This study features notes from Enduring Word.
1. Why is Mark writing and what does the first sentence show us?
Mark takes us to the beginning of the gospel. It’s the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2. What do we learn about the ministry of John the Baptist? What does it mean for him to be a ‘messenger’?
It was prophesied in Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. This is the first authentically prophetic voice to Israel for 300 years.
3. Isaiah 40:3 had in mind the building up of a great road for a majestic king. How does that fit with the ministry of John?
John the Baptist was the one crying in the wilderness. Through his message of repentance he worked to prepare the way of the Lord.
4. What do we learn about John’s message that he preached (v6-8)?
John preached Jesus, not himself.
5. Why does John make a statement about the sandals?
It might sound like spiritual exaggeration but John said this because in his day, the rabbis taught that a teacher might require just about anything of his followers, except to make them take off their sandals. That was considered too much. But John said he was not even worthy to do this for Jesus.
6. What does John recognise in v8?
Baptism was only a prelude to what Jesus would bring. Jesus would bring an immersion in the Holy Spirit that was greater than the immersion in water as a demonstration of repentance.
7. Why was Jesus baptised (v9-11)?
He was baptised in keeping with his entire mission on earth: to do the will of the Father and to identify with sinful man.
8. What’s significant about the Holy Spirit being associated with a dove?
Genesis 1:2. Gentle, non-threatening birds. They don’t resist or fight back. It represents the gentle, faithful work of the Holy Spirit.
9. How did this event show great glory?
Heavens opened wide, the Spirit descending like a dove. A voice from heaven (it’s rare when we read that God speaks audibly from heaven). What could be more glorious than to have God the Father praise and affirm you publicly?
10. In just the first 11 verses, we see four witnesses testifying to the identity of Jesus. Who are they?
Mark said Jesus is the Son of God (v1). The prophets said Jesus is Lord (v2-3). John the Baptist said Jesus was the one after who is mightier than him (v7-8). God the Father said Jesus is the beloved Son of God (v10-11).
11. Again, Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ (which occurs more than 40 times in the book) and the word ‘drove’ (v12-13). Why?
The Spirit casteth him forth. It is the very afterward employed of the casting out of demons by Christ.
12. How is Jesus identifying with sinners?
In baptism and in their temptations.
13. What’s significant about 40?
It’s a number that often shows a time of testing or judgment. Noah’s flood, Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years, Moses kept sheep in the wilderness for 40 years.
14. Matthew and Luke don’t mention they Jesus was with ‘wild beasts’. What does this show us about Jesus?
He is the second Adam and like unfallen Adam, he enjoys a peaceful relationship with the animals. He remains the unfallen, sinless one with authority over the wild beasts.
15. What does this passage teach us about who Jesus is and his kingdom?
He is clearly identified as the Son of God and he came to identify with people.