Introduction: Have you experienced setbacks in life? How did
they turn out? Our study this quarter is based on the Gospel
of Mark. Early in life Mark experienced an enormous setback.
He persisted and ended up at the center of the work of the
early church. Guided by the Holy Spirit he wrote the Gospel
of Mark. What a comeback! Let’s plunge into the story of
Mark and discover how his life got back on track and how he
starts his gospel!

I. Peter’s Son?

A. Read 1 Peter 5:13. Did you know that Peter had a
son named Mark? (As we will see, Peter and Mark
worked together. Peter is using a term of
affection, he is not saying Mark is his actual

1. Is this Mark, Peter’s co-worker, the author of
the Gospel of Mark? (Papias, an early
Christian writer, tells us that Mark was a
close associate of Peter. This explains why
Peter refers to Mark as “my son.” According to
the Bible Exposition Commentary, Church
tradition refers to Mark as “Peter’s
interpreter.” It appears that Peter preached
about his work with Jesus, Mark wrote it down
and arranged it. NIV Study Bible, Introduction
to Mark.)

2. When you think about Jesus’ disciples, with
which one would you want to work? (Peter is a
man of action. The book of Mark is filled with
action small wonder if he took his source
material from Peter.)

B. Read Acts 12:1-2 and Acts 12:6. What do you think
the phrase “Herod was about to bring [Peter] out”
means? (Given that Herod had just killed James, he
was going to bring Peter out to kill him.)

C. Read Acts 12:7 and Acts 12:11-12. What do we learn
about John Mark and Peter? (Peter knew they would
be praying for him at the home of John Mark’s

II. John Mark, Paul, and Barnabas

A. Read Acts 13:2-5. Where do we find John Mark now?
(He is assisting Paul and Barnabas!)

1. What does that tell you about John Mark? (He
was at the center of the action.)

B. Read Acts 13:13 and Acts 15:36-39. Think about
this. Why didn’t Barnabas just agree with Paul?
The Holy Spirit had called Paul and Barnabas to
work together! (Verse 39 refers to “sharp”
disagreement. Barnabas must have thought highly of
John Mark and he must have thought that Paul was
being unreasonable. Paul must have been very
critical of John Mark.)

C. Read Colossians 4:10. What clue do we find here
about why Barnabas is such a supporter of John
Mark? (They are related!)

D. Read 2 Timothy 4:11 and Colossians 4:10-11. What do
we learn about the relationship between Paul and
John Mark late in Paul’s life? (They have
reconciled and John Mark is an important help to

1. We have now learned that John Mark is
ultimately a close associate of Paul and he is
a close associate of Peter. What does that
tell you about Mark’s comeback as a gospel
worker? (He is working with the principal
leaders of the early church. Mark has made up
for his earlier failure.)

a. Given the texts we have studied, how do
you think Mark made his comeback? (It
helped to be related to Barnabas. But the
context suggests that Mark worked hard and
with the top leaders. Even though Paul was
against him, he worked with Paul to change
his opinion. He didn’t avoid Paul.)

III. Mark Introduces Jesus

A. Read Mark 1:1. Do you prefer the simple or the
complex? How does Mark start his gospel? (Simple,
direct, and to the point.)

1. Can you see Peter speaking this way?

B. Read Ephesians 6:18-19. Paul writes of the “mystery
of the gospel.” Is Mark starting out the wrong way
by making things simple? Is Mark heading in the
wrong way because of the influence of Peter as
opposed to Paul?

C. Let’s step back a minute. Put yourself in the time
frame of the early church. How challenging would it
be to argue that Jesus was “the Son of God?”

1. Is there a mystery in the idea that the Son of
Mary is also God’s Son?

D. Read Mark 1:2-3. What argument is Mark making that
Jesus is God? (Read Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.
Both of these prophesy that a messenger will
prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.)

E. Read Mark 1:4-7. Was Jesus preceded by a messenger?
(Yes! John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus.
John the Baptist even says that is what he is

1. If you were reading the Gospel of Mark would
this help convince you that Jesus is the Son
of God? (Mark cites the Bible and recent
events showing fulfillment of prophecy about
the coming of the Lord. Isn’t this what we
tend to do? We look around, see what is
happening, and then compare that to Bible

F. Read Mark 1:8. How is Jesus’ baptism different than

G. Read John 4:1-2. How do you explain Mark 1:8 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.)

H. Read Mark 1:9. Why would Jesus need to be baptized?
Was He a sinner who needed to repent and be

I. Read Matthew 3:13-15. This is Jesus’ answer to the
question of why He should be baptized by John. What
does Jesus mean that He is being baptized 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 in
Jesus. Romans 6:4-5. Jesus is being an example to
us. He is showing us how to fulfill righteousness.)

J. Read Mark 1:10-11. What additional proof does Mark
give that Jesus is the Son of God? (God proclaimed
Jesus was His Son at Jesus’ baptism.)

1. Notice who descended on Jesus. Is this further
proof that Jesus’ addition to John’s baptism
is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

2. Have you been baptized by water and the Holy

IV. The Message

A. Read Mark 1:14-15. What does Mark teach us is the
“gospel of God?” (The time is now. The Kingdom of
God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.
Let’s examine each of these in turn.

1. “The time is fulfilled.” Read John 3:30. Did
Jesus wait to begin His ministry in earnest
until after John had been imprisoned? (The two
ministries were passing by each other. John’s
ministry diminished as Jesus’ ministry grew.
John prepared the way. Now was the time for
John to diminish and Jesus increase.)

2. “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” Is Jesus the
Kingdom of God? (Yes. The King is present. The
means by which God’s Kingdom on earth will be
restored is now operating.)

3. “Repent and believe in the gospel.” I thought
that John preached repentance. Are the people
still in need of confession of sin? (I don’t
think that is what repentance means here. Of
course the people had sins. But the repentance
here is tied to the gospel. The people needed
to change from their old view of dealing with
sin, to the new view of Jesus being their sin-
bearer and the Holy Spirit guiding their life
in the right path.)

B. Friend, have you accepted Jesus as God come to
earth? Have you repented and believed the gospel of
Jesus Christ? If not, why not do that right now?

V. Next week: A Day in the Ministry of Jesus.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.