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2: The Beginning of the Gospel (Mk 1:1-13)
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2: The Beginning of the Gospel (Mk 1:1-13)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

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.

B.     Key Verse

            “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (1:8).

C.     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 1:13).

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 1:32).

II.    Observation

A.     Outline













B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1. Describe “gospel” in your own words.

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?

3a. God

3b. John

3c. Jesus

4. In this passage, what are the things and/or events related to the wilderness?

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     1:1-8

1a. What did John come to do?

1b. What 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).

3a. What role does prophecy play in this paragraph? Compare “John came” (4) with “Jesus came” (9).

3b. How does the fulfillment of prophecies help the reader know who Jesus is?

4a. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?

4b. What 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?

B.     1:9-11

6. If Jesus had no sins to repent of, why did He let John baptize Him?

7a. What happened immediately after Jesus was baptized?

7b. What was the significance of this event?

8a. List the characteristics of a dove. What was a dove used for in the Old Testament?

8b. Why does the Holy Spirit appear like a dove (10)? What else does the Holy Spirit appear as in the Bible?

8c. What is the Holy Spirit like to you? How would you describe the Holy Spirit?

C.     1:12-13

9. Why did the Holy Spirit send Jesus into the desert immediately after His baptism?

10. What do the “wild beasts” (13) symbolize?

11. Why do you think Mark does not state how Jesus was tempted, nor that Jesus overcame temptation?

12a. When 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?

12b. What are the “wild beasts” in your faith? How do you overcome them?

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