These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for grammatical or spelling errors. I present it to you as-is.
Today we start a new sermon series. We are going to take a hard look at what the gospel is, who Jesus really is, and what it means to follow Jesus throughout our lives and in very practical ways.
As we go through the gospel of Mark you will encounter Jesus. Your view of Jesus will change. He will become greater to you. He will become more personal, powerful, and incredible. You will be amazed at Him and stand in awe of how wonderful, mighty, divine, and significant He is to you and everyone you love.
As you see Jesus more clearly and fall in love with Him more deeply the way you live, your values, your convictions, your words, your motives, your heart, and behavior will begin to be transformed to be more and more like Him. You will find Jesus rubbing off on you and coming through you to bless others. In Him you will find your significance, purpose, and meaning. You will see yourself truly as a follower of Jesus.
To get us started we need to begin with some basics. Let’s begin with verse 1.
Verse 1 is the title and summary of the whole book of Mark. It tells you exactly what these 16 chapters are all about. Mark 1:1 says, “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (NLT). Another translation says, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (CSB). From this we see several truths about the gospel. Let’s unpack them.
The gospel is about God’s work.
First, the gospel is about God’s work. Mark 1:1 begins by saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (CSB).
When you here the phrase “the beginning” don’t think chronological. Don’t think Mark is telling you that the gospel begins with John the Baptist or Jesus’ baptism. Because Ephesians 1:4 says, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (vs.4-5, NLT). Before the world was made God loved you and chose you in Christ to be a part of His family. That’s a summary of the good news. So when Mark refers to this as “the beginning” of the gospel he is really talking about Jesus earthly ministry. This is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his ministry on earth.
But there is something else here you should think about. The phrase “the beginning” implies there is something more coming. It’s like when the cook says let the meal begin. He brings out the one platter. But that’s just the beginning. Then he brings out another platter and another platter and another platter. This is only the beginning.
- So, the baptism of Jesus, the victory over the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, Jesus casting out an evil spirit in the synagogue, Jesus healing the man with leprosy,
- Jesus healing the paralyzed man, Jesus calling his disciples to follow him, Jesus teaching with authority, Jesus calming the storm, Jesus sending out the disciples,
- Jesus feeding miraculously the five thousand, Jesus walking on water, Jesus healing a blind man,
- Jesus sinless life, Jesus being crucified and wounded for our transgressions, buried for our transgressions, resurrecting from the grave justifying me, and then ascending to the heavenly Father is only “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ”!
The gospel is about Jesus and what He has done, but its also about what He is doing to do when He returns. Mark is going to unpack all that for us. Mark is saying the 16 chapters of this gospel is only the beginning of the good news… there is so much more to come. God is at work, that’s the good news.
The gospel is about God’s good news.
Number two, the gospel is about God’s good news. Mark 1:1 says, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (CSB). The word “gospel” (euangelizo) was a secular word well before Christians ever used it. The word “gospel” was a word that had no spiritual meaning whatsoever. The word was used to describe the duties of an official messenger bringing good news concerning the progress of battle, the birth of royalty, the coming arrival of a king, or other significant good news matters.
The first Christians, like Mark, took the word “gospel” and redeemed and repurposed it and used it to help explain what was taking place with Jesus Christ. The early church took the term and applied it to Jesus Christ and the eternal salvation He brings.
Listen carefully, many believers when they hear the word “gospel” they think of the four gospels: the gospel of Matthew, the gospel of Mark, the gospel of Luke and the gospel of John. To the first Christians, the “gospel” does not refer to a book, but to a person who brings salvation and a transformed life by the power of that person.
This is why Paul would say in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation to everyone who believes” (CSB). He is referring to the gospel and good news that you can have with Jesus Christ and the power of God that comes from that for salvation.
The gospel is about God’s salvation.
Number three, the gospel is about God’s salvation. It is about why Jesus lived and died and resurrected. Mark 1:1 begins by saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (CSB). The name “Jesus” means the Lord saves. This is why in Matthew 1:21 the angel told Joseph, “You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (NLT). God the Father wanted to make sure that God the Son had a name that reflected His mission and purpose. Everything about Jesus was to be about saving His people from their sins.
The name Jesus points to His saving power.
- Jesus would save His people from the penalty of sin.
- Jesus would save His people from the power of sin.
- Jesus would save His people from the presence of sin.
The name “Jesus” would reflect His character, mission, purpose, power, and authority as the Son of God.
- That’s why Peter said in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (NLT).
- That’s why John would say in John 20:31, “But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name” (NLT).
- That’s why Philippians 2:9 says, “God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (vs. 9-11, NLT).
- This is why the disciples said in Luke 10:17, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” (NLT).
- Romans 10:13, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (NLT).
As we go through Mark we are going to encounter Jesus and we are going to encounter His power, His nature, His authority, and His mission in the world and upon your life. With each section we see in Mark we are going to encounter the power of the name of Jesus and begin to understand the depth of what it means to be saved by Him.
The gospel is about God’s mission.
Number four, the gospel is about God’s mission. It’s about the anointed one coming to minister and serve you and me. Mark 1:1 begins by saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (CSB). The name “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. Jesus’ earthly dad’s name was not Joseph Christ and Jesus’ mother was not Mary Christ. His name is Jesus and his title is “Christ.”
The word “Christ” means “the anointed one.” It describes someone chosen, set apart, and equipped by God for a mission.
- In the Old Testament people were anointed to be kings in order to rule and lead the people.
- They were anointed to be priests in order to represent the people to God and God to the people.
- They were anointed to be prophets to speak God’s truth to the people.
Jesus is all three of those in one called Christ. He is the anointed one to rule and lead God’s people, to represent God to the people and the people to God, and to deliver God’s truth to the people. He is the anointed one, the Christ. Let me show you why this is significant to you.
In Matthew 16 we are told about Jesus asking His disciples this question, “Who do the people say that the son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the other prophets” (vs.13-14, ESV). Today, some people may say Jesus was a great teacher, leader, and a person who loves people and a good example to follow. But then look at verse 15, “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” If you and I were alone and I were to ask you that question. What would be the first thing to come to your mind. How would you personally answer that question? Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (vs. 16-17, ESV).
When Jesus was being interrogated before He was crucified one of the key questions His opposition demanded, “Tell us if you are the Christ, the son of God” (Matthew 26;63, ESV).
One day while Jesus was at Simon’s house something incredible happened. Luke 4:40 says, Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ (vs. 40-41, ESV).
As the Christ, what does Jesus do? What is His purpose as the anointed one? Luke tells us in Luke 4:16. Look at this: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me [remember the title Christ means anointed one] to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21, ESV).
This title “Christ” identifies and points to Jesus being the chosen one and the anointed one to come from God to represent us to Him and Him to us. As we go through Mark, we are going to encounter this Christ in all His glory and power and anointing. By the time we get to the end of Mark not only will you love the name Jesus, but you will also love the title Christ.
The gospel is about God’s incarnation.
Number five, the gospel is about God’s incarnation. God becoming human. God coming to us. Mark 1:1 begins by saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (CSB). What does this mean to be “the Son of God” and why is it important?
In the Bible, Jesus is often called the Son of God, which means that He is God made manifest in human form (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is the Son of God because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), who is God. In Jesus’ time, the phrase son of man was used to signify a human being. In relation to that, Jesus being the Son of God, means that Jesus is God.
Throughout Mark you are going to encounter God in the flesh. You are going to encounter the Son of God. You will see God’s power, God’s authority, God’s glory, God’s grace, God’s truth, and God’s mercy displayed through Jesus perfectly.
Let me show some examples of where the Son of God shows and it’s significance.
- The devil referred to Jesus as the Son of God – Matthew 4:1-3 says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'” It was the devil was wanting to see how much God Jesus really was.
- The demons called Jesus the Son of God – Matthew 8:28-29 says, “When he [Jesus] arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?'” The demons recognized Jesus as God immediately and they knew what kind of power He had.
- The disciples referred to Jesus as the Son of God – Matthew 14:32-33 says, “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.'” Jesus had just been walking on the water during a storm and Peter went out to him, but sack in the water. Jesus reached out and rescued him and they climbed into the boat. The disciples immediately recognized Jesus demonstrating God’s power as the Son of God.
- The centurion proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God – Mark 15:39 says, “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!'” The centurion could easily see God’s grace, mercy, and love through Jesus.
- An angel called Jesus the Son of God – Luke 1:35 says “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.'” God would show up in the flesh. God would become human. God would become incarnate.
- Paul repeatedly referred to Jesus as the Son of God. Here is one instance – Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
- John gave Jesus the title Son of God – 1 John 4:14-16 says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.”
Can you call Jesus the Son of God? Is He God in your life? Have you given Him absolute control of your life and future?
As we go through the gospel of Mark you will encounter Jesus. Your view of Jesus will change. He will become greater to you. He will become more personal, powerful, and incredible. You will be amazed at Him and stand in awe of how wonderful, mighty, divine, and significant He is to you and everyone you love. You will discover the gospel of Jesus is the good news you have been longing for all your life.
As you see Jesus more clearly and fall in love with Him more deeply the way you live, your values, your convictions, your words, your motives, your heart, and behavior will begin to be transformed to be more and more like Him. You will find Jesus rubbing off on you and coming through you to bless others. In Him you will find your significance, purpose, and meaning. You will see yourself truly as a follower of Jesus. You will discover the gospel of Jesus is the good news you want to dedicate your whole to!
This week I want to encourage you read through the gospel of Mark. It is 16 short chapters. It doesn’t matter if you read it in one sitting or several. Just read it, but as you read it ask God this, “Lord, as I read the gospel of Mark help me to see the greatness of Jesus and help me to see why I need to follow Jesus at a greater level.”