Mark 1:1–20 Study Guide

This past weekend, we kicked off a study through the Gospel of Mark. This intimate look into the life and ministry of Jesus will help us understand who He truly is and what our response to Him should be. In the first study of this series, Pastor Doug Sauder examined Jesus’ baptism and temptation, the beginnings of His ministry, and the calling of His first disciples, showing us that Jesus is the center of the story and He’s inviting us into His story!

In this week’s group study, Fort Lauderdale campus High School Ministry Leader Javan Shashaty expands on our examination of Mark 1:1–20.



Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points for the week, and a look ahead. 

Ice Breaker: If there was one real historical person you could meet (aside from Jesus) and spend the day with, who would it be and why? What would you do with them?

Getting the Conversation Going: In Mark 8:27 (NIV), Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say I am?” They replied by telling Him that some believe He is a prophet, Elijah returned, or even John the Baptist. Today, you may hear some people describe Jesus as one of history’s most important influencers, as a good teacher, or as a revolutionary thinker. And while some of these statements may in fact be true of Jesus, if that’s all a person believes about Him, they are missing the truth. After the disciples answered His question, Jesus then asks them the most important question in history: “Who do you say I am?” Mark 8:29 (NIV). Your answer to this question is the most important thing you will say about you; it’s an answer with eternal significance, and it will impact every aspect of your life.

“What comes to mind when you think about how God is the most important thing about you?”—A.W. Tozer

Discussion Question 1: Who do you believe Jesus is? How has this belief impacted the way you live?

Key Definition: The message preached by John the Baptist and Jesus was strikingly similar. John said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 3:2 NIV, emphasis added) and Jesus said, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15 NIV, emphasis added)!

The Greek word for repent is metanoeó, which means “to change one’s mind or purpose; to think differently after a change of mind.” It describes one who has changed from within. And the Greek word for good newswhich is also translated as gospel—is euangelion, which of course means “good news.” In ancient Greek literature and language, it was a word used when one brought good tidings. In reference to the Bible, the Greek Condordance tells us it specifically refers to “the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, and also of Jesus, the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom.”

“Repentance is the admitting of your mistakes and your sins against God, but it’s more than that. It’s making a conscious turn from your sin. And when you choose to say no to your sin, you say yes to God!”

Discussion Question 2: Why is repentance a necessary aspect of believing in Jesus?

Repent and Believe: As Javan said, “Repentance is preparation for the good news of Jesus.” In order to receive the grace of God, we must first acknowledge our need for it, our sinfulness and our broken state, and our inability to save ourselves apart from the divine intervention of Jesus to rescue us from our sins. Repentance is acknowledging our sinfulness and turning away from it; it’s a heart, mind, and soul change as we surrender ourselves to God.

“If you think you’re fine without Jesus, you’ll never receive Him!”

Discussion Question 3: We are able to qualify something as good news because we all know and have experienced what bad news is. So, as it pertains to the gospel . . .

  • What’s the bad news? What makes it so bad?
  • What makes the gospel such good news?   
  • What would you say to someone who wants to be a recipient of this good news?

Understanding the Nearness of God’s Kingdom: From the very beginning, the Gospel of Mark makes its intention clear: to proclaim “the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1 NIV). The kingdom of God has come to the earth in the person of Jesus. He is the King of kings and His arrival on earth and into human history ushered in the kingdom of God on earth and made a way for us to enter into this kingdom as citizens! When we believe in Jesus, John 1:12 (NIV) tells us, “To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” And as His children, we are heirs of this kingdom and ambassadors for this kingdom. As ambassadors, Jesus is inviting us into His story to follow His example and go out and proclaim the good news to those who need to hear it!

“Jesus loves to use broken people like you and me to change the world!”

Discussion Question 4: In what ways can we as individuals and/or as a group be more intentional about proclaiming the good news of Jesus with the people around us who don’t know Him? What are some simple steps we can take this week to follow the examples of John the Baptist and Jesus?

This Week: Spend time in prayer and reflection. Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any areas in which you have unconfessed sin. As He reveals them, confess them before Him, repent of them, and watch how His grace, love, and forgiveness washes away guilt, shame, fear, and even any barriers you may feel in regards to your relationship with Him.

Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week. And ask the Lord to provide opportunities for you to serve this week!


Looking for more info on the Gospel of Mark? Check out this page with all sorts of resources, a weekly breakdown, message takeaways and group studies, devotionals, articles, and much more!

Mark Resource Page


This weekend, we’ll continue our study through the Gospel of Mark as Pastor Doug teaches from Mark 1:21-45—the beginning of Jesus ministry through the region of Galilee. Discover why Jesus’ words have authority over our lives, what He used His authority for, how it fueled His mission, and how it can change your life!

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About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.