2: The Beginning of the Gospel (Mk 1:1-13)
Mark opens with a bold claim that
Jesus is “the Son of God” (1:1). He then gets right into the story of the
gospel, starting with John the Baptist, who preached a “baptism of repentance”
(1:4) in preparation for the One who was greater. While John was setting the
stage, Jesus prepared Himself in the wilderness.
“I indeed baptized you with water, but He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (1:8).
Did You Know…?
1. Gospel (1:1): The English word
comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “the story concerning God.” The Greek
word used in the New Testament (euaggelion) means
literally, “good news.” The term appears frequently in Paul’s epistles. 11
2. The prophecy in 1:2 (quoting
Isaiah 40:3) was written about 700 years before John the Baptist was born. 11
3. Wilderness/desert (1:3): The
Greek word is used more to convey a sense of a solitary or lonely place. 2/1037
Here, Mark is referring to the region west of the Dead Sea.
4. John (1:4): The name is
derived from the Hebrew expression that means, “the
Lord is gracious.” It was given by an angel of the Lord (Lk
5. Baptize (1:4): Derived from
the Greek word baptismos, which means, “to dip,” “to
immerse,” or “to submerge.” 4/142
6. John centered his ministry in
the “all the land of Judea” (1:5) in the southern part of Palestine, while
Jesus began His ministry around Galilee (1:14) in the northern part of
Palestine. Because of John’s work, people later came all the way from Judea to see Jesus (3:8).
7. Camel’s hair (1:6): The poor
treated the skin of a dead animal such as a camel and used it as clothing. 11
8. Locusts (1:6): Considered
clean food under the Mosaic law (Lev 11:21-22), but
not part of the everyday diet. 11
9. Sandal strap (1:7): Sandals
were insignificant things (Gen 14:23). The simplest form consisted of a plain
sole of leather, bound to the feet by a leather thong. 2/224 It was
a very lowly task to carry or loosen another’s sandal.
10. Nazareth (1:9): Literally,
“Sanctified.” A small town atop a hill (Lk
4:29-30) in the southern part of Galilee.
It was Jesus’ hometown (Mt 2:23). It was so obscure that it was never mentioned
in the Old Testament. 2/691
11. Jesus traveled about 18 miles
(30 kilometers) to be baptized (from Nazareth to Jordan).
12. John the Baptist witnessed
the vision of the Holy Spirit appearing like a dove (Jn
1. Describe “gospel” in your own
2. When did your faith in Jesus
Christ begin? How did you come to know Jesus?
3. What did each of the following
do to prepare for Jesus’ ministry?
4. In this passage, what are the
things and/or events related to the wilderness?
did John come to do?
was the people’s response to his preaching?
2. Compare John’s way of dress
and diet to that of a prophet. (cf. Lev 11:21-22; 2Kgs 1:8; Zech 13:4).
role does prophecy play in this paragraph? Compare “John came” (4) with “Jesus
does the fulfillment of prophecies help the reader know who Jesus is?
does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?
is the difference between Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit and John’s
baptism with water?
5. Today, who plays the role of
John the Baptist?
6. If Jesus had no sins to repent
of, why did He let John baptize Him?
happened immediately after Jesus was baptized?
was the significance of this event?
8a. List the characteristics of a
dove. What was a dove used for in the Old Testament?
does the Holy Spirit appear like a dove (10)? What else does the Holy Spirit
appear as in the Bible?
is the Holy Spirit like to you? How would you describe the Holy Spirit?
9. Why did the Holy Spirit send
Jesus into the desert immediately after His baptism?
10. What do the “wild beasts”
11. Why do you think Mark does
not state how Jesus was tempted, nor that Jesus overcame temptation?
you are in a difficult situation, how do you know whether or not it is the will
of the Holy Spirit? How do you get through it?
are the “wild beasts” in your faith? How do you overcome them?