1-8: Both Isaiah and Malachi prophesied about John the Baptist, who prepared the people for Jesus through preaching and baptism. John's baptism was a symbol of repentance.
9-11: Jesus' public ministry began when he was baptized by John. Although Jesus was sinless and didn't need to repent, he was baptized in order to "fulfill all righteousness" as explained in Matthew 3:15. God the Father audibly and visibly confirmed Jesus' divinity in front of many people.
12-13: The Holy Spirit brought Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Jesus can sympathize with us in our weakness because he was tempted in every way as we are (Hebrews 4:15).
14-15: Jesus began teaching by commanding that we "repent and believe in the Gospel." Repenting entails acknowledging that we're sinners, having the desire to stop sinning, and making an effort to turn from sin. Believing in the Gospel is trusting that Jesus took on the punishment that we deserve and gave us his perfect, sinless record for the day of Judgement. Theologians refer to this as "the great exchange". Jesus exchanged our sin for His righteousness.
16-20: Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be his disciples. They didn't hesitate because they already believed Jesus was the Son of God, possibly because it was confirmed at His baptism or because they heard him preach.
21-28: While teaching at the temple, Jesus casted a demon out of a man. He quickly became famous throughout Galilee because of His miracles.
29-34: Jesus began healing many people and casted out demons. The Demons recognized Jesus' divinity but he commanded them to be silent. This was probably to sovereignly control how the events of the next three years would play out, primarily when his crucifixion would take place. It's possible that if too many people were convinced to follow him too early, the religious leaders would try to put him to death before the appointed time.
35-39: Prayer was important enough for Jesus to get up very early and find privacy to talk with the Father. Jesus' commitment to prayer should serve as instruction for us.
40-42: The leper completely believed Jesus could heal him and recognized he was at the mercy of Jesus's will. His faith and humility are a good example for us as we pray.
43-45: Jesus' command to keep silent after healing them seems counterintuitive for someone who is trying to spread a message, but this passage gives us insight as to why he did this on occasion. When news of miracles spread, it made things difficult for Jesus to enter a town. Probably because He would be flooded by a mob of spectators. However, this didn't stop God's sovereign plan because those who would hear the Gospel came out to Him.
1-12: Jesus made it clear his purpose of healing the paralytic was to validate His divine authority to forgive people of their sins. While divine healing demonstrated God's compassion and foreshadowed a restored natural order, the primary purpose was to validate the message of Jesus and the Apostles.
13-17: Jesus had no problem being seen with sinners because the purpose of His first coming was to be a "physician" to those who are "sick", which illustrates that He forgives sinners. The end of verse 17 is an indication that only those who acknowledge their sin are forgiven by God. Anyone who thinks they are righteous does not see a need to put their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.
18-20: The Pharisees criticized Jesus and his disciples for not following their man made rules on fasting but the disciples had no reason to fast while Jesus was with them.
21-22: The old/new cloth and wine skin illustrations may be a picture of the old and new covenant. The new covenant is not an add on to the old; the two cannot co-exist. Rather, it is meant to replace the temporary first covenant by Jesus completely fulfilling it.
23-28: The disciples were only breaking the traditions set by religious leaders, not a biblical sabbath law. Jesus pointed out that the sabbath was made to give man rest from work, it was not an arbitrary command to enslave man.
1-6: The Pharisees were so hardened that they sat silent when Jesus asked if it were lawful on the sabbath to heal the man with the withered hand. They were more concerned with their traditions than this man being healed.
7-19: Jesus gained a large following because of his miracles but only called 12 to be his apostles. He endowed them with the authority to cast out demons and eventually sent them out to preach the Gospel.
20-21: The demands of such a large crowd kept Jesus and the apostles so busy they couldn't even eat. Jesus' own family thought he was out of his mind with religious zeal to the point that they tried to seize him.
22-27: When the scribes accredited Jesus' exorcisms to Satan he pointed out how self defeating their argument was. It would not make sense for Satan to fight against himself.
28-30: The Pharisees saw the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus, yet attributed it to the Devil. By rejecting the Holy Spirit who convicts and points us to Jesus, they cut off their only means of forgiveness. Rejecting the Holy Spirit means ultimately rejecting Jesus. Without Jesus we have no way to be forgiven for our sins.
31-35: Jesus utilized the occasion of his family calling him to point out that those who do the will of God (repent and put their trust in Jesus) are more his family than even his blood relatives.
1-20: Jesus spoke in parables to the masses so those who willingly reject the Gospel wouldn't understand (verses 10-12). Only those who God sovereignly calls receive insight from the Holy Spirit.
In verses 14-20 Jesus explains the parable to His disciples. The sower is the person sharing the Gospel. The seed is the Gospel and the birds are Satan. Devoured seed: The person hearing the Gospel is either indifferent or reject it due to demonic influence. Rocky ground: They have a superficial enthusiasm for the Gospel but it quickly fades out when they face persecution or hardship. Thorns: They respond to the Gospel but their worldly desires cause them to abandon the faith. They're able to walk away because they never truly received Christ. Good soil: Those who understand and respond to the Gospel and bear fruit. These are true believers who don't abandon the faith when hardship, desires, and persecution come.
21-23: The lamp, which represents the truths Jesus taught the disciples, should not be hidden but shared with those willing to listen. He veiled them in parables to his initial audience with the purpose of His disciples and followers explaining them.
24-25: Jesus seems to be saying the spiritual understanding his followers acquire is directly related to the amount in which they use their understanding.
26-29: The kingdom of God is expanded by God alone. Christians share the Gospel with unbelievers and God converts and causes them to grow in the Faith. All we can do is share the message, pray, and leave the conversion to God.
30-32: The mustard seed is used as an illustration of the Kingdom of God because it was the smallest seed known to his hearers but could grow up to 15 feet in size. Like the mustard seed, Christianity started small but expanded to be the largest world religion. Even outsiders (the birds in the parable) benefit from the Gospel through things such as charities, literacy, hospitals, universities, and free governments founded on Christian principles.
33-34: When speaking publicly Jesus spoke in parables, but explained them all to his disciples in private.
35-41: The story of Jesus calming the storm displays both his humanity and deity. He goes from the human act of sleeping to demonstrating his divine control over his creation.
1-20: The people of the town were afraid because of the supernatural events and wanted Jesus out of there. The demons recognized Him as God and were powerless in his presence. The text doesn't tell us why Jesus allowed them to enter the pigs, perhaps they believed it would postpone the torment they were to face. Unlike previous miracles he wanted the people of the town to know of his grace and deeds he did for this man. His selectiveness in this regard is due to Jesus orchestrating events so His sovereign will would be carried out. Even in cases where people spoke up when they weren't supposed to, he knew exactly who would hear and how it would impact the world.
21-43: Jesus healed both the daughter of a ruler of the synagogue, and a woman with a discharge of blood. In both cases they stepped out in trust that Jesus was able to heal. Jesus commended them for trusting in him.
1-6: When Jesus returned to Nazareth he was rejected by those who knew him. They found it hard to believe that their neighbor's son could be a great prophet. Their unbelief caused Jesus not to do many miracles there.
7-13: Jesus sent the apostles on a missionary journey and empowered them with authority over demons and gave them the ability to heal. These signs were a testimony that the message they were proclaiming was true.
14-29: As Jesus' fame spread, people began speculating about who he really was. King Herod, who beheaded John the Baptist, thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead.
1-13: The scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus followers for not obeying their traditions of ceremonial washings. Jesus quoted Isaiah to rebuke them for creating man-made laws that put themselves and others in bondage. Jesus strongly condemned legalism and superficial religion.
14-23: Jesus declared all foods ceremonially clean. The ceremonial laws became obsolete along with the entire old covenant as it was intended to be when Christ came. Sin is what makes us unclean, not food.
24-30: Seeking a break from his ministry, Jesus went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon but his fame preceded him. When the Syrophoenician woman asked him to cast a demon out of her daughter he responded by testing her. The Gospel was to be brought first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. The children in the illustration were the Jews and the dogs were the Gentiles. She didn't argue her place in the illustration and humbly persisted in asking for blessing. Jesus healed her daughter because of his grace and her humility.
31-37: Jesus healed the deaf and mute man which was a partial fulfillment of Isaiah 35:5-6.
1-10: Jesus' miracle feeding the 4000 is an example of his compassion. He genuinely cared for the well-being of everyone who came to listen to him.
11-13: Jesus didn't take the bait of the Pharisee's test. They were irrationally skeptical despite the many miracles he performed.
14-21: Leaven, throughout the Bible, is used as an illustration of the spreading of evil. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod was likely hypocrisy and unbelief. The disciples however didn't understand or pay much attention to Jesus. All they could think about was food. Jesus rebuked them with a series of questions that pointed out their lack of faith in his ability to feed them.
22-26: Jesus led the blind man out of the village to heal him and told him not to enter back in. This was probably to avoid the mobs.
27-33: Peter responded to Jesus by properly identifying him as the Messiah. On the surface it seems odd Jesus would want his identity secret but it makes more sense considering the next few verses. He explained to the disciples that he had to die and rise again. If people knew that Jesus was the Messiah, they would likely fight for him rather than allow the crucifixion to happen. Peter was rebuked by Jesus for opposing God's plan of Jesus dying on the cross. Peter most likely thought Jesus was going to be a political leader, which was common among Jews of his day.
34: Just as Jesus took up his own cross and willingly carried it to be crucified, we must be willing to "die" to the sinful lifestyles that we love so much. Our former lives were defined by the pursuit of a comfortable, sinful life lived completely for ourselves. But those who take up their cross recognize their sin and choose to live for Jesus instead. It may be costly and painful to follow Christ but there is great reward.
35: By living for the sinful pleasures of this world we forfeit eternal life. But by losing them and receiving Christ for salvation, we gain eternal life.
36-38: Even if we have all the comforts, riches, fame, and glory this world has to offer, It could never outweigh the value of eternal life with Jesus. We must follow Jesus without shame.
1-8: Those who would "not taste death until they saw the Kingdom of God after it came with with power" were Peter, James, and John. Six days later they saw Jesus in a glorified, transfigured state with Moses and Elijah, fulfilling Jesus' prophecy. Like the Pharisees and Jews of that day, Peter thought the 'Kingdom of God' meant Messiah's political rule on earth. But as Jesus explained in Luke 17:21, they didn't understand the full meaning of the term. After healing ten lepers Jesus said that the kingdom of God was not coming in "ways that could be observed" and that it was "already in their midst". Only Peter, James and John got a glimpse behind the curtain into the Kingdom by seeing Jesus in His unveiled divine glory. On a side note, It could also be said that the transfiguration took place 8 days later if you count the day of Jesus' statement and the day of its fulfillment as Luke did.
9-10: The disciples were puzzled when Jesus said that he would rise from the dead. His death and resurrection seems to be a topic they didn't fully understand until after it happened.
11-13: After seeing Elijah on the mountain, the disciples asked about the prophecy in Malachi 3:1 & 4:5 which is Elijah coming before the Messiah. Jesus affirms the validity of Malachi's prophecy and says it's already been fulfilled. We know from Luke 1:17 and Matthew 17:13 that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy "in the spirit and power of Elijah".
14-29: After returning from the mountain Jesus and the three met up with the other disciples, who were arguing with scribes in a crowd of people because they we're unable to cast out a demon from a young boy. It's likely the debate was centered on the validity of their ministry. Jesus cast out the demon, which he said could only be cast out through prayer.
30-32: Jesus told his apostles multiple times that he was going to die and rise again. They didn't understand and were afraid to ask him. They anticipated a political Messiah for so long it was probably hard for them to imagine Jesus dying.
33-37: In contrast to the apostles conversation about self-glorification, Jesus taught that true greatness is selfless service to others. God's economy is much different than the world's.
38-41: Jesus opposed the apostle's sectarianism. The man casting out demons had genuine fruits of a believer but the apostle tried stopping him simply because he wasn't in their group. Though there are many denominations, the Church is a universal body of believers who's head is Christ.
43-48: Jesus taught that we must turn from sin even if it's costly. As valuable as a right-hand or a eye are, we would be better off disposing of them, if it could stop our sin, than remain unrepentant and wind up in hell. It's obvious Jesus wasn't promoting self mutilation because you can still sin without eyes and hands. It's in an analogy for that which is most important to you. For some people it means ending a sinful relationship, quitting a sinful job, canceling their Internet to avoid pornography, or giving away the wealth that keeps them from God.
1-12: Jesus answered the Pharisees challenge about divorce by referring to Moses and Genesis. God's design for marriage a union between a man and a woman for life. However, because mankind is sinful he permitted divorce to protect the innocent party, usually the woman. The bible allows divorce in situations of adultery and when an unbelieving spouse leaves a Christian. Jesus seems to be saying that divorce for any other reason is to commit adultery.
13-16: Those bringing their children to Jesus were seeking his blessing upon them through the laying on of hands and prayer. Unless someone becomes like a child in humility, trust, and dependence they will not enter the kingdom of God.
17-19: Jesus asked the rich young ruler why he called him good, challenging him to either affirm or deny Jesus' deity. The rich man would be affirming Jesus' divinity if he still agreed that Jesus was good after Jesus' clarification that only God is good. Jesus maneuvered this way because the man asking for salvation didn't understand his own sinfulness, thus, didn't see his need for a savior.
20-22: The man claimed he was very devout in obeying the commandments externally. He believed he kept all the laws from his youth but Jesus saw that he made an idol of his money. The man went away sorrowful because he wanted eternal life but his money was more important to him.
23-28: It is hard for rich people to enter the kingdom of God because it can be tempting to idolize money over God. The camel illustration was meant to show that it's impossible for man to get into heaven on his own. Only through Jesus is salvation possible because we need atonement for our sins and he paid the penalty for sin on the cross.
29-31: Jesus will reward those who suffered in this life for him.
32-34: Jesus foretold his death multiple times yet the disciples didn't seem to understand until afterward.
35-41: James and John, along with their mother (Matthew 20:20-21) asked to be placed in the highest position in Jesus' coming kingdom. Jesus said indirectly that they would follow in his footsteps and be martyrs. Jesus wouldn't grant the request because the positions of authority were already sovereignly determined.
42-45: Christians are not to lord authority over others, but be servants following in the footsteps of Jesus who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Servanthood will be rewarded.
46-52: Jesus heals a blind man who is specifically mentioned by name.
1-11: Jesus humbly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilling Zechariah 9:9. The salvation he brought was absolving us of sin rather than liberation from the Romans, as was popularly thought.
12-14: Jesus cursed the fig tree as an object lesson to his disciples in light of what had just happened in Jerusalem. Jesus and the Old Testament often used fig trees as a metaphor for the Jewish nation (Hos. 9:10; Nah. 3:12; Zech. 3:10) and (Matt. 21:19; cf. Is. 5:1–7). Like the fig tree, the people of Jerusalem were misleading in their superficial praise of Jesus. Instead they were like the tree because of their spiritual hypocrisy and fruitlessness.
15-19: Jesus forcefully drove out those using God's temple for profit. This provoked the religious leaders to plot his destruction.
20-26: Faith that can "move mountains" is a literary device or figure of speech for something seemingly impossible. This type of imagery is common in the bible as with most literature. For example, Jesus calls himself the "door of the sheep" (John 10:7). This does not mean he has a handle and hinges. It's clear from the context of the New Testament and the surrounding text that he means that He is the only way to the Father. In order to "move mountains" or do something seemingly impossible, we must have faith that God will answer our prayer, not harbor unforgiveness toward others, and be in alignment with Gods will.
27-33: When the Chief priests and scribes questioned Jesus' authority it was an attempt to trap him. If he said his authority was from God they would accuse him of blasphemy, if he said it was from man they would dismiss his ministry. Knowing this, Jesus answered with a question that trapped them.
1-12: This parable is a prophetic indictment of the religious leaders running the temple. They killed Jesus and would face judgement. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD and Jesus established His church, giving his "vineyard to others".
13-17: The Pharisees tried trapping him by asking a question that could be used to either turn the Jews or the Romans against him based on his answer. They marveled at his reply because he answered in a way that didn't compromise his Roman citizenship or theology, and couldn't have upset either the Jews or the Romans.
18-27: The Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection challenged Jesus with a question about marriage. There will be no marriage in heaven and we will be like the angels: spiritual, eternal beings.
28-31: Loving God and neighbor sums up the law because all laws in the bible affect either God or man. For example coveting, stealing, murdering and lying are direct transgressions against our neighbor (and God) while idolatry and taking God's name in vain is a transgression directly against God. If we honor God and neighbor we won't committing sins against them.
32-34: The scribe recognized The Old Testament teaching that God's moral law is greater than ceremonial law. His agreement with Jesus meant he was closer to trusting in Jesus but hadn't done so yet. That's why Jesus said he wasn't far from the kingdom instead of welcoming him into the kingdom.
35-37: When David and the Old Testament prophets spoke and wrote the scriptures they did so in the the Holy Spirit. When quoting the popular messianic Psalm he pointed out the deity of the Messiah. David would not call one of his decedents "Lord", which indicates the messiah is more than just a son of David. On top of this, the messiah is said to be sitting at the right hand of God, which is a position of deity.
38-40: People who use religion to exalt themselves and harm others will receive stricter condemnation than most unrepentant people.
41-44: God sees our financial offerings relative to our ability to give. He values small scale, sacrificial giving over large gifts given in abundance.
1-35: The apostles asked Jesus when the temple would be destroyed and when would be the "sign of His coming at the end of the age". Matthew's parallel account gives us more detail of the conversation. Jesus seems to bypass the question about the temple's destruction, though it may be indirectly mentioned as a "birth pain". The rest is prophecy regarding a period he refers to as the tribulation and his second coming. The "generation that would not pass" is speaking of the future generation that "sees the branches become tender" by seeing the signs spoken of in the previous few verses. It is this generation who will see Jesus return.
36-51: No one knows the day or the hour that Jesus will return. Any efforts to figure out an exact day are contrary to scripture. Not even Jesus, in his human state, knew the day or hour. We should continue to serve and glorify Jesus as we wait for his return.
1-9: Mary at Bethany, as named in John 12:3, showed her love for Jesus through sacrificing her expensive perfume for him. The perfume cost 300 days wages (Denari). Since her story became part of scripture, it is true her account is told along with the Gospel.
10-25: Jesus made preparations for the Passover feast through a man with a large upper room in his house. They ate the Last supper and Judas left to betray Jesus.
26-32: The disciples were not perfect followers. Out of fear they scattered at his crucifixion and even denied him. It wasn't until after the resurrection they became bold to proclaim Jesus even in the face of execution.
33-42: As the disciples slept, Jesus was broken at the thought of the Father pouring out his wrath (the cup) on Him. Soon the Father would treat His own Son as an enemy: as if he had committed the sins of every believer throughout history. Jesus would absorb the overwhelming penalty we deserve, completely clearing our debt and giving us his righteousness in exchange. Jesus' prayer in the garden was essentially a prayer asking for a way to bypass the crucifixion if possible. The fact that Jesus still went to the cross after this prayer shows there was no other way for God to redeem man without compromising his justice. Jesus realized this, and accepted the father's will.
43-50: Jesus willingly met his betrayer in the garden to be captured and crucified, fulfilling the sovereign plan of God. He rebuked Peter for retaliating with violence and shamed his captors for cowardly seizing him at night when he was in their presence day after day.
51-52: This seemingly insignificant detail probably meant something to the original readers. Many commentators believe this was Mark himself since it's only mentioned in his gospel.
53-65: During Jesus' trial no one was able to prove he was guilty because their testimonies conflicted with each other. The priest and crowd convicted Jesus of blasphemy when he claimed to be divine in answering the priests question.
66-71: Just as Jesus prophesied earlier, Peter denied him 3 times out of fear.
1-47: The entire process of Jesus' trial and crucifixion fulfilled several prophecies. As he hung on the cross the full wrath of the Father was poured out on Jesus, who died in our place. Upon His death the temple curtain was torn in two, symbolizing the Father's wrath was satisfied and we now have access to the throne of God on the basis of Jesus' merits. It's a symbol of the new covenant promised through the prophet Jeremiah.
1-8: Jesus rose from the Dead as announced by the angel who took on the appearance of a young man at the tomb.
9-20: Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include Mark 9-20 which leads many scholars to believe these verses are not a part of scripture.