One man's view of theology, sports, politics, and whatever else in life that happens to interest me. A little bit about me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TOMS: Mark 1

For an introduction to this series, click here.

Jan. 12, 2007

Mark bounces from one topic to another very quickly, so that's what we'll do. He just jumps in with a brief summary of John's ministry, mentions the baptism and the temptation, and then jumps into Jesus' ministry. Matthew and Luke take four chapters to cover what Mark covers in 13 verses.

Mark was probably an eyewitness to at least part of Jesus' ministry, but he would have been quite young. It is interesting to note here that Mark is the only Gospel writer to mention that Jesus was "with the wild animals" (1:13) during His temptation. Obviously there were no eyewitnesses to this encounter; Jesus must have described it later. Details about wild animals would have been interesting to a young boy hearing the story, while the older writers were listening to the details of the temptation, which Mark leaves out. Mark's youth may also explain why he omits so much of Jesus' teaching. As a young boy he would have not been allowed to be close to Jesus, but he could see what was going on and hear different reactions in the crowd.

The calling of the disciples is always interesting to me. In most of the accounts Jesus just seems to pop out of nowhere and say "Follow me," and these people change their entire lives to follow Him. John's gospel gives us more insight into how Jesus got to know at least some of the disciples before He called them, but still, it's amazing.

The next section is the first example of what I mentioned last night about Mark recording other people's reaction to Jesus. A demon-possessed man publicly confronted Jesus, loudly proclaiming Him as the Son of God. Jesus casts the demon out. Then Mark writes,
“And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.(1:27-28)

In the next section, Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law. We assume that Peter was the oldest of the disciples for a number of reasons; one is that he was married. Later, as one of the leaders of the new church, he even took his wife when he traveled establishing churches. Did Peter's wife travel with Jesus, too? Or did she stay at home? How did she feel about Peter spending all that time with Jesus? That's an interesting dynamic that Scripture never really tells us anything about.

Mark apparently had a special relationship with Peter. There are several instances in which Peter is mentioned along with the others, including verse 36 of this chapter, which reads, "And Simon and those who were with him searched for him." I know that's awkward, but that's typical of Mark.

That passage around verse 36 has to deal with Jesus preaching in Galilee. He went out by Himself and was praying. Peter and the other disciples came looking for Him, because everybody wanted to hear Him. Jesus said, "Let us go to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."(1:38)

Jesus did everything He could to avoid the spotlight. Here He was, the biggest thing to ever hit Galilee, and the disciples were loving all the excitement. They wanted to stay there and soak in some more of it. But Jesus said let's get going to places we haven't been yet. Despite His efforts to keep a low profile, the people flocked to him, insomuch that "Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter." (1:45, ESV)

Everybody was excited about Jesus. He was a rock star. Let's keep an ongoing record of the attitudes people showed toward Jesus in Mark. Early on they were thrilled just to be near Him. Things won't stay the same.

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