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Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Mark 1

Mark 1:0

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS*

UBS4NKJVNRSVTEVNJB
The Preaching of John the BaptistJohn the Baptist Prepares the WayActivity of John the BaptistThe Preaching of John the BaptistThe Proclamation of John the Baptist
Mark 1:1-8Mark 1:1-8Mark 1:1-8Mark 1:1-3Mark 1:1-8
Mark 1:4-5
Mark 1:6-8
The Baptism of JesusJohn Baptizes JesusJesus' BaptismThe Baptism and Temptation of JesusJesus Is Baptized
Mark 1:9-11Mark 1:9-11Mark 1:9-11Mark 1:9-11Mark 1:9-11
The Temptation of JesusSatan Tempts JesusJesus' Temptation Testing in the Desert
Mark 1:12-13Mark 1:12-13Mark 1:12-13Mark 1:12-13Mark 1:12-13
The Beginning of the Galilean MinistryJesus Begins His Galilean MinistryBeginning of Jesus' Activity in GalileeJesus Calls Four FishermenJesus Begins to Proclaim the Message
Mark 1:14-15Mark 1:14-15Mark 1:14-15Mark 1:14-15Mark 1:14-15
The Calling of Four FishermenFour Fishermen Called as Disciples The First Four Disciples Are Called
Mark 1:16-20Mark 1:16-20Mark 1:16-20Mark 1:16-18Mark 1:16-18
Mark 1:19-20Mark 1:19-20
The Man With An Unclean SpiritJesus Cast Out An Unclean Spirit A Man with An Evil SpiritJesus Teaches in Capernaum and Cures A Demonic
Mark 1:21-28Mark 1:21-28Mark 1:21-28Mark 1:21-22Mark 1:21-22
Mark 1:23-24Mark 1:23-28
Mark 1:25
Mark 1:26-27
Mark 1:28
The Healing of Many PeoplePeter's Mother-in-Law Healed Jesus Heals Many PeopleCure of Simon's Mother-in-Law
Mark 1:29-34Mark 1:29-31Mark 1:29-31Mark 1:29-31Mark 1:29-31
Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset A Number of Cures
Mark 1:32-34Mark 1:32-34Mark 1:32-34Mark 1:32-34
A Preaching TourPreaching in Galilee Jesus Preaches in GalileeJesus Quietly Leaves Capernaum and Travels Through Galilee
Mark 1:35-39Mark 1:35-39Mark 1:35-39Mark 1:35-37Mark 1:35-39
Mark 1:38
Mark 1:39
The Cleansing of a LeperJesus Cleanses a Leper Jesus Heals a ManCure of a Man Suffering From a Virulent Skin Disease
Mark 1:40-45Mark 1:40-45Mark 1:40-45Mark 1:40Mark 1:40-45
Mark 1:41-44
Mark 1:45

* Although they are not inspired, paragraph divisions are the key to understanding and following the original author's intent. Each modern translation has divided and summarized the paragraphs. Every paragraph has one central topic, truth, or thought. Each version encapsulates that topic in its own distinct way. As you read the text, ask yourself which translation fits your understanding of the subject and verse divisions. In every chapter we must read the Bible first and try to identify its subjects (paragraphs), then compare our understanding with the modern versions. Only when we understand the original author's intent by following his logic and presentation can we truly understand the Bible. Only the original author is inspiredreaders have no right to change or modify the message. Bible readers do have the responsibility of applying the inspired truth to their day and their lives. Note that all technical terms and abbreviations are explained fully in the following documents: Brief Definitions of Greek Grammatical Structure, Textual Criticism, and Glossary.

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why did Mark begin with John the Baptist's ministry? Who does he represent?

2. Does baptism impart or symbolize forgiveness?

3. Why was Jesus baptized? Was He sinful and in need of repentance?

4. Where in this section is evidence for the Trinity implied?

5. Why was Jesus tempted? In what areas of His life did the temptation come?

6. Is God's kingdom here or is it future?

7. Does Mark 1:0 describe the first encounter between Jesus and the fishermen?

8. Why were the people in the synagogue in Capernaum so surprised at Jesus' teaching?

9. Is demon possession a reality or a cultural superstition?

10. Why did the demons reveal who Jesus really was?

11. Why is cleansing the leper so significant?

12. Why did Jesus command the leper to tell no one what had happened to him?

Verse 1

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:1 1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 1:1 "The beginning" Does this introductory phrase refer to

1. the very beginning as in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1

2. the beginning of Jesus' incarnation as in 1 John 1:1

3. the beginning of Jesus' public ministry (i.e., Peter's personal experiences)

The first paragraph specifically refers to OT prophecy about the Messiah from Isaiah. The gospel story begins in the prophetic tradition of Israel. The quote in Mark 1:2 and 3 is a combination of Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.

SPECIAL TOPIC: ARCHÇ

"of the gospel" With Mark probably being the first written Gospel, this is the first use of the term euangelion (cf. Mark 1:14, Mark 1:15; Mark 8:35; Mark 10:29; Mark 13:10; Mark 14:9) by a Gospel writer (Paul's use in Galatians 2:2 and 1 Thessalonians 2:9 would be chronologically earlier). It is literally "the good news" or "the good message." This obviously reflects Isaiah 61:1 and possibly 40:9 and 52:7. The Jerome Biblical Commentary says "Mark's use of the word 'gospel' is akin to that in Paul where it can mean either the act of proclaiming or the content of what is proclaimed" (p. 24).

"of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" Its grammatical form can be understood as (1) the message given by Jesus or (2) the message about Jesus. Number 2 is probably the intended meaning. However, the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, published by IVP, says "The genitive ('of') is probably both subjective and objective: Jesus proclaims the gospel and it proclaims his story" (p. 285).

Verse Mark 1:1 is not a complete sentence. It is possibly the title of the book. The ancient Greek uncial Manuscripts א, A, B, D, L, and W add the phrase "Son of God" which is followed by the NKJV and the NRSV, TEV, and NIV, while it is missing in (1) א*; (2) the Palestinian Syriac; (3) one Coptic manuscript; (4) the Georgian Version; as well as from the (5) Armenian translation and (6) a quote of this text from Origen's commentary on John. The UBS4 gives the inclusion a "C" rating (difficult to decide). See Special Topic on "Son of God" at Mark 3:11.

It is difficult for modern Christians who love and trust the Bible to deal rationally with these Greek manuscript variants, but as difficult as it is for our assumptions about inspiration and preservation of God's self-revelation, they are a reality. This addition even looks purposeful, not accidental. Early orthodox scribes were conscious of the early heretical views about Jesus, such as adoptionism, which asserted that Jesus became the Son of God. These early scribes often modified the Greek texts they copied to make them more theologically orthodox (cf. 1 John 5:7-8). For more reading on this troubling purposeful alteration of Greek manuscripts by orthodox scribes see Bart D. Ehrmans' The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. He specifically discusses Mark 1:1 on pp. 72-75.

"of Jesus" Usually in first century Judaism the father named the child. In this case the heavenly Father, through an angel, named the child. Jewish names often carried symbolic meaning; this one was no exception. Jesus is a combination of two Hebrew nouns: (1) YHWH and (2) salvation. The significance is captured in Matthew 1:21. Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name Joshua. He proved to be the new Moses, the new Joshua, and the new High Priest.

"Christ" This is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term "Messiah," which means "an anointed one." In the OT God's anointing of leaders (i.e., prophets, priests, and kings) symbolized His calling and equipping for an assigned task.

The term "Messiah" is not used often in the OT (cf. Daniel 9:25, Daniel 9:26 for the eschatological king), but the concept surely is. It is parallel to Matthew 1:1, "son of David," which refers to a royal descendant of Israel's ideal king "David." God promised David in 2 Samuel 7:0 that one of his descendants would always reign in Israel. This promise seemed shattered by the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and deportation of its inhabitants (i.e., 586 B.C.). However, the prophets began to see a future Davidic seed (i.e., Isaiah, Micah, Malachi). Jesus is the promised "son of David," "son of man" (cf. Daniel 7:13), and "son of God" (used five times in Mark).

It is striking that the only time in the entire Gospel that the designation "Jesus Christ" is used is in the opening verse (only twice in Matt. and John and not at all in Luke). Normally, Mark uses "Jesus." This usage fits the theological emphasis of Mark on the humanity of Jesus, while His deity is veiled (i.e., Messianic secret) until the completion of His Messianic mission (i.e., Suffering Servant). It is not until the book of Acts that "Jesus Christ" becomes a recurrent title.

Verses 2-8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:2-8 2As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way; 3The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.'" 4John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7And he was preaching, and saying,"After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Mark 1:2 "As it is written" The word "written" is perfect tense, which was a Jewish idiom used to denote God's eternal revelation (i.e., Scripture).

"in Isaiah the prophet" This quote is a combination of Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. It is not from the Hebrew Masoretic Text or the Greek Septuagint of Isaiah 40:3. Because of this some scribes changed the text to "written in the prophets" (i.e., in the Prophets section of the OT canon). The singular is found in the Greek uncial manuscripts א, B, L and D, but the plural is in MSS A, and W.

Isaiah 40-66 has two major eschatological emphases: (1) the Suffering Servant (i.e., especially Isaiah 52:13-12) and (2) the new age of the Spirit (especially Isaiah 56-66). In the following brief opening of Mark there are several possible allusions to Isaiah.

"'send My messenger ahead of You'" The term "messenger" can refer to an angel (cf. Exodus 23:20a, which would be another allusion to the Exodus), but here it refers to a "messenger" (cf. Malachi 3:1). This may be a word play on the term gospel (i.e., good message). This is one of the few OT quotes in Mark which was written primarily to Romans. It refers to the ministry of John the Baptist (cf. Mark 1:4). It shows that the OT prophetic tradition is being fulfilled (this is also reflected in Jesus' healings and exorcisms, which are also Messianic prophecies in Isaiah). The ministry of John the Baptist is mentioned in all four Gospels.

Mark 1:3 "'The voice of one crying in the wilderness'" This is a quote of Isaiah 40:3 from an unknown source. The term "wilderness" means uninhabited pasture land rather than dry, windswept, sandy desert.

"'Make ready the way of the Lord'" This is an aorist active imperative, which denotes urgency. In the MT, Lord (i.e., adon) is read, but YHWH (Lord) is in the Hebrew text. The phrase originally referred to physical preparation for a royal visit (cf. Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10). It came to refer metaphorically to the ministry of John the Baptist spiritually preparing the way for Jesus the Messiah who is also called "Lord" (i.e., kurios).

"'Make His paths straight'" The MT and LXX have "make straight the paths of our God." Mark (or Peter) modified the text (or quotes an unknown textual form) to make it specifically relate to Jesus, not YHWH.

Mark 1:4 "John the Baptist" Why did John baptize with water?

1. OT precedent to signify the inauguration of the "new covenant" (cf. Exodus 19:10, Exodus 19:14; Isaiah 1:16; Jeremiah 31:34; Ezekiel 36:25)

2. a cleansing act from ceremonial defilement (cf. Leviticus 15:0).

3. a prophetic eschatological metaphor of life-giving water from God (e.g., Isaiah 12:2-3; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8; Revelation 22:1)

4. imitation of proselyte baptism as the initiation rite to become part of the people of God

5. a rabbinic way of preparing all pilgrims to approach YHWH in His temple (possibly by immersion, cf. Miqvaot tractate in Mishnah). This ritual bath is still practiced by Muslims before entering a mosque.

"appeared" This may be Mark's way of alluding to the prophecy of the surprising appearance of Elijah before "the sudden appearance" of Messiah (cf. Malachi 3:1).

"preaching" This is the term "heralding" (kçrussô), which means "to proclaim widely or publicly a message" (cf. Mark 1:4, Mark 1:7, Mark 1:14, Mark 1:38, Mark 1:39, Mark 1:45). Mark does not use the verb form of gospel (euaggelizô).

John came preaching a baptism for repentance (se Special Topic following). This same message was continued by Jesus, but with the added emphasis of "faith" (see Special Topic at Mark 1:15). The twin covenant needs of repentance and faith shown by baptism becomes the items of the Apostolic sermons in Acts (i.e., the kerygma)

1. Peter

a. first sermon of the church (Acts 2:37-39)

(1) repent

(2) be baptized

b. second sermon of the church (Acts 3:16, Acts 3:19)

(1) faith

(2) repent

2. Philip (Acts 8:12)

a. believe

b. be baptized

3. Paul

a. Philippian jailer (Acts 16:31, Acts 16:33)

(1) believe

(2) be baptized

b. goodbye to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:21)

(1) repentance toward God

(2) faith in Christ

c. testimony before Agrippa (Acts 26:18)

(1) turn from darkness (Satan), i.e., repent

(2) to the light (God)

For me the requirements of the New Covenant are

1. repent

2. believe

3. obey

4. persevere

The goal of the New Covenant is Christlikeness now so that others will see the change and be attracted to faith in Christ!

"baptism of repentance" The baptism is not the mechanism of forgiveness, but the occasion of the believers' public profession of faith. This is not a sacramental act, but a new attitude toward sin and a new relationship with God. It is an outward sign of an inner change.

SPECIAL TOPIC: REPENTANCE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

"for the forgiveness of sins" The term "forgiveness" literally means "put away." This is one of several biblical terms for forgiveness. It has metaphorical connections to the OT Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 16:0) where one of the two special goats is driven away from the camp of Israel, symbolically bearing the sin away (cf. Leviticus 16:21-22; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24).

The phrase "of sins" is an objective genitive.

Mark 1:5 "all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem" This is an oriental overstatement (i.e., hyperbole), but it shows the tremendous impact of John's preaching. He was the first prophetic voice since Malachi some 400 years earlier. This is imperfect tense which means that people were continually coming because they recognized John as a prophet.

"being baptized" This is also imperfect tense which speaks of continuous action in past time. Many Jews were sensing a new day of God's activity and were preparing for it.

"confessing their sins" This is a present middle participle, which literally means "to say the same." This was their public profession of their need for spiritual forgiveness.

There is the implication that if these Jews repented and changed their lifestyles, YHWH would fully forgive their sins (cf. Mark 1:4; Matthew 3:6; Luke 3:3). This is surely the OT pattern. It involved full forgiveness through repentance, faith, lifestyle change, and now baptism as an outward symbol! This OT pattern is modified by Jesus' Messianic ministry. The same items are still valid, but now personal faith in Jesus as the Christ is the central issue (cf. Acts 2:38; Acts 3:16, Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21). The four Gospels form a transitional period. Mark 1:14-15 is in the John the Baptist period, but it theologically foreshadows the finished gospel message (i.e., repent, believe, and live a new life). The main issue is who Jesus is! He is YHWH's representative, revealer, and agent of redemption and judgment. This is the reason for the Messianic Secret in Mark. Jesus is fully God from the very beginning (i.e., virgin conception), but this was not fully revealed until after His resurrection and ascension.

SPECIAL TOPIC: CONFESSION

Mark 1:6 "John was clothed with camel's hair" This was his normal everyday clothing (i.e., perfect middle participle). This was not the skin of a camel, but cloth woven from its hair (cf. 2 Kings 1:8; Matthew 3:4). He was a man of the desert and a prophet (cf. Zechariah 13:4). John dressed like Elijah, who Mark 1:1 and 4:5 said would be the forerunner of the Messiah.

"locusts and wild honey" This was typical food of desert people. Locusts were levitically clean and acceptable food (cf. Leviticus 11:22). He ate what was naturally available.

Mark 1:7 This verse and Mark 1:8 show the preparatory theme of John's message. He recognized his role and place in relation to God's Coming One (cf. John 3:30). He felt himself to be a servant, a slave (i.e., only slaves took off another's shoes). John's self-depreciation is recorded in all four Gospels (cf. Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; and John 1:27; also in Paul's preaching in Acts 13:25). This was probably included by the Gospel writers because a heretical following later developed around John the Baptist (cf. Acts 18:24-7).

Mark 1:8 "I baptized you with water" Remember, John's baptism was preparatory. This does not refer to Christian baptism. John was the last OT prophet (cf. Luke 16:16), a transition preacher, not the first gospel preacher (cf. Luke 16:16; Acts 19:17). He, like the quotes from Isaiah, links the old covenant and the new covenant.

"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" This is in contrast to John's baptism. The Messiah will inaugurate the new age of the Spirit. His baptism will be with (or "in" or "by") the Spirit. There has been much discussion among denominations as to what event in the Christian experience this refers. Some take it to refer to an empowering experience after salvation, a kind of second blessing. Personally I think it refers to becoming a Christian (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13). I do not deny later fillings and equippings, but I believe there is only one initial spiritual baptism into Christ in which believers identify with Jesus' death and resurrection (cf. Romans 6:3-4; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:12). This initiating work of the Spirit is delineated in John 16:8-11. In my understanding the works of the Holy Spirit are:

1. convicting of sin

2. revealing the truth about Christ

3. leading to acceptance of the gospel

4. baptizing into Christ

5. convicting the believer of continuing sin

6. forming Christlikeness in the believer

Verses 9-11

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:9-11 9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11and a voice came out of the heavens: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."

Mark 1:9 "Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee" Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, lived a few years in Egypt, and then settled in Nazareth, the hometown of Joseph and Mary, which was a small, new settlement of Judeans in the north. Jesus' early ministry was in this northern area around the Sea of Galilee, which fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1.

"Jesus. . .was baptized" The Gospels differ in their early chronologies of Jesus' ministries in Galilee and Judea. It seems that there was an early Judean ministry and a later one, but all four Gospels' chronologies must be harmonized in order to see this early Judean visit (i.e., John 2:13-3).

Why Jesus was baptized has always been a concern for believers because John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. Jesus did not need forgiveness for He was sinless (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

The theories have been:

1. it was an example for believers to follow

2. it was His identification with believers' need

3. it was His ordination and equipping for ministry

4. it was a symbol of His redemptive task

5. it was His approval of the ministry and message of John the Baptist

6. it was a prophetic foreshadowing of His death, burial, and resurrection (cf. Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12).

Whatever the reason, this was a defining moment in Jesus' life. Although it does not imply that Jesus became the Messiah at this point, which is the early heresy of adoptionism (cf. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Bart D. Ehrman, pp. 47-118), it held great significance for Him.

Mark 1:10

NASB, NKJV"immediately" NRSV"just as" TEV"as soon as" NJB"at once"

This is a very common term in Mark. It characterizes his Gospel. Here euthus is translated "immediately" or "straightway" (cf. Mark 1:10, Mark 1:12, Mark 1:18, Mark 1:20, Mark 1:21, Mark 1:20, Mark 1:28, Mark 1:42; Mark 2:2, Mark 2:8, Mark 2:12; Mark 3:6; Mark 4:5, Mark 4:15, Mark 4:16, Mark 4:17, Mark 4:29; Mark 5:5, Mark 5:29, Mark 5:42; Mark 6:25, Mark 6:27, Mark 6:45, Mark 6:50, Mark 6:54; Mark 7:35; Mark 8:10; Mark 9:15, Mark 9:20, Mark 9:24; Mark 10:52; Mark 11:3; Mark 14:43, Mark 14:45; Mark 15:1).

This is the term that gives the Gospel of Mark its fast-paced, action-oriented feel, which would have appealed to Romans. This word group is used about 47 times in Mark (cf. A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of Mark by Robert Bratcher and Eugene Nida, p. 29).

"coming up out of the water" This may be an allusion to Isaiah 63:11, where it originally would have referred to the Red Sea (i.e., a new exodus in Jesus, who would soon be tempted for forty days as Israel was for forty years). This verse cannot be used as a proof-text for immersion. In context it may imply coming out of the river, not coming from under the water.

"He saw" This may imply that only Jesus saw and heard this Messianic affirmation. If so, this would fit into the recurrent theme of Mark's Messianic Secret. However, the other Gospels also record this event in a similar way (cf. Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22).

"heavens opening" This may be an allusion to Isaiah 64:1. This term means to rip open, which would have been a metaphor for tearing open the canopy above the earth (cf. Genesis 1:6).

"the Spirit like a dove" The origin of this metaphor may be

1. the Spirit brooding over the water in Genesis 1:2

2. the birds Noah sent out of the Ark in Genesis 8:6-12

3. the rabbis' use of it as a symbol of the nation of Israel (cf. Psalms 68:13; Psalms 74:19)

4. a symbol of gentleness and peace (cf. Matthew 10:16)

One reason I personally am so committed to the historical-grammatical method of biblical interpretation, which focuses on authorial intent as expressed in the literary context, is the tricky or clever way ancient interpreters (as well as modern ones) manipulated the text to fit their preset theological structure. By adding the numerical value of the letters of the Greek word "dove" (peristera), which equals 801, one gets the same numerical value of the Greek words alpha (equals 1) and omega (equals 800), so the dove equals the eternal Christ Spirit. This is so clever, but it is isogetic, not exegetic!

"upon Him" This is the preposition eis which means "into." It is not meant to imply that Jesus did not already have the Holy Spirit, but this was a special visible sign of the Spirit's empowerment for His assigned Messianic task. This may also be an allusion to fulfilled prophecy (cf. Isaiah 63:11).

Mark uses the preposition "into" (eis), but Matthew and Luke use "upon" (epi). This is because Mark's Gospel, which has none of the birth narratives or visitations, begins Jesus' ministry with the baptismal event. This brevity was used by the heretical groups, Adoptionists and Gnostics, to assert that Jesus, a normal human, was supernaturally empowered with "the Christ Spirit" at this juncture and thereafter was able to do the miraculous. Later scribes, therefore, changed the preposition to "to" (pros).

SPECIAL TOPIC: ADOPTIONISM

SPECIAL TOPIC: GNOSTICISM

Mark 1:11 "a voice came out of the heavens" The rabbis called the heavenly voice a Bath Kol (cf. Mark 9:7), which was the method of affirming God's will during the interbiblical period when there was no prophet. This would have been a powerful divine affirmation to those familiar with rabbinical Judaism.

"'You are My beloved Son'" These two titles unite the royal aspect of the Messiah (Psalms 2:7) to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1). The term "son" in the OT could refer to (1) the nation of Israel; (2) the King of Israel; or (3) the coming Davidic Messianic King. See Special Topic at Mark 3:16.

Notice the three persons of the Trinity in Mark 1:11: the Spirit, the voice from heaven, and the Son, the recipient of both.

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE TRINITY

"My beloved" This phrase is either (1) a title for the Messiah as in the NRSV, NJB, and Williams translations or (2) a descriptive phrase as in the NASB, NKJV, and TEV. In the Greek translation of the OT, the Septuagint, this would be understood as "favorite" or even "only," similar to John 3:16.

"'in You I am well-pleased'" This descriptive phrase is paralleled in Matthew 3:17 and 17:5 (the Transfiguration). However, the descriptive phrase is missing in Mark 9:7 and Luke 9:35.

Verses 12-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:12-13 12Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.

Mark 1:12-13 This account of the temptation of Jesus is so brief compared to Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. In these accounts the purpose of the temptation is clear: how would Jesus use His Messianic powers to accomplish His redemptive task (cf. James Stewart, The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, pp. 39-46)? But what could Mark's brief account mean? It is possible that Peter saw this event as a symbol of Jesus' defeat of evil (i.e., by the empowering of the Spirit), a foreshadowing of the Passion Week. But this is only speculation. The text itself gives no clue except the event's timingjust after Jesus' (1) enduing by the Spirit and (2) affirmation by the Father, but before His public ministry. This is one of the three events mentioned before Jesus' public ministry ([1] John's ministry; [2] John's baptism; and [3] Satan's temptation).

Mark 1:12 "Immediately" See note at Mark 1:10.

"the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness" The term "impelled" is the strong term "throw out" (often used of exorcisms, cf. Mark 1:34, Mark 1:39; Mark 3:15, Mark 3:22, Mark 3:23; Mark 6:13; Mark 7:26; Mark 9:18, Mark 9:28, Mark 9:38). The Son's temptation was by the agency of the evil one, but instigated by the Spirit (cf. Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). It was God's will that Jesus be tested! I would like to recommend two good books on this topic, The Life and Teaching of Jesus by James S. Stewart and Between God and Satan by Helmut Thielicke.

In the OT the wilderness was a time of testing for Israel, but also a time of intimate fellowship. The rabbis called the wilderness wandering period the honeymoon between YHWH and Israel. Elijah and John the Baptist grew up in the wilderness. It was a place of seclusion for training, meditation, and preparation for active ministry. This period was crucial for Jesus' preparation (cf. Hebrews 5:8).

Mark 1:13 "forty days" This is used both literally and figuratively in the Bible. It denotes a long indeterminate period of time (i.e., longer than a lunar cycle, but shorter than a seasonal change).

SPECIAL TOPIC: SYMBOLIC NUMBERS IN SCRIPTURE

"was being tempted" This is an imperfect passive periphrastic linked to an imperfect active "to be" verb. The term "tempt" (peirazô) has the connotation of "to test with a view toward destruction." From the first class conditional sentences in Matthew 4:0 (cf. Mark 4:3, Mark 4:6) we learn that the temptation was over how to use His Messianic power to accomplish God's redemptive will.

SPECIAL TOPIC: GREEK TERMS FOR TESTING AND THEIR CONNOTATIONS

"by Satan" The Bible repeatedly asserts a personal, supernatural force of evil.

SPECIAL TOPIC: SATAN

"the wild beasts" This is possibly a simple reference to an uninhabited area. However, because wild beasts are used as metaphors for or names of the demonic in the OT (cf. NEB) this could also refer to a place of demonic activity (cf. Psalms 22:12-13, Psalms 22:16, Psalms 22:21; Isaiah 13:21-22; Isaiah 34:11-15).

These wild beasts could also be a continuing allusion to the new exodus, the new age of restored fellowship between mankind and the animals (cf. Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 65:25; Hosea 2:18). The Bible often describes the new age as a restoration of the Garden Eden (cf. Genesis 2:0; Rev. 21-22). The original image of God in mankind (cf. Genesis 1:26-27) is restored through Jesus' sacrificial death. Full fellowship, which existed before the Fall (cf. Genesis 3:0), is possible again.

"angels were ministering to Him" This is an Imperfect tense which means (1) ongoing action in past time or (2) the beginning of an activity in past time. Angels ministered to (1) Elijah in the wilderness in the same way (i.e., providing food, cf. 1 Kings 18:7-8). This may imply Jesus as the new prophetic voice (cf. Deuteronomy 18:18-22) and (2) Israel in the wilderness, so too, to Jesus while in the wilderness. This may have implied Jesus as the new Moses paralleling his baptism and testing (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13).

Verses 14-15

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:14-15 14Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Mark 1:14-15 These two verses are a summary statement. Mark often uses this technique (cf. Mark 1:14-15, Mark 1:21-22, Mark 1:39; Mark 2:13; Mark 3:7-9; Mark 6:7, Mark 6:12-13). These summaries convey several theological truths

1. Jesus was popular and many came to hear Him preach/teach

2. Jesus was powerful, exorcizing demons and healing people

3. He transferred His power to His disciples (i.e., the mission trips of the Twelve and the seventy)

4. the purpose of Jesus' proclamation was repentance and faith

Mark 1:14 "John had been taken into custody" John was imprisoned (i.e., paradidômi, which is used twenty times in Mark for "turned over to the authorities") by Herod Antipas because he continued to publicly condemn Herod's marriage to his brother's ex-wife (cf. Mark 6:16-17).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE FAMILY OF HEROD THE GREAT

"Jesus came into Galilee" The Gospel records Jesus' ministry geographically in Galilee, in Judea, in Galilee, and in Judea. Jesus left southern Palestine when John was arrested (cf. Matthew 4:12; Luke 4:14-15; John 1:43). Ministry in the predominantly Gentile northern Palestine was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:0. No one expected anything spiritually significant to begin in this region, far removed from the Temple (cf. John 1:46) and the first to be defeated and exiled by the Mesopotamian powers (i.e., Assyria and neo-Babylon).

"preaching the gospel of God" This use of the term "gospel" must be qualified. At first Jesus' message was similar to John's. The full gospel of Jesus will not be complete until after His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Verse Mark 1:15 gives the content of Jesus' early preaching. What John preached was personally embodied in Jesus of Nazareth (cf. John 14:6).

Mark 1:15 "'time is fulfilled'" This phrase is introduced by hoti, which usually denotes a quote and is common in Mark. This reflects Peter's memory of Jesus' words. This is perfect passive indicative, which has prophetic/messianic significance (cf. Ephesians 1:10; Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 1:3). The passive voice reflects God's activity in and control of time and history.

"'the kingdom of God'" This refers to God's reign. It is both a present reality and a future consummation. In Matthew's Gospel this is usually referred to as "kingdom of heaven." These phrases are synonymous (compare Matthew 13:11 with Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10). The kingdom arrived when Jesus was born. It is described and embodied in Jesus' life and teachings. It will be consummated at His return. It was the subject of Jesus' sermons and parables. It was the central theme of His spoken messages.

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE KINGDOM OF GOD

NASB, NKJV"is at hand" NRSV"has come near" TEV"is near" NJB"is close at hand"

This is a perfect active indicative, which implies that the kingdom was a past reality (cf. Mark 1:1-3) as well as a current reality (cf. Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20; Luke 17:21). The phrase "the time is fulfilled" parallels this phrase and emphasizes the reality of God's prophetic word now becoming a historical event. The "New Age of Righteousness" was inaugurated at Jesus' birth, but not fully known until the Passion Week's events and not fully empowered until Pentecost.

Although the Kingdom has truly come, there are also NT texts which imply that its complete manifestation is future (cf. Mark 9:1; Mark 14:25; Matthew 26:29; Luke 22:18; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). What we do with Christ now determines our eschatological hope (cf. Mark 8:38).

"'repent'" See Special Topic on Repentance at Mark 1:4.

"'and believe in the gospel'" The parallels in Matthew 4:17 and Luke 4:14-15 do not have the same summary.

SPECIAL TOPIC: FAITH (PISTIS [noun], PISTEUÔ, [verb], PISTOS [adjective])

Verses 16-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:16-20 16As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.

Mark 1:16 "the Sea of Galilee" This lake goes by several names in the Bible.

1. the Sea of Chinnereth (cf. Numbers 34:11; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:27)

2. Lake of Gennesaret (cf. Luke 5:1)

3. Sea of Tiberias (cf. John 6:1; John 21:1)

4. Sea of Galilee (most common, cf. Mark 1:16; Mark 7:31; Matthew 4:18; Matthew 15:29; John 6:1)

"Simon and Andrew. . .casting a net" Notice Peter is the first officially called in Mark, while in John 1:35-42 it was Andrew. The Sea of Galilee supplied all of Palestine with fish. This net refers to hand nets, which were about 10 feet by 15 feet across. Fish were a main staple of the Jewish diet.

Mark 1:17 "'Follow Me'" This is an adverb functioning as an Aorist imperative. This must not have been the first encounter between Jesus and these fishermen (cf. John 1:35ff). This is their call to be official, permanent followers of a rabbi (cf. Mark 1:17 and 20).

"'I will make you become fishers of men'" This is a word play on their vocation. Fishing in the OT was often a metaphor for judgment (cf. Jeremiah 16:16. Ezekiel 29:4-5; Ezekiel 38:4; Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:14-17). Here it is a metaphor of salvation.

Mark 1:18 This is repeated in Matthew 4:18-22, but a slightly different account is found in Luke 5:1-11.

Mark 1:19-20 "boat" These were large fishing boats. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were prosperous middle class fishermen (i.e., had hired servants). John apparently had business contracts to regularly sell fish to the priestly families in Jerusalem (i.e., John was known by them, cf. John 18:15-16).

Verses 21-28

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:21-28 21They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24saying, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are the Holy One of God!" 25And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" 26Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. 27They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." 28Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.

Mark 1:21 "Capernaum" Jesus, because of the city of Nazareth's lack of faith (cf. Luke 4:16-30) and as a fulfilment of prophecy (cf. Matthew 4:13-16), took this city as His headquarters (cf. Mark 2:1). Ministry in the city of Capernaum (cf. Mark 1:21-6) is used to depict typical activity of Jesus. These events reveal clearly His authority, power, and Messiahship. This is like a glimpse into the daily life and activity of Jesus during this entire period of public ministry.

"immediately" See note at Mark 1:10.

"Sabbath" Special Topic following.

SPECIAL TOPIC: SABBATH

This is from the Hebrew word meaning "rest" or "cessation." It is connected to the seventh day of creation where God ceased His labor after finishing initial creation (cf. Genesis 2:1-3). God did not rest because He was tired, but because (1) creation was complete and good (cf. Genesis 1:31) and (2) to give mankind a regular pattern for worship and rest. The Sabbath begins like all the days of Genesis 1:0, at twilight; therefore, twilight on Friday to twilight on Saturday was the official time period. All the details of its observance are given in Exodus (especially chapters 16,20,31, and 35) and Leviticus (especially chapters 23-26). The Pharisees had taken these regulations and, by their oral discussions, interpreted them to include many rules. Jesus often performed miracles, knowingly violating their picky rules so as to enter into a dialogue with them. It was not the Sabbath that Jesus rejected or belittled, but their self-righteous legalism and lack of love.

"synagogue" This is from a compound word which literally means "to come together." It was Jesus' custom to attend worship regularly. The synagogue developed in Mesopotamia during the Babylonian Exile. It was a place of worship, education, and cultural preservation. It was the local expression of the Jewish faith, as the Temple was the national expression. There was at least one synagogue in every town with at least ten Jewish men.

"began to teach" It was customary for someone from the congregation or a distinguished guest to be chosen to lead the teaching part of the worship service. Usually a passage from the Torah (i.e., Genesis Deuteronomy) was read and a passage from the Prophets (i.e., Joshua Kings and Isaiah Malachi).

Mark 1:22, Mark 1:27 "amazed" Literally this meant "struck to attention." Jesus' teaching style and content were radically different from that of the rabbis. They quoted one another as authorities, but He spoke with God's authority (cf. Matthew 5:17-48). Jesus' teachings and actions caused amazement, astonishment, and even fear (cf. Mark 1:22, Mark 1:27; Mark 2:12; Mark 5:42; Mark 6:2, Mark 6:51; Mark 7:37; Mark 9:6, Mark 9:15; Mark 10:26, Mark 10:32; Mark 11:18; Mark 14:33).

Mark 1:22 "not as the scribes" Jesus did not quote oral tradition (i.e., Talmud). The Jews were concerned that they might break God's commands, so every verse of the Torah (the writings of Moses, Genesis - Deuteronomy) was interpreted by rabbinical discussions. Later these developed into schools, one liberal (i.e., Hillel) and one conservative (i.e., Shammai). The leading rabbis of these two ancient schools were often quoted as authorities. The scribes were the professional teachers of Judaism who interpreted the oral tradition to local situations and needs. Most scribes in Jesus' day were Pharisees.

SPECIAL TOPIC: SCRIBES

Mark 1:23 "man. . .with an unclean spirit" This was a case of demon possession (cf. Mark 1:34). Notice he was still in worship, keeping up appearances. The NT makes a distinction between physical illness and demon possession, although they often had the same symptoms. In these cases the demon controls the person. The person has lost his own will. The Jewish worldview assumed the presence of spiritual beings, good (cf. Mark 1:13; Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:15; 2 Kings 6:17) and evil (cf. Mark 1:23, Mark 1:26, Mark 1:27; Mark 3:11, Mark 3:20; Mark 5:2, Mark 5:8, Mark 5:13; Mark 6:7; Mark 7:25), who affected people's lives.

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE DEMONIC (UNCLEAN SPIRITS)

Mark 1:24

NASB"What business do we have with each other" NKJV"What have we to do with You" NRSV"What have you to do with us" TEV, NJB"What do you want with us"

This is literally "what to us and to you." In A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of Mark Bratcher and Nida note that "In classical Greek the phrase would mean 'what have we in common?' Here, however, it corresponds to the Hebrew 'Why do you meddle with me'" (p. 49). This idiom is illustrated in Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Samuel 19:22; 1 Kings 17:18; 2 Chronicles 35:12.

"Jesus of Nazareth" See note at Mark 10:47.

"'Have You come to destroy us'" Grammatically this could be either a question or a statement. This was an OT idiom of hostility (cf. Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Samuel 19:22; 1 Kings 17:18; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Chronicles 35:21). Evil knows it will one day be judged!

"'the Holy One of God'" This was an OT Messianic title. This was not a voluntary confession but a calculated attempt to cause trouble for Jesus. Jesus was later accused of receiving power from Satan (cf. Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HOLY ONE

Mark 1:25 "Jesus rebuked him" Mark uses this verb often: (1) sometimes of demons (cf. Mark 1:25; Mark 3:2; Mark 9:25); (2) of the wind and sea (cf. Mark 4:39); and (3) of His own disciples (cf. Mark 8:30, Mark 8:33; Mark 10:13).

"'Be quiet'" This is an aorist passive imperative meaning "be muzzled" (cf. Mark 4:39). Jesus' two commands directed at the demon are strong terms with negative connotations.

"come out of him" This is an aorist active imperative.

SPECIAL TOPIC: EXORCISM

Mark 1:26 Several physical manifestations of an unclean spirit leaving a person are recorded (cf. Mark 1:26; Mark 9:26; and Luke 9:39). This may have been a way of confirming that the spirit had truly left.

This first sign of power clearly shows the Messianic implications of Jesus. The OT title (cf. Psalms 16:10) by which the demons acknowledge Him and His power to control and judge them clearly reflects the spiritual authority of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Mark 1:27c). This account is paralleled in Luke 4:31-37.

Mark 1:27 "'What is this? A new teaching with authority'" This Greek word for "new" (i.e., kainos) means "new in point of quality," not "new in point of time." The phrase "with authority" can refer to Jesus' teaching (cf. Matthew 7:29; NASB, NRSV, NJB) or to Jesus' commanding (cf. Luke 4:36; NKJV, TEV). Since Luke 4:36 is a direct parallel, the second option seems best.

The source of Jesus' authority would become the central issue between Jesus and the Jewish leaders (cf. Mark 11:28; Matthew 21:23; Luke 20:2). They could not deny His power so they impugned its source. This is the unpardonable sin!

Mark 1:28 "immediately" See note at Mark 1:10.

"the news about Him spread everywhere" Such a public exorcism would have been told and retold repeatedly.

Verses 29-31

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:29-31 29And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John 3:0; John 3:00Now Simon's mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. 31And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.

Mark 1:30 "Simon's mother-in-law" This shows that Peter was married. His wife is never mentioned in the NT. She may have been dead, but 1 Corinthians 9:5 implies she traveled with Peter. This account is paralleled in Luke 4:31-37 and Matthew 8:14-17.

"was lying sick" This is an imperfect tense which shows continuous action in past time. She had been sick for some time.

"with a fever" This literally means "fever-stricken." This is a present tense, which implies an ongoing problem. Notice this illness was not linked to demon possession (cf. Mark 1:32). Jesus' power over sickness is another sign of His person and Messianic mission. As often in the Gospels Jesus' miracles were as much for the disciples as for the recipient. Jesus is clearly revealing Himself to His newly chosen Apostles. Here He acts in compassion on the Sabbath. This would have been shocking to these Jewish men.

Verses 32-34

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:32-34 32When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.

Mark 1:32 "When evening came" Apparently this was after twilight, so the Sabbath was officially over and physical healings were now rabbinically legal.

"bringing to Him" This is an Imperfect tense which means "continually carrying." Jesus did not want to be known as a miracle worker, but a proclaimer of truth (cf. Luke 4:43), yet the word was out (cf. Mark 1:28).

"ill" Verse Mark 1:32 implies that "all" who were sick or demon possessed in the entire town were brought to Jesus. Verse Mark 1:34 states that He healed or delivered "many" of them, but not everyone. It is interesting that the terms "all" and "many" are often used synonymously in the Bible (cf. Isaiah 53:6 vs. 53:11,12 and Romans 5:18. vs. Mark 1:19). It is uncertain whether Jesus healed everyone brought to Him or many of them. At the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, it is recorded that Jesus only healed one of many sick persons. Jesus did not go out of His way to heal, but if the situation presented itself (i.e., a teaching moment for the disciples plus Jesus' compassion for the hurting and needy) He acted in power. He did go out of His way for the purpose of evangelism (i.e., the Samaritan woman, cf John 4:0, especially Mark 1:4). Healing was a sign, but evangelism was the purpose and focus of His ministry.

There is some confusion about Jesus' methodology in healing; sometimes it is dependent on the faith response of the sick person, sometimes on the faith of one of their friends or loved ones and often for the purpose of showing His power, unrelated to faith on the receiver's part. Salvation did not automatically accompany physical deliverance or healing.

"these who were demon possessed" Notice the distinction between illness and demon possession.

Mark 1:33 These townspeople were curious and some were desperate for physical health and spiritual wholeness.

Mark 1:34 "He healed many" This verse is the first of many in Mark (cf. Mark 1:34, Mark 1:43-44; Mark 3:12; Mark 4:11; Mark 5:43; Mark 7:24, Mark 7:36; Mark 8:26, Mark 8:30; Mark 9:9) which have often been referred to as "Mark's Messianic Secret." Jesus tells the disciples and those He heals not to tell about His healing acts. Jesus did not want to be known merely as a healer or miracle worker. These were only signs that pointed to His Messiahship, which at this point in His life had not been fully revealed. Jesus came to (1) reveal the Father; (2) give Himself as a sacrifice for sin; and (3) give believers an example to follow. The healings and deliverances were only signs of His compassion for the weak, sick, and outcast. This was also an OT predicted sign of the ministry of the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 61:1).

"was not permitting the demons to speak" This is imperfect tense, implying several exorcisms (cf. Mark 1:24). See Special Topic on the Demonic at Mark 1:24.

Verses 35-39

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:35-39 35In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37they found Him, and said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You." 38He said to them, "Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for." 39And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.

Mark 1:35 "In the early morning, while it was still dark" This refers to last watch of the night, sometime between Mark 3:0 and Mark 6:0 a.m.

"was praying there" This is imperfect tense which shows Jesus' regular prayer life. In Luke's Gospel this emphasis is often repeated. In Mark there are only three examples of Jesus praying: here, the feeding of the five thousand (cf. Mark 8:6), and in Gethsemane (cf. Mark 14:32-42).

Mark 1:37-39 The people were looking for Jesus because He healed them, not because of His teaching (cf. Luke 4:43). Jesus was continually on the move because (1) He wanted all to hear His message and (2) His mission was misunderstood.

Mark 1:38

NASB"for that is what I came for" NKJV"because for this purpose I have come forth" NRSV"for that is what I came out to do" TEV, NJB"because that is why I came"

Jesus felt deeply that He had been sent (cf. Luke 4:43) to proclaim the gospel of God (cf. Mark 1:14-15). He sensed that He was not sent as a miracle worker or healer, but as the establisher of a new day, a new relationship with the Father, the inauguration of the kingdom of God! The centrality of His person, the content of His message, His redemptive acts, and His glorious resurrection and ascension were the focus of His message. Mark's Messianic Secret is a literary way of asserting that these things would not be fully understood or revealed until years in the future.

Mark 1:39 There is a textual variant in Mark 1:39. Some ancient Greek manuscripts have "he went" (cf. א, B, L, the Palestinian Syriac, and the Coptic translations, also NASB, NRSV, TEV, NJB), while the Greek uncial manuscripts A, C, D, W, the Vulgate, and Peshitta translations as well as the Greek text used by Augustine have "he was" (cf. NKJV). The Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament by Bruce Metzger, pp. 75-76, asserts that a copyist changed "he went" to match Luke 4:44. This is a good example of the fact that most Greek manuscript variations make no significant theological or historical difference as to the overall meaning of the account.

Verses 40-45

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 1:40-45 40And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." 41Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, 44and He said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 45But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.

Mark 1:40 "a leper" This is paralleled in Matthew 8:2-4 and Luke 5:12-16. Judaism saw leprosy as an illness inflicted by God (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:16-21). Contact with the leper would make one ceremonially unclean. This disease meant total social alienation! It is culturally surprising that this socially ostracized person approached Jesus and that Jesus would touch him (cf. Mark 1:41). The OT disease called leprosy, discussed in Lev. 13-14, describes many types of skin diseases, all of which excluded one from worship.

"on his knees" In Luke 5:12 it says he fell prostrate before Jesus. Jesus was not like the other rabbis. He took time to care for the outcast and ostracized.

"'If you are willing, You can make me clean'" This is a third class conditional sentence which means potential action. He was not doubting Jesus' power (i.e., the leper calls Jesus "Lord" in Matthew 8:2), but His desire to act.

Mark 1:41 "Moved with compassion" Jesus cares for humanity made in the image of God. The Western Text, MS D, has "indignant," but MSS א, A, B, and C have "pity." The words are similar in Aramaic. Although the oldest and best manuscripts have "pity" the most unusual reading would have been "indignant" or "angry." See Appendix Two on Textual Criticism. There are several other places in Mark where Jesus' anger is recorded in unexpected contexts (cf. Mark 1:43; Mark 1:5 and 10:14; also one in John 11:33, John 11:38). His anger may have been directed at the disease or the evil of this age.

Mark portrays Jesus as fully human, feeling and expressing the full range of human emotions, for Himself as well as others.

1. pity or anger (Mark 1:41; Mark 3:5)

2. physical hunger (Mark 2:25)

3. deep sigh (Mark 7:34, Mark 8:12)

4. indignance/sternness (Mark 10:14)

5. love (Mark 10:21)

6. grief/trouble (Mark 10:33-34)

7. desertion (Mark 15:34)

8. thirst (Mark 15:36)

"touched him" This was a ceremonial "no! no!" Jesus touching people is a common occurrence in the Gospels (cf. Mark 7:33; Mark 8:22; Mark 10:13; also several times people touched Jesus, e.g. Mark 3:10; Mark 5:22-28, Mark 5:30, Mark 5:31; Mark 6:56) as a gesture of personal care and concern.

"'be cleansed'" This is an aorist passive imperative. Jesus heals with the same personal authority by which He expels demons.

Mark 1:43 "sternly warned him" Literally this is "snorted," which means an inarticulate groan. This reflects Mark's Messianic Secret. The Gospel was not yet finished, and the message was still incomplete. Jesus did not want to be known as a miracle worker.

"immediately sent him away" This is the same strong word used of the Spirit driving Jesus into wilderness (cf. Mark 1:12).

Mark 1:44 "'offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded'" This requirement related to the healing of leprosy (cf. Leviticus 13:14; Deuteronomy 24:8). Jesus did not reject the OT (cf. Matthew 5:17-19), but the oral traditions that had developed within Judaism (cf. Matthew 5:21-48). Possibly this was also for a witness to the priests.

Mark 1:45 "proclaim" This is a present infinitive. This was in direct disobedience to Jesus' strong request (cf. Mark 1:43-44).

"stayed out in unpopulated areas" This referred to the uninhabited pasture lands like Mark 1:3.

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Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Mark 1". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/mark-1.html. 2021.