Day 1: Jesus Christ, The Son of God (1:1-20)

Discussion Questions

(1) Why is Jesus the One worth following (c.f 1:1, top of paragraph 2)?

(2) “Now, with the veil torn, we can more fully approach God the Father because of the intercession of Jesus.” What is the significance of this truth (c.f. 1:10; 15:38, 3 paragraph pg. 3)?

(3) What hinders you from following God immediately in full obedience (c.f. 1:18, pg. 4)?

(4) Will you commit to 40 days with Jesus?

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20 replies
  1. Logan Hurley
    Logan Hurley says:

    The first question has been echoing around in my head every day since this was posted, and I keep finding new ways in which Mark 1:1-20 answers that question. I think I’ve settled in myself that I think Mark is communicating three answers to it.
    First, Jesus is worth following because he is YHWH come down to save the world. Assuming that John Mark chose to cite Isaiah 40 very intentionally in 1:3 (because there are other things which could be ascribed to the Malachi-mentioned messenger), it seems telling that 40:3 begins a lengthy poetic section that different outlines I looked at call “Deliverance and Restoration of Israel,” “Comfort and Redemption,” etc. This long poem over-and-over emphasizes that it is God himself who will accomplish Israel’s salvation, that YHWH will come to judge the world’s evils and cleanse, forgive, and restore Israel. The result is that the world will be set right at last, filled with justice and the worship of YHWH. John’s summarized sermon in 1:7-8 matches the cry of the voice in 3b. John instructs Israel (maybe the whole world?) to prepare because YHWH is coming, and his way must be straight. Immediately after this declaration, the fullness of YHWH breaks into the scene in 1:9-11. The Son accepting his commission, the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon him, and the Father sending, commending, and loving him are to Mark the picture of what it means for YHWH to be coming to set the world right.

    That certainly would be enough to make Jesus worth following, but I noticed that 1:12-13 doesn’t really fit neatly with that idea. Mark sees more. He jumps straight from Jesus-as-YHWH come down to Jesus overcoming Satan’s temptations in the wilderness surrounded by beasts. So the second reason is that Jesus has come as the True Human. His forty days in the wilderness references Israel’s repeated failures in their 40 years in the wilderness. He succeeds where Israel failed. He also succeeds where Adam failed. The reference to beasts portrays Jesus as an Adam who resists temptation not in the comforts of the garden of Eden, but in the wreck and discord left over from the disaster that happened in that garden. Humanity was always meant to be the portrayal of God in the world, to rule the world as YHWH would, to cultivate and benefit it. Humanity has a pretty poor track record of it, though. Every time we find something we’re supposed to rule over and care for, we find ourselves colonizing and brutalizing it instead, ironically letting its ability to fill our needs rule over us. Not Jesus. In the midst of very great need, he walks the way humans were always meant to walk. He is the first human to be human the way humans were always supposed to be human.

    And that certainly would be enough to make him worth following. But Mark gives still more. As a consequence of Jesus being YHWH-come-down-to-save-us and the true human, Jesus immediately sets upon the business of announcing what he is doing. He proclaims that God’s kingdom (his own kingdom) has come, and then gives actions that those who hear and desire that kingdom are to take if they would participate in that kingdom, which is the restoration of themselves and the very world: repent and believe the good news that Jesus is proclaiming. Then it gets even better, because he goes to two brothers in particular and brings them into this work of kingdom-making and creation-renewing. Jesus is worth following because he is not only YHWH come down to save the world by being truly human, he is about the business of creating a people who are truly human as well.

    So why do I hesitate from following this glorious picture of Jesus that Mark presents? More than I realize, I’m sure. The biggest that I’m bumping up against in this phase of my life is that I really hate making waves. I hate doing things that occur to me might create misunderstanding, or which could be unwelcome. Being friendly and speaking about God in passing is safe enough, but really going to my neighbors and inviting them into the same story of God saving the world that Jesus has invited me into is a whole other thing. Even going about the works that God calls me to as a part of my own invitation is daunting. The rescuing love of God does not leave the world the way it was, but I find the status quo so hard to push against that I end up feeling claustrophobic. I feel squeezed between the glory of Christ and the weight of the world as I find it. I must believe more deeply that what Jesus is doing is more valuable that the odd looks and misunderstandings it will create.

  2. Nick Romero
    Nick Romero says:

    Jesus is worth following because he and he alone is the Son of God. In this time of my life, I admit there is temptation to follow after other things, just as an escape from the anxieties of 2021, as well as being a parent of 2 under 2 years old. But everyday I am reminded of the supremacy and sovereignty of God, as well as the women waiting for me as I come home after work, who are relying on me to be the leader I need to be.

    JOE MAUPIN says:

    As with Ginger we appreciated the ‘golden nugget ‘ of the veil being torn at Jesus baptism and at His death. Also the comparison of Israel being in the wilderness for 40 years and failing God, and Christ being in the wilderness for 40 days and being obedient to God. We really appreciate our Pastor….

  4. Brandon Pisacrita
    Brandon Pisacrita says:

    I resonated with the immediacy of Peter, Andrew, James and John following Jesus. Jesus called me and I followed Him. The conviction is how immediate am I following in the day to day–or is it a delayed obedience.
    I appreciate the importance of discipleship. Jesus is intentional to pour into these guys. It makes me thankful for those whom God has placed in my life that discipled me and those are discipling me now–

  5. Rose Booth
    Rose Booth says:

    Whenever I read about John the Baptist it is always a reminder of his role in preparing the way for Jesus. I loved how it was pointed out The Baptist means the messenger and the voice. We’re all called to be a gospel messenger and voice to those who need to know the gospel.

  6. Michael Knight
    Michael Knight says:

    I am so thankful for the intercession of Jesus. Without it, I would not have an advocate speaking to God on my behalf when I sin and need him the most. I am excited for this church-wide study in Mark and I look forward to reading and interacting with y’all as the Spirit leads us to follow God more faithfully.

  7. Phil and Terri
    Phil and Terri says:

    In today’s reading, our personal discussion focused on the word immediately. Often times we do follow In obedience to Christ but we follow on our time line. It was a beautiful reminder today of the importance and urgency of the Kingdom work.

  8. Ginger W
    Ginger W says:

    Very interesting observation that Mark has bookends of heavens torn open when Jesus’ earthly ministry began and veil torn open when His redemptive work was finished. Makes me eager for the day when the heavens will be torn open again when He returns!

    • Pauline Eldridge
      Pauline Eldridge says:

      Ginger, that was what stood out to me the most today also. I had never heard anyone point that out before. I love the imagery of how it is God’s doing each time. He goes to great lengths to tear away all the barriers that keep us from Him.

      • Beckham Eldridge
        Beckham Eldridge says:

        I too was struck by the imagery of the bookends. My thoughts went to the idea that at Jesus’ Baptism, God tore open the heavens to Jesus the man. Then at His crucifixions, he finishes the tearing so that Heaven is now open to all who believe.

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