Jesus preaches. Jesus calls the disciples, and begins healing. Teaching continues around the region. His fame spreads.
A. 1:1–13 Preparation
B. 1:14–3:6 Ministry in Galilee
B.i 1:14–1:45 First Capernaum visit
Jesus begins his ministry by calling to faith and repentance (1:15). Some, later to be apostles, follow his call. He begins his healing too alongside preaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, but the disciples do not understand who he is. He heals many sick as his fame spreads, but does not let the local crowds distract him from his mission to the whole region. A leper is healed, only after which can he enter back into a fruitful, pleasing relationship with God (1:44).
Things to talk about
14 What exactly is he preaching?
16–20 How do these answers to Jesus' call line up with Jesus' message in v. 15? What is Mark saying by putting this block of teaching at the very start? Do you think Jesus has power?
22 Who do the various players (disciples, bystanders, and Jesus himself) think Jesus is at this point?
39 Of the three things Jesus has done so far, which is not mentioned here, and why might that be?
Healing vs Teaching To explain how Jesus' healing ministry is only secondary, consider the placement of the teaching first, and the calls afterwards as the kingdom begins. We would expect therefore Mark to show now to his readers that Jesus really is the king of the kingdom of God in v. 15, which is how he is acting in 16–20.
24 Spirits should be afraid, their leader having already been defeated (13).
27 The signs validate his teaching, much as for the OT prophets, but unlike conventional sermons, which would often fall back on famous Rabbis' teaching.
34 We know that Jesus' mission is primarily to be the king, and that healing is just one kingly function foreshadowing his full healing. How do his actions here show his desire to be clear, not misleading, in his revelation of his identity? (That is, what false impression might there be to avoid?)
35 Jesus' earthly mission is not detached from his Father, and the eternal commitment to follow the Father and proceed from him in action and purpose has not changed.
Points for us
31 When we read stories, we usually picture ourselves as the hero or apostle. How is this not true here?
41 Jesus inconvenienced himself greatly by choosing to show compassion here.