Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
If you consult the outline of the Gospel of Mark printed in the Recovery Version, you will see that this Gospel is composed of six main sections: the beginning of the gospel and the initiation of the Slave-Savior (1:1-13); the ministry of the Slave-Savior for the spreading of the gospel (1:14—10:52); the preparation of the Slave-Savior for His redemptive service (11:1—14:42); the death and resurrection of the Slave-Savior for the accomplishment of God’s redemption (14:43—16:18); the ascension of the Slave-Savior for His exaltation (16:19); and the Slave-Savior’s universal spreading of the gospel through His disciples (16:20). In the foregoing messages we have considered the beginning of the gospel and the initiation of the Slave-Savior. With this message we shall begin to consider the ministry of the Slave-Savior for the spreading of the gospel.
We have seen that the Slave-Savior was initiated into His ministry by two steps—the steps of baptism and testing. In 1:14—10:52 the Slave-Savior carries out the ministry into which He has been initiated, a ministry that is for the spreading of the gospel.
In the third message of this Life-study we saw that the gospel is the fulfillment of the promises, prophecies, and types in the Old Testament and the removal of the law. Both the fulfillment of the promises, prophecies, and types and the removal of the law are a living Person, Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is the fulfillment, and He Himself is the removal of the law. What, then, is the beginning of this gospel? The beginning of the gospel is actually the ushering in of this living Person. For us today, Christ is everything. As long as we have Him, we have everything. We do not have promises—we have Christ. We do not have prophecies—we have Christ. We do not have types—we have Christ. We do not strive to keep the law, because Christ is here, and we have Him. In our spiritual dictionary the unique word is Christ.
Now that we have seen what the gospel is, we need to go on to consider the contents of the gospel service revealed in 1:14-45. According to this section of the Gospel of Mark, the contents of the gospel service include five items: preaching the gospel (vv. 14-20), teaching the truth (vv. 21-22), casting out demons (vv. 23-28), healing the sick (vv. 29-39), and cleansing the leper (vv. 40-45). In simple terms, the contents of the Slave-Savior’s gospel service are preaching, teaching, casting out demons, healing, and cleansing. It is possible to read 1:14-45 a number of times without realizing that these verses portray the contents of the gospel service. Let us now go on to consider what 1:14-20 records concerning the preaching of the gospel.
Mark 1:14 says, “And after John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God.” John’s imprisonment was a sign of the rejection of the gospel, especially in the region of honor. Hence the Slave-Savior left that region and returned to the despised region for His service of the gospel.
Although John the Baptist ministered in the wilderness, not in the holy temple in the holy city, his ministry was nevertheless in Judea, not far from the “holy things.” Due to the people’s rejection of John, the Lord Jesus came into Galilee to begin His gospel service, far away from the holy temple and the holy city. This occurred sovereignly to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2. Galilee was a place with a mixed population of both Jews and Gentiles. Hence, it was called “Galilee of the nations (Gentiles)” and was despised by orthodox Jews (John 7:41, 52).
The gospel service was initiated by the ministry of the Slave-Savior’s forerunner (1:1-11) in Judea, the region of honor. But it continued by the ministry of the Slave-Savior in Galilee, the despised region, for a period of about three years (1:14—9:50). Mark narrates nothing of the Slave-Savior’s ministry in Jerusalem and Judea during this time, as John does in his Gospel (John 1:29-42; 2:13—3:36; 5:1-47; 7:10—11:57). Mark does not narrate anything of the Slave-Savior’s ministry in Judea until He left Galilee for Jerusalem the last time (Mark 10:1) to accomplish His redemptive work. Then the gospel service continued by His ministry on the way to Jerusalem and in Jerusalem and its vicinity (10:1—14:42). It was concluded with His redeeming death, His life-imparting resurrection, His ascension for exaltation, and the continuation of His gospel service by His disciples’ preaching to all the creation (14:43—16:20). The Apostle John, however, in his Gospel narrates events in Jerusalem and Judea before the time of Mark 10 that are not included in Mark’s Gospel (see John 1:29-42; 2:13—3:36; 5:1-47; 7:10—11:57).
According to Mark 1:14, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God. The Slave-Savior’s preaching was to announce God’s glad tidings to the miserable people in bondage. His teaching (vv. 21-22) was to enlighten the ignorant ones in darkness with the divine light of the truth. His preaching implied teaching, and His teaching implied preaching (Matt. 4:23). This is the first thing He did in His ministry, and it was the all-embracing structure of His evangelical service (Mark 1:38-39; 3:14; 6:12; 14:9; 16:15, 20).
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