3: Jesus Begins His Ministry (Mk 1:14-45)
After John was imprisoned, Jesus
began His ministry in Galilee. After calling
His first disciples from the area, Jesus went to Capernaum and began to teach and to perform
miracles. Immediately, news about Him spread quickly throughout the whole
region, and so many people came to Him that He could not move about freely
(1:28, 32, 45).
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will
make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed
Did You Know…?
1. Galilee (1:14): The Sea of
Galilee is actually a freshwater lake in northern Palestine, fed by the Jordan
River. It’s also called “Sea of Tiberias” (Jn 21:1) and “Lake of Gennesaret”
(Lk 5:1).4/453-454 It is up to 6 miles (10
km) at the widest point and 15 miles (24 km) at the longest.3/108
During Jesus’ time, the region around Galilee was surrounded on three sides by
a belt of large cities with a large non-Jewish population (Gennesaret,
Capernaum, Bethsaida),5/449-450 which made it somewhat difficult for
Jesus to find a solitary place.
2. Fishermen (1:16): Fishing was
a new and prosperous industry during Jesus’ time. Peter, Andrew, James, and
John were not poor men but were working in a viable business with above-average
income.6/55 Note that they did well enough to have hired men (1:20).
3. “Casting a net,” “mending
their nets” (1:16, 19): When a school of fish is seen, the net is dropped over
them. The weights on the net carried it down, and the fish were trapped underneath.
Because the net dragged in everything from the lakebed, when it was hauled
ashore the fishermen separated the good fish from the rubbish, which was then
thrown back into the water (Mt 13:47-48). When the fishing was over, the nets
were spread out on the shore for drying, and any broken pieces were repaired.
4. Capernaum (1:21): A city on
the western shore of Galilee. It was of sufficient size to be called a city,
and had its own synagogue, tax collector, and centurion.5/199
Peter’s house there became Jesus’ base of operations during His extended
ministry in Galilee.7/1443
5. Synagogue (1:21): Derived from
the Greek word sunagoge, which means “gathering of
people”, “congregation,” or “place of prayer.” It was a meeting place on the
Sabbath day, in which it was customary to read scriptures, to preach, and to
6. Scribes/teachers of the law
(1:22): In addition to the written law (Mosaic law),
the Jews passed down oral law from one generation of teachers to the next.
Because the oral law was never committed to writing, constant repetition was
necessary to fix it in a student’s memory.4/1142
7. Fever (1:30): Probably refers
to malarial fever, which can be fatal (cf. Jn 4:47,
52). It is spread by mosquitoes found in pools and marshes, and is still common
around Galilee today. 11
8. Leper (1:40): The exact
meaning of the Greek term for leprosy is uncertain but clearly refers to some
form of skin disease.4/307 It was greatly feared by the Israelites,
not only because of its physical damage, but also because of the strict
isolation laws that made the patients outcasts of society. There was no cure
for leprosy other than divine intervention.8/138-139If a person was cured, he had to make sacrifices, and the
priest would pronounce him clean and allow him to reenter the society. 7/1494
9. “Show yourself to the priest...”
(1:44): These instructions were in accordance with the laws of Moses on leprosy
as recorded in Lev 13:1-3; 14:1-57.
1. List the verses in which terms
that denote a sense of urgency (“immediately,” “as soon as,” “at once,” etc.)
were mentioned in this passage. What does this tell you about Jesus’ ministry?
2. Based on this passage, list
some of Jesus’ tasks during His ministry.
3. Where is Jesus calling you to
begin your ministry?
was John put in prison? (cf. Mk 6:17-19).
1b. Jesus began His ministry
after John was imprisoned. Why? How did Jesus know it was the right time?
2a. Jesus said, “The time is
fulfilled” (15). The time for what?
2b. Jesus said, “Believe in
gospel” (15). What is the “gospel” or “good news” (cf. Lesson 2, Did You Know
3. How were Simon, Andrew, James,
and John related? At this time, did they know who Jesus was? (cf. Mt 4:18-22; Lk 5:1-11; Jn 1:35-51).
does “fisher of men” mean? Why was it so attractive to the fishermen? (cf. Lk 5:1-11).
4b. Jesus used the fishermen’s
occupation as an analogy to the greater tasks He was preparing them for. Think
of someone you want to preach the gospel to. What aspects of his or her life
can you use to show them how Jesus can do greater things for them?
fishermen left behind a pretty good living to follow Jesus. What are you
willing to leave behind to follow Jesus?
has Christ called you to do? How are you prepared to follow Christ?
6. How could the people tell that
Jesus taught as one who had authority? Compare how Jesus taught to how the
7. Share a Bible verse or passage
that carries authority. Why does it impress you?
Why did Jesus command the unclean spirit to be quiet?
9a. After Jesus healed Simon’s
mother-in-law, she served them (31). How has Jesus helped you? How have you
can your family help you serve God? How has the Lord taken care of your family?
did Jesus get up very early in the morning?
hour of the day is a good quiet time for you? How do you set aside a quiet time
11. Explain why Jesus had to
leave for the next towns when everyone was looking for Him.
12. List the leper’s actions and
his words when he asked for healing. What does this tell you about his faith?
13. Observe the Lord’s heart and
actions in verse 41. What can you learn from Him?
did Jesus warn the man not to tell anyone (43)? Why did the man spread the news
14b. Have you ever hindered God’s
work even though you acted with good intentions? What was the outcome?
15. Jesus must have known that
the man would disobey Him and spread the news of His healing, which would make
His job more difficult (Jesus even had to stay in the wilderness to avoid the
crowd ). Why did Jesus heal him anyway? What does this teach us about
16. When you preach to someone,
which aspect of the gospel do you tell (miracles, life-changing experience,
Holy Spirit, sin, etc.)? How do you get him/her to believe you?