Mark One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

beginning of the gospel. Most evidence indicates that Mark was the first to write a life of Christ. His mother owned the house in Jerusalem where the early disciples gathered to pray (Acts 12:12), quite likely the one where Christ instituted the Lord's supper (Luke 22:12; Acts 1:13). Jesus was probably a close friend of Mark's family. This verse also indicates that the gospel witness began with the witness of John the Baptist.

Mark 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

written in the prophets. Mark here quotes Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, both of which prophesied (many centuries in advance) of the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah. No other book ever written contains specifically fulfilled prophecies such as this, yet the Bible contains hundreds. Divine inspiration is the only reasonable explanation.

Mark 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Prepare ye. John did, indeed, prepare and baptize the men who later would become Jesus' disciples (note John 1:35-37; 3:30; Acts 1:21-22).

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

John did baptize. Some have suggested that John's baptism was a sort of “proselyte baptism.” However, there is no such thing as proselyte baptism mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Josephus, Philo, or any other literature of the apostolic era or earlier. John's baptism was true Christian baptism. See notes on John 1:7, 23-34; notes on Acts 2:41; notes on Acts 19:1-5 as well as on the parallel passage in Matthew 3:1-11. Note that Jesus' disciples, who already had been baptized by John, were never re-baptized when they left John to follow Jesus.

Mark 1:5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

locusts and wild honey. Despite his eminent father, an important priest named Zacharias (Luke 1:5), and despite his popularity (according to the previous verse, “all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem” went out into the desert to hear him preach and to be baptized), he was a very simple and humble man—truly “sent from God” (John 1:6).

Mark 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

There cometh one. From the very beginning of John's ministry, he was preaching Christ. Thus, he was surely the first Christian preacher and the first Christian prophet.

Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Mark 1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

Mark 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

my beloved Son. This is the first use of the key word “love” in Mark's gospel. Similarly, the first use of “love” in Matthew and Luke are their renditions of the same event (Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22). Thus God has emphasized thrice over, as it were, that His love for His Son is the very definition of love. In fact, the Father loved the Son before the creation of the world (John 17:24). How profoundly significant, therefore, is the first occurrence of “love” in John (the gospel in which love is mentioned more often than in any other book of the Bible) when we are told that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) that we might be saved! This becomes even more remarkable when we note that the first occurrence of “love” in the Old Testament is when God told Abraham to offer up “thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” (Genesis 22:2) as a sacrificial offering, thus providing a beautiful type of the sacrificial love of the heavenly Father for His Son.

Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

wild beasts. Mark covers the temptation of Christ in two verses, while Matthew took eleven and Luke thirteen verses. Only Mark, however, mentions the wild beasts that were “with” Jesus. He was their Creator, of course, not their enemy.

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

kingdom of God. Compare Matthew 4:17, where the same incident is recorded, except that “kingdom of heaven” is used by Matthew instead of “kingdom of God.” It is clear that the two are synonymous (see note on Matthew 3:2).

Mark 1:16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

Mark 1:18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Mark 1:19 And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

Mark 1:20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

into the synagogue. The ruins of this very synagogue where Christ preached have been excavated in Capernaum.

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

one that had authority. See also Matthew 7:29. Jesus never guessed, expressed an opinion, or suggested a possible interpretation of Scripture. Everything He taught was with absolute authority, for He was the very Word of God (John 1:1, 14). Never did He need to retract anything He said; never did He leave unsaid anything He should have said. “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).

Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

Mark 1:24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

I know thee. It is interesting to note that the demons, like their master Satan, knew who Jesus was, even though His countrymen—and even His own human family—did not. Note also Mark 1:34.

Mark 1:25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

Mark 1:26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

Mark 1:27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

Mark 1:28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

Mark 1:29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

Mark 1:30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

Simon's wife's mother. This is almost the only mention of a wife of any of the twelve apostles, and this occurred only because of the miraculous healing of Peter's mother-in-law. Paul also referred to Peter's wife (1 Corinthians 9:5). Otherwise there is no mention in Scripture anywhere of wives or children of the apostles.

Mark 1:31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Mark 1:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

Mark 1:33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.

Mark 1:34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

great while before day. Both at the beginning of His earthly ministry and at the end (in Gethsemane), Christ in His humanity felt the necessity of fervent prayer to His Father. In fact, frequent prayer was a mark of His whole life on earth. In this, as in all things human, He is our example. If He needed frequent prayer, how much more do we!

Mark 1:36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

Mark 1:37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

Mark 1:38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

Mark 1:39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

Mark 1:40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Mark 1:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

touched him. Because of its contagious and deadly nature, leprosy made its victims essentially untouchable. But Jesus not only spoke to the leper—He touched him, and then spoke to him and healed him.

Mark 1:42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

Mark 1:43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

Mark 1:44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Mark 1:45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

blaze abroad the matter. On the healing of this leper, see the parallel accounts in Matthew 8:2-4 and Luke 5:12-14, especially in relation to the testimony of his cure to the priests. Only Mark, however, tells us that the leper instead told his story far and wide, wherever he could. This miracle attracted more attention to Jesus than the others (Mark 1:21-34) because leprosy was such a loathsome and incurable disease.