Unit 7, Day 3: Mark 1

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

John the Baptist preached “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). After John baptized Jesus, the Savior began to preach the gospel and work miracles by divine power and authority. He cast out unclean spirits and healed a leper. News of what He did spread throughout Galilee.

Mark 1:1–20

Jesus begins His ministry

  1. journal icon1.

    Ask two or more people (family members, friends, classmates, or others) to share their testimony of Jesus Christ with you. You may need to give them time to reflect and prepare before sharing their testimony with you. In your scripture study journal, write down a brief summary of the truths they shared.

Consider the following questions:

  • What is valuable about hearing testimonies from several people rather than from just one person?

  • What do you think might be valuable about studying the testimony of Mark, now that you have studied the testimony of Matthew?

Read Mark 1:1–4, 9–11, looking for the event with which Mark began his account of the Savior’s life.

Mark’s account of the Savior’s life is different from Matthew’s. It begins suddenly and is fast-paced, emphasizing the Savior’s divinity by focusing on His works and miracles. Mark likely wrote his account based on what he learned from the Apostle Peter. Many scholars believe it was written between A.D. 66 and A.D. 73, at a time when Christians throughout the Roman Empire suffered intense persecution.

In Mark 1:12–20 we read that after Jesus fasted for 40 days, He was tempted by the devil (see also Matthew 4:1–11). He also preached repentance in Galilee and called disciples to follow Him.

Mark 1:21–39

Jesus casts out devils and heals the sick

What dangers might a soldier in enemy territory face?

helmeted soldiers below watchtower

Read the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Boyd K. Packer

“With all that is going on in the world, with the lowering of moral standards, you young people are being raised in enemy territory.

“We know from the scriptures that there was a war in heaven and that Lucifer rebelled and, with his followers, ‘was cast out into the earth’ [Revelation 12:9]. He is determined to disrupt our Heavenly Father’s plan and seeks to control the minds and actions of all” (“Counsel to Youth,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 16).

  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: From what President Packer taught, and from your own experiences, in what ways is our life here on earth like being in enemy territory?

Consider times in your life when you have felt overwhelmed because of the evil influences and temptations that surround you. As you study Mark 1:21–37, look for a truth that will help you when you face evil influences and temptations.

Read Mark 1:21–22, looking for what Jesus did in Capernaum and how the Jews responded.

Why were the Jews astonished at the Savior’s teachings?

The scribes mentioned in verse 22 were considered experts in the law of Moses. They were “sometimes called lawyers or doctors of the law. They developed the law in detail and applied it to the circumstances of their time” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Scribe,” scriptures.lds.org). When they preached they often quoted former authorities in the law. In contrast, Jesus spoke with the power and authority of His Father. He also was the Great Jehovah who gave the law of Moses. The Joseph Smith Translation teaches that “he taught them as one having authority from God, and not as having authority from the scribes” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:37 [in Matthew 7:29, footnote a]).

While Jesus taught in the synagogue, He was confronted by a man who was possessed by an unclean, or evil, spirit. Read Mark 1:23–26, looking for what the unclean spirit knew about Jesus.

video iconIf it is available, you could watch the video “Jesus Heals a Possessed Man” (1:48) from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos, available on LDS.org, looking for what the unclean spirit knew about Jesus.

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The evil spirits that seek to possess physical bodies are Lucifer’s followers. They dwelt in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ before being cast out of heaven.

If you were at the synagogue then and saw what happened, what would you think about Jesus?

Read Mark 1:27–28, looking for how the people responded after seeing Jesus cast the unclean spirit out of the man.

One truth we can learn from this account is that the Savior has power over the devil and his followers.

  1. journal icon3.

    Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can knowing that the Savior has power over the devil and his followers help you when you feel overwhelmed because of the evil influences and temptations that surround you?

Read the following statement by President James E. Faust of the First Presidency, and mark what we can do to receive greater power to resist the devil:

President James E. Faust

“The Prophet Joseph Smith … stated, ‘Wicked spirits have their bounds, limits, and laws by which they are governed’ [in History of the Church, 4:576]. So Satan and his angels are not all-powerful. …

“… Satan’s efforts can be thwarted by all who come unto Christ by obedience to the covenants and ordinances of the gospel. The humble followers of the divine Master need not be deceived by the devil. Satan does not sustain and uplift and bless. He leaves those he has grasped in shame and misery. The spirit of God is a sustaining and uplifting influence” (“Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 6, 7).

Prophet Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine [see Mark 5:1–13], showing that he would prefer a swine’s body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 211).

Read Mark 1:28, looking for what happened after the Savior cast out the evil spirit.

Simon Peter was married, and in Mark 1:29–31 we read that the Savior healed his mother-in-law of her fever. In Mark 1:32–39 we read that Jesus healed many others who were sick, cast out many devils, and continued to preach throughout Galilee.

Mark 1:40–45

Jesus heals a leper

Read Mark 1:40, looking for who came to the Savior as He continued to preach in Galilee.

video iconIf it is available, you could watch the video “Lesson 18: New Testament Customs—Leprosy” (1:01), available on LDS.org.

In ancient times a person afflicted with leprosy was called a leper. “Leprosy is a chronic disease that attacks skin, nerves, eyes, bones, and limbs. Left untreated, it progressively disables its victims before subjecting them to a painful death. Lepers in ancient Israel were quarantined [forced to live outside the town], were commanded to call out ‘Unclean!’ to warn anyone approaching them, and were considered to spread their uncleanness to anyone who came in contact with them (see Leviticus 13:45–46)” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 103).

Imagine you were a leper during the time of Jesus Christ. How would having leprosy impact your life?

Read Mark 1:40, looking for what the leper did when he saw the Savior. (The word beseeching means begging or pleading.)

How did the leper show his faith in Jesus Christ?

The phrase “if thou wilt” means that the man recognized that his healing depended on the Savior’s will. Read Mark 1:41–42, looking for how the Savior responded to the man’s pleading.

Ponder the following questions:

  • If you had been the leper, what would it have meant to you to be touched by the Savior? Why?

  • How would your life have changed if Jesus Christ healed your leprosy?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

As you read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, mark ways he said leprosy can be likened to sin (see Leviticus 14): “Leprosy in biblical times, in addition to its desolating physical effects, was looked upon as the symbol of sin and uncleanness, signifying that as this evil disease ate away and destroyed the physical body, so sin eats away and corrupts the spiritual side of man. … There were instances in the Old Testament—Miriam, Gehazi, and Uzziah—in which rebellious persons were cursed with leprosy as a punishment for their evil deed” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 2:45).

It is important to note that diseases such as leprosy are not caused by sin. But there is a likeness between the effects of leprosy and the effects of sin. Reread Mark 1:40–42. This time, substitute the word sinner for leper and sin for leprosy. As you read, look for how we can liken this leper’s healing to our being cleansed from sin.

As you read the verses this way, what words suggest the idea of being forgiven?

How can we liken what the leper did to be cleansed from leprosy to what we need to do to be cleansed from sin? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

One principle we can learn by likening the healing of the leper to being cleansed from sin is that as we exercise faith and come unto the Savior, He will have compassion on us and cleanse us from sin. Consider writing this truth in the margin of your scriptures next to Mark 1:40–42.

  1. journal icon4.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      In what ways must we exercise faith and come unto the Savior so that He can cleanse us of our sins?

    2. b.

      Consider again what the leper’s life was like before and after he was healed. How can coming to Jesus Christ to be cleansed from sin change someone’s life?

    3. c.

      When have you seen someone’s life change after being cleansed from sin through the power of Christ’s Atonement?

Ponder what sins you need to be cleansed of. As you come to the Savior by exercising faith in Him through prayer, repentance, and obedience, He can make you clean.

Read Mark 1:43–45, looking for instructions the Savior gave the healed leper. The law of Moses required those healed of leprosy to show themselves to a temple priest. After the priest declared the leper healed, an offering would be made whereby the leper could be declared clean, allowing him full fellowship with his family and in the community again.

What did the man do after the Savior warned Him against telling others?

What happened because the man spread the news of his healing?

  1. journal icon5.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Mark 1 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: