The Preaching of John the Baptist
1 The beginning of the [facts regarding the] good news of [a]Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written and forever remains in the [writings of the] prophet Isaiah:
4 [c]John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins [that is, requiring a change of one’s old way of thinking, turning away from sin and seeking God and His righteousness]. 5 And all the country of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were continually going out to him; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a [wide] leather [d]band around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.(C) 7 And he was preaching, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, and I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of His sandals [even as His slave]. 8 As for me, I baptized you [who came to me] with water [only]; but He will baptize you [who truly repent] [e]with the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptism of Jesus
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.(D) 10 [f]Immediately coming up out of the water, he (John) saw the heavens torn open, and the [g]Spirit like a dove descending on Him (Jesus); 11 and a [h]voice came out of heaven saying: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!”(E)
12 Immediately the [Holy] Spirit forced Him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted [to do evil] by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels ministered continually to Him.
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
14 Now after John [the Baptist] was arrested and [i]taken into custody, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of [the kingdom of] God, 15 and saying, “The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life] and believe [with a deep, abiding trust] in the good news [regarding salvation].”
16 As Jesus was walking by the shore of the [j]Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon [Peter] and Simon’s brother, [k]Andrew, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “[l]Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example]. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, who were also in the boat mending and cleaning the nets. 20 Immediately Jesus called to them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers, and went away to follow Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].
21 They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.(F) 22 They were completely amazed at His teaching; because He was teaching them as one having [God-given] authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out [terribly from the depths of his throat], 24 saying, “[m]What business do You have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25 Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet (muzzled, silenced), and come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and screeching with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 They were all so amazed that they debated and questioned each other, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits (demons), and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere throughout the district surrounding Galilee.
Healing the Crowds
29 And immediately they left the synagogue and went into the house of Simon [Peter] and Andrew, accompanied by James and John.(G) 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they told Him about her. 31 Jesus went to her, and taking her by the hand, raised her up; and the fever left her, and she began to serve them [as her guests].
32 Now when evening came, after the sun had set [and the Sabbath Day had ended, in a steady stream] they were bringing to Him all who were sick and those who were under the power of demons, 33 until the whole city had gathered together at the door. 34 And Jesus healed many who were suffering with various diseases; and He drove out many demons, but would not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him [recognizing Him as the Son of God].
35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37 and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” 38 He replied, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so I may preach there also; that is why I came [from the Father].” 39 So He went throughout Galilee, preaching [the gospel] in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40 And a leper came to Him, begging Him and falling on his knees before Him, saying, “If You are willing, You are able to make me [n]clean.”(H) 41 Moved with compassion [for his suffering], Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 The leprosy left him immediately and he was cleansed [completely healed and restored to health]. 43 And Jesus [deeply moved] admonished him sternly and sent him away immediately, 44 saying to him, “See that you tell no one anything [about this]; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your purification what Moses commanded, as proof to them [that you are really healed].”(I) 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news [of his healing], to such an extent that Jesus could no longer openly enter a city [where He was known], but stayed out in the unpopulated places; yet people were still coming to Him from everywhere.
The Paralytic Healed
2 Jesus returned to Capernaum, and a few days later the news went out that He was at home.(J) 2 So many people gathered together that there was no longer room [for them], not even near the door; and Jesus was discussing with them the word [of God]. 3 Then they came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, who was being carried by four men.(K) 4 When they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they [o]removed the roof above Jesus; and when they had dug out an opening, they let down the mat on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the [p]scribes were sitting there debating in their hearts [the implication of what He had said], 7 “Why does this man talk that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins [remove guilt, nullify sin’s penalty, and assign righteousness] except God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus, being fully aware [of their hostility] and knowing in His spirit that they were thinking this, said to them, “Why are you debating and arguing about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the [q]Son of Man has the authority and power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your mat and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the mat and went out before them all, so that they all were astonished and they glorified and praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
13 Jesus went out again along the [Galilean] seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.
Levi (Matthew) Called
14 As He was passing by, He saw Levi (Matthew) the son of Alphaeus sitting in the [r]tax collector’s booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me [as My disciple, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk].” And he got up and followed Him [becoming His disciple, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].(L)
15 And it happened that Jesus was [s]reclining at the table in Levi’s house, and many tax collectors and sinners [including non-observant Jews] were eating with Him and His disciples; for there were many of them and they were [t]following Him. 16 When the scribes [belonging to the sect] of the [u]Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with the sinners [including non-observant Jews] and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat and drink with [v]tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard this, He said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but [only] those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners [who recognize their sin and humbly seek forgiveness].”
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting [as a ritual]; and they came and asked Jesus, “Why are John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fasting, but Your disciples are not doing so?” 19 Jesus answered, “The attendants of the bridegroom [w]cannot fast while the bridegroom is [still] with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is [forcefully] [x]taken away from them, and they will fast at that time.
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk (new) cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear becomes worse. 22 No one puts new wine into old [y]wineskins; otherwise the [fermenting] wine will [expand and] burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the wineskins. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
Question of the Sabbath
23 One Sabbath He was walking along [with His disciples] through the grainfields, and as they went along, His disciples began picking the heads of grain.(M) 24 The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what [z]is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 25 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read [in the Scriptures] what David did when he was in need and was hungry, he and his companions;(N) 26 how he went into the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the sacred bread, which is not lawful for anyone but the priests to eat, and how he also gave it to the men who were with him?”(O) 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.(P) 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath [and He has authority over it].”
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
3 Again Jesus went into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was [aa]withered.(Q) 2 The Pharisees were watching Jesus closely to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him [in the Jewish high court]. 3 He said to the man whose hand was withered, “Get up and come forward!” 4 He asked them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at the hardness and arrogance of their hearts, He told the man, “Hold out your hand.” And he held it out, and his hand was [completely] restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the [ab]Herodians [to plot] against Him, as to how [ac]they might [fabricate some legal grounds to] put Him to death.
7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a large crowd from Galilee followed Him; and also people from Judea, 8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and [from the region] beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon; a vast number of people came to Him because they were hearing about all [the things] that He was doing. 9 And He told His disciples to have a small boat stand ready for Him because of the many people, so that they would not crowd Him; 10 for He had healed many, and as a result all who had diseases pressed around Him to touch Him. 11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him and screamed out, “You are the Son of God!” 12 Jesus sternly warned them [again and again] not to tell who He was.
The Twelve Are Chosen
13 He went up on the hillside and called those whom He Himself wanted and chose; and they came to Him. 14 And He appointed [ad]twelve [disciples], so that they would be with Him [for instruction] and so that He could send them out to preach [the gospel as apostles—that is, as His special messengers, personally chosen representatives], 15 and to have authority and power to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),(R) 17 and James, the son of [ae]Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”); 18 and [He also appointed] Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew (Nathanael), and Matthew (Levi the tax collector), and Thomas, and [af]James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus (Judas the son of James), and Simon the Zealot; 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.
20 Then He came to a [ag]house [in Capernaum], and a crowd formed again, so [many people] that Jesus and His disciples could not even eat a meal [together]. 21 When His own family heard this they went to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He is out of His mind.” 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by [ah]Beelzebul (Satan),” and “He is driving out the demons by the [power of the] ruler of the demons.”(S) 23 So He called them to Himself and spoke to them in [ai]parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided [split into factions and rebelling] against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can go into a strong man’s house and steal his property unless he first overpowers and ties up the strong man, and then he will ransack and rob his house.(T)
28 “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and all the abusive and blasphemous things they say; 29 but whoever [aj]blasphemes against the Holy Spirit and His power [by attributing the miracles done by Me to Satan] never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin [a sin which is unforgivable in this present age as well as in the age to come]”—(U) 30 [Jesus said this] because the scribes and Pharisees were [attributing His miracles to Satan by] saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called for Him.(V) 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Look! Your mother and Your brothers are outside asking for You.” 33 And He replied, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 Looking at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For [ak]whoever does the will of God [by believing in Me, and following Me], he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Parable of the Sower and Soils
4 Again Jesus began to teach beside the sea [of Galilee]. And a very large crowd gathered around Him, so He got into a boat [anchoring it a short distance out] on the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore.(W) 2 And He taught them many things in parables, and in His teaching He said to them, 3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow seed; 4 and as he was sowing, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on rocks where there was not much soil; and immediately a plant sprang up [al]because the soil had no depth. 6 And when the sun came up, the plant was scorched; and because it had no root, it dried up and withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seed fell into good soil, and as the plants grew and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times [as much as had been sown].” 9 And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.”
10 As soon as He was alone, those who were around Him, together with the twelve [disciples], began asking Him about [the interpretation of] the parables. 11 He said to them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you [who have teachable hearts], but those who are outside [the unbelievers, the spiritually blind] get everything in parables, 12 so that they will continually look but not see, and they will continually hear but not understand, otherwise they might turn [from their rejection of the truth] and be forgiven.”(X)
13 Then He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand and grasp the meaning of all the parables?(Y) 14 The sower sows the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation]. 15 These [in the first group] are the ones along the road where the word is sown; but when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these [in the second group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy [but accept it only superficially]; 17 and they have no real root in themselves, so they endure only for a little while; then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they [are offended and displeased at being associated with Me and] stumble and fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries and cares of the world [the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures], and the deceitfulness [and the false security or glamour] of wealth [or fame], and the passionate desires for all the other things creep in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those [in the last group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word [of God, the good news regarding the way of salvation] and accept it and bear fruit—thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much [as was sown].”
21 He said to them, “A lamp is not brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed, is it? Is it not [brought in] to be put on the lampstand?(Z) 22 For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been kept secret, but that it would come to light [that is, things are hidden only temporarily, until the appropriate time comes for them to be known].(AA) 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words.” 24 Then He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]—and more will be given to you besides. 25 For [am]whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a yearning for truth], even what he has will be taken away from him.”(AB)
Parable of the Seed
26 Then He said, “The kingdom of God is like a man who throws seed on the ground; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up every day, and [in the meantime] the seed sprouts and grows; how [it does this], he does not know. 28 The earth produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head [of grain], then the mature grain in the head. 29 But when the crop ripens, he immediately puts in the sickle [to reap], because [the time for] the harvest has come.”
Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 And He said, “How shall we [an]picture the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use to illustrate and explain it?(AC) 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when it is sown on the ground, even though it is [ao]smaller than all the [other] seeds that are [sown] on the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden herbs; and it puts out large branches, so that the birds of the sky are able to make nests and live under its shade.”(AD)
33 With many such parables, Jesus spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear and understand it; 34 and He did not say anything to them without [using] a parable; He did, however, explain everything privately to His own disciples.
Jesus Stills the Sea
35 On that [same] day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee].” 36 So leaving the crowd, they took Him with them, just as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him.(AE) 37 And a [ap]fierce windstorm began to blow, and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already being swamped. 38 But Jesus was in the stern, asleep [with His head] on the [sailor’s leather] cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are about to die?” 39 And He got up and [sternly] rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still (muzzled)!” And the wind died down [as if it had grown weary] and there was [at once] a great calm [a perfect peacefulness]. 40 Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith and confidence [in Me]?” 41 They were filled with great fear, and said to each other, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
- Mark 1:1 Mark’s gospel is believed to be directed primarily to Gentile believers in Rome. Since Gentiles would not necessarily be familiar with the Jewish title Messiah, he emphasizes instead the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.
- Mark 1:3 A ruler or nobleman traveling in the wilderness would have a crew of workmen preparing and clearing the road ahead of him. In spiritual terms, John the Baptist was clearing the way for the arrival of the Messiah by preparing the hearts of his followers.
- Mark 1:4 Considered the last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist was the son of Zecharias (Zechariah) the priest and his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were related (Luke 1:36), and Mary may have been with Elizabeth at the time John was born (Luke 1:56). John the Baptist is not to be confused with John the Apostle who, along with his brother James, was among the twelve disciples of Jesus.
- Mark 1:6 This band (sash, girdle) was about six inches wide and had clasps or fasteners in front. It was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things.
- Mark 1:8 The Greek here can be translated with, in, or by.
- Mark 1:10 Mark uses the word “immediately” almost forty times in his gospel.
- Mark 1:10 The three persons of the Godhead were present: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Mark 1:11 See note Matt 3:17.
- Mark 1:14 Cf 6:17 ff.
- Mark 1:16 A fresh water lake about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, almost 700 feet below sea level and center of a busy fishing industry.
- Mark 1:16 One of the followers of John the Baptist (John 1:40).
- Mark 1:17 The concept of “follow” can represent three separate possibilities: in the early stages of His ministry, (1) walking with Him physically (literally), that is merely being in His presence regardless of personal belief or commitment; (2) accepting and identifying with the salvation He offered; and later on (3) being identified with Him by being subject to the scorn and rejection of unbelievers because of personal belief and commitment to Him.
- Mark 1:24 Lit What to me and to you, originally a Hebrew idiom which does not translate well into English. The idiom is meant to inform the other person that the speaker is not aware of any obligation between them and does not wish to deal with the other person (cf 2 Sam 16:10).
- Mark 1:40 Lepers were ceremonially unclean according to OT law (Lev 13:45, etc.) and were not to come into physical contact with other people. The leper’s request was the same as asking for healing.
- Mark 2:4 The roof of a typical home was composed of clay tiles which were laid on a mat of branches and grass supported by wooden beams. The parallel passage in Luke explains that “they went up on the roof and lowered him through the tiles” (5:19).
- Mark 2:6 These were scholars of the Law and of the writings of the prophets.
- Mark 2:10 Jesus uses this title to identify Himself as Messiah (cf Dan 7:13). It appears over eighty times in the Gospels. Especially notable is its use in 8:31.
- Mark 2:14 I.e. customs office, toll house. Tax collection stations were usually located along the trade route or at the port.
- Mark 2:15 This Greek word was used to describe a festive meal with entertainment.
- Mark 2:15 See note 1:17.
- Mark 2:16 These men were an influential religious body of Jews who rigidly adhered to Mosaic Law and ceremonial tradition. Jesus called them to account for their self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
- Mark 2:16 All native Jews contracted by Rome to collect local taxes were despised, along with those who were non-observant Jews.
- Mark 2:19 Jewish tradition (as recorded in the Talmud) held that it was a religious duty to congratulate and entertain the bride and groom during the wedding festivities. By analogy, Jesus is saying that His disciples ought to rejoice while He is with them rather than engage in fasting, which was a sign of mourning.
- Mark 2:20 The words “taken away” allude to Jesus’ violent death on the cross (cf Is 53:8).
- Mark 2:22 See note Matt 9:17.
- Mark 2:24 See note Matt 12:2.
- Mark 3:1 The Greek word also means “to dry out” and may indicate that the condition resulted from disease or an accident.
- Mark 3:6 A secular political party of Jews that strongly supported Herod Antipas and Rome, and opposed the Pharisees on most issues.
- Mark 3:6 The Pharisees and Herodians set aside their religious and political differences to form a conspiracy.
- Mark 3:14 See notes Matt 10:2-4.
- Mark 3:17 It is believed that Salome, Zebedee’s wife and the mother of James and John, was a sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
- Mark 3:18 Also called James the Less or James the Younger. It is believed that his mother, Mary (Gr Maria), was a sister or sister-in-law of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
- Mark 3:20 Probably Simon Peter’s house; cf 2:1, 2.
- Mark 3:22 I.e. an idol worshiped in the Philistine city of Ekron: Baal Zebul, lord of the high places or Baal Zebub, lord of the flies.
- Mark 3:23 Parables ordinarily were used for clarification, but Jesus often used them to hide sacred truths from unbelievers (see 4:11, 12).
- Mark 3:29 Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is denying all the work of the Holy Spirit. This leads ultimately to rejecting the deity of Christ.
- Mark 3:35 A universal offer.
- Mark 4:5 In many parts of Israel a layer of limestone lies an inch or so beneath the surface of the ground. This layer traps the moisture, and for a brief period of time a plant growing there may appear to flourish. But as soon as a dry spell comes, the moisture quickly dissipates. Due to the layer of limestone, the plant cannot sink roots and soon withers and dies (v 6).
- Mark 4:25 The person “who has” is one who is receptive to God’s word, while the one “who does not have” is the person who is blind to and has rejected the spiritual truth and godly wisdom already given to him. As a result, even what little he had previously understood about Jesus will no longer be clear to him.
- Mark 4:30 Lit compare.
- Mark 4:31 In ancient Israel the mustard seed was the smallest known seed, and in rabbinic teaching the mustard seed was used as an example of something very small (in the Talmud).
- Mark 4:37 The Sea of Galilee is famous for its sudden and severe storms, produced by winds that funnel through the passes and canyons of the surrounding hills and create severe turbulence on the water. As experienced fishermen, the disciples knew that this was an almost constant risk in their profession.