Evangelist's Literary Introduction - "The beginning of the good news(gospel; euangelion) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (v. 1)
As written by the prophet Isaiah (and Malachi), John the Baptist preaches repentance in the wilderness (vv. 2-6)
John speaks about Jesus coming after him: "I baptize with water; he will baptize with holy Spirit" (vv. 7-8)
Jesus comes from Nazareth and is baptized by John in the Jordan river; heavens open; the Spirit descends (vv. 9-10)
A voice from heaven speaks to Jesus: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (v. 11)
The Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness, where he remains for forty days, tested by Satan (vv. 12-13)
Jesus' Initial Preaching - "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." (vv. 14-15)
[The first words of Jesus in Mark's Gospel proclaim the urgency of his message, his focus on God, and the response expected from the listeners.]
Some Typical Events in Jesus' Ministry (1:16-45):
The first Vocation story: Jesus calls four fishermen, who follow him as his disciples (vv. 16-20)
The first Exorcism: Jesus exorcises an unclean spirit in Capernaum (vv. 21-28)
The first Healing narrative: Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law of a fever (vv. 29-31)
The first Healing summary: Jesus heals many sick people and drives out many demons (vv. 32-34)
The first Prayer: Jesus goes off by himself early in the morning to pray (v. 35)
The first Journey: Jesus expands his preaching beyond Capernaum (vv. 36-39)
The first Restoration story: Jesus cleanses a leper, restoring him to health and to society (vv. 40-45)
A Comparison of Mark 1 and Parallel Episodes in the other Gospels:
John the Baptist preaches in the wilderness
Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan river
Jesus is tested by Satan in the wilderness
Jesus preaches the Good News in Galilee
Jesus calls his first four disciples
Jesus exorcizes an unclean spirit at Capernaum
[Sermon on the Mount]
Jesus heals Simon's Mother-in-law
Jesus heals and exorcizes many others
Jesus prays; then preaches beyond Capernaum
Jesus cleanses a leper
A Cycle of Five "Conflict Stories" (Mark 2:1—3:6)
Mark seems to have intentionally grouped these five conflict stories together near the beginning of his Gospel.
Note how each story ends with one or two brief sayings of Jesus, which seem to express the main point of the story.
Note also how the conflict builds from one story to the next, culminating in the plot to kill Jesus in 3:6.
Healing a Paralytic
Jesus' Saying: "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" (2:10).
Calling Levi, a Tax Collector
scribes of the Pharisees
eating with tax collectors and sinners
Jesus' Sayings: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick"
(2:17a); "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners" (2:17b).
disciples not fasting
Jesus' Sayings: "The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them."
(2:19-20); "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak." (2:21-22).
Plucking Grain on the Sabbath
breaking the sabbath
Jesus' Sayings: "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath"
(2:27); "so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath" (2:28).
Restoring a Man's Withered Hand
"them" (Pharisees & Herodians)
healing on the sabbath
Jesus' Question: "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" (3:4).
Jesus' Early Ministry: Training the Twelve Disciples (Mark 3:7—6:6a)
Jesus Interacts with Crowds and Opponents, Disciples and Family (3:7-35)
Crowds from Galilee and beyond come to Jesus, who heals them (3:7-12)
Jesus chooses twelve followers "to be with him and to be sent out" (3:13-19)
Scribes from Jerusalem challenge Jesus: the Beelzebul controversy (3:20-30)
Jesus speaks of his family and true disciples, who do the will of God (3:31-35)
Jesus Teaches the Crowds and the Disciples with Enigmatic Parables (4:1-34)
The Evangelist introduces Jesus’ teaching in parables (4:1-2)
The Parable of the Sower & the Seed (4:3-8)
Why Jesus Uses Parables (4:10-12)
Jesus explains the Sower & the Seed to his disciples (4:13-20)
The Lamp on a Stand & various short sayings about Jesus’ parables (4:21-25)
Two Parables about the Kingdom of God:
The Seed Growing Secretly (4:26-29)
The Mustard Seed (4:30-32)
The Evangelist summarizes Jesus' use of parables (4:33-34)
Jesus Shows His Power in Words and Mighty Deeds (4:35—6:6a)
Jesus calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee by "rebuking" the wind (4:35-41)
Jesus expels a "Legion" of unclean spirits from the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20)
Jesus heals a bleeding woman and restores Jairus' daughter to life (5:21-43)
Jesus teaches in Nazareth, his hometown, but is rejected by the people (6:1-6a)
Jesus' Expanded Ministry: Sending Out the Twelve Apostles (Mark 6:6b—8:21)
Jesus sends the Twelve on a mission to preach, heal, perform exorcisms (6:6b-13)
The death of John the Baptist is recounted (6:14-29)
Jesus' disciples fail to understand the significance of the yeast and bread (8:14-21)
Mark's Central Section: "On the Way" to Jerusalem (Mark 8:22—10:52)
Jesus Journeys from Bethsaida and Caesarea Philippi to Jericho and Jerusalem (built around three Passion predictions, each of which is followed by the misunderstanding of one or more of the disciples, and further teaching by Jesus about the requirements of true discipleship):
[Transition/preface: 8:14-21 - The "blindness" of the disciples!]
8:22-26 - The Two-Stage Restoration of Sight to a Blind Person at Bethsaida, north of the Sea of Galilee
8:27-30 - Peter's Confession near Caesarea Philippi: "You are the Christ";
but Jesus orders them "not to tell anyone about him"
8:31 - First Passion Prediction (Son of Man must suffer, be rejected, be killed, and rise after three days)
8:32-33 - Peter misunderstands and "rebukes" Jesus, who "rebukes" Peter in return
8:34–9:1 - Jesus teaches: "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it."
9:2-30 - Transfiguration; Coming of Elijah; Exorcism of an Epileptic Spirit
9:31-32 - Second Passion Prediction (Son of Man will be betrayed, be killed, but rise after three days)
9:33-34 - All the disciples misunderstand, arguing who among them was the greatest
9:35-50 - Jesus teaches: "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all."
10:1-31 - Teaching on Divorce; Blessing of Children; the Rich Man
10:32-34 - Third Passion Prediction (Son of Man will be handed over, condemned to death, mocked, spat upon, scourged, put to death, but will rise after three days)
10:35-40 - James and John misunderstand, asking for the seats of honor when Jesus is in "glory"
10:41-45 - Jesus teaches: "Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
10:46-52 - The Immediate Restoration of Sight to Blind Bartimaeus outside of Jericho, on the way to Jerusalem
Contrasting Mark’s Two Stories of Jesus Healing Blind People:
22 – Intro: Blind man at Bethsaida, Request to touch
46 – Intro: Jesus leaving Jericho, Blind beggar Bartimaeus
23 – Jesus touches the man’s eyes (with spittle)
47 – Bartimaeus cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy”
24 – The man can see unclearly (trees walking?)
48a – People rebuke and try to silence him
25a – Jesus touches the man’s eyes again
48b – Bartimaeus cries again, “Son of David, have mercy”
25b – The man’s sight is restored; he sees clearly
49-50 – Jesus stops & calls him; Bartimaeus approaches Jesus
26 – Jesus sends the man home (not into the village)
51 – Dialogue: “What do you want?” – “Lord, I want to see!”
52 – “Go, your faith has saved you”; Bartimaeus follows Jesus
Jesus' Final Week in Jerusalem (Mark 11:1—13:37)
The Entry into Jerusalem and the Cleansing of the Temple (11:1-33)
Jesus and the disciples enter Jerusalem in a triumphant procession (11:1-10)
They enter the Temple briefly, but soon go out to Bethany since it is evening (11:11)
The next morning, Jesus curses a fruitless fig tree (11:12-14)
They enter the Temple; Jesus casts out the sellers, buyers, and money changers (11:15-19)
The next morning, the disciples see the fig tree withered (11:20-25)
They enter the Temple again; officials approach and challenge his authority (11:27-33)
Further Controversies with the Jerusalem Authorities (12:1-44)
The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, directed against the temple authorities (12:1-12)
Pharisees and Herodians question Jesus about paying taxes (12:13-17)
Some Sadducees question Jesus about the resurrection of the dead (12:18-27)
A "Good Scribe" questions Jesus about the greatest commandment (12:28-34)
Jesus questions the scribes about the "Son of David" (12:35-40)
Jesus commends a poor widow for her offering given to the temple treasury (12:41-44)