Mark 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Mark 1)

Verse 1

[1] The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — The evangelist speaks with strict propriety: for the beginning of the Gospel is in the account of John the Baptist, contained in the first paragraph; the Gospel itself in the rest of the book. Matthew 3:1; Luke 3:1

Verse 2

[2] As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Malachi 3:1

Verse 3

[3] The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Isaiah 40:3.

Verse 4

[4] John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Preaching the baptism of repentance — That is, preaching repentance, and baptizing as a sign and means of it.

Verse 7

[7] And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose — That is, to do him the very meanest service.

Verse 9

[9] And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

Matthew 3:13; Luke 3:21.

Verse 12

[12] And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

And immediately the Spirit thrusteth him out into the wilderness — So in all the children of God, extraordinary manifestations of his favour are wont to be followed by extraordinary temptations. Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1.

Verse 13

[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.

And he was there forty days, tempted by Satan — Invisibly. After this followed the temptation by him in a visible shape, related by St. Matthew.

And he was with the wild beasts — Though they had no power to hurt him. St. Mark not only gives us a compendium of St. Matthew's Gospel, but likewise several valuable particulars, which the other evangelists have omitted.

Verse 14

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

Matthew 4:12.

Verse 15

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

The time is fulfilled — The time of my kingdom, foretold by Daniel, expected by you, is fully come.

Verse 16

[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.

Matthew 4:18; Luke 5:1.

Verse 18

[18] And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Straightway leaving their nets, they followed him — From this time they forsook their employ, and constantly attended him. Happy they who follow Christ at the first call!

Verse 21

[21] And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

Luke 4:31.

Verse 26

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

A loud noise — For he was forbidden to speak. Christ would neither suffer those evil spirits to speak in opposition, nor yet in favour of him. He needed not their testimony, nor would encourage it, lest any should infer that he acted in concert with them.

Verse 29

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

Matthew 8:14; Luke 4:38.

Verse 32

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

When the sun was set — And, consequently, the Sabbath was ended, which they reckoned from sunset to sunset.

Verse 33

[33] And all the city was gathered together at the door.

And the whole city was gathered together at the door — O what a fair prospect was here! Who could then have imagined that all these blossoms would die away without fruit?

Verse 34

[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.

He suffered not the devils to say that they knew him — That is, according to Dr. Mead's hypothesis, (that the Scriptural demoniacs were only diseased persons,) He suffered not the diseases to say that they knew him!

Verse 35

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

Rising a great while before day — So did he labour for us, both day and night. Luke 4:42.

Verse 40

[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.

Matthew 8:2; Luke 5:12.

Verse 44

[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.

See thou say nothing to any man|-But our blessed Lord gives no such charge to us. If he has made us clean from our leprosy of sin, we are not commanded to conceal it. On the contrary, it is our duty to publish it abroad, both for the honour of our Benefactor, and that others who are sick of sin may be encouraged to ask and hope for the same benefit.

But go, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing what Moses commanded for a testimony to them — The priests seeing him, pronouncing him clean, Leviticus 13:17,23,28,37, and accordingly allowing him to offer as Moses commanded, Leviticus 14:2,7, was such a proof against them, that they durst never say the leper was not cleansed; which out of envy or malice against our Saviour they might have been ready to say, upon his presenting himself to be viewed, according to the law, if by the cleansed person's talking much about his cure, the account of it had reached their ears before he came in person. This is one great reason why our Lord commanded this man to say nothing.

Verse 45

[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.

So that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city — It was also to prevent this inconvenience that our Lord had enjoined him silence.