This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which is broken.
Verses 1-3 Why did Mark begin with Jesus Christ’s ministry, rather than with the story of His birth? Because he wants you to know RIGHT AWAY that this Jesus Christ is the One foretold by Isaiah in Isaiah 40:3 (the voice of one crying in the wilderness . . .) and Malachi 3:1 (Behold I send My messenger . . .).
Mark’s goal is to speak of Christ’s ministry, so you may know that He indeed is the Christ prophesied in the Old Testament (OT).
Verse 4-8 So the messenger in Isaiah 40:3 is John the Baptist. He baptized with water for repentance, for the forgiveness of sins. But Someone was coming who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. It was to be a whole new kind of baptism! This Someone was more powerful than John the Baptist.
Verse 9 But Jesus came from Nazareth, where He was raised, to John the Baptist. Why did the Son of God, the Christ, need baptism? He was perfect and sinless, so he had no need to repent. He needed no baptism of fire. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). But He submitted to baptism according to His Father’s will.
Verse 10 Immediately after Jesus was baptized, God the Father gave visible signs — the heavens opening, the Spirit descending upon Jesus like a dove, and the Father’s words that this is His Son, and He is pleased. Again, Mark says to you, “This is the Christ, God the Son!”
Mark only briefly mentions the wilderness temptation of Christ, because it is not important to the central message of his particular testimony of Christ. (NOTE: It is believed that Mark’s gospel was actually dictated to Mark by Peter, so it is believed that the Book of Mark is Peter’s testimony.)
In Mark 1:14 and forward, we see what Christ’s ministry looks like:
— He preaches the gospel of God to you, as follows:
— Now is the time, the Kingdom of God is near (so close, you can touch the King)
— Repent and believe in the gospel
— When He selects you, there is no dawdling or hesitation. When He speaks, you drop everything and follow Him. And He will make you a fisher of men.
Why doesn’t Jesus form a new church, right then and there? It is not time. He must die and be raised, ascend and be glorified. Then the church begins.
So in Verse 21, Jesus goes to the synagogue at Capernaum, to teach His people (He is born to a Jewess, so in the natural, He is a Jew).
He teaches as one having authority (Mark 1:22). That’s exousia, superhuman power. The scribes know the scriptures right side up, upside down, backwards and forwards, but they do not know the God of the scriptures, so they have no power when they teach. It is dry and dead. A good lesson. It is important to first know Him and be filled with His Spirit. Then you will have the power to teach His Word.
Note in Mark 1:24 that demons are quicker to recognize God than the synagogue officials. And note that driving out demons takes no effort at all on Jesus’ part. He speaks, and it must be done.
I hope you are getting this very important characteristic of Jesus. He says follow, and people must follow. He rebukes demons, and they must flee. Whatever He speaks must happen. Only God can do such things. So again, Mark cries, “Jesus is the Christ, God the Son!”
Verse 27 —Everyone is amazed that Jesus can do these things. That is because they see Him as a man, not God in the flesh. They spread the news of this Jesus.
Verse 29 — Just as soon as Jesus leaves the synagogue, He and the others come into Simon Peter’s house. Note that Simon’s mother-in-law is sick. Jesus takes her by the hand, and the fever leaves. She is instantly healed. Her response? Service. She serves them. That’s what happens when Jesus touches you — you immediately begin serving Him.
Verse 32-34 — All who were ill and demon-possessed were healed. It says “many” in Mark 1:34. That Greek word means “altogether.” As Matthew says in Matthew 4:24, He healed all who came or were brought to Him. No disease or demon is too powerful for Him.
Verse 35 — Note that Jesus goes off to pray by Himself. That’s important. He spends time with the Father while the rest are sleeping. It is His quiet time, where He communes with the Father and prepares for the next steps.
Verse 37 — Everyone looks for Jesus. It is not so true today. Few look for Him. Most are offended by Him, because He saves sinners, not those who think they are good.
Verse 38 — He moves on to other towns, preaching and casting out demons. How many Christian preachers do you know who do such things today? The church is in a fallen state.
Verse 40 and forward — There is a VERY important lesson for all of us. Lepers were forced to cry, “Unclean, unclean,” as they walked about, so no one would catch leprosy from them. He wants Jesus to make him clean, to heal his leprosy. He knows Jesus can do it — “You CAN make me clean.” He just isn’t sure it is God’s will.
Do not pray, “If you are willing, please heal me.” This is the VERY important lesson: He is willing — no ifs, ands, or buts. It is ALWAYS God’s will to heal. Note also that Jesus was moved with compassion — He literally was inwardly moved with pity.
Note that it does not take a long time for the leper to be healed. It happens immediately (Mark 1:42).
Now what’s this about the leper showing himself to the priest as a testimony? The Old Testament speaks of lepers being sent out into the desert. When they came back, the priest had to examine them and declare them healed.
Who healed them? Only God can heal leprosy. God healed them in the desert. This leper, by the fact that he is healed, is a testimony that God is here, and God has healed him of leprosy. Again, “Jesus is the Christ, God the Son!”
Why does Jesus tell him not to tell anyone but to go to the priests? Because He already knows how the Jewish leaders and priests will react. They will feel threatened. They will be jealous. They will come after Jesus. But Jesus knows the healed man will speak anyway.
How can I keep it a secret, when Jesus heals me?
The leper’s testimony draws people from all over. So will yours.