The Gospel of Mark can be divided into 2 main parts. Chapters 1-8:27 focus on answering the question, "Who is this Jesus? and covers most of the ministry years. From 8:27 to the end, Mark focuses on "what is the mission of Jesus?" and from chapter 11 on you are in Holy Week.
These two segments frame how I read each section.
Mark 1:1-11 Preparation
God sends a messenger to prepare the way of the Lord. John the Baptist appears on the scene proclaiming a baptism of repentance. Repentance.....I have heard it taught that repentance is not just feeling sorry for sins but turning from your sins. I have heard people say one must repent to be saved.
But what is repentance in Mark 1?
This is preached to Israel, the chosen people, the people of the Covenant. They knew the story of Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah. The prophets had come to them. They are the ones being called to baptism and a new start. They are the ones being called to prepare through repentance.
Maybe because God is about to do something that has not happened before. The miraculous interventions of God in Israel's history were many times military victories, deliverance from their enemies. The people were looking for one who would free them from Roman occupation. But this time God was rescuing all who have been exiled from Eden. And this rescue was not from tyrants like Caesar, or empires like Rome. This rescue was from sin and death. God was about to invade human space through Jesus Christ. This is something new. And its time. Time to prepare. Time to change course. Time to join the Kingdom of God.