The Gospel of Action
One of the first New Testament books to be written, the Gospel of Mark could easily be called Peter’s gospel since he was Mark’s primary source about his time with Jesus Christ. No wonder this is the Gospel of action. Peter was that kind of man. Jesus is the King in Matthew and the Servant in Mark—God’s servant. The issue we see unfold is: “Can Jesus do the job?”
Early in this gospel we watch the intensity of Jesus’ ministry unfold. There’s probably more content in this first chapter of Mark than any other chapter in the Bible. It covers the ministry of John the Baptist, showing how he fulfilled the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi. It follows Jesus through a busy Sabbath, demonstrates His authority over the demonic realm, and finishes with a mighty work of healing. Yet despite the pressure of a busy life, Jesus still took time to pray—getting up before dawn to be alone with His Father.
More than any other name, Mark calls the Lord, “Jesus”—His common name. He then tells us about when Jesus (the second person of the Godhead) is baptized and comes out of the water. The Spirit of God (the third person) comes like a dove upon Him and a voice out of heaven, God the Father, says, “This is my beloved Son.” The Trinity sets heaven’s seal upon Jesus as God’s Son, ready for ministry.
Immediately (one of Mark’s favorite words), the Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness for initiation. Remember the question Mark wanted to prove was, “Can Jesus do the job?” Other men couldn’t stand up under temptation. Adam didn’t make it. Noah failed miserably after the flood. Abraham failed. Moses and David did, too. Will Jesus?
So, for 40 days Satan tempts Jesus, and He does not fail. We’ll never know the depth of the pain He suffered in this wilderness, but we do see that after it was over, animals (below Him) and angels (above Him) ministered to His needs.
After the temptation, the Lord moves directly into ministry, specifically with works and words that illustrate the Servant, preaching the gospel of God, saying the kingdom of God is at hand. “Repent and believe the gospel.”
As Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee, He calls His disciples. Most of them fishermen, they leave their nets and follow Him into a busy life of ministry.
This is the beginning of the gospel. By His healing, He got people’s attention and proved His authority over the physical and demonic realm. By His teaching, Jesus prepared people for salvation through His death and His resurrection. His teaching will not save us; it is only through His death for us on the Cross that we can be saved.
Next, we’ll follow Jesus as He travels around Galilee, teaching and healing people of demons and diseases.