I am getting ready to meet with my preschool teachers to begin studying the Gospel of Mark so that we can unify as a team, grow in the Word, and prepare to continue investing the Gospel in the lives of the children whom God has entrusted to us. This week’s lesson is Mark 1:1-28.
I. Jesus the person
From the very beginning, Jesus is introduced to the audience as the Son of God or, God the Son. Jesus is God and, at the same time, God sends Him with a message of good news (Gospel) to all of mankind. Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament by Isaiah the prophet, over 500 years before Christ’s birth. He Jesus is also introduced to us as Lord. The Greek word for Lord means “supreme ruler”, or “master”. The Master over all things is coming to the earth to be the Master over the lives of the people who accept and follow Him. Jesus also comes as a preacher, teacher, and master disciple maker. The idea of discipleship was not foreign to the society of Jesus’ day, like it is in our own day. Rabbis would take disciples. Disciples were like apprentices who moved in with their teachers. The goal of the disciple was to become like the teacher. The teacher would care for the well being of the disciple and spend all of his time investing in his disciples. Jesus would not have been unique in the fact that He called and made disciples. He was unique in His teaching though. He taught with authority. He was not just passing along theory. He had and was living what He taught. So, Jesus is described as God, Messiah, Master, and Teacher. He is the long awaited One who is coming to bring Good News to the world. The good news is that He wants to be the New Ruler in the lives of people who have been enslaved to their sin nature all of their lives. This Master wants to invest in His creation, individually and corporately. Do you know Jesus this way? Is He the Supreme Ruler and Master of your life? Have you heard His message of Good News? Do you see Him as your Teacher, daily leading you moment by moment?
II. Jesus’ preparation for ministry
Like I mentioned earlier, Jesus did not just teach theory. His teachings were practical. He taught stuff that He lived. Before beginning His ministry of disciple making, preaching, teaching, and healing, Jesus was baptized by John, not because He needed to be baptized but, to set an example for those who would follow Him. Jesus would baptize people, but, He would not do it with water. John baptized with water. Jesus’ disciples baptized with water. Jesus, on the other hand, baptized with the Holy Spirit. After being baptized, Jesus had to do one more thing before beginning His public ministry. The Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness where Satan tempted Him. The word Satan comes to English via Latin from Greek. Greek gets the word directly from Hebrew. The Greek equivalent us Devil. When combined, the two words have the idea of one who opposes with verbal attacks. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see details of how the enemy tempted Jesus. He kept asking Jesus to prove that He was God, on his terms. Jesus responds and does prove that He is God, on His own terms instead of the enemy’s terms. John the Baptist was foretold as the messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah. John came on the scene and prepared the way for Jesus’ public ministry. John preached repentance and baptism by water. Jesus was coming to preach repentance and baptism with the Holy Spirit.
III. Jesus’ Ministry
The first thing that we are taught about the ministry of Jesus is that He is out and about where the people are. He does not close Himself up in a building and invite the people to come to Him. He meets them where they are. While in public, Jesus preaches the Gospel. The Gospel is outlined in this chapter. The first things that Jesus preaches is the time has come, all of the prophecies have been fulfilled and the kingdom of heaven has come in your midst. The kingdom of heaven is a reality. This was followed by a call to repentance. The Greek word that is transliterated into English as “repentance” is “Metanoia“. It is composed of 2 other Greek words, “meta” which means “after” and “noia” which means “to understand profoundly”. When the 2 words come together to form “Metanoia” we get “after understanding profoundly”. The word “Metanoia” in itself means a change of mind that leads to a change of action. So, the word “repentance” literally means “after you understand the Gospel in a profound way, you have a change of mind that leads to a lifestyle change”. The second part of the Gospel message is to believe. To believe means to be convinced of something so much that you are ready to surrender. To believe in Christ means to surrender to Him. The third part of the message of the Gospel is to become a disciple/follower of Jesus Christ. The final part of the message is, “learn to catch others with the same tactics that I (Jesus) used with you“. The original 12 disciples answered this call. Once Jesus gathered up His disciples, He began to show them how to be disciples and how to make disciples. They went to find people who were searching for God. The best place for them to go in that society was the Synagogue. When Jesus found people who were searching for God, He taught them instead of preaching to them. The message was the same, repent, believe, follow, and learn to make more disciples for Christ. The people were amazed at what He was doing yet, they did not answer His call. What about you, have your heard the message of the Gospel? Have you responded in repentance, faith, follow, and training?
May the Lord help us experience the person and ministry of Jesus Christ through His Holy Word!