Each of the Gospel writers chose to begin his Gospel in a unique way. While Luke began with the birth stories of John the Baptist and Jesus, Mark began when Jesus’ earthly ministry launched thirty years after His birth. Much of Mark’s Gospel focuses on the actions of Jesus and ways people responded to Him.
Chapter 1 begins with the preparations made for Jesus’ ministry. John the Baptist called for repentance from sin and proclaimed the One (Jesus) to follow him. Though Jesus had no sins for which He needed forgiveness, He presented Himself for baptism to identify with His people. Mark next introduced Jesus as a proclaimer of the message of good news with a call to repentance. Jesus formally invited four fishermen to follow Him.
Jesus further demonstrated His oneness with God by displaying authority over unclean spirits and healing many physical illnesses. Although many people sought Him because of His healing power, Jesus shied away from the crowds and devoted most of His time to training the twelve disciples. A final healing, however, showed Jesus’ ministry to be marked by compassion for people in need. From the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we see that in Jesus’ ministry, meeting people’s spiritual and physical needs went hand in hand. This is the model He demonstrated for us.