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3: Jesus Begins His Ministry (Mk 1:14-45)
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3: Jesus Begins His Ministry (Mk 1:14-45)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

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).

B.     Key Verse

            “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (1:17-18).

C.     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 pray. 4/1229

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.

II.    Observation

A.     Outline












B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

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?

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     1:14-15

1a. Why 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 1)?

B.     1:16-20

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).

4a. What 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?

5a. The fishermen left behind a pretty good living to follow Jesus. What are you willing to leave behind to follow Jesus?

5b. What has Christ called you to do? How are you prepared to follow Christ?

C.     1:21-28

6. How could the people tell that Jesus taught as one who had authority? Compare how Jesus taught to how the scribes taught.

7. Share a Bible verse or passage that carries authority. Why does it impress you?

8. Why did Jesus command the unclean spirit to be quiet?

D.     1:29-39

9a. After Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, she served them (31). How has Jesus helped you? How have you served Him?

9b. How can your family help you serve God? How has the Lord taken care of your family?

10a. Why did Jesus get up very early in the morning?

10b. Which hour of the day is a good quiet time for you? How do you set aside a quiet time with God?

11. Explain why Jesus had to leave for the next towns when everyone was looking for Him.

E.     1:40-45

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?

14a. Why did Jesus warn the man not to tell anyone (43)? Why did the man spread the news anyway?

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 [45]). Why did Jesus heal him anyway? What does this teach us about helping others?

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?

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