Read: Mark 1
John Mark wastes no time in getting into the story of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The NIV Study Bible notes summarizes his perspective like this:
Mark’s Gospel emphasizes more what Jesus did than what he said. Mark moves quickly from one episode in Jesus’ life and ministry to another.
No joke! In the first 13 verses we read about John the Baptist preparing the way, baptizing Jesus, then the passing reference to His wilderness experience. It’s as if John Mark wanted us to read the other Gospel accounts for more details–his focus was on action!
Take a few minutes to watch The Bible Project’s overview of the Gospel of Mark here: https://thebibleproject.com/all-videos/?category=&q=mark
Jesus begins to speak into the ultimate Good News:
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15
Mark’s account of Jesus’ ministry begins with calling the disciples to follow Him, then rebuking an evil spirit while teaching in a synagogue. The people are overwhelmed at His actions:
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” Mark 1:27
The time for complacency is over. No more frozen-chosen. Mark uses strong words of action in his account of Jesus ministry. In the passage above, Jesus speaks “sternly,” the spirit acts “violently,” and departs with a “shriek.” I’m reading the NIV, but the language is strong in whatever translation you prefer.
Jesus goes on to heal many, but it’s interesting that He starts with Peter’s mother-in-law:
So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. Mark 1:31
Did you catch that? I missed it at first. Peter’s mother-in-law, i.e., Peter is married. Paul uses this as a teaching point for the Corinthians:
Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 1 Corinthians 9:5
At any rate, they are eyewitnesses to the miraculous healing touch of Jesus, in many ways. Jesus goes on to heal many (“the whole town”) and his earthly, physical body grows tired, so He seeks a solitary place to go and pray. This alone is a wonder and a great example for us to consider. The disciples are so excited they seek out Jesus:
and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. Mark 1:37-39
Many were healed and though Jesus asked them to keep quiet the news spread quickly and to the point where he “could no longer enter a town openly.” Makes sense to me!
John Mark was close to Simon Peter. Their lives were radically changed by Jesus. Though their personalities were quite different, there is no doubt that from this point on they were living on mission for the Gospel. How about us? Have we been radically moved? We know the rest of the story, how can we keep it to ourselves?
Lord, I pray we are all compelled to act, to spread the news of Jesus by reading the hyper-fast pace of Mark’s Gospel.