Chapter 2

The early priorities of Jesus
Mark 1:14-28 (NIV)

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14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16 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. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. 21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

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Mark 1:14-15
What is God’s good news?

Jesus proclaims the good news of God. Note four things. First, that news is for ‘now’. He says The time has come—meaning ‘Act on this now!’ Second, the kingdom of God is near. The King of kings has come. [1] Third, Jesus echoes John the Baptist’s cry: Repent! Fourth, He urges everyone to believe the good news.

We too must recognise now our sin and the need of forgiveness by submitting to our Saviour/King. God’s kingdom has come: King Jesus has come to Earth! It will come at His glorious second coming.[2] But His kingdom does come now when a sinner crowns Jesus as his King. The good news is Jesus died for our sins, bore our punishment, and rose again.[3] He forgives all who believe the good news by turning to Him as Saviour. ‘I believe’ means far more than ‘I hope so’, or ‘I agree with that too’, or ‘I know’. In the Bible ‘believe’ means to commit to something. I really ‘believe’ in a chair when I sit on it, or in a medicine when I swallow it. To believe the good news means I commit myself to Jesus. I trust Him wholeheartedly, personally.[4] I become a disciple of Christ.

Mark 1:16-20
What is a disciple of Christ?

Christ expects all trusting Him to become real disciples. Here working men—fishermen—become disciples. Jesus already knows their names, brothers Simon and Andrew, and brothers James and John. He knows your name too!

He tells Simon and Andrew to come to and follow Him to ‘fish’ for people. He then calls James and John. Mark’s Gospel often stresses that we must respond to Christ immediately.[5] All four follow and obey Jesus immediately. All leave their work. James and John also leave their father. Jesus now comes first. Each disciple of Christ trusts Him for forgiveness, follows and obeys Him, and ‘fishes’ for others to know Him. These disciples accompany Jesus to Capernaum on the Sabbath.

Mark 1:21-28
What is God’s special day?

The Bible teaches that after creating the world, God rested on the ‘Sabbath’ day[6]. ‘Sabbath’, means ‘rest’ or ‘ceasing’. Six days’ work must be followed by that Sabbath rest.[7] Jesus’ resurrection marks as special the first day of the week[8], sometimes called the Christian Sabbath, or Sunday, or the ‘Lord’s Day’. Jesus spends that first Sabbath with His new disciples in worship together (at the synagogue). Jesus teaches God’s word to people amazed at His teaching. A spirit-possessed man is liberated when Jesus commands Come out of him! Christ’s teaching and authority spread his fame through Galilee. Their first Sabbath involves the disciples in worship, witnessing Christ’s power, and hearing God’s word, the Bible. That is a good example to follow. The key is to spend time with Jesus. Everything else good flows from that!

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[1] . Matthew 21:5.
[2] . 1 Timothy 6:14-15.
[3] . 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
[4] . John 3:16.
[5] . The Greek word eutheos, meaning immediately, is used at least 39 times in Mark’s Gospel.
[6] . Genesis 2:1-3.
[7] . Exodus 20:8-11.
[8] . John 20:1, John 20:19, Acts 20:7.

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Questions on Chapter 2
Mark 1:14-28 The early priorities of Jesus.

A. What does ‘believe’ really mean? What does it not mean? James 2:19 John 1:12 Romans 10:9-10

B. How do Simon, Andrew, James and John respond to Jesus? How can you respond to Him immediately? Mark 1:20 Romans 14:9 John 2:5

C. How does the way that Jesus’ keeps the Sabbath give a helpful example to His disciples and to you? Mark 1:21-28 Isaiah 58:13-14