Mark Chapter 1 Second Continued
Mark 1:19 “And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the [son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.”
“James … John”: The second set of fishermen brothers called by Jesus (see note on verse 16). Their mother and Jesus’ mother may have been sisters (15:20; Matt. 27:55-56 with John 19:25).
This is not a discrepancy from the account we studied in the last lesson. This is just the difference in several people telling the same story. We see here, that all the important details are the same as in the other accounts.
Now in addition to Peter and Andrew, the Lord had discovered James and John. These were fishermen whom the Lord would make fishers of men. We see that James and John were the sons of Zebedee, the sons of thunder.
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.”
“Hired servants”: This indicates that Zebedee’s fishing business was a prosperous one and that he was a man of importance (John 18:15).
Fishing was an honorable way of making a living. These were men who knew how to work hard to get the job done. They, without hesitation answered the call Jesus had placed on their lives. We see here, that James and John had given up family, job, their home, and security to follow Jesus.
In (Mark 10:29-30), we see what happens to those who give up things of this world to follow Jesus.
Mark 10:29-30 “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,” “But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
Verses 1:21 – 3:12: Mark presents a series of incidents showing Jesus’ power and the people’s amazed responses.
Mark 1:21 “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.”
“Capernaum”: A prosperous fishing village on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was a more important city than Nazareth. It contained a Roman garrison and was located on a major road. Jesus made the city His headquarters (2:1), after His rejection at Nazareth (Matt. 4:13; Luke 4:16-31).
“Synagogue”: The place where Jewish people gathered for worship (“synagogue” is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning “to gather together”). Synagogues originated in the
Babylonian captivity after the 586 B.C. destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar.
They served as places of worship and instruction. Jesus frequently taught in the synagogues (verse 39; 3:1; 6:2), as did Paul (Acts 13:5; 14:1; 17:1).
“Taught”: Mark frequently mentions Jesus’ teaching ministry (2:13; 4:1-2; 6:2, 6, 34; 10:1; 11:17; 12:35; 14:49).
Capernaum was the home of Peter, Andrew, James and John.
Peter’s home was on the outskirts of Capernaum on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. This “they” included Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Jesus. The “He” was Jesus. Jesus taught in the synagogue. Remember that this “Sabbath” is Saturday.
Mark 1:22 “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”
“Authority”: Jesus’ authoritative teaching, as the spoken Word of God, was in sharp contrast to that of the scribes (experts in the Old Testament Scriptures), who based their authority largely on that of other rabbis. Jesus’ direct, personal, and forceful teaching was so foreign to their experience that those who heard Him were amazed. (Titus 2:15).
Jesus astounds His listeners, for He teaches “as one that had authority.” The surprise is not uniformly pleasant. Some were doubtless offended by His seeming effrontery.
The scribes had limited (head), knowledge of the Scriptures. Jesus is the Word. His message is a message of first hand knowledge. Jesus did not need to bring a faltering message. The scribes were uncertain and their message was a message of interpretation, not of actual fact.
This strong, straightforward, non-wavering message of Jesus astonished them, because Jesus is positive that His message is true. He is the Truth. (John chapter 1:1), tells us that Jesus is, in fact, the Word. His authority is unquestionable for He is God the Word.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Verses 23-24: The spirit voices his displeasure at being meddled with by the One he recognizes as God’s “Holy One.”
Mark 1:23 “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,”
“Man … cried out”: Satan and his demon hosts opposed Jesus’ work throughout His ministry, culminating in the cross. Jesus always triumphed over their futile efforts (Col. 2:15), convincingly demonstrating His ultimate victory by His resurrection.
“Unclean spirit”: I.e., morally impure. The term is used interchangeably in the New Testament with “demon” (see note on 5:2).
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.”
“What have we to do with thee”: Or, possibly “Why do you interfere with us?” The demon was acutely aware that he and Jesus belonged to two radically different kingdoms, and thus had nothing in common. That the demon used the plural pronoun “we” indicates he spoke for all the demons.
“The Holy One of God” (Psalm 16:10; Dan. 9:24; Luke 4:34; Acts 2:27; 3:14; 4:27; Rev. 3:7).
Amazingly, the demon affirmed Jesus’ sinlessness and deity, truths which many in Israel denied, and still deny.
We see that this man was possessed of demons. This is a very good Scripture here to prove just who demons really are. My own personal belief about demons is that they are the third of the angels who followed Lucifer when he was thrown out of heaven.
Angels are ministering spirits. The angels who remained on God’s team, minister good. The fallen angels who followed Lucifer are evil, and they minister evil. As Lucifer’s name was changed to Satan, these angels became demons.
In the Scripture above, these demons recognized Jesus. If my opinion of who they are is true, they would have known Jesus (the Word), in heaven. It would be natural for them to not only know who He was, but also for them to fear what He might do to them. The fallen angels know that their fate is eternity in hell.
They know that Jesus is the Judge who will determine where they go. So you see this is not ungrounded fear. (In verse 23), when the man cried out, it was actually these evil spirits that cried out. The demons knew Jesus as the Holy One of God.
We have discussed before how Jesus’ name that He used at a specific time, was descriptive of the work that He was doing at the time. Such as Jesus, Savior; Christ, Anointed One. This “Holy One of God” is His relationship to the Father in heaven.
Mark 1:25 “And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
“Hold thy peace”: Jesus wanted no testimony to the truth from the demonic realm to fuel charges that He was in league with Satan (3:22; Acts 16:16-18).
Jesus commands the spirit to “come out” of the victim. He does not “rebuke” the man, but his oppressor. Jesus issues the same command, “Hold thy peace,” to the storm (in 4:39).
We will see that Jesus was speaking to this evil spirit in the man and not to the man. Jesus is the Lord over all. Jesus is even the Lord over this evil spirit, and this evil spirit had to obey the voice of Jesus. When Jesus told this evil spirit, to hush it hushed. When Jesus told the evil spirit to come out of him, it had to obey Jesus, as we see in the next verse.
Mark 1:26 “And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.”
This unclean spirit did not want to give up this body. This unclean spirit tore him and cried with a loud voice, because the spirit was vacating a place he thought he had secured. The devil will not give up without a struggle, but is subject to Jesus. Our Bible says resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We are no match for the devil ourselves, but the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus are more powerful than the devil. Just as in the verse above when the unclean spirit obeyed the command of Jesus, we can also, fight unclean spirits with the name of Jesus and the power of His blood.
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.”
“With authority” (see note on verse 22). Jesus had absolute authority in His actions as well as His words (Matt. 28:18).
You must remember that in the synagogue there was much formality and tradition. Really these scribes had been trained to go through a certain ritual, and they knew technically what was required of them; but they had no power within themselves.
You might say that I am being judgmental, but we have just seen that these evil spirits had no fear of the scribes. They just came right into the synagogue with the man. The amazing thing to them was the power and authority of Jesus’ message.
Mark 1:28 “And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.”
“Fame” here is simply “report”; word about Jesus went out quickly in all directions. For some at least it is likely to have seemed “notoriety.”
You can imagine how this would spread. These people coming to the synagogue had never seen anything like this before.
Verses 29-30: “Forthwith” and “anon” are stylistic variations for the same Greek word meaning “immediately.”
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.”
“The house of Simon and Andrew”: Originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44), the two brothers had moved to Capernaum when Jesus established his headquarters there (see note on verse 21).
“James and John”: Only Mark mentions their presence at the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.
Remember, earlier in this lesson that we mentioned that Peter’s home was on the edge of town there at Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Perhaps they came back to rest for the night; we are not told in the Scriptures.
Mark 1:30 “But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.”
“Simon’s wife’s mother”: Paul also affirmed that Peter was married (1 Cor. 9:5). That his mother-in-law was living with Peter and his wife may indicate that her husband was dead.
“A fever”: That she was too ill to get out of bed, coupled with Luke’s description of her fever as “high fever” (Luke 4:38), suggests her illness was serious, even life-threatening.
We see in this Scripture above that Simon, better known as Peter, was married. We also can see from this that his wife’s mother was in the house with them. Someone told Jesus of the woman’s fever.
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.”
Peter’s mother-in-law probably fixed a meal. Peter’s family is quickly and dramatically affected by his decision to follow Jesus. This whole incident reflects Peter’s point of view.
Here we see that just one touch from Jesus’ hand, and Peter’s mother-in-law was made whole. This was not a partial healing, but a total recovery. In fact, she was so much better instantly that she forgot her illness and began to minister to them.
This is very similar to the woman who just touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed. Just one touch of His hand can do mighty miracles. This type of healing instantly would be so dramatic that no one could deny it. The word would spread fast.
Verses 32-34: Mark sketches a portrait of a spirited response to Jesus after “the sun did set:” Jews would not have ventured out until evening marked the close of the Sabbath. Jesus’ ministry is to both physical and spiritual disorder.
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.”
“When the sun did set”: Marking the close of the Sabbath and the easing of the restrictions associated with it. Specifically, rabbinic law prohibited carrying any burdens (such as stretchers), on the Sabbath.
“They brought unto him”: The report of Jesus’ healing of the demon-possessed man in the synagogue and Peter’s mother-in-law created a sensation in Capernaum and aroused the hopes of other sufferers.
We see that the fame of Jesus had spread rapidly. By that evening a large group of sick and those possessed with devils had gathered to be healed. These that were brought were almost assuredly the ones whom the physicians had given up on.
When you are sick and there seems no hope, it is time to locate someone with great healing power, and that is just what these people did. Perhaps one reason they came late in the evening was so that they might not be seen by their neighbors.
Mark 1:33-34 “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.”
“Suffered not the devils to speak” (see notes on verse 25; 3:11-12).
“Because they knew him”: The demon’s theology is absolutely orthodox (James 2:19); but because they know the truth, they reject it and God, who is its source.
It seems that these miracles that Jesus had done had spread like wildfire. The whole town knew about it and now gathered at the front door of Peter’s house. Jesus came outside and healed all sorts of diseases and cast out many devils.
As we said earlier, these demons were subject to Jesus’ commands. We see here again, evidence that these demons were the fallen angels, because they were told by Jesus to keep quiet because they knew Him.
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.”
Mark emphasizes that it was a great while before day. Showing that Jesus began each day of His earthly ministry with prayer is only the secondary intention of this verse. The primary aim is to show how Jesus made important decisions: by earnest, persistent prayer.
Here Jesus stands at the crossroads of decision: His first year of public preaching (verses 9-20), has borne little visible fruit. But His miracles of healing are drawing huge crowds (verses 31-32), and bringing Him recognition (verse 28).
So the question is whether He should continue to put the stress of His ministry on the preaching of the gospel for the healing of man’s diseased soul, or place the stress of His work on the more popular performing of miracles for the healing of man’s body. To make the proper choice, He seeks by prayer the Father’s wisdom.
This should be a very good message to us. In the quiet of the very early morning, Jesus went to pray; not with others, but alone. We read, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).
The most precious times with God is in the privacy of just you and God. Praying is fellowshipping with Him. Even Jesus prayed. We should see even more necessity to pray ourselves.
Mark 1:36 “And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.”
“Simon and they that were with him”: The first instance in the gospels of Peter’s assuming of leadership. Those with Peter are not revealed, though Andrew, James and John were likely among them.
“Followed” is somewhat weak; they were at pains to track Jesus down in His retreat.
Verses 37-38: The disciples bring news of human need. “All men seek for thee,” not to hear the gospel, but for viewing His miracles or to be healed physically. Perhaps even at that early hour, people were already gathering to see Jesus.
The decision Jesus has reached by prayer is to “go into the next towns,” in order to “preach there also;” He has chosen to pursue the unpopular course and keep the emphasis of His work on preaching the gospel. Why? Because, He says, “therefore came I forth” from heaven: to preach. Jesus’ response implicitly involves the disciples in their first mission tour.
Mark 1:37 “And when they had found him, they said unto him, All [men] seek for thee.”
Finding Jesus after a diligent search (verse 36), Peter and the others excitedly implored Him to return to Capernaum and capitalize on the excitement generated by the previous night’s healings.
We see by this that Jesus already had an overwhelming following. This following was not because of His message however, but so that they might receive something of Him.
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.”
We know that Jesus did heal and deliver people, but this was not His purpose in coming to the earth. Back in Capernaum there was a group wanting Him to minister to their bodily needs, but Jesus’ purpose in coming was to save their souls.
Many times there are physical blessings from Jesus, but His most important role is to renew our spirit in Him. To save our souls from death is Jesus’ purpose.
Mark 1:39 “And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.”
“Throughout all Galilee”: Mark’s terse statement summarizes a preaching tour that must have lasted for weeks, or even months (Matt. 4:23-24).
This summary statement characterizes the scope (“all Galilee”) and activity (preaching, primarily; casting out demons, secondarily), of Jesus’ ministry.
Verses 40-45: Mark relates one of Jesus’ many healings during the Galilean ministry (summarized in verse 39). The leper’s healing emphasizes Jesus’ miraculous power over disease, since leprosy was one of the most dreaded disease of antiquity.
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.”
“Leper”: Lepers were considered ceremonially unclean, and were outcasts from society (Lev. 13:11). While the Old Testament term for leprosy included other skin diseases, this man may have actually had true leprosy (Hanson’s Disease), or else his cure would not have created such a sensation (verse 45).
The leper assumes a respectful, if plaintive, posture. His “beseeching” is not based on Jesus’ ability but on His willingness.
“Leprosy” was a dreaded disease. These people were not even allowed to be near the rest of the community. This man was taking his life in his own hands to get to Jesus. The thing that would help him with Jesus was his great faith and humility.
He did not doubt that Jesus could heal him. He said to Jesus, “If you will, you can heal me”. Sometimes sin is spoken of as spiritual leprosy. Jesus is the healer of physical or spiritual leprosy.
Mark 1:41 “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
“Compassion”: Only Mark records Jesus’ emotional reaction to the leper’s desperate plight. The Greek word appears only in the synoptic gospels and (apart from parables) is used only in reference to Jesus.
“Touched him”: Unlike rabbis, who avoided lepers lest they become ceremonially defiled, Jesus expressed His compassion with a physical gesture.
Jesus is “moved with compassion” to help. Mark’s picture of Jesus is not of an unmoved problem-solver sweeping serenely and unemotionally from incident to incident (see Hebrews 4:15).
The love that Jesus has for each of us is so far beyond what we can even comprehend that it is easy to understand the love He showed to this man of such great faith. Just one touch of the Master’s hand, and he was clean of leprosy, the most dreaded, incurable disease of that day.
Mark 1:42 “And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.”
This was not a gradual healing, but a sudden complete healing.
Mark 1:43 “And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;”
“Straitly charged” implies that Jesus was for some reason angry or irritated, as does the vivid “sent him away,” the same verb (as in verse 12). Perhaps Jesus was indignant at the outrage of mankind’s sickness and suffering, affronts to a loving God’s power to redeem His creation from all that is tainted by the imperfect and ultimately evil.
Jesus sent the cleansed man away. Jesus told the man not to tell anyone of his healing, but the gratitude of the man (being brought back as it were from the dead), was too great. He told everyone he saw.
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.”
“Say nothing to any man”: The ensuing publicity would hinder Jesus’ ability to minister (as in fact happened, verse 45), and divert attention away from His message (3:12; 5:43; 7:36; see note on Matt. 8:4).
“Shew thyself to the priest”: The “priest” was the one on duty at the temple. Jesus commanded the healed leper to observe the Old Testament regulations concerning cleansed lepers (Lev. 14-32). Until the required offerings had been made, the man remained ceremonially unclean.
“A testimony unto them”: The priest’s acceptance of the man’s offering would be public affirmation of his cure and cleansing.
Jesus had told him to show himself to the priest. The priest had to examine him and declare him clean before he could move freely among his people. The man was to give an offering suitable in the temple as the Law of Moses had specified.
This ceremony took place without the camp, and the offering was two living birds (clean), cedar wood, scarlet wool, hyssop, two he lambs, one ewe lamb, three tenth deals of flour mingled with oil, and one log of oil. To read more about this, look in the book of Leviticus.
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.”
“Publish it much”: Only Mark records the cleansed leper’s disobedience, although Luke hints at it (Luke 5:15).
“No more openly enter into the city”: The result of the leper’s disobedience was that Jesus could no longer enter a city without being mobbed by those seeking to be cured of diseases. Jesus’ ministry of teaching in that area thus came to a halt.
“Desert places”: Jesus kept to the relatively uninhabited regions to allow the excitement over His cure of the leper to die down. Luke also notes that He used His time in the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16).
This incident of the cleansed leper justifies Jesus’ decision to emphasize preaching instead of healing. The leper’s disobeying Jesus’ command to inform no one but the priest of his healing indicates that although he was cleansed physically, he remained un-cleansed inwardly (spiritually).
The healing of man’s sin-infected soul is therefore far more important than the healing of his body. The people’s enthusiasm over miracles hinders Jesus’ freedom to preach, causing Him to remain in the “desert places”.
We can easily see why Jesus did not want the man to spread the news of his cleansing of leprosy. Jesus, now, could have no privacy at all and especially in the city. Anyone who had an illness of any kind came to Him. He was overwhelmed by the masses of people surrounding Him, and He fled into the desert. Even in the desert they came to Him from every direction.
We know that Jesus healed so many, that if all the healings were written down there would not have been enough books in all the world to contain them.
Mark Chapter 1 Second Continued Questions
1. Who was the father of James?
2. Who was the brother of James?
3. What occupation did James have?
4. When the brothers left the ship and followed Jesus, who did they leave to help their father Zebedee?
5. What had Peter, Andrew, James, and John given up to follow Jesus?
6. What is promised to those who give up homes and families to follow Jesus?
7. What town did they go to, when they left the sea of Galilee?
8. What did Jesus do there?
9. What day of the week is Sabbath?
10. What type of knowledge did the scribes have?
11. How did they feel about Jesus’ doctrine?
12. What type of message did Jesus bring?
13. In John chapter 1 verse 1, we see Jesus is in fact the _____.
14. Why did the man in the synagogue cry out?
15. Who was actually crying out?
16. What did they say?
17. Who did the demons call Jesus?
18. How did they know Him?
19. What does the author think demons are?
20. What was Lucifer’s name changed to?
21. What does Jesus mean?
22. What does Christ mean?
23. What did Jesus say to the demon in the man?
24. What did the unclean spirit do to the man?
25. How can Christians successfully fight unclean spirits?
26. What effect did Jesus delivering the man have on the people?
27. What had the scribes been trained to do?
28. What amazed them about Jesus’ message?
29. Where did Jesus go when He left the synagogue?
30. Who was sick with a fever?
31. How did Jesus handle the fever?
32. What effect did Jesus’ touch have on the woman?
33. Why did Jesus tell the devils not to speak?
34. Where did Jesus pray?
35. When Simon found Jesus, what did he tell Him?
36. Jesus told Peter He came for what?
37. What did the leper say to Jesus?
38. How did Jesus answer him?
39. What did Jesus tell the leper to do after He cleansed him?
40. What book of the Bible tells a great deal about the various sacrifices?
41. Where did Jesus go to try to get away from the masses of people?