This Sunday we will begin a new study in the Gospel of Mark. I am someone who believes that, as the church, it’s important to revisit the life and teachings of Jesus, just to be sure we’re tracking properly. The Gospel of mark is the shortest of the synoptic gospels, and according to surveys, the least popular of all of them. I think that’s a shame. Mark rocks, in my opinion.
As we begin this study, we’ll be reading chapter 1:1-8. Right off the bat, in the very first verse, we are confronted with several ideas which need to be explored. The Good News, Messiah and Son of God. We’ll be looking at the historic and religious contexts of those words – but let me suggest that to really get a good primer on the concept of Messiah, you can watch The Bible Project’s video on that subject: The Bible Project
How would you explain what the Good News about Jesus the Messiah is?
The writer of Mark wastes no time in getting us into the action. V2-3 introduces us to the expectations of Israel to set the stage. He quotes from Isaiah and Malachi passages that were meant to comfort the Jewish people who had gone into Babylonian exile that the Lord would return to his temple one day. God gave them a sign to look for – a messenger would come and prepare the way for the Lord’s appearance.
Why do you think it was important to connect John the Baptist with the promised sign? How can this encourage us about trusting God’s promises?
In v4-6 John is described, and he is one odd dude. He definitely didn’t follow the advice of today’s experts on how to attract people to your movement.
What does John’s dress, diet and location speak of to you? Why do you think people were so attracted to John’s message? What can we learn from that about our own ministry and church?
When John speaks in v7-8, he has a singular topic in view. Jesus. John is almost over-the-top in trying to pronounce the distinction and superiority of the coming Messiah.
In what ways can we follow his example? As we seek to minister God’s love to people, how can we keep our focus on Jesus without becoming self-depreciating? What do you believe John was describing when he said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit?
I’m really stoked to get back to posting in Wonderwhat! I’m looking forward to this study – I hope you’ll come to love Mark as much as I do!