these persistent opponents.
(b) To accept the testimony of demons about Himself would be an example for His followers to accept, or even seek the testimony of demons about other things. This would threaten to make Jesus' movement an occult movement. Jesus will not receive the kingdoms of this world from the devil (Mat.4:9-10), and neither will He accept any help in His mission from the devil's agents.
(c) Jesus' whole mission was a call to FAITH based on evidence, NOT on authoritative testimony. Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God and acts according to Kingdom values.
Those who believe in faith and commit themselves become disciples and learn more, but others obtain teaching only in obscure parables (Mk.4:11-12,33-34). When John the Baptist requests more information, Jesus just tells the messengers to report the events that they saw (Mat.11:4-6; Lk.7:21-23). Only in the account of His trial before the Sanhedrin does Jesus make a direct statement about Himself . . . therefore the demons were short-circuiting Jesus' whole procedure. His command to them was a literal and sharp "Shut up!" His invitation to the crowd at their expulsion was "See and believe that the kingdom of God has come."
***** #2. The people Jesus heals is another matter, for this seems to be part humility and modesty. Jesus is not looking for a following as a wonder-worker, nor does He desire to "blow his own horn" (Pro.27:2) This must be the case in Mark 5:43, because many individuals knew that the child had died, and they would recognize the miracle as soon as they saw her get up and go around the house. He "gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this. This same idea can be seen in the "non-secrecy" of the previous incident. Jesus tells the delivered Gerasene man to "tell your friends how much the Lord has done for you" Mk.5:18-20). While the man then tells "how much Jesus had done for him," Jesus draws the attention to God instead of Himself.
A great concern in keeping the healed quiet is the problem of publicity. In the case of the Gerasenes Jesus was leaving the area, so publicity would be no problem. But the healed leper He tells to keep quiet (Mk.1:44), caused real problems when "he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places" (Mk.1:45). This popularity was bad for two reasons: it made life difficult (Mk.6:31) and the situation appeared so crazy to His friends that they wanted to take him into protective custody (Mk.3:20-21). It made the ministry hard, for often crowds became a hindrance in people's attempts to get to Jesus (Mk.2:2-4). And worse, the popularity attracted the attention of authorities, which could be dangerous (Mk.6:14).
***** #3. The disciples, whose confession Peter boldly states in Mark 8:29, had come to recognize Jesus over a period of time. They had followed Him, heard Him teach, witnessed His miracles and gone out to do the same at His command. Their faith had grown during that time, and Jesus had been able to explain for them how He saw His own mission. Their understanding was still far from perfect, because the predictions of the cross still baffled them, their obedience made it quite safe for them to think of Him as "the Christ," or "the Messiah".
Mark 1:45 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. (KJV)
But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter . . . either out of the synagogue (Mk.1:39-40), for it is said, that Christ preached in their synagogues, and Luke plainly states that he was in the city (Lk.5:12). It seems that the cure was done privately, but none of the Gospel writers say where this leper was cured. It is doubtful that it as done in a house because a leper was not allowed to enter into a house, and if he did, the house was considered defiled, and all the vessels which were in it even to the very beams.
And began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter . . . this totally opposed the command that Christ gave him. I personally do not think the cured leper did this out of disobedience to Christ, but out of an overabundance of joy for the compassionate mercy he had received. I think this man did what he did with nothing but good intended, to spread the fame and glory of his Saviour.
Insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city . . . of Capernaum, or whatever city it was, where this cure was done, without a crowd of people around Him, and danger from His enemies who envied His high regard and popularity.
But was without in desert places . . . the people went crazy with eagerness to see the man who had done the miracle. The Lord had to run and hide in desert places, devoid of inhabitants, to get any peace, and where He could pray.
And they came to him from every quarter . . . when the people would learn where He was, they would flock to Him, for so agreeable was His doctrine to some; and so wonderful was His miraculous work of healing to others, they would not let Him alone.
Mark has provided a striking exhibition of both the divine authority and the divine power of Jesus. Such was the authority which Jesus could exercise over men, that when He commanded the four fishermen to follow Him, they simply left all they had on Earth, NO questions, NO delays, they simply got up and followed Him. And such was the authority with which He commanded demons, that although these wicked spirits were NOT willingly obedient, they instantly departed from their victims at His command. Such, too, was His awesome power, that at His mere touch the malignant fever, the incurable leprosy, and all the maladies which afflict the body, were instantly healed. Such, was His unparalleled meekness, that amidst the displays of divine authority and power, when popular applause ran high, He went off by night to pray, or wandered away into desert places. His meekness was as high above the capacity of a merely human being, as were His miracles.
Different from Matthew
One of the characteristic differences between Mark and Matthew, their difference in regard to arrangement, is visible in their styles of treating the subject-matter of the preceding section. Mark uses almost the same material as Matthew, but he arranges it so much differently! They both begin with the removal of Jesus to Galilee, after the imprisonment of John, and follow this with the call of the four fishermen . . . but Matthew next introduces the general statement of the preaching throughout Galilee (Mat.4:23-25), while Mark reserves until after the cures at Simon's house (Mk.1:39). Matthew then gives considerable time and space to the sermon on the mount, which Mark omits; then Matthew introduces as his first mentioned miracle the cure of the leper (Mat.8:1-4), which is the third miracle mentioned by Mark (Mk.1:40-45). Matthew’s second miracle is the cure of the centurion's servant Mat.8:5-13), of which Mark says nothing. Matthew’s third miracle is that of Simon's mother-in-law, which is the second miracle with Mark; and finally, they unite in following this last miracle with Jesus cures at Simon's door. This difference alone is sufficient proof that Mark's narrative is NOT a summary of Matthew's.
Gospel of Mark
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9. . ch.10 . . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . . ch.14 . . ch.15 . . ch.16