Jesus begins his ministry in Mark’s gospel with a focus on people. He sees them and calls them. Much has been made by many others, and rightly so, about the turn Jesus exhibits here. Only the most scholastic or the most connected would have had even the opportunity to follow a rabbi in Jewish culture. They would have sought one out, and asked to follow him. Other rabbinical literature of the time suggests that a rabbi should deny a potential disciple at least three times.
Instead Jesus finds them. He calls them. Fishermen. Just the kind of people I was looking for, says Jesus. They already know how to fish. The same offer, it seems, is to you. You’re already the kind of person he’s after for his kingdom.
Jesus immediately is confronted by an evil demon. On the Sabbath. In a synagogue. The demon recognizes who Jesus is, right away, but Jesus tells him to hush up. This introduces the theme of what many scholars have called “the Markan secret.” I’ll reference it throughout. It serves an important purpose, but we’ll get to that. It’s worth noting, though, that while Jesus tells the demon to be quiet and casts him out (on the Sabbath), news spreads anyway. It’s hard to keep such news quiet.