Bible Passage: Mark 1
Jesus is Moving
Go back 2000 years ago to the caves of the catacombs.
ILL – Famous first lines…Books –
1) “Call me Ishmael” (Moby Dick).
2) “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”(A Tale of Two Cities).
3) “Marley was dead to begin with.” (A Christmas Carol). Historical documents – 1) “
4. 4 Score & Seven years ago” (Gettysburg Address).
2) “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands” (Declaration of Independence).
TV & Movies –
1) “Space…the final frontier” (Star Trek) ***
2) “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” (Star Wars).”
The first line is incredibly important! It can capture your attention or lose it.
Matthew begins his Gospel by sharing the genealogy of Jesus. He feels the need to prove that
Jesus is a Son of Abraham & a Son of David.
Luke begins by talking about the events which lead up to the birth of the Lord Jesus.
John’s Gospel starts out in eternity past reminding us that Jesus is God in the flesh.
Mark does not start out by talking about the Lord’s heritage or His birth. Mark’s desire is to
present Jesus as a servant and a servant does not need a genealogy.
Mark begins by jumping right into the action.
Mark’s first sentence serves as a title to the book & plunges us immediately into the earthly
ministry of Jesus.
Mark is going to share with his readers the good news concerning who Jesus is & what He did
while He was here.
Action. Involvement. Movement. Engagement. Service.
The Gospel by Mark is a record of virtually non-stop activity carried out at a rapid-fire pace.
The key term repeated over 40 times in this first account of the life of Jesus, the Servant of
God, is , the Greek word for “immediately.”
Mark wastes neither time nor words as he portrays the Savior at work, continually serving
The tone of the writer is practical, not mystical or philosophical, which had an appeal to the
industrious Roman mind.
The lack of emphasis on anything pertaining to the Jewish ancestry of Jesus makes good
sense, since Mark’s audience is mainly the Gentile reader.
While others refer to Jesus as “Lord” and “King,”
Mark prefers “Master,” again underscoring the vocabulary of a servant.
The hinge of the book pivots on a single verse –
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his
life as a ransom for many.”
Mark is the shortest of the four gospels & likely the first one written.
However, it is often overlooked because of the popularity of the other gospels.
Yet because of its brevity Mark’s gospel is an ideal introduction to the Christian faith & in
mission fields it is often the first book translated into a new language.
I. Who was John Mark?
Since the 1st & 2nd century there has been unanimous support for John Mark authoring the
gospel which bears his name.
A. He was the son of a Christian mom – Acts 12:12
History provides us with a limited biography of John Mark.
He was a young man when Jesus was crucified.
We don’t know how he came to faith in Jesus but it’s likely that his mother was one of the
We know from scripture that she was a wealthy woman in Jerusalem and that her home was
the site of the first house church where Peter went after He was miraculously set free from
Acts 12:12 “When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John,
also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”
It is also believed that the upper room where Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples
& where they were first filled with the Holy Spirit was in John Mark’s childhood home (Mark
14:14; Acts 2).
B. He was the servant of Paul & Barnabas – Acts 12:25 **Apprentice**
John Mark’s 1st recorded venture into missionary work was a failure (Acts 12:25; 13:4).
He joined Paul & Barnabas on their 1st trip, but dropped out along the way.
Paul & Barnabas would later disagree if John Mark was worth taking another chance on.
Paul wasn’t ready to stake the success of any future expeditions on someone as unreliable as
Barnabas was John Mark’s uncle & was committed to taking his nephew under his wing &
developing him into a leader.
The disagreement over John Mark erupted into a heated rift & Paul & Barnabas’ friendship was
stressed to its limits (Acts 13:13).
Neither man would budge. Barnabas left Paul’s company & took Mark with him back to Cyprus
John Mark developed under Barnabas’ mentorship & eventually repaired his relationship with
Paul (2 Tim. 4:11 – “Mark…is helpful to me in my ministry.”).
� ILL – When Edison was working on the light bulb, it took a whole team of men 24 straight
hours to put one together. When Edison was finished with one light bulb, he gave it to a young
boy helper, who nervously carried it up the stairs. Step by step he cautiously watched his
hands, obviously frightened of dropping such a priceless piece of work. You’ve probably
guessed what happened by now; the poor young fellow dropped the bulb at the top of the
stairs. It took the entire team of men twenty-four more hours to make another bulb. Finally,
tired & ready for a break, Edison was ready to have his bulb carried up the stairs. He gave it to
the same young boy who dropped the first one. That’s true forgiveness.
This is the story of John Mark’s life. Aren’t you glad God is a God of 2nd chances?!
He was the secretary of Peter – 1 Peter 5:13
Ultimately John Mark became Peter’s assistant & son in the faith (1 Pet. 5:13).
The impact that Peter had on Mark cannot be overstated. Some scholars see Peter’s sermon in
Acts 10 as providing the skeletal outline for the entire Gospel of Mark.
Both Peter & Mark had something in common: publicly failing the cause of Christ.
Peter denied Jesus 3 times.
Mark abandoned the apostles.
Mark might have even been the young man who ran away naked in Mark 11.
Mark’s Gospel carries this theme of Jesus’ followers failing their leader throughout the entire
Mark’s Gospel captures ordinary people following Jesus more clearly than any of the Gospels
II. What is the Gospel? “The beginning of the gospel”
Knowing the answer to this question is of eternal significance, as it is possible to believe a false
gospel – Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4.
Interestingly, the book of Mark opens & closes with the gospel – Mark 1:1 & 16:15.
The gospel is the “good news” of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection – 1 Cor. 15:1-4
When the angel announced “good news of great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10) he was
announcing the fact that God was taking care of man’s # 1 problem – sin!!
The good news is that we can know God personally through what Jesus did!
The gospel is the “power of God for the salvation of everyone” – Rom. 1:16
1. The Greek word for “power” is “dunamus” where we get our word dynamite.
2. Like dynamite it destroys our walls of pride & self-sufficiency.
3. However, unlike dynamite it rebuilds our lives & hearts into the image of Christ – 2 Cor.
Not even a cold-blooded terrorist can withstand the white-hot power of the gospel!
III. How is Jesus Presented? “about Jesus Christ, the Son of God”
Mark gives Jesus 3 distinct names or titles that declare 4 important truths about Jesus.
He is truly human – He has a human name – Jesus.
The name “Jesus” is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name “Joshua”. It means
“Jehovah is Salvation.”
Jesus is a human name & it reveals the reason Jesus came into this world. Jesus came into
this world to save lost sinners.
Matt. 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he
will save his people from their sins.”
The name “Jesus” declares His Person!
He is truly divine – He is the promised Messiah, the Christ.
The title “Christ” identifies Jesus as the “Jewish Messiah”, or “the Anointed One.”
The title “Christ” declares His Position. Jesus is pictured as the One Who will deliver His
people from their enemies.
Phil. 2:9-11 “9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is
above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
He is truly unique – He is the Son of God. He is both humanity & deity in one Person.
Mark really raises the stakes when he calls Jesus “the Son of God”.
Mark lets us know in very clear terms that he is writing about a man, Who is no ordinary man.
He is writing about a man Who is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14).
The name “Son of God” declares His Power.
He is the true source of Good News – Jesus alone is the source of salvation!
*Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to
men by which we must be saved.”
Actions speak louder than words!
Christian’s today need both orthodoxy (right doctrine) & orthopraxy (right living).
James 2:18 “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without
deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
May Mark’s gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to serve, inspire us to become servants who are
also, “useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” 2 Tim. 2:21