Mark Chapter 1, verses 13–45: Jesus the Great Servant

Mark is introducing Jesus as the hard-working Servant.

Servants work for money and look for job-security and safety. Then work is a job. Your salary is your reward. You work for what you can get out of it.

Working for God is a calling.

You work for what you can put into it.

God drives a person to achieve very different goals to what that person would seek for themselves.

MARK 1:13    And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

The service of Jesus began with a 40 day fast in the harsh and lonely wilderness.

Wild beasts were a threat to His Life.

There was no time to relax, He had to be on His guard.

Satan was unleashed on the physically weakened and hungry  Man in order to get His eyes off the calling of God.

Jesus used no supernatural to defend Himself.

“It is written …..” was His reply to every question.

This teaches us the very heart of serving God.

Jesus got His guidance from what was actually written in the Scriptures.

Unlike Eve who got her guidance from some very plausible-sounding advice that was different to what God had said.

God can only trust us if we stay strictly Scriptural.

JOB 4:18   Behold, he (God) put no trust in his servants;

God knows that we are ignorant of much of the Bible.

In addition, under peer-pressure, we easily deviate from the Bible.

Thus God struggles to get us to be Scriptural.

When the 40 days were over, angels came to help Him.

This is one of the hidden strengths of Christianity. Invisible angels are there to help and protect us in the trials of life.

Thus we cannot actually lose in a situation.

Every time something goes “wrong” it is not a sign of rejection but a sign of re-direction.

Our so-called losses are actually just a learning curve where we allow painful lessons to teach us.

In school we learn the lesson first, then we write the test.

In God's school of hard knocks, we first undergo the test and then afterward we learn the lesson.

But in all our distress we have angelic help. So there is no need to despair.

When a door closes, a window of opportunity opens where we would never have normally looked.

MARK 1:14   Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

John the Baptist had been a mighty preacher.

So much so that some of his disciples could not realize that John’s ministry was to get them to follow Jesus, Who is the Word of God.

Dazzled by John’s spiritual strength and boldness, many people thought that John was the focus of God’s plan.

So John had to be taken off the scene.

The enemy of best is good.

John was so good as a prophet that people thought that he was the Christ.

People easily elevate a prophet to the level of the Godhead.

Only when John was in prison could the people take their eyes off him and then notice Jesus.

A prophet is sent to be the forerunner of Jesus. People are easily captivated by the prophet and ignore the Messiah that John was pointing to.

Brother Branham came to reveal the Word and people easily elevate his quotes above Scripture.

This is a basic human weakness.

JOHN 5:35   He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

John’s ministry was so dazzling that some of his disciples were blinded to the fact that Jesus was a brighter Light and far more important than John.

John summed up the issue very well.

JOHN 3:30   He (Jesus) must increase, but I (John the Baptist) must decrease.

This is essential advice for any servant of God.

We must die to self. Empty self-will out of our lives and fill the vacuum with the Holy Spirit.

Then God can operate in us and achieve His will.

MARK 1:15   And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Key thought for any servant of God:

Now is the time. God’s kingdom is almost here.

Not a church empire. Not a denominational program. Not a preacher’s ambition. But God’s kingdom.

What God wants to be done today is for us to contend for the faith that the saints once had.

JUDE 1:3   Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

We must go back to the beliefs of the first church age.

We must be just like the New Testament believers.

 

Jesus had been baptized near the city of Bethabara in the river Jordan.

After His ordeal or wilderness test, Jesus was next seen far in the north near the Sea of Galilee (the area of Galilee is shown in green).

This shows His energetic character. He had covered the length of Israel on foot.

Mark introduces Jesus as the energetic Servant. Never lazy. Always driven on by the indwelling Spirit of God.

COLOSSIANS 2:9   For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"Immediately". No time wasted.

"The Spirit driveth Him". God is in charge.

The human Man on the outside is fully surrendered to the supernatural Spirit within Him.

MARK 1:12   And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

A servant of God must allow God to fully control him.

If we want to serve God then we also need energy and a love of hard work.

Plus the spiritual toughness to endure the tests and hardships that come our way.

MARK 1:16   Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

“As He walked”. Mark is painting a picture of a Man of action.

Jesus looks for hard workers. Simon and Andrew were busy throwing their net into the sea. Jesus was not looking for men who were taking a break.

MARK 1:17   And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you become fishers of men.

Jesus tells them to follow Him.

The only way that you can become a fisher of men is to follow the leading and guidance of Jesus.

MARK 1:18   And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

The keyword is “straightway”.

Peter and Andrew were men who could act quickly and decisively.

There was no haggling over terms of employment. Self-gain was not their main interest.

When God called they simply followed.

Trusting God is the basis of serving God.

Reuben lost the birthright due to immorality.

His descendants could search their own hearts at great length in safety amongst the sheep. They had clever excuses, but they left the harsh fighting to others.
JUDGES 5:16   Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.

This was not the kind of disciple that Jesus was looking for.

MARK 1:19   And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.

Another two busy workers. Nets need maintenance.

Maintaining nets is the unexciting part of fishing.

But it illustrated their sense of responsibility. It was a  mundane job that needed to be done so that the next fishing trip would be more effective. Holes in the net would allow fish to escape. These men were careful and reliable. Good attributes for a servant.

MARK 1:20   And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

“Straightway”.  Again, these men were quick to respond.

They regarded the call of God as more important than family ties. Their father represented financial security for them in the family business. But they walked away from the prospects of financial gain.

The hired servants stayed with their father Zebedee because their focus was their salary.

Mark makes it clear that we do not serve God for financial gain.

These four men were losing a lot.

Fishing was their skill and their source of income. Now they had to walk away from the only job that they knew.

Are we prepared to suffer loss in order to follow Jesus?

Job laid down the criteria for a successful servant of God.

JOB 13:15   Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:

A servant simply follows and obeys the Master and does not question the circumstances.

MARK 1:21   And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

“straightway” is again mentioned.

Jesus had no hesitation. He always knew what He had to do and He was not a time-waster.

MARK 1:22   And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

The scribes tended to give various opinions.

The more they studied, the more opinions they could give.

But all they effectively did was to chase shadows in the mist.

All their “it might be this or it might be that” merely left people very unsure of themselves.

Jesus spoke directly.

Each Scripture had a clear-cut meaning. By the time He finished everybody knew exactly what those Scriptures meant.

MARK 1:23   And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

One unclean spirit spoke and said, “Let us alone”.

MARK 1:24   Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

In Genesis God said, “Let us make man”.

Why must that require three Spirits?

If three Spirits or Persons were involved with the creation of man, then we have this very strange situation.

Three Men in Heaven create a man and a woman on earth and call that “in our image”.

Something is very wrong with this idea.

The Holy Spirit is never given a name in Scripture.

In the Old Testament, there is no mention of God the Father. His name was JHWH or JHVH which is totally unpronounceable. So the name Jehovah was "made up" by adding in vowels and thus is not His name. Effectively the Father has no name.

The Bible never says God the Son.  As the Son of God, Jesus is the Man that the Spirit of God dwelled in. Thus Jesus is the human name of God.

MARK 1:25   And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

:26   And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

The man suffered as the unclean spirit left him. Demons are dangerous.

This demon was in the religious gathering.

How many demons infiltrate the churches?

MARK 1:27  And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

Jesus was the expert. He knew the Scriptures and demons had to obey Him.

MARK 1:28   And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

A supernatural ministry soon attracts attention.

MARK 1:29   And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

“Forthwith”.  Again, there is no wasting of time.

Simon was later surnamed Peter.

We tend to know him better by his surname.

MARK 3:16   And Simon he surnamed Peter;

Popes almost always take on a new Christian name.

They say Peter was the first Pope. But Peter is his surname, not his first name.

I cannot find evidence of the Bishop of Rome being called the Pope before about the year AD 400. So in Peter's day there was no such thing as a Pope.

Popes are not allowed to marry. Peter was married.

Peter baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (ACTS 2:38). Popes never do that.

So calling Peter the first Pope is very wrong.

In the Epistle or Letter to the Christian Romans, Paul greets about 27 people and never mentions Peter. So Peter was never in Rome.

In the Book of Acts, Luke follows Paul until he was under house arrest at Rome, just before Paul was killed. Again, there is no mention of Peter.

The Pope is also called Pontiff which makes him the high priest of the Babylonian mysteries.

Peter never took that title.

Peter wrote to the elders of the church. Not to a single leader.

I PETER 5:1   The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Peter wrote to the elders as an elder, stressing equality. He did not claim any elevation above the elders by calling himself an apostle.

Peter wanted a group of elders to rule the church.

I PETER 5:2   Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

The elders must feed the flock the Word of God, not the pastor or Pope.

Not for “filthy lucre”.

Yet the Vatican is the single richest organization in the world.

And Protestant churches are doing their best to get as rich as possible.

I PETER 5:3   Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

There is no single human who is the head of the church.

 

Peter, James, and John were the three main disciples. Andrew was the brother of Peter.

MARK 1:30   But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

Peter had a wife. Why was it necessary to mention this fact?

Mark deals with Christ as the great Servant. So Christians also want to know how to serve God.

When the pagan Roman empire collapsed, the spirit of Roman paganism entered the Roman Catholic church and enabled it to rise to power over the barbarian tribes that conquered Rome.

The pagans had a belief in the Great Interpreter called Petr Roma.

This man would come one day to reveal the mysteries of the pagan gods.

Petr means Interpreter.  Roma means Famous.

So by saying that Peter was the Bishop or Pope of Rome, the Roman Catholic Church could claim that “Peter of Rome” was the “Petr Roma”. The barbarians were impressed and believed the Catholic church. Especially when the Popes claimed to be the successors of Peter.

The beast is the spirit that makes people worship an elevated man as God.

As the figurehead of the Roman Catholic church, the Pope is also called the beast.

By claiming the Popes go all the way back to Peter, it means that there always "was" a Pope.

The Pope dies and thus "is not".

"And yet is". A new Pope gets elected by the Council of Cardinals.

REVELATION 17:8   ... when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

This verse refers to the succession of Popes. It is the longest line of rulers in the world.

 

So Mark emphasized that Peter was married to prove the Catholic doctrine of the celibacy of the Pope and priests was wrong.

I TIMOTHY 4:1   Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

This is dangerous. Devilish doctrines.

I TIMOTHY 4:2   Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

They cannot admit that they are wrong even when they contradict the Bible.

I TIMOTHY 4:3   Forbidding to marry,

Telling priests and Popes that they cannot marry is a doctrine of devils. Yet it is part of the Roman Catholic church.

They think they serve God, but this doctrine comes from the Devil.

Again this is evidence of demonic infiltration into the church. A scary thought.

Just like the Jews has demons in their synagogues.

We return to Jesus healing the mother-in-law of Peter.

MARK 1:31   And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

When Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Peter, she immediately got up and began to prepare food and refreshments for Jesus and the disciples.

Jesus Himself was a Dynamo of action and energy.

But He also inspired others to serve and minister to the needs of Himself and others. When people came into the presence of Jesus they immediately had this desire to do something useful. They wanted to be of help in some way.

Jesus, as the great Servant, energized others to get moving.

MARK 1:32   And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

The crowds began to gather. For Jesus, the day did not end at sunset. That is when the whole city began to crowd around the door of Peter’s house. That is when things really got busy.

Demonology was rampant amongst the Jews at the First Coming of Jesus when He died for His church to take her out of Judaism.

So we can expect something similar amongst the churches when Jesus returns to claim His Bride by taking her out of the church.

 

MARK 1:33   And all the city was gathered together at the door.

The pressure on Jesus and the amazing strength of His mind that allowed Him to endlessly deal with so many people is incredible.

Just the sheer physical strength needed to keep going, as all the city sought His help, is amazing.

He showed no signs of tiredness despite the lateness of the hour.

They gathered at the door of the house where Jesus was.

This was very appropriate because He is the Door to Heaven.

But one typical weakness of us human beings is that we are more interested for searching for help with our physical problems.

We are less interested in learning spiritual things from the Word of God.

Deep down we prefer to have money, material benefits, and healing rather than spiritual wisdom and understanding of Scripture.

MARK 1:34   And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

Jesus had incredible power over sickness and demonology.

The religious leaders like the Pharisees and Sadducees denied Jesus and opposed Him. They did not know Who He was.

But the demons clearly knew who He was.

Jesus did not want the demons to talk about Him.

Demon-possessed people blaspheme the name of God.

They always curse in the name of Jesus Christ.

They know Who God is and what His name is.

Church leaders speak in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But they cannot tell us what that name is.

They cannot find one name for the three Persons of their Trinity God.

So the church leaders do not know the name of God.

Nobody ever curses in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit because the demons know that is not the name of God.

So history repeats itself today. The cursing demons know that Jesus Christ is the name of God. The church leaders cannot tell us what the name of God is.

They incorrectly claim that the three titles Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are somehow a name.

MARK 1:35   And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Dealing with all the city must have taken up a huge amount of time.

When the last person had been healed, the exhausted disciples fell asleep.

Yet after snatching a few hours sleep, Jesus was somehow able to get up and go into the wilderness in the dark and pray. His stamina was incredible.

Trying to keep up with Him must have been a most strenuous experience for the disciples.

Sometime later the disciples woke up and followed His footsteps into the wilderness.

This was a great lesson, following in the footsteps of the Master.

MARK 1:36   And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

But the disciples needed to learn a different way of seeing things.

ISAIAH 55:8   For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

If you want to serve God then you must learn to see things His way.

You must not copy other people.

You must not copy other churches.

We must search the Scriptures to see how God wants things done.

And we must always be aware that God wants to do things very differently to how we want to do things.

MARK 1:37   And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

They thought that Jesus would be pleased that His ministry had gathered a large crowd.

It was that very crowd that drove Him to seek solitude.

Notice this typical human problem.

When the disciples found Jesus, they hastened to tell Him what they knew.

(As if they knew something that He did not know).

Instead of being quiet and listening to what He had to tell them.

Big crowds are not a sign that God is impressed.

In the last church age of the Laodiceans, Jesus is seen standing outside the church.

From there He appeals to any individuals who want to listen to Him.

God is concerned with individuals, not crowds.

Humans are impressed with big crowds.

But crowds create people-pressure and a group-think mentality.

We find it easier to agree with the crowd, whatever they think.

People can easily flood you with their requests until you have no time to get guidance from God.

People who we can see and hear will pressure us. If we are people-pleasers we love the popularity and fear to disagree with them.

We end up serving them rather than serving God.

Most of the people tended to follow Him because of the benefits they got.

Especially health benefits when they were healed or free food.

Too many requests from too many people and the best of servants can suffer from overwork and burnout. Even the demands of a single person that you are trying to help can suddenly multiply beyond your ability to help.

Helping people can have strange consequences. At first, they appreciate the help.

After a while, it is easy for them to take help for granted.

Being unable to meet all their requests can then lead to a feeling  of resentment. A sense of deficit or lack can quickly replace a sense of gratefulness. People do not always maintain an attitude of gratitude.

Their loyalty and friendliness usually only lasts while the free benefits keep flowing.

Jesus did not regard a big crowd as a symbol of success.

MARK 1:38   And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

Jesus was never too impressed with popularity.

When the crowds grew, He moved on.

The crowds who cheered Him on Palm Sunday were the same people who crucified Him on the following Thursday.

The Passover lamb was chosen on the 10th day and killed on the 14th day.

Jesus was chosen as King on Palm Sunday, so that was the 10th day. Then the 14th day is Thursday when he died.

The Roman Catholic church said it was Friday. They made up the unscriptural term "Good Friday". The Protestants followed them, instead of the Bible.

In four days the Jewish religious leaders had changed the minds of the Jewish people from shouting out praise to shouting out death.

This is evidence of how demonology had taken over at the First Coming of Jesus.

So what is the condition of the church as they wait for Jesus to return to claim His Bride.

The church officially marries gay same-sex couples. This is sodomy.

Fire fell from Heaven to burn up Sodom.

The big nations have their nuclear bombs and missiles that can fall from the sky at any time.

The Bible condemns sodomy.
ROMANS 1:24   Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

:25   Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

:26   For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

:27   And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

:28   And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

 

Traveling on foot, Jesus preached throughout the territory of Galilee.

So in this opening Chapter Mark has painted a picture of endless energy and continual action. Nobody can improve on His activities.

Jesus set such a high-powered example of a Spirit-driven Servant.

MARK 1:39   And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

This is a scary thought. All those devils were congregating in the places of worship.

History repeats itself. So what does that tell us about our modern-day churches?

MARK 1:40   And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Leprosy was one of the worst diseases.

This man was humbly begging for help because he was in such bad circumstances.

His awful predicament drove him to Jesus.

Meanwhile, the religious leaders were secure in their comfortable lifestyles and they tried hard to discredit Jesus.

Thus we learn that very difficult physical circumstances drive us to the Word of God, which makes us far better servants of God.

Saint Paul is perhaps the most inspiring of men when it comes to dedicated service to God.

He certainly did not serve God for any selfish material gain.

II CORINTHIANS 11:23   Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool ) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

:24   Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

:25   Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

:26   In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

:27   In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

:28   Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Endless problems and difficulties.

Saint Paul knew that to serve meant to suffer.

ACTS 20:24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself,

I THESSALONIANS 3:3   That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

JOB 2:10   What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?

Serving God is a hard task. Rewards and afflictions flow from His hand.

 

MARK 1:41   And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

:42   And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

:43   And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

:44   And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Jesus displayed great supernatural power but He was no supernatural showoff.

He told the healed man not to publicize what had happened.

A leper, when cleansed, had to report his healing so that it could be confirmed by a priest.

But people are too attracted by the supernatural.

We humans are always looking for personal gain and supernatural healing is a great gain.

Thus the crowds are attracted to their personal benefits but do not necessarily have any deep desire to believe the truth of the Gospel.

Another drawback of fame is that it arouses a deep jealousy amongst those self-important people who are less talented.

The more a person is praised, the more opposition will be raised up amongst the religious leadership. The more they will try to damage and oppose the reputation of the person who is praised.

Each pastor wants to be the head of his church and the main-revealer of mysteries. Just as Saul became jealous of the growing reputation of David, so the existing leadership fights to defend their own pre-eminence.

The healed leper really thought that he was doing Jesus a service by praising Him.

But this was actually a case of trying to do God a service without it being the will of God.

Just because an action seems right, does not mean that it is right.

The healed leper should rather have obeyed Jesus and kept quiet.

So, if we want to serve God effectively, we must obey God’s Word even when the Scriptures seem contrary to our own opinions.

LUKE 17:10   So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Our actions often unintentionally do more harm than good.

The leper spread the fame of Jesus and the crowds who sought attention stopped Him from being able to enter the city. Thus the healed leper had not helped Jesus.

MARK 1:45   But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

Publicity does no favours. Too many people wanted healing and other benefits from this miracle worker.

Jesus had to go out into the uncomfortable wilderness but the needy people still sought Him there.

This is the big problem Jesus faced because He was such an effective Servant. They crowded Him out of the city and even thronged towards Him in the wilderness. Jesus could find no place of rest as His Life became constant giving and self sacrifice.

Jesus had no place for a time of solitude, neither space for Himself nor a chance to re-charge His human batteries.

A true servant of God must thus always strive to be dead to himself.

The crowd will trample your own feelings.

So a true servant of God must not be influenced by his own feelings and emotions.

We must learn to see everything in the light of Scripture.