Masterclass: The Gospel of Mark

Part 1: Come, Follow Me

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The Gospel of Mark gives us a window into who Jesus was, what He did, and what it means for us. As He called His first disciples, He calls us to follow Him. He wants us to follow Him not just by verbally saying He is Lord, but living as if we believe He is Lord. This means as we read Mark, we actively spend time with Jesus and in turn let the Holy Spirit transform us into His likeness. This transformation forms us into a new person who now can begin to live as Jesus lived.

Introducing The Gospel of Mark

As we set out on this journey through the entire Gospel of Mark, we should take a moment to put this book of the Bible into proper context. Mark is just one of four Gospels. Have you ever wondered why there’s more than one Gospel account? As it turns out, each Gospel account has its own author, intended audience, and lens through which we discover the person of Jesus. 

It is widely held that a man named John Mark: a cousin of Barnabas, companion of Peter, and acquaintance of Paul. The second-century Christian philosopher, Justin Martyr, referred to the Gospel of Mark as a sort of memoir of Peter because John Mark wrote the account on his behalf according to the stories of Peter’s life and times with Jesus.

Written in Rome between the years 50 and 60 AD, the Gospel of Mark’s intended audience were gentiles who did not know Christ. These were a people who did not know all the customs of Jewish life, and so, Mark provides additional context. The account is the shortest and most action-oriented of the four, perhaps to capture the attention of a non-Jewish audience. 

The Gospel accounts are not written with the primary intention of presenting an ordinary history or biography of Jesus, but rather to inspire people to follow Him. The different accounts each provide us with a unique perspective on this person of Jesus which can help us to know Him from many angles. For example, the Gospel of Mark focuses on the humanity of our Lord Jesus, the Son of God. 

Come and Follow Jesus

Mark 1 establishes who Jesus is and announces His Good News for us: The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. Quickly, then, the account moves into the actions of Jesus’ life and ministry. In fact, the word translating to immediately appears eleven times in the first chapter alone! There is an urgency in the life of a Christian, and we are meant to take action to spread the Good News. 

Following Jesus is more than the way to heaven; it’s the way to live until heaven comes. The very day you become a Christian, your eternity begins! We should not wait to live in the truth of our God and the joy He brings. There is work to do, both in ourselves and for those around us. Following Jesus is more than knowing information; it’s living transformation

We don’t need to be perfect to pursue a life like Christ. In fact, we don’t even need to be good. M. Robert Mulholland Jr. is quoted, The process of being formed into the image of Christ takes place primarily at the points of our unlikeness to Christ’s image. When we most know we need Jesus, and when it’s most clear that our way is diverging from His, we have the most potential to grow. 

And we also don’t need to travel far to follow Jesus! While some people are called to missionary work abroad, we all are called to shine the light of Christ wherever we stand. No matter where you work or live, an apprenticeship with Jesus is a practical, fruitful, and God-honoring endeavor.

Responding to Jesus’ Call

In Jesus’ times, the would-be apprentice or mentee was responsible for initiating a relationship with a teacher. But, Jesus turned that standard upside down, just as He did with many others. As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed Him (Mark 1:16-18).

As we learn from Simon and Andrew, the only valid response to Jesus’ call is a resounding and immediate yes! How else should we respond to the incredible life and revolutionary ministry of Jesus Christ? 

His power demands submission: He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey Him (Mark 1:27).

He heals, so we should serve: So He went to her, took her hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them (Mark 1:31).

And when we witness and know the power of Jesus in our lives, the only response from us is to share: [The leper Jesus cleansed] went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news (Mark 1:45). Jesus had asked this man not to tell everyone of His miraculous healing powers, so that He would not attract too much attention right away. But, amazed at Jesus’ ability to heal and restore, the man spoke of Him anyway.  

If the healed leper spoke of Jesus when He asked him not to, how much more should we be encouraged to tell other people about the Gospel when our Lord has commanded us to do so?


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