Jesus and Discipleship (Mark 1)




If you seen one you’ve seen all…

–        Me growing up about books = boring… but not = blessing

–        My girls about sports… they are all the same and not really important to them, haha.

–        Danielle about seafood… nope; appearance turns down appetite.

–        Men with mall shopping… women – but this mall has this store and this plaza has such place and town center has this… !?!?

–        Volcano tourism… it’s a hole in the ground.


Some people read the Bible and wonder why we have 4 Gospels and not just one since they all tell us about Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. In reading we see they contain approximately 60% of the same material, but each has his own unique perspective and intention for writing. They are sort of like today’s news: ABC, NBC, CBS, or BBC!

–        Matthew was written to a Jewish audience with lots of OT prophecies pointing to Jesus.

–        Mark to a Roman audience and straight forwardness of Jesus man of divine action and king.

–        Luke to a Gentile audience with unique parables reflecting Jesus’ identity.

–        John to a Greek audience with Jesus as the logos and wisdom.



–        My last preaching of Gospel of Mark was 2010; my first few months at SPBC. But you go back and look in the fridge and you’ll see that I’m still serving fresh bread.

o   Read Mark:

–        Mark1:1-20         Jesus and Discipleship

o   Discipleship is about followship

o   Why do we follow Jesus?

4 reasons:


We follow Jesus because of God’s orchestrating life influences.

–        Mark followed Jesus from his family influence.

According to tradition, Mark was born in N. Africa. Mark was part of early church who used his house to gather and pray (Acts 12:12). His mother was a woman named Mary, and he had a special relationship with Peter (1Peter 5:13); was a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10) and missionary traveling companion with Paul (Acts 12:25; 13:5) and Barnabas (Acts 15:39-41). Mark had his mistakes during the mission journeys (Acts 15:38) but he also grew in maturity and ministry (Philemon 1:24; 2Timothy 4:11). Tradition tells us Mark brought Christianity to Egypt (Alexandria) and upon a return to this area he was persecuted and a rope placed around his neck tied to a horse and dragged multiple days to his death. So, while Mark may have been brought to faith through family, he lived and died for his own convictions.

o   Always interesting when parents say I don’t want to influence or force a religion on my children. So you allow someone else to influence them? No! Purpose of parenting is influence and as a child grows they will still make independent decisions.

  • Unless you live in nation of extreme persecution, but then you see boldness not apathy.[1]


–        Mark gives us the Gospel of Jesus from the vantage point of Peter. Some may question the Gospel accounts accuracy about Jesus. Studying NT criticism and the historical events helps us to have confidence in the Gospel accounts for the following reasons:

o    Gospels’ content are candid. If you were to create a heroic story about a man and his followers, you would not include random details (grass is green – Mark 6:39; 153 fish – John 21:11; etc.); not include repeated dysfunction: disciples afraid and lack faith – Mark 4:40; 6:50; disciples want to send away crowd but Jesus wants to keep, feed and care – Mark 6:36; 8:4; disciples lack of trust in God’s provision – Mark 7:14-21; Peter’s rebuke of Jesus and foolish claims – Mark 8:32-33; 9:5; disciples lack of faith and ability – Mark 9:19; disciples arrogance – Mark 9:33-37; 10:35-45; disciples stopping people Jesus wanted to continue working – Mark 9:38-41; disciples hindering children approaching Jesus – Mark 10:13-16; disciples thinking earthly wealth determines eternal blessing – Mark 10:23-26; disciples view lavish devotion to Jesus was unnecessary – Mark 14:4-5; Judas’ betrayal – Mark 14:10-21, 43; a disciples running away naked – Mark 14:52; Peter’s denial of Jesus – Mark 14:66-72; Peter waiting with the message of the resurrection – Mark 16:7. The narrative examples of the disciples being slow, selfish, and short-sighted are in contrast to the fact they would become future heroes of Christianity. The candidness of the Gospel’s showing female testimony to the resurrection would have been discredited to those of their day, but the Gospel’s are merely being candid in their reported accuracy.

o    Gospels’ content are corresponding. Like hand in glove, NT fulfills OT prophecy hundreds of years preceding. Further, Jesus viewed the OT as Scripture (see repeated quotes in Gospels); and so did Peter with Paul (2Peter 3:16) and Paul with Luke (1Timothy 5:18); as did Paul on all Scripture (2Tim 3:15-17).

o    Gospels’ content are written close to the events. The Gospel writers record their accounts between 20-30 years after the actual historical events. This is too short a time for the accounts to be mythical or legend because they could have been verified. In fact, some of the writings quote contemporary songs/poetry of the day that were well engrained in culture, showing the writings were simply writing facts about the events.
o    Gospels’ content are common. The material was spread across Jerusalem to Asia and Rome. Churches and Christians were using the Gospel accounts and NT letters as accurate and authoritative documents across large geographic areas. So, to say that the Bible was created or corrupted is just not honestly dealing with the facts. The Church recognized the canon (Bible books) but they did not create or corrupt it.

o    Gospels’ content are costly. If you were to create a story that is knowingly false then you would not suffer in depth persecution and ultimately martyrdom. Yet, that is exactly what each of the disciples did along with numerous others.

o    Gospels’ content are life-changing. The Bible has changed not only the lives of the Apostles but mine and other Christians. Almost every Apostle died a martyr’s death – even Peter who denied Jesus and later was reinstated as a leading evangelist for the Christian faith; and he would die crucified upside down! At one point, Paul said there were over 500 living eyewitnesses whom could have verified Jesus was resurrected. Simply put, the Bible is not just another book – it is historical truth – the Word of God.


–        Mark is small but swift and substantial.

o   Mark has 16 chapters compared to Matthew 28, Luke 24, John 21.

o   In Mark, Jesus is always on the move with “immediate” (36x) action. The substance of the Gospel is its fast paced accounts of Jesus’ miracles and teaching ministry pointing to the message that Jesus is the Son of God to suffer and be the substitutionary sacrifice for humanity.

o   It’s also swift in that it opens with the later life of Jesus and assumes the reader knows the unique birth account of the Son of God.

o   It also is swift at the end of Jesus’s life ending abruptly after the resurrection and the disciples left astounded.

  • Perhaps Mark was challenging the reader’s discipleship to explore Jesus’s life and resurrection for ourselves to consider our next faith action; or perhaps Mark’s ending was abrupt and unfinished because of his own persecution during the day.
  • Some manuscripts have provided an alternate ending. We may never know for certain, except that the other Gospel accounts and the book of Acts are clear for us to know the history and example left for us to follow.


We follow Jesus because God’s victory.

“Always grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph, sink your thumbs into his windpipe in the second, and hold him against the wall until the tagline.” — Author Paul O’Neil

There are undoubtedly a lot of stories that Mark heard from Peter or experienced with Paul. But Mark wants us to swiftly see the purpose of Jesus is tied to the gospel.

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1)

Mark grips the reader with the gospel. εὐαγγέλιον / Euangelion is good news (gospel), signifying an announcement of victory in battle or appointment of a new leader/king in power, showing the parallels of Roman emperor worship. Mark’s vantage point is we have victory. We do not have to live in despair or defeat. We have a resurrected king.

–        We have victory over temptation.
Mark 1:13 “Jesus was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.” Mark’s point is that Jesus survived every human temptation and trial. Jesus is with you in every struggle. Hebrews 4:15 “Jesus is one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
1Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

–        We have victory over sin.
Mark 1:8, 15 “Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit… repent and believe in the gospel”
Mark shows Jesus frees us from slaves to sin. We can see and select differently if we have God’s Spirit.
Romans 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

–        We have victory over death.

Mark’s gospel ends with amazement and fear at Jesus’s resurrection. The women are silent because no one can conquer death but God. So, as bookends of Mark’s Gospel, the reader sees that Jesus is truly the Son of God (Mark 1:1; 15:39 /A Roman centurion is the highlight of faith) who conquers death and creates new life.


è Are you living in celebration and confidence of Jesus’s resurrection? Or are you living cheerless and condemned without purpose or hope?

o   Journey with Jesus…

o   Journey with SPBC… we open Bibles to learn and open lives to love.


We follow Jesus because Jesus’s uniqueness.

My children enjoy Play-Doh. Play-Doh has variety of colors to select and tools to shape clay into many sizes and objects. The neat features of playing with clay is 1) you can create based on your imagination, and 2) you can always start over again. While I like Play-Doh, I dislike that many people tread Jesus the same way. People have a Play-Doh God-Jesus-Spirit that creates God based on their own views rather than who Scripture presents us to view and value.

–        While the Bible teaches one belief, people say they have a different interpretation.

–        While Jesus affirms certain actions and hates others, people say God is full of forgiveness and love.

–        If we think God is always aligned with all our personal actions/opinions/beliefs then it’s very likely we have a Play-Doh Jesus.

Mark’s Gospel shows us the uniqueness and accuracy of Jesus’s identity.

–        Jesus = Savior (Mark 1:1). And there’s only one (Acts 4:12).

–        Christ = Messiah, promised one (Mark 1:1)

–        Son of God (Mark 1:1; 1:11). Mark emphasizes Jesus’s deity and doesn’t mention Jesus as Mary’s son; title in the Hellenistic world represented superhuman distinction.[2]

–        The Lord (Mark 1:3)

–        Powerful & Worthy (Mark 1:7)

–        in the water Baptized & Baptizing with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8-10)

o   Jesus, as a 30-year old adult is baptized as our human/divine rep and as our example.

o   Two separate actions: baptism with Spirit occurs at salvation and baptism with water follows salvation as a symbol of faith and submission to Jesus and His church. While baptism water does not save it does sanctify and reflect surrender to your Lord.

–        in the wilderness tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12-13)

o   The first Adam was in the garden and fell into temptation. The second Adam enters a damaged garden – the wilderness and with wild animals – and overcomes, to begin restoration of creation. (cf. Isa 11:6-9).

o   “Given the ravaging of Christians by ferocious animals during Nero’s reign, it is not difficult to imagine Mark including the unusual phrase “with the wild beasts” in order to remind his Roman readers that Christ, too, was thrown to wild beasts, and as the angels ministered to him, so, too, will they minister to Roman readers facing martyrdom.”[3]

–        Served by angels (Mark 1:13)

o   Anytime an angel appears he refuses worship. But Jesus is worshiped by angels showing divinity.

–        Preacher of the good news (gospel) of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:14)

o   Don’t hold this title “preacher” against Jesus! He is brilliant, marvelous, and will never disappoint.

è Does your words, your ways, and your worship reflect Jesus?

o   Words: principles and purpose

o   Ways: priorities

o   Worship: passion


We follow Jesus on His terms not our own.

The message of Jesus was 3-fold (Mark 1:15):

–        “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand…”
The καιρός unique moment of opportunity was present in Jesus showing the way to God. 

è What/where is the Holy Spirit leading you to a kairos moment?

This week in UK, Minister of International Development, Michael Bates was a minutes late for start of parliament. In some sense he is an example of the kairos moment of being present and practicing repentance.

“My lords, with the leave of the House, I wonder if you’d permit me to offer my sincere apologies to Baroness Mister for my discourtesy in not being in my place to answer her question on a very important matter. I’ve always believed that we should offer – rise to the highest possible standards of courtesy and respect. I’m thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place, and therefore I shall be offering my resignation to the prime minister… With immediate effect. I do apologize.” [And with that he walked out of the chamber.][4]

–        “Repent”

The language Jesus uses is a present command, meaning an ongoing lifestyle practicing repentance, changing of mind, motivation, and mood. Our heart is bent toward selfishness and sin, but by grace through faith in Christ, God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.

è Where do you need repentance – may be change of a bad act or change to start a good action?


–        “Believe” and “Follow Me” (1:20)

o   To Jesus, faith has no meaning apart from following.

o   In Mark’s Gospel, those who have faith and following Jesus are those least expected – those who would surprise us today.

  • Fishermen and business men (Mark 1:16-20)
  • A begging leper (Mark 1:40-42)
  • Four unnamed friends of a paralytic (Mark 2:5)
  • A rich and ruthless tax collector (Mark 2:13-17)
  • Dangerously demon-possessed (Mark 5:18-20; 9:20-29)
  • A hemorrhaging woman (Mark 5:34)
  • A daughter of an evil governmental empire (Mark 5:41-42; cf Rom 15:39)
  • A foreign and defiant woman with her sick daughter (Mark 7:24-30)
  • Physically handicap people (Mark 7:31-37; 8:22-27; 10:46-52)
  • Children (Mark 9:36-37; 10:13-16)
  • A penniless widow (Mark 12:41-44)
  • A scandalous woman (Mark 14:3-9)


And those who should have a faith advantage are those who surprising stumble.

  • Family members of Jesus (Mark 3:31-35)
  • Friends and hometown acquaintances of Jesus (Mark 6:1-6)
  • Religious experts (Mark 2:18-28; 7:1-23; 8:11-21; 10:2-12; 11:15-19, 27-33; 12:12-27, 38-40)
  • Wealthy and educated (Mark 10:17-31)
  • Close but unconverted – Judas (Mark 14:10-11)

è Jesus isn’t looking for fans but followers.

o   Conversion should lead toward commitment; Savior & Lord; disciple/apprentice was life-long and replicated for others to apprentice. Is your faith more mature in the last 1-3+ years or are you stagnant? If stagnant, then figure what has changed and how to revive walk. Often we do not grow out of love with God but out of repentance.

o   Making disciples… each one reach one. If not, we are not a church but a club.

  • Jesus makes us fishers not keepers of the aquarium.
  • à 9Arts training and task in 2018



◊      Becoming a Christian and following in baptism and church membership.

◊      Becoming connected to Jesus’ church. Jesus called disciples to covenant relationship not just a loose affiliation.

◊      Revival personally and repenting of sin that distracted your faith and committing to growing in faith.





[2] See James Edwards, Pillar NT Commentary, see Mark 15:39 excursus; and Mark’s “blue chip” title for Jesus (Mark 1:1; 1:11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 12:6; 12:37; 13:32; 14:61-62; 15:39).

[3] Ibid. Mark 1:13.


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