Verses of Mark 1
Mark 1:1 Commentary - Neighbour's Wells of Living WaterJesus Christ the Son of God
1. Let us consider the opening statement of Mark's Gospel. There are some who vainly contend that the Gospel of Mark has nothing to say about the Virgin Birth of Christ, intimating thereby that Mark may not have accepted that verity. To the contrary, we are sure that the opening statement of Mark's Gospel proclaims the Virgin Birth as an absolute necessity.
How else could Jesus Christ be the Son of God, than by the fact that God was His Father? God certainly was not His Father in the same sense that He is the Father of those who believe, for the simple reason that the Lord Jesus knew no second birth. He was born once and not twice as we, His children, have been born.
If we will turn to the 3d chapter of John we will find in Mar 1:16 this statement: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." The Holy Spirit, through Paul, speaks in Romans the 1st chapter, these memorable words: "The Gospel of God, * * concerning His Son Jesus Christ." Immediately after the words quoted, are these, "Declared to be the Son of God with power."
The angel said to Mary, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Son of God because He was begotten of the Holy Ghost. That is the reason that Mark spoke of Him as such.
2. John the Baptist is immediately brought in by Mark as a further proof that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Read Mar 1:2, Mar 1:3. These verses refer to the Prophets and their statements relative to the Coming of Jesus Christ and of His forerunner. Let us ask you to note carefully the words, observing the punctuation: "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the Prophets, behold, I send my messenger before thy face." The Prophets accentuate the statement that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit in Mark continued to say, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." Mark's quotation of the Prophets is from Isa 40:3. Here is the Isaiah reading: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." We solemnly and reverently bow the knees therefore and join the Holy Ghost in Mark by acclaiming Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son.
3. The Prophet Isaiah, quoted in Mark, speaks frequently of Christ as God. Let me give you just a few of these quotations. "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him" (Isa 40:9-10).
In Rev 22:12, we read, "Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me." The words in this verse refer to Christ, so also must the words in Isaiah refer to Him.
Here is a second quotation: "For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour" (Isa 43:3).
These words must be spoken of Christ because He is the Saviour. We remember that the angel said to Mary, "Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."
Observe a third quotation: "Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me." "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no saviour." "Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God" (Isa 43:10-12).
Thus we might go on, however, we have proved sufficiently that the Gospel of Mark, by direct statement and also by quotation from the Prophets proclaims Jesus Christ as God.
I. THE MINISTRY OF JOHN (Mar 1:4-5)
Our Scripture verses read:
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins."
1. Christ's forerunner was a man of the wilderness. He had been prophesied in the Old Testament and his birth had been preannounced by an angel to Zacharias. John came from the wilderness clothed in camel's hair and with a girdle of skin about his loins. He was certainly a unique character. He did not go into the cities to preach to the throngs but the cities went out to the wilderness to him.
2. Mar 1:7 tells us that John preached saying: "There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." Thus did John do homage to Christ. In the fourth Gospel we have many statements from the lips of John the Baptist. Let me give you a few of these. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light." (Joh 1:6-7).
The words above plainly infer that Christ is the Light of the world, therefore He was more than man. "John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, this is He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me" (Joh 1:15).
In this quotation, John, who was six months older than Christ, acknowledged Christ's eternal Deity when he said of Christ, "He was before me." "This is the record of John, he said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord" (Joh 1:19, Joh 1:23).
Here again John made Jesus the Christ the Son of God. "I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John * * saith, Behold the Lamb of God" (Joh 1:34-36).
II. THE BAPTISM OF JOHN (Mar 1:5; Mar 1:8)
1. Mar 1:5 tells us of the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. The baptism of John was, we grant, distinct from that which followed under the command of the Lord Jesus, and yet there was a very intimate relationship. John did baptize, preaching the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins. The disciples also, following Pentecost, baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins. The Book of Romans, in chapter 6, distinctly tells us that we are baptized into Jesus Christ, into His death and also in the likeness of His resurrection.
2. Mar 1:8 tells us of the baptism into the Holy Ghost. The baptism of John was in water. The baptism of Christ was in the Holy Ghost. John even added (as recorded in another Gospel) saying that when Christ came He would baptize "with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."
The opening chapter of Acts records the Words of Christ, where He commanded the disciples not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. Then follow these words: "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
It was when the day of Pentecost was fully come that they were baptized into the Holy Ghost.
There is a Scripture in Corinthians where we are plainly taught that all believers are baptized into the one body, into the one Spirit.
These quotations by no means suggest that there should not be a definite infilling of the Holy Ghost and also a definite anointing of the Spirit, distinct from the fact of our having been baptized into the one body, and into the one Spirit, when we were born again.
III. THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST (Mar 1:9-11)
1. Christ aligned Himself with the populace who were being baptized unto repentance, unto the remission of sins. As Christ approached the waters, John would have forbade him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" The Lord was not a sinner and did not need to be baptized in any baptism that even suggested His personal need of repentance or remission of sins. He was baptized however, of John, because it was through Him the sinless one, that the populace, who were the sinners could alone receive remission of sins.
Christ coming to the waters of baptism showed very plainly that baptizing in water could not remit sins, but that they were baptized unto the remission of sins, by the virtue of what baptism typifies, even Christ's own death, burial, and resurrection.
2. The Divine acknowledgment of Mar 1:10 tells us, that Jesus straightway coming up out of the water saw the heavens open and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him. No sooner was Christ baptized than there came a voice from Heaven saying, "Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Thus, Jesus Christ was acclaimed, and thus the opening statement of the. Gospel of Mark that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, was once more established.
First Christ's Deity was established by the testimony of Mark.
Secondly, His Deity was established by the testimony of John.
Thirdly, His Deity was established by the testimony of the Holy Spirit and of the Father. Think of it. At the baptism, the Father was there because He spake from Heaven. The Holy Spirit was there because He descended upon the Lord Jesus. Third, the Son of God was there because it was He who was baptized,-the Holy Trinity, three in one, one in three,-at the baptism.
IV. THE WILDERNESS TEMPTATION (Mar 1:12-13)
Into what a brief space does the Gospel of Mark crowd the great events in the early life of our Lord! Matthew and Luke write fully of these events, therefore, Mark, with a few succinct statements, tells all that the Spirit wanted him to reveal. Let us suggest three outstanding things as set forth by Mark concerning the temptation.
1. Christ was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness. It was not Satan seeking the Son of God, but it was the Son of God seeking Satan. He sought Satan because the Holy Spirit within Him, as well as His own spirit did drive Him, that is, impel Him to go out and meet the devil. He had just been acclaimed from Heaven as God's beloved Son. Now, He was to meet one who, in the Garden, had tempted the first Adam. He, the last Adam, the second Man, the Head of a new race, was to go forth to meet the tempter of the first man. He was to meet him in order that He might vanquish him, and destroy him.
2. Christ was tempted forty days. The word forty carries our minds back to the temptation in the wilderness of which we read: "Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep His commandments, or no."
Thus it was that Jesus was tempted forty days, a day for a year. The temptation in the wilderness was to prove them, whether they would obey the Lord. Christ was tempted to forever demonstrate that He was God, perfect in obedience to the Father.
3. Christ was ministered unto by the angels. After every onslaught of the devil had been victoriously met, Jesus Christ had not only given full attest to His Deity, but He had also given full proof of the completeness of His victory over Satan. The angels of the Lord then came to minister to Him. In the first Gospel it reads this way: "Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."
The interest of the angels in our Lord was demonstrated, beginning with the annunciation to Mary and to the shepherds, and on unto the hour of His ascension. The angels not only desired to look into all the things which concerned Christ, but they delighted in having part in giving Him humble, devoted homage.
V. CHRIST PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM (Mar 1:14-15)
1. John cast into prison. John had said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." The Baptist's sun had shone brightly for a while. All Jerusalem and Judea had gone out to see and hear him and to be baptized by him. Even King Herod had, at the first, heard John frequently and gladly, and had done many things. Now, however, John was in prison. Shortly after, he became a martyr to faith which he had proclaimed, and to the Lord whom he had announced.
2. Jesus preaching. When John began to preach he said, "Repent ye." So also did Jesus say, "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." There are some who would insist that the message of repentance should no longer be preached. With this we cannot agree. Peter at Pentecost preached, saying, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." A little later he said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted." Still later he preached saying, "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness." Paul said, "God * * commandeth all men every where to repent." Still later, in Rome under King Agrippa, Paul said of the Gentiles that "they should repent and turn to God." Truly, the long-suffering of God leadeth us to repentance. God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
3. Jesus preached, "The Kingdom of God is at hand." This John preached, and this also Jesus preached. The Kingdom was at hand, because the King was at hand. Jesus Christ at His birth was announced King of the Jews, when the wise men from the East came to worship Him, they worshiped Him, "King of the Jews." During His ministry He continually proclaimed His Kingship. When He died they put up over His head the word, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
Thus, when He was born, He was announced King of the Jews; when He died, He was rejected King of the Jews; then, when He comes the second time, He will come not only as King of the Jews, but as King of kings and Lord of lords.
VI. THE CALLING OF ANDREW AND PETER (Mar 1:16-18)
1. The Lord called Simon and Andrew from the common walks of life. Both of these men were fishermen, their calling was not high, according to human reckoning, yet they were the very ones whom the Lord chose to have part and lot with Him. Do we not read, "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
We would not for a second suggest that the Lord does not seek the noble, the mighty, to follow Him. The trouble lies with the nobler class, in the face that they do not want the Lord. They seem too busy and too much occupied to follow with the meek and lowly Jesus. Besides, they would rely too much upon their own greatness and prowess, and would be in danger to use Christ to add to their own glory, instead of humbly seeking to give glory to Him.
2. The Lord called Simon and Andrew from a life busy with serving. Peter, who was Simon, and his brother Andrew could never be included in the class of "do-nothings." The Lord does not call men who are drones and idlers. He selects people who are in active service.
Missionaries should not be chosen from among the young people who know nothing of soul-winning and Christ-serving at home. If we cannot preach Christ in our own community, how can we preach Him afar? If we cannot win our own to Christ, how can we win the heathen?
3. The Lord said, "I will make you fishers of men." The occupation of Simon and Andrew was not to be changed. They were still to be fishers. However, instead of fishing fish, they were to fish men. We wonder if there is not a real similarity between fishing fish and fishing men? It would be profitable to give this comparison some earnest consideration.
VII. THE CALLING OF JAMES AND JOHN (Mar 1:19-20)
1. Simon and Andrew were casting a net into the sea. James and John were mending their net. We wonder if there is a significance here. Perhaps the Lord would have us know that some are called for constructive work, casting nets; while others are called for remedying work, mending nets.
We may not all be able to save souls all the time. Those who are saved must be strengthened against slipping and falling. We may not always be ready to cast our nets. Sometimes we need to adjust our messages, to prepare ourselves for their better proclamation.
2. Simon and Andrew forsook their nets and followed Christ. James and John left their father, Zebedee, to follow Christ.
Some of us are called upon to leave silver and gold and all of our possessions. Others are called upon to leave father and mother, brother and sister, and our dearest friends to follow Him.
3. In any event the matter at issue is following Christ. It is not necessary to preach long sermons on how to fish for men for Christ's statement is simple indeed, "Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men."
We need to follow the example of these disciples in prompt obedience. Christ called Simon and Andrew, and straightway they forsook their nets and followed Him. Christ saw James and John, and straightway He called them and they left their father.
If some of our students would suggest that Christ had the right to call James and John to leave their father, Zebedee, alone with the responsibility of the ship and their fishing business-we ask them to remember that Zebedee was not left alone, but he had left with him the hired servants. Our Lord always deals righteously.
Two young men were talking about their soldiering in France, and one of them was telling what a wonderful man his father was. Pulling from his left breast pocket a package, he displayed pictures of his father and mother, gazing wistfully at them as he showed them to his companion. "Say, Buddy," he suddenly exclaimed, "you have not spoken of your father. Got any pictures to show me what he is like?" "No, I'm sorry, I haven't any of my father with me. Oh, hold on! Yes, I have, and I'll give you one." Putting his hand in his pocket he pulled out a sovereign and offered it to his wondering companion, remarking, "Here is a picture of ray father. Keep it to remember me by." The Prince of Wales smiled into the face of his father on the coin, then sprang into the waiting lorry and went away to another part of the sector. That is the kind of coin we workers should always have about us, the one that bears the express image of His Person.
Verses of Mark 1
Consult other comments:
Neighbour's Wells of Living Water
Wells of Living Water by Fundamentalist Southern Baptist Robert Neighbour. His 14 Vol.
Wells of Living Water contain 10 years of his messages from 1929 to 1939. His 12 Volume Sermons and Bible Studies contain concise and pithy comments on hundreds of topics and passages.