“What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” – Mark 1:27
The people who heard Jesus and saw what he was doing asked this question. As Mark shares the question with us in his gospel, he raises the same question for his readers – both those in the first century, and those of us who read it now.
The things Jesus taught, and the things Jesus did – what is this? Who is this?
Mark appears to be the kind of guy that reads the last page of a book first, and then reads the rest of the book to see how the story got to the ending. While the characters in Mark’s story are asking questions about what they’re seeing and hearing, he wants us, as his readers, to know the answer from the beginning. From the very first sentence he tells us definitively: Jesus is the Son of God. This book is the good news about him.
The first chapter sets the stage at a whirlwind pace, backing up that statement from the first sentence. In the course of this first chapter, here are some of the things we learn and see about Jesus:
- John the Baptist pointed the way to him, fulfilling a prophesy about preparing the way for the Lord;
- John said that Jesus would be mighty, and would baptize people with the Holy Spirit;
- God himself identified Jesus as his beloved Son, and that Jesus pleased him;
- The Spirit was actively involved with him, driving him into the wilderness;
- He wrestled with Satan and temptation in the wilderness;
- Angels ministered to him;
- Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately followed when he called;
- He astonished the people with the authority of his teaching;
- Demons knew him as the Holy One of God;
- He held power and authority over the demons, and they obeyed him;
- He could heal the sick of their diseases – he held power and authority over fevers, leprosy, and other physical illness
That’s a pretty impressive list, especially when this is just the first chapter.
Of course, hearing it from Mark and believing it are two different things. We still need to ask ourselves the question: The things Jesus taught, and the things Jesus did – what is this? Who is this?
As we study Mark, you’ll have to determine your answer to those questions.