Monday, July 06, 2009

Mark 1:2-20 (The Call to Follow)

I preached yesterday on the call to follow Christ from Mark 1:2-20, the second sermon in our series called Disciple. If you missed service yesterday for the holiday weekend, you can catch the message on our website. Here are some of my notes on the text that I covered yesterday in my message:

Mark 1:2-8: God sends John the Baptist to announce Jesus’ coming.

· Vs. 2-3 are combination of two passages from the OT that were Messianic in nature:

Malachi 3:1 (Read) – the messenger prepares the way for God, coming to His people

Isaiah 40:3 (Read) – in the context of God’s comfort to Israel, all about preparation

· The OT prophecies inform us that John’s role is to prepare the people of Israel for their coming Messiah (thus making a statement about Jesus’ identity). Vs. 3 introduces a key word for this passage – the desert (eremo in Greek)

· Vs. 4-8 tells us about John’s ministry, characterized by two activities – (1) baptizing, and (2) preaching repentance, both in the desert region (same Greek word). John’s ministry primarily challenged people to repent of sin in preparation for the Messiah. The baptism of John was connected to repentance (metanoias), a changing of mind – in line with the kingdom of God and prepared for the coming King.

· His distinct appearance marked John in the line of Elijah (read 2 Kings 1:8) by his appearance and by his message (read Malachi 4:5-6) – this is the forerunner!

· His primary message was to point to Jesus (a greater baptism comes from a greater baptizer, moving from water to the Holy Spirit). Josephus tells us that John’s following was large, but he understood his purpose – announce the supremacy of Jesus.


Mark 1:9-13: God declares Jesus’ identity and sends Him to be tested.

· Mark tells us that this “greater one” came out of Nazareth (how?) and that he was baptized in the Jordan by John. This baptism was not to demonstrate repentance, but to demonstrate acceptance of the Father’s mission – parallel with Father’s approval.

· Vs. 10 uses an interesting word in Greek to show that heaven was torn open (skizo) showing the dramatic revelation happening hear which is parallel with another powerful moment in Mark (read 15:8) where reconciliation to God was accomplished

· In vs. 11, the Father affirms the identity of Jesus as His Son (back to vs. 1), reinforcing to the reader the special divine nature of this man from Nazareth.

· Interesting that the Spirit sends Jesus into the desert (the place in Israel’s history where God meets them powerfully) – he was there forty days (to connect with their history), and he was tempted by Satan (though Mark doesn’t give us details, we know about what kind of Messiah He was going to be – do it on human terms or divine terms).

· Both John and the rest of the Trinity point to Jesus – the most important question (who is Jesus?) is plainly answered & demands something of the reader.


Mark 1:14-20: Jesus comes preaching the good news and calling disciples.

· After Jesus is identified and tested, He begins his public ministry. We get a note about John’s path to prison (laid out in more detail in Mark 6), thus beginning the pattern of the book of Mark – called out by God, preaches, delivered up, then martyred.

· Jesus proclaims (kerusson) – same word for John in verse 4 – the gospel. What is the good news? The Kingdom of God is near (this phrase has been the source of much debate) – which I take to mean that the rule/reign of God (which is eternal and universal) has come near to the people in the advent of Christ. Already and not yet.

· Why is this good news? Because the holy, eternal God of Israel has revealed Himself to be completely righteous, thus justly offended and wrathful toward our sin. Without God’s intervening hand, we are in trouble – in Jesus’ coming, we have good news to share – God has taken on Himself the penalty for our sin, He has come to us.

· Jesus’ message: repent (same as John’s) and believe in this good news (pisteuo) – more about trusting than intellectual assent.

· Vs. 16-20 records Jesus’ calling of his first disciples. Immediately after beginning his preaching ministry, he calls, “Come, follow me.” Notice the repetition of the phrase “follow” in vs. 17, 18, and 20. The repeated phrase jumps out in the Greek kai euthus Also important that the disciples must leave something behind (one his nets – the profession – the other his father – the family) in order to obey the call of Jesus. meaning (and immediately) or (without delay) to describe their obedience.

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