Mark 1:1-5 & Introduction

The Book of Mark is attributed to John Mark who was the son of a Mary of Jerusalem. The date of the writing is placed between 64 and 68 A.D. The authorship is confirmed by Papias in 135 A.D. who mentions Mark as the author along with Justin Martyr in 150 A.D. and Irenaeus. It is believed that Mark wrote the Gospel in Rome. Mark presents Jesus as doing more than speaking and gives the picture of Jesus being the powerful Son of God who had the ability to override the natural laws in favor of a miracle.

Mark 1:1 (KJB)
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Mark is the only one who describes his work as the “Gospel.” He begins His gospel with a short description of John’s ministry and the baptism of Jesus and then immediately after His baptism, Jesus is driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to face the temptations of Satan. Mark does not go into the particulars of the temptations. It must be understood that the Holy Spirit has inspired the books of Luke, Matthew, and Mark, otherwise known as the “synoptic Gospels” individually even though there is some cross over in the writings. Mark does not begin his Gospel with the birth of Jesus but begins it at His baptism and then goes right into His ministry. He initially declares that Jesus is the Son of God. The titles of “Christ” and “Son of God” also declare the two most important confessions in the book of Mark. Peter confesses Jesus to be the Christ and the Centurion at the crucifixion confesses Him to be the Son of God.

Mark 1:2 (KJB)
As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Mark now cites two Scriptures which fulfill the ministry of John the Baptist. The first citation is from Malachi 3:1 where it states that the Lord is going to send His messenger before Him.

(Mal 3:1 KJV) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

John was born about six months before Jesus and had begun His ministry bringing the gospel of repentance. He was to declare the way of the Lord for a period of time before Jesus came to be baptized and start His ministry. John’s commission was special as he was the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one who was coming was God incarnate. He was to prepare the hearts of the people to receive their Messiah.

Mark 1:3 (KJB)
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

This was also a fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah of about 750 years before. (Isa 40:3 KJV) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. John was the one who fulfilled because he had cried out with the gospel of repentance and introduction in fulfillment of Isaiah. If we look at Isaiah 40:9, we will see a much clearer picture of the enunciation. (Isa 40:9 KJV) O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Here is a straight declaration of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ who would be coming to Judah.

Mark 1:4 (KJB)
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

The ministry of John was a ministry of repentance from sin. The word “repentance” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “a change of one’s mind.” However, many claim it is a prerequisite for salvation and that is not true. True repentance comes from God. (2 Tim 2:25 KJV) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; Once God saves a person, repentance, that is, a change of the mind comes with it. We no longer view sin the same way, instead we view sin as sin and not “fun.” We look at righteousness and holiness in a different light. The Kingdom of Heaven being at hand is speaking about the fact that in three years, the Lord Jesus Christ will go to the cross and then 50 days later the Holy Spirit will be given and that will begin the Kingdom of God on earth. (Luke 17:21 KJV) Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. This is not speaking of any type of mythical thousand year reign of Christ but is speaking of salvation. When one receives salvation, the Kingdom of God is living within them. (Acts 19:3-4 KJV) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. {4} Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. There were many people who had heard the ministry of John and had repented physically of their sins but were not saved. The Apostle Paul had met with some of these people and gave them the true way of salvation and then they became saved.

Mark 1:5 (KJB)
And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

John was beginning to draw crowds to his baptizing and preaching. People from all over the area had come to hear him and inquire of him. They were coming from Jerusalem, and all of Judaea which meant that there would have been many people gathering. The entire region surrounding the Jordan also came and that could have meant people were coming from all the way up from the Sea of Galilee all the way down to the Dead Sea. This meant that John was now beginning to draw crowds. John’s ministry was to be the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ and that is why he was baptizing with water and the teachings of repentance. People were confessing their sins. This confession was a verbal confession according to the word in the Greek. In other words, they were confessing their sins out loud so others would hear it. For John, baptism was the outward sign of confession of sin. He would not baptize unless there was a confession of sin to go along with it.