(Matt. 3.1–12; Lk. 3.1–20; Jn. 1.6, 15, 19–28
By gospel (i.e. the good news) the author means not the book, but the proclamation of Jesus Christ; it begins with the ministry of John the Baptist (compare Acts 1.22
). Behind the use of the Son of God title in the Markan community are influences as diverse as the Jewish expectation of a royal Messiah (see Matt. 1.1 n.
) and Hellenistic ideas about wonder-working “divine heroes” and persons of divine nature.
Matt. 3.1 n.
see Matt. 3.7 n.
see Matt. 3.2 n.
Elijah is clothed similarly in 2 Kgs. 1.8
The Baptist's role in the Gospel is as the forerunner of Christ; hence, he is sometimes identified with Elijah (see 6.15 n.; 9.11–12; Matt. 11.14; 17.10–13
see Lk. 3.16 n.
(Matt. 3.13–17; Lk. 3.21–22; Jn. 1.32–34
). In early Christian tradition, the striking account of Jesus' baptism by John serves at least three significant purposes:
it narrates his becoming the Son (see Matt. 3.16 n.
); it explains the origin of the church's initiatory rite; and it provides a location in Israel's history for the beginning
of Jesus' activity.
see Matt. 3.16 n.
(Son) and Isa. 42.1
(Beloved, meaning “chosen one”) are combined.
(Matt. 4.1–11; Lk. 4.1–13
). This brief account introduces a major concern of Mk.—the conflict of the Spirit-led Son with Satan, the evil one (
see Matt. 4.2 n.
see Matt. 4.1 n.
Whether Mk. meant the beasts to represent the dangers of the wilderness or the restoration of creation's harmony is not clear.
(Matt. 4.12–22; Lk. 4.14–15; 5.1–11; Jn. 1.35–51
The time is the long-anticipated dawning of what is called the kingdom of God—which signifies God's final victory over evil, when the divine rule is fully established and the age of salvation is inaugurated.
Repent: change your ways.
The first disciples are called without any indication of prior acquaintance with Jesus.
Simon: Peter (compare Matt. 4.18
Followed: became his disciples.
(Matt. 8.14–17; Lk. 4.31–43
Unclean spirit: a demon, believed to have power to cause illness; see v. 32
. Such demons are allied with Satan (see 3.22–23
) in opposition to God's will for humanity.
The demon has knowledge not possessed by the people in the synagogue.
see Lk. 4.40 n.
In Mk., Jesus repeatedly imposes silence about his identity, not only on demons (e.g.
), but also on friends (e.g.
(Matt. 8.1–4; Lk. 5.12–16
Leper … make me clean:
see Matt. 8.2 n.
See v. 34 n.
See Lev. 14.1–32
Matt. has no parallel to this verse, while Lk. recasts it, omitting the suggestion that Jesus could no longer show himself in any town.
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