Introduction: Papias, an early Christian writer, provides a very
interesting insight into the Gospel of Mark. Relying on a very early
source, Papias tells us that Mark was a close associate of Peter.
This is supported by 1 Peter 5:13 where we find Peter referring to
Mark as “my son Mark.” Church tradition refers to Mark as “Peter’s
interpreter.” (The Bible Exposition Commentary) Thus it appears that
Peter preached about his work with Jesus and Mark wrote it down and
arranged it. (NIV Study Bible, Introduction to Mark) The book of Mark
is filled with action – small wonder if he took his source material
from Peter. Let’s jump into the action by beginning our study of

  1. The Proof

    1. Read Mark 1:1. Have you ever said, “Keep it simple,
      stupid?” Do you prefer things straightforward and

      1. How does Mark start his gospel? (Simple and to the

      2. Can you see Peter preaching this way?

      3. The word “gospel” means “good news.” Read Mark 1:1
        and substitute “good news” for the word “gospel.”

    2. Read Mark 1:2-4. Being simple is one thing. Being accurate
      is another. What is Mark’s approach to proving to us that
      his statement in Mark 1:1 is the truth? (He quotes the
      prophets: Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. Mark knows the
      prophets foretold that Jesus would have someone who
      prepared the way for His coming. Mark says, “This
      happened. These prophecies were fulfilled.”)

      1. How, specifically, did John prepare the way for
        Jesus? (He preached a gospel of repentance.)

      2. How does this apply to your life? If you want Jesus
        to come into your heart, is repentance your first

    3. Read Mark 1:5-7. What is the next proof that Mark presents
      about Jesus being “the Son of God.” (First, John prepares
      the way for Jesus, just as was prophesied. Second, John
      testifies that he is preparing the way for Jesus. You have
      both the witness of Scripture and the witness of the
      prophesied messenger.)

      1. How popular was John? (He got the attention of

        1. Why was John so popular? Was it his “dress for
          success” approach? Was it his great diet

      2. Was there a reason why John was asking the people to
        repent and be baptized? (We must not miss the big
        picture here. The reason for the people to repent and
        be baptized was because the Messiah was coming. Mark
        1:7 very clearly tells us “this was [John’s] message”
        that the Messiah was about to come. It was not his
        diet or dress, it was his message that the Messiah,
        at long last, was about to appear. The reaction of
        the people in believing that the Messiah was coming
        soon is yet further proof that Jesus is the promised

        1. What lesson can we learn from this about the
          relative importance of our message versus our
          diet and dress?

        2. Or, is our diet and dress part of the message?

    4. Read Mark 1:8. How do the roles of John the Baptist and
      Jesus compare? (John facilitates the initial cleaning,
      Jesus purifies them through the power of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. Consider again the comparison to your spiritual life.
        After you repent and are washed by baptism, what
        happens next? (This is what we studied last quarter –
        the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying our life.)

      2. Read John 4:1-2. How do you explain this text, when
        John the Baptist predicts Jesus will baptize with the
        Holy Spirit? (This text is consistent in that Jesus
        is not baptizing with water. John the Baptist must
        mean that Jesus would cause people to come “under”
        the power of the Holy Spirit. I can see the symbolism
        between being buried in water and covered with the
        Holy Spirit. Compare Matthew 28:19. )

      3. Read Acts 1:4-5. What other insight do we get from
        this text about Jesus’ baptizing others with the Holy

    5. Read Mark 1:9. Why would Jesus be baptized by John? Was
      it to wash away His sins?

      1. Compare Matthew 3:13-15. What does Jesus mean to
        “fulfill all righteousness?” (Baptism is the
        ordinance that we go through to show that we died to
        our old life and now are righteous by faith. (Romans
        6:4-5.) Jesus was being an example to us – He was
        showing us how to fulfill righteousness.)

    6. Read Mark 1:10-11. What other proof is Mark presenting
      that Jesus is the Son of God? (God the Father and the Holy
      Spirit are now also witnesses.)

    7. Read Mark 1:12-13. The Bible Exposition Commentary says
      that God and the Holy Spirit were the final witnesses to
      Jesus being the Messiah. I’m not sure. Who else is
      witnessing to the divinity of Jesus? (Why would Satan
      spend 40 days tempting Jesus if he did not think it
      important? The stature of your enemies says something
      about you. I think Satan and the good angels are the last
      witnesses Mark uses to prove that Jesus was the Son of

  2. The Time Has Come

    1. Read Mark 1:14-15. Why did Jesus wait to begin His
      ministry until after John had been imprisoned? (I think He
      understood that this was God’s signal that it was time for
      Him to begin. John prepared the way. Now was the time for
      John to diminish and Jesus increase. See John 3:30.)

    2. Read Mark 1:16-18. Today I spent most of my time listening
      to a private school consultant. He stressed the important
      of “profiling” school board members. Profiling means that
      you pick board members on the basis of whether they will
      be able to fulfill the strategic goals of the church
      school. Does Jesus seem to be “profiling?” Is He picking
      helpers based on their ability to accomplish His strategic

    3. Read Mark 1:19-20. Again, we have Jesus picking men who
      seem to have no theological background. What attitude did
      James and John appear to have? (They were willing. Simon
      and Andrew “at once” ( Mark 1:18) decided to follow Jesus.
      James and John followed Him when He called them. All four
      of these men seem most willing to follow Jesus.)

      1. In the strategic goals of your church, how important
        is it to have people who are “willing?”

      2. We asked why Jesus would choose these men. Let’s turn
        the question around, why would these men follow
        Jesus? (This was not their first meeting with Jesus.
        Read John 1:35-49. They believed that Jesus was the

    4. Friend, how about you – do you believe that Jesus is the
      Messiah? Are you willing to follow Jesus by building your
      life around His mission?

  3. Next week: Amazing Miracle Worker.