Mark 1-3

The Gospel of Mark starts with a man named John the Baptist. John was a prophet. Prophets weren’t always guys
who could tell you the future. Prophets in the Bible are people who are God’s spokesmen. John’s mission was to get
people ready for the coming of the Messiah(a word that means chosen or anointed). The coming of John and the
coming of the Messiah were both prophesied about in the Old Testament. Those prophesies were written 700 years
before Jesus was even born (Isaiah 53, Micah 5:1 and many more).

The Role of John the Baptist (Read Mark 1:2-5)

What does Mark say John was doing to prepare the way for people?
How would those actions prepare people for the Messiah?

The Authority of Jesus (Read Mark 1:7-11)

John spoke of someone who was to come after him. How did John view the authority and power of the one who was to
come after him?
Jesus was not baptized for the same reason as the people we just read about in 1:4-5. When Jesus was baptized, what
happened that was different than everyone else?
The Spirit coming down on Jesus and the voice of God from heaven testify(tells us something) about who Jesus is.
What did God say about Jesus when he was baptized?
What two things did God say about Jesus in addition to that?

Evidence About Jesus:

So far we have some pieces that help us figure out who Jesus is:
•  Old Testament – prophesied about John the Baptist and the coming of the Christ
•  John the Baptist (a prophet of God) – Jesus would come with power and baptize people with the Spirit
•  God – Jesus is God’s Son
•  God’s Spirit – descending on Jesus in a sign of acceptance

Jesus’ Ministry Begins (Read 1:12-20)

Starting in Mark 1:12 Jesus’ ministryhas begun. The very first thing Jesus encounters is opposition from Satan.
(More information on this story can be found in Matthew 4:1-11). The reason this is mentioned is because Jesus’
ministry was a fight against the power of darkness. That is why Satan wants to oppose what Jesus is doing, because
Jesus is standing up to Satan.
Next we see Jesus calling disciples to come and follow Him. This was a typical action taken by Jewish teachers in Jesus’
day. The idea was the disciple would follow the master and learn to do what he did. Typically this involved the disciple
learning the teachings of his rabbi (teacher) and eventually begin teaching it themselves.
Something else was going on with Jesus though. He was no ordinary teacher. The duty he would call his disciples to
was more than just repeating his teachings. He would call them to take action against the forces of evil and bring life
to the world. In the next few verses we will learn more about who Jesus was based on what Jesus did.

Jesus’ Healing Ministry (Mark 1:21-2:12)

What kinds of things does Jesus heal in these verses?
•  1:21-28 – drives out a demon/evil spirit
•  1:29-34 – heals many diseases
•  1:40-45 – heals leprosy
•  2:1-12 – heals a paralyzed man & forgives his sins
In each instance (except for the 1:29-34) we see how Jesus cured these people.
How did Jesus do it in each instance?
What does it say about Jesus if he is able to say something and spirits and diseases obey Jesus’ command?
Jesus had great authority. He had authority over spiritual beings (evil spirits) and Jesus had authority over sickness
and disease. These healings are called miracles. A miracle is something that happens that has no natural explanation.
It would not be a miracle if Simon’s mother in law just gave it some time and her fever naturally went away. It is a
miracle because Jesus commanded the fever to go away and it did. The same with the demon of Mark 1:21-28 and the
men with leprosy and paralysis in Mark 1:40-2:12. Doctors today can’t tell a disease to go away. They are trained to
treat people but have no authority over the disease itself.
So far we have the testimony of John, God and the Holy Spirit that Jesus is God’s Son. We also have the testimony
of demons that Jesus is the “Holy One of God” and the evidence of his miraculous powers. These are more than just
words. We are seeing what Jesus had the authority to do. 
What seems strange is that Jesus tells the demons and even the leper to keep the Jesus’ identity a secret. That
happens several times in Mark. Why does Jesus do this? See “Messianic Secret” in the Glossary.
Who are people today we regard as having a tremendous amount of authority?
How does their authority compare up to what we have seen from Jesus so far?

Jesus’ Authority (Read Mark 3:20-27)

In Mark 3:22 the teachers of the law were accusing Jesus of being demon possessed and that he was driving out
demons by the power of Beelzebub. That is a serious accusation.
What evidence did they say they had of this in Mark 3:22?
Jesus responds to their accusation starting in 3:23. He says that a kingdom or house divided against itself cannot
stand. Satan wouldn’t drive himself out. It is like accusing offensive linemen of trying to sack the quarterback or a
soccer player purposely kicking the ball in the wrong goal. The accusation just doesn’t make sense.
Last, Jesus tells a parable(a story that makes a spiritual point) starting in verse 27 that gives us a clue about why he
is doing miracles.
Who do you think the strong man is that he is talking about here?
Jesus is saying that before he can take Satan’s possessions he first has to go and tie up the strong man, Satan, so that
he can take things (people) back out of Satan’s household. Jesus is talking about saving people from the power of the
Jesus is showing us that he has authority over demons and even over Satan himself (remember Mark 1:21-28?). Jesus
has ultimate authority over everything. We are starting to see that but it won’t be completely clear until the end of
Mark just what all of that means. We get glimpses along the way.
[If you are wondering about what Jesus means by Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit there is more information on that in
the back of this booklet right after the Glossary.]


Jesus stood against the prevailing authorities of his day. There were teachers of the Law who misunderstood God.
There were evil spirits who kept people in spiritual bondage. There was illness that kept people crippled and sick.
Jesus’ healing is more than making people feel better. Jesus brought liberation from the powers that held people’s
lives in despair. Jesus came to liberate people from the powers of this world and bring us under His authority.

Questions to consider:

If you were Jesus how would you liberate people from all of these things?
What have you seen him have power over so far?
Why do you think there is evil in the world?
What kind of power do you think God has in the world today?
If Jesus used his power to liberate his people then, what does he use his power for today?
Jesus is doing things no one else can do or has ever done. After considering all these things who do you think Jesus is?
Do you have any questions that were not covered in this lesson?
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