Mark 1

Preparation for the Mission of Jesus[a]

Chapter 1

Beginning of the Good News.[b] 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2 It is written in the prophet Isaiah:[c]

“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
3 The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ ”

4 Hence, John the Baptist appeared in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 People from the entire Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem went out to him, and as they confessed their sins they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

6 John was clothed in a garment of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and his food consisted of locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was the message he proclaimed: “One who is far more powerful than I am is coming after me. I am not worthy even to stoop down and loosen the straps of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”[d]

Jesus Is Baptized by John.[e] 9 At that time,[f] Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 [g]And as he was coming up out of the water, he beheld the heavens break open and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased.”

12 Jesus Is Tempted in the Desert.[h] The Spirit immediately drove him out into the desert. 13 He remained there for forty days, during which time he was tempted by Satan. He lived there among the wild beasts, while the angels ministered to him.

Is Jesus the Messiah?[i]

First Testimonies of the Messiah’s Mission

14 Jesus Inaugurates His Mission. After John had been arrested,[j] Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, 15 “The time of fulfillment has arrived, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

16 The First Disciples.[k] As Jesus was walking along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 Immediately, they abandoned their nets and followed him.

19 As he proceeded farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They also were in a boat mending their nets. 20 Immediately, he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers and followed him.

21 Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon.[l] They journeyed to Capernaum, and on the Sabbath Jesus immediately entered the synagogue and began to instruct the people. 22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

23 In that synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit, and he shrieked, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”[m] 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

26 The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry emerged from him. 27 The people were all amazed, and they began to ask one another, “What is this? It must be a new kind of teaching! With authority he gives commands even to unclean spirits, and they obey him!” 28 His reputation quickly began to spread everywhere throughout the entire region of Galilee.

29 Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law. Immediately on leaving the synagogue, he went with James and John into the house of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law[n] was lying in bed, sick with a fever, and they informed Jesus at once about her. 31 Jesus approached her, grasped her by the hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 Other Healings. That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all those who were sick or possessed by demons.[o] 33 The whole town was present, crowded around the door. 34 He cured many who were afflicted with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, although he would not permit them to speak because they knew who he was.

35 Jesus Proclaims the Message and Heals the Sick. Early the next morning, long before dawn, he arose and went off to a secluded place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions set forth in search of him, 37 and when they found him they said, “Everybody is looking for you.” 38 He replied, “Let us move on to the neighboring towns so that I may proclaim the message there as well. For this is the reason why I came.” 39 Then he traveled all throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

40 Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy. A man with leprosy[p] approached and, kneeling before him, begged him, “If you choose to do so, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, “he stretched out his hand and touched him,[q] saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately, the leprosy left him and he was cured.

43 Jesus then sent him away at once, after first sternly warning him, 44 “See that you tell no one anything about this. Just go and show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed. That will be proof for them.”[r] 45 However, he went forth and began to proclaim the entire story, spreading the word far and wide. As a result, Jesus could no longer go openly into any town. Rather, he stayed outside in deserted places, and people continued to come to him from every quarter.


  1. Mark 1:1 Around the year 30, after centuries of silence, a prophet named John appears and unsettles his contemporaries. They are captivated by the force of his personality and the vehemence of his message. Then Jesus comes on the scene. Mark uses this story as a kind of prologue for his book, a kind of key for understanding the pages that follow: the Gospel, the “good news,” is here bursting out in the midst of humanity; the action of Jesus inaugurates the kingdom of God, the time of salvation.
  2. Mark 1:1 The Gospel is not primarily a book but rather God’s action for the salvation of humankind. The entire Book of Mark depicts Jesus as the promised and awaited one (the Messiah) and as the Son of God (see Mk 8:35; 10:29).
  3. Mark 1:2 The prophet Isaiah: the quotation that follows is a combination of Malachi (3:1) and Isaiah (40:3). See note on Mt 27:9.
  4. Mark 1:8 Baptize you with the Holy Spirit: see note on Mt 3:11.
  5. Mark 1:9 Mark retains only the essential elements of the divine manifestation, which here is given only to Jesus, whose mission is announced.
  6. Mark 1:9 At that time: Jesus probably began his public ministry about A.D. 27 at approximately 30 years of age (see Lk 3:23). Nazareth: see note on Mt 2:23. Baptized by John: see note on Mt 3:15 for the meaning of Jesus’ baptism.
  7. Mark 1:10 This passage has the involvement of all three persons of the Trinity: (1) the Father speaks; (2) the Son is baptized; and (3) the Holy Spirit descends on the Son.
  8. Mark 1:12 Jesus is already committed to his mission of combating Satan, the representative of all the forces of evil that batter humanity.
  9. Mark 1:14 People had a simple idea of the Messiah as a glorious figure: they were expecting a national hero, a political liberator, a restorer of their independence and their public worship, a leader who would bring Israel to world domination. But the reason why Jesus comes before the nation is quite different. This first part of Mark’s Gospel describes three periods. Three times the author gives a general summary of the activity of Jesus and describes a mission of the disciples; each period ends with a scene of hostility and lack of understanding. At the end of this first half of the book, the confession of Peter at Caesarea recognizes the Messiah without any misunderstanding. From that point on, the road will lead to the Passion; that development occupies the second half of the Gospel.
  10. Mark 1:14 After John had been arrested: the ministry of Jesus begins under the sign of his precursor’s martyrdom. This simple chronological marker is a veiled prefiguration of the suffering and death that await the Messiah. See note on Lk 3:20.
  11. Mark 1:16 See note on Mt 4:18-22.
  12. Mark 1:21 See note on Lk 4:31-41.
  13. Mark 1:24 The Holy One of God: this title is used only here and in Lk 4:34 and Jn 6:69. It refers more to Jesus’ divinity than to his Messiahship (see Lk 1:35).
  14. Mark 1:30 Simon’s mother-in-law: Paul (in 1 Cor 9:5) speaks of Peter being married.
  15. Mark 1:32 At sunset, the strictly enjoined Sabbath rest came to an end.
  16. Mark 1:40 Leprosy: see Lev 13–14.
  17. Mark 1:41 Touched him: an act that caused defilement according to the Law (see Lev 13:45-46). Jesus’ compassion superseded any consideration of defilement.
  18. Mark 1:44 For this ritual cleansing, see Lev 14:1-32.

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