The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 1

Analysis and Commentary

John Baptizes Jesus
John Baptizes Jesus.

Unlike the other synoptic gospels, Mark does not open with Jesus’ birth or childhood. The Jesus we find in chapter 1 of Mark’s gospel is already an adult and is already capable of powerful actions: healing, exorcisms, etc. Jesus’ fame also begins to spread, despite his requests that people remain quiet about him and his activities.

Ministry of John the Baptist (Mark 1:1-8)
Unlike the other synoptic gospels, Mark does not open with Jesus’ birth or childhood.

The Jesus we find in chapter 1 of Mark’s gospel is already an adult and is already capable of powerful actions: healing, exorcisms, etc. Jesus’ fame also begins to spread, despite his requests that people remain quiet about him and his activities.

Baptism and Temptation of Jesus (Mark 1:9-13)
This is the first appearance of Jesus in the earliest gospel account - full-grown and ready to begin his ministry. We have nothing here about Jesus’ conception, birth, or childhood - all very popular stories which play important roles in Matthew and Luke. If these were known events, why did Mark skip them?

Jesus Begins His Ministry and Calls the Disciples (Mark 1: 14-20)
Only now does Jesus’ ministry begin. The story of John the Baptist has been framed by references to the gospel - first with the introductory line that this text presents the gospel and now here again where Jesus actually begins to preach the gospel.

This framing pattern, also called a chiastic device, is used frequently by Mark because it allows him to use both the internal passages and the framing passages to explain and interpret each other.

Jesus in Capernaum: Healing and Casting Out Spirits (Mark 1:21-28)
Capernaum is a city in Galilee often referenced in the gospels.

Jesus is described as having spent enough time in and around Capernaum that it came to be known as Jesus’ own city. There are verses referring to Jesus healing and teaching here in all four gospels. Despite all of this, however, Jesus is also depicted in Matthew and Luke as having felt rejected by the town’s inhabitants and cursing them.

Jesus Heals Simon’s Mother-In-Law and Leaves Capernaum (Mark 1:29-39)
Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is the first person to be healed of something other than possession by an unclean spirit. She has a fever which Jesus takes away; later he would also heal the lame, blind, and deaf, demonstrating increasing power over physical ailments.

Jesus Heals the Leper, Cautions Silence (Mark 1:40-45)
Here we have a specific illness that Jesus heals, one which has caused fear and loathing for centuries: leprosy. Then again, it might have been some other skin disease that was mistaken for leprosy - or perhaps many skin diseases at the time were all categorized as leprosy.

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Your Citation
Cline, Austin. "The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 1." ThoughtCo, Mar. 15, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-gospel-according-to-mark-chapter-1-248663. Cline, Austin. (2017, March 15). The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 1. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-gospel-according-to-mark-chapter-1-248663 Cline, Austin. "The Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 1." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-gospel-according-to-mark-chapter-1-248663 (accessed January 18, 2018).