THINK: Before Jesus began His public ministry, John the Baptist prepared the way and previewed the message. That message was simple: turn from your own way and turn toward God and His way. On your own, that transformation would be impossible. But the good news is that Jesus, God's son, made the way for you to have a personal relationship with God by giving His own life to pay the price for every wrong you've ever done. If you confess your wrongdoing and surrender your old life to Jesus, He will give you new and eternal life through the power of the Holy Spirit who wants to live in and through you.
RESPOND: In relation to God, what does it mean to repent? (See Mark 1:4 note.) What is the signifi cance of water baptism in relation to repentance? How would Jesus baptize people compared to how John baptized them? (See 1:8 note.) What are some things we can learn about the nature and character of God from the events surrounding Jesus' baptism? (See 1:11 note.) How would you explain the concept of the "Trinity"? What is Jesus referring to when He speaks of "the kingdom of God"? (See 1:15 note.) What does Jesus mean when He tells His fi rst disciples that He will make them "fi shers of men"? (See 1:17 note.) What can we learn from how Jesus' fi rst disciples responded to His call (vv. 18, 20)?
PRAY: Give Jesus thanks for allowing you to be part of His kingdom. Pray that His authority, power and purposes will be at work through your life and that He uses you to bring others into His eternal kingdom.
ACT: If there is anything in your life for which you need to repent, confess it to God and ask for His help in making a complete change. If you sense God asking you to do something, don't hesitate to act, respond to His call immediately, like His fi rst followers.
THINK: Have you ever known of someone who had a position of authority but seemed to lack compassion or concern for people? Then again, you may know a person who is kind and compassionate, but who lacks the opportunity and resources to do everything he or she would like to do for others. Jesus is someone you can know personally who has ultimate power and authority over everything. Yet not only does He have the ability to help and heal, He also has the desire to show compassion and do what's best for you in every situation. Even more, He has the ability and the desire to demonstrate His power and compassion through you.
RESPOND: What is "the synagogue"? (See Mark 1:21 note.) Why and how do you think the people sensed that Jesus had special authority (v. 22)? How was His authority diff erent from that of the teachers of the law? What does the demons' reaction to Jesus (vv. 23-24) tell us about Him? What does Jesus response to the demons (vv. 25-27) tell us about Him? (See article on Power over Satan and Demons, p. 1347 of the FBSE.) Why did Jesus not permit the demons to speak of His identity? What diff erence do you think Jesus' prayer life made in His ministry? What can we learn from how the man with leprosy approached Jesus (v. 40) and from how Jesus responded to him (vv. 41-42)? Why did the people keep coming to Jesus regardless of where He was?
PRAY: Praise Jesus for His awesome power and authority over all things, including the forces of evil in this world. Ask Him to have His way in your life and to give you compassion for people that allows you to infl uence them for God. Pray for someone you know who is facing spiritual opposition or is in need of help and healing.
ACT: Do more than pray. Reach out to someone today who needs to experience Jesus power and compassion. Don't wait for someone to cross your path. Go to him or her and off er an encouraging word and do something practical to help. Let the person know that you are praying. If appropriate, pray for them on the spot, in person.