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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Rayne

Repentance & Discipleship (Mark Study Day 1)

Welcome to the study series over the Gospel of Mark! Before we begin, I encourage you to pray and read Mark chapter 1. Ask God to clear your mind and open your heart as we read his word today

Fun Fact! John Mark was an attendant to the apostle Peter. John Mark would get reports about Jesus from Peter and compiled them into what we know as the Gospel of Mark.

Key Themes Throughout Mark 1:

  • Repentance

  • Discipleship

  • Jesus’ Authority

One reason I enjoy reading Mark’s account is because he narrates Jesus’ ministry in a clear and concise way. He dives right into John the Baptist’s role and Jesus’ ministry. Mark begins his Gospel with a prophecy from the book of Isaiah. This prophecy is about John the Baptist, who came before Jesus to prepare others for him.

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1:4)

The call to repentance was the purpose of John’s ministry. This is an extremely important message then and now. The concept of repentance is huge for fully understanding the Gospel. A genuine relationship with God starts with repentance.

To repent is to bring our sins before God. We admit that the way we live our lives is wrong. Doing this brings our hearts to a place where we can understand how perfect and glorious God is. Ultimately, he is the only one who is purely righteous and good. We betrayed him in the Garden of Eden. The sin in us is our fault, not God’s. In order to accept that Christ is the right way, we have to acknowledge that our ways are wrong. We have to admit that God is God… and we are not.

Repentance allows us to understand Jesus’ truth and Gospel clearly. This is why it is John’s primary message. Repentance prepares our hearts for Jesus.

It is important to note that John himself did not forgive people of their sins. That is something that only God can do (as we will see in the coming chapters). When people were baptized by John, it was a demonstration they had fully repented from their sins. But, when we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this is the baptism for the forgiveness of our sins.

“After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8)

John the Baptist and the disciples are huge parts of this chapter. Discipleship is a recurring theme that Mark introduces to us.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:17-18)

Personally, I love the wording of Jesus’ call to the disciples. First, he calls them to follow him. This ties back in with repentance. Following Jesus means giving up our ways and accepting his ways. Additionally, Jesus came and called them from where they were. No matter what walk of life you come from or what your past mistakes are, he is inviting you to follow him.

He does not expect us to have everything figured out before we start following him! Jesus said, “I will make you become fishers of men.” He is willing to be to teach his disciples and he wants to teach us too!

Along with discipleship, another recurring theme is Jesus’ authority. He has power over both physical and spiritual disease.

And a leper came to him [Jesus], imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” (Mark 1:40-41)

This story is incredible! In Jewish culture back then, if you had a disease you were considered unclean and an outcast. No one else wants to touch him or be near him, or else they would be considered unclean as well. But Jesus touches him anyway...and he doesn’t get infected with the disease. Jesus has the ability to touch someone who is unclean and still remains clean. Not only that, but the leper becomes clean as well!

By looking at how Jesus can heal the physical disease, we can grasp how he is able to work spiritually. Personally, I think the story of the leper is a great way to visualize God’s grace for us. When we bring our sins to God, he is not affected by our sin. His grace and love is so powerful, that our sin disappears when we invite him into our hearts. That is amazing!

And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. (Mark 1:34)

I love how the verse above demonstrates Jesus’ power! I also love the next verse:

Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

Jesus is all-knowing, all-powerful. Yet, he takes time to go away by himself and connect with his Father. He had a community (his disciples), but that does not replace his relationship with his Father. Jesus is our ultimate example and teacher for being a follower of God. If Jesus has compassion on others and takes time to connect with his Father, then we should as well.

It is crucial for all of us to have a relationship with God. When everything else in our lives falls through, He will still remain.

I encourage you to take time this week to have some one on one time with you and God. Maybe that looks like praying, or writing your prayers in a journal. Maybe it’s jamming to worship music in your car. Or maybe, it’s reading scripture and meditating on it. However you connect with God best, I recommend pressing pause on everything else and spending time with Him. In God, you are fully known and fully loved.

Thank you for taking part in Day 1 of our study over the Gospel of Mark! If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.

Until next time,


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