The book of Mark is the shortest gospel in the Bible. Mark is straight to the point and wants his audience to know the utter truth about Jesus and who He is. The very first words in Mark describe His intent, which is to portray the “gospel (or good news) of Jesus, the Son of God.”
Mark then describes the mission of the last prophet, John the Baptist, which was to prepare the way for the Savior by preaching a baptism of repentance. This would have been controversial to the Jews, who were the clean people of God and needed no washing, like the Gentiles, who needed a washing to enter the community of God. John shows us that the preaching of his baptism was symbolic of the internal work of the Holy Spirit, who accompanies the Baptism of Jesus (ie, regeneration).
Mark then portrays the temptation of Jesus. Jesus was tempted by Satan, and we know according to the other gospels, that he passed! After Jesus’ temptation, John was arrested and Jesus begins His public ministry of proclaiming the gospel, which is the only power to save!
1) After reading Mark 1:1-3, what is the author laying evidence for?
2) Following Mark 1:1-3, John is named the one who “will prepare your way”, in verse 2. Why is this significant in the order that the Messiah will come?
3) What is repentance, and why is it brought up so much in the text we read through?
4) Reading through verses 4-11, baptism is mentioned several times. If you have been baptized, what did that represent? If you have not been baptized, and have no clue what that entails, this would be a great time to connect with your leader, and learn what it means for a follower of Christ.
5) At the end of verse 15, “Repent and believe the good news!”, is declared. What can we say about the significance of this, and what it means to repent and believe the good news?
Charles H. Spurgeon’s remarks on Mark
-“Repent and believe the good news!”(Mk 1:15). This is the sum and substance of Jesus Christ’s whole teaching-the Alpha and Omega of his entire ministry. And, coming from the lips of such a One, at such a time. With such peculiar power, we are to give heed to this twofold command. To “repent” is more than a mere change of mind. There must be sorrow for sin and hatred of it in true repentance, for the repentance Jesus proclaimed was in keeping with “the good news.” Thus we have the second half of his command: “Believe the good news.” The repentance we ought to proclaim is one connected with faith. Repentance and faith must be proclaimed together. For the repentance Jesus commanded is the result of faith. It is the repentance that ejects sin as an evil tenant and the faith that admits Christ to be the sole Master of one’s heart. This was Jesus’s message, and it should be that of his followers.
In the last two thirds of Mark chapter 1, we see five different events that describe some of Jesus’ early Galilean ministry. These stories focus on Jesus’ authoritative teaching as well as Jesus’ authority over disease and the demonic realm. We start with John the Baptist in custody, and Jesus deciding to call upon men to become His disciples rather than continuing His ministry alone. Jesus, traveling along the bank of the Sea of Galilee, comes across two pairs of brothers, Simon (Peter) and Andrew, and then James and John. He charges them to follow Him, and they immediately take on the role of His disciples.
Jesus and His followers moved into Capernaum, where Jesus made His way straight to the synagogue to preach on the Sabbath. His holy presence and proclamation of truth caused a conflict with a demon-possessed man, who Jesus promptly freed from the demon’s hold. Next, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law and many others late into the night. Rising early the next morning, Jesus retreats to a solitary place to pray and rejuvenate until He is interrupted by the disciples, to whom He then straightens up a misunderstanding about His purpose on Earth. Finally, Jesus is approached by a leper, a man bound by the Law of Moses to live a solitary life. Jesus feels compassion and heals the man, telling him to keep quiet about it and be reintegrated into society in the manner outlined in Leviticus, but the man disobeys and speaks freely about his healing, causing Jesus to have to move His ministry into more isolated communities.
1.) What is the significance of the disciples immediately leaving their jobs as fisherman to follow Jesus? How was this act unusual for a Rabbi and his followers?
2.) Why would Jesus not permit any demons to speak other than the first one who called Him by name? Why do you think He would allow the first demon to speak?
3.) Why did Jesus touch the leper when He could have healed him with just a word. Read Leviticus 5:3. How is Jesus still perfect after breaking the Law of Moses by touching the leper? Was that a sin?
4.) If Jesus is the Messiah, why would He not want the leper to tell people about Him? What was the issue with what the leper went around “preaching?”(See John 6:15; 7:3-6, Mark 10:43-45)
5.) What are some examples of how we, as Christians, impose our own opinions with good intentions onto Jesus’ commands, negatively affecting His ministry?
Continuing along in our study of the Lords ministry through the Gospel of Mark, we now reach a portion of scripture where Jesus turns the entire framework of the Pharisees upside down. Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders as to why John’s disciples, and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but His do not? (vv.18). Jesus uses the metaphor of the bridegroom and his guests to explain why His disciples do not fast. The Pharisees, knowing God’s law on fasting would have understood the meaning. It is in this same metaphor that we see the for the first time in Mark, an insinuation that Christ will be put to death (vv. 20). Christ’s point in all of this is that He did not come to patch up an old structure. This was not a condemning of God’s law, but a rebuke of the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees.
The desire of the religious leaders of the day was to place a heavier burden upon the people that God did not intend for them to carry. At the same time, they wanted to puff themselves up to show how “holy” they were. God’s law was given to show that we need a savior. Jesus is our savior. He fulfilled God’s righteous requirement that we could not. His burden is easy, and His yoke is light. Our Christians walk is not based upon the traditions of men, but upon the foundation of Christ.
OPEN WITH PRAYER/ASK STUDENTS TO SHARE COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MESSAGE. ASK THE FOLLOWING:
1.What does Jesus mean when He uses the metaphor of the Bridegroom?
2.Why would His disciples fast after the bridegroom was taken away from them?
3.John the Baptist was sent as a forerunner to proclaim the coming Messiah. Why were John’s disciples not Jesus’ disciples?
4.The Jewish leaders multiplied God’s law by adding their own to it. Where God left people free, they put them in chains. What does it mean that the Sabbath was “made for man?
5.Jesus did not come to abolish the law of God, but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17). Discuss in your group how the law of God looks today, and functions within the lives of believers.
Isaiah 58 tells us that TRUE fasting is to “loose the bonds of wickedness…share your bred with the hungry..cover the naked” (v. 6), in a sense, consider others as MORE important. With this kind of radical self denial in mind, why do you think your life would look like if you were to implement this kind of worship? Read Isaiah 58; James 1:26-27
Read Matt 16:24-26; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16-18. Considering these texts, where, in your own life, are you denying others and keeping for yourself?
Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, meaning like David, we go to the house of God to feed off of Him. When life has made you weary, when you feel like there’s no post to lean on, where do you go for feeding? Do you go to Christ, or other, lesser forms of
Jesus now continues his interaction with the religious Pharisees. This time over healing on the sabbath. The Pharisees had added to God’s law so they could outwardly conform to the requirements they had set forth, while missing the intention of God’s law and His heart for His people. Jesus unashamedly points out their flaw and the evil intentions of their hard hearts. We also see the response of the Pharisees, who have now had their hearts exposed. Their response is utter hatred towards Jesus. Jesus knows their intentions to kill him. Thus he pulls away, but the crowds find him! His popularity has grown (Mark 1:28) and people from all over have heard about Jesus and have traveled miles to find him. They have heard of his miraculous power and his ability to heal the sick. The text is clear, these individuals are seeking Jesus for what He is doing…This should stick in our hearts like a knife. We are all guilty of seeking Jesus for what He can give us rather than seeking Him as the gift. We should be reminded that He is the treasure and the results of Him are often good gifts for His people. In contrast with verse 8, Jesus goes up on a mountain and calls to himself His disciples (verse 13). This is a beautiful picture of God’s grace for those whom He saves. Despite ourselves and our sin, He calls His disciples to Himself. Then, just as Christ did with the twelve, He sends us out on a mission! A mission to spread His. gospel and fame. Are you doing this???
1. We all are like the Pharisees in this passage. We have all added requirements to God’s law in an effort to provide a measuring stick that we can attain. How have you done this? How does this oppose the gospel?
2. Like the large crowds in this passage seeking Jesus, many of us are guilty of seeking God for his gifts. God’s gifts are not bad, but they are not why we seek God. The gifts of God aren’t better than God himself. Describe how you have been guilty of seeking Christ for His benefits instead of seeking Christ for who He is.
3. Read Matthew 13:44-46. Is Jesus your treasure? Do you struggle with this?
4. Just as the Disciples were called by Christ and then sent out on a mission, so have we been called and sent. Are you living your life on a mission for Jesus? If not, why?
1. The Pharisees added to the law of God in order to gain power over others and to make themselves look more “holy”. We can often tend to be sort of legalistic in our own lives, adding to what Jesus has commanded in order to try and look better. Do you ever catch yourself doing this? If so, is there ever a sense of humility from the Spirit that brings you back to the cross, or do you continue to lean on your own power?
2. The Pharisees added to the law of God in order to gain power over others and to make themselves look more “holy”. We can often tend to be sort of legalistic in our own lives, adding to what Jesus has commanded in order to try and look better. Do you ever catch yourself doing this? If so, is there ever a sense of humility from the Spirit that brings you back to the cross, or do you continue to lean on your own power?
3. Jesus family in v.21 thought He was,” out of His mind”. Later, Paul writes to the Corinthians that,” the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18) but that we are not to be put to shame (Romans 1:16; 5:5) for the hope in Christ. Has there ever been a time when you were shamed for believing the gospel, by either friends or family? Did you shy away from proclaiming, or were you able to stand firm? If so, where did you find the strength?
The Kingdom of God is here! – At this time in the book of Mark we see that Jesus is starting the beginning of his earthly ministry. Jesus is healing the sick, the deaf will hear, the blind can see, and crowds are now starting to not only see the power of Jesus, but are now starting to believe in Jesus as well, because of this, Jesus’ fame is spreading all across the land of Israel. The teachers of the law from Jerusalem come from Jerusalem to see Jesus who they hated. The hatred for Jesus is so large that they commit the one that cannot be forgiven- blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. They credit the work of the spirit to the work of the devil. They are saying that Jesus is from the devil. Jesus answers why would Satan cast out Satan? He reminds them that every sin that a believer commits will be forgiven, but those that commit this sin of blasphemy will never be a believer of Jesus because they will never be forgiven. They are so far gone that they know that Jesus is of God and yet credit him to be from Satan. These scribes will never be apart of the kingdom of God and they will not stand. Those that are forgiven are a part of the kingdom of God and they are the brothers and sisters of Christ, a family that even transcends that of a natural family by blood. Brothers and sister of Christ do the will of God and love to see the kingdom of God be proclaimed and see it grow. Jesus’ kingdom has come and it is stronger than anything else.
1. What were the scribes accusing Jesus by? Do they truly believe this?
2. Why did Jesus use the parable of the strong and stronger man?
3. Have you ever felt like there was a sin that you committed that Jesus could never forgive? If so why? Do you live like you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus today?
4. Jesus stresses the importance of brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you see the importance of brothers and sisters in Christ? What do they mean to you?
5. Do you neglect other brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you treat other family members of God harsh or hurtful? Do you ever try to find fellowship with other believers that you do not talk too?
We have come to a time in Jesus’ life when there were great crowds following Jesus, all desiring to be part of and receive the blessings He was performing. He gives them this parable, one we are very much familiar with. The main point of this parable is for the people to examine themselves, in a sense asking them, “why are you here?”, We would do well to ask ourselves this question. Why are we doing what we’re doing? Here, Mark describes those on who the word will have no effect (vv4-6;15), those who will hear the word but when they are tested with trials they leave their faith behind (vv.5;16-17), and those who hear the word, but they are so attached to the things of this world that they bear no fruit to their doom (vv.7;18-19). Jesus explains to us that the only way to be found to be a true believer is to bear fruit, that is, to trust in His name and promises alone for strength, leave this world behind, pick up our cross and to follow Him which is our spiritual fruit.
1. What is common to each of the first three seeds of the parable (4:15-19)?
2. What is the central point to the parable (4:1-20)?
3. Read Colossians 1:21-23. How are we to keep from becoming the soil with the thorns?
4. Read John 6:63-65. Ultimately, who is responsible for the salvation of those around us?
5. Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. If there are thorns in our lives, they must be dug up. How can this happen? How are we strong when we are weak?
1. What is significant about each one?
2. Search the scriptures, where can you see these types of soils represented?
3. Which soil do you think best represents you?
4. What is the only way for bad soil to become good soil?
Verses 21-34 Mark is calling those who have ears to hear to be diligent in their study, meditation, and contemplation of the Word of Christ. But those who hear are not to just keep the Truth that they hear to themselves, but they are to sow the seed everywhere. They are to put the lamp on the stand wherever God has called them to be in their lives. There are also those who do nothing with what they have, and the passage tells us that they will have the little that they do have taken away from them.
Also, in this portion of the text it is made clear to the hearers that their duty is only to sow the seed, but that whatever, if any growth happens is based on the type of soil that the seed lands on. And, the sower has no control over the type of soil. Because of whom it is that prepares the soil, the tiniest of seeds when it lands in good soil will grow up to be a massive tree. This is because the Master gardener has prepared soil all over His creation.
Finally, in verses 35-41 Jesus shows his authority to the disciples over the natural world, which causes them great fear. Unfortunately, they had a previous fear that was dictated by their worldly circumstances because of their unbelief. The text is showing not only the authority of Christ, but that he is all we need in the midst of challenging and unexpected worldly circumstances.
1. What is the purpose of the lamp?
2. Does your hearing bear fruit?
3. Do you trust God to bring the fruit?
4. Is your God big enough?
5. Do you have a PROPER fear of Jesus?
6. Is Jesus enough for you?
Reflect back on this lesson.
Be intentional in setting aside time to study and meditate on God’s word. As you study and meditate, what stands out that you can directly and immediately apply in your life? Note this, highlight it, or journal what your found, and what resulted as you sought to disciple, evangelize, and submit to the authority of Christ.
This story is almost unthinkable! Many people rule is out as a fairy tale or legend, but the fact is Satan is real and It is important to note that this event happens immediately after the events found at the end of Chapter 4. In other words, there is NO BREAK in the action in Jesus’ ministry after He calms a storm. The very next morning he and his disciples land on the shore of of region called Gadara, which was comprised of many Gentiles, who had not heard of Jesus’ fame as of yet. Immediately Jesus and his crew were met by a man who had been possessed by multiple demonic spirits. This man lived in the tombs, away from the people, in isolation because of the danger he posed.
His violent rages were so bad that he needed to be chained for his safety and others around him, but he couldn’t be bound with chains or shackles and he cut himself daily, probably in an effort to rid himself from demons who had enslaved him. When Jesus meets this man he does the unthinkable! What he does not only demonstrates his power and authority, but it should make us question, how can he just do that? Though Jesus wasn’t possessed by Satan, He did trade places with the man who was.
Reflect back on this lesson.
Just as Jesus and his disciples touch down in Capernaum, after a long journey from the far side of the Sea of Galilee, He is approached by Jairus, an experienced and notable ruler in Capernaum’s synagogue. Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet and begs Him to heal his 12-year-old daughter of her terminal illness. Jesus agrees and, surrounded by a bustling crowd, heads towards Jairus’s home. In the midst of the throng of followers, a woman, diseased and ceremonially unclean, makes her way through the crowd in a desperate act of faith to touch the garment of Jesus, that she could be made well. Embarrassed and ashamed of her affliction, she touches His robes and is healed instantly and needed no further interaction with Jesus, but He, despite the demand to hurry onward to Jairus’s daughter, stops to acknowledge what had just taken place. Jesus, so immeasurably compassionate and gentle, directs the spotlight away from the matter at hand to speak to this woman. He addresses her, saying “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” Before Jesus is finished speaking, word comes through a messenger that Jairus’s daughter is dead. There was no point in pressing on. Jairus was devastated, but Jesus tells him, “Do not fear, only believe.” After sending the crowd away, Jesus continues onward with Peter, James, and John to see the dead child. When Jesus arrives, the funeral is already in full swing. His presence is mocked by the funeral attendees, but He sends them away. He enters the little girl’s room with her mother and father. Full of the same warmth and tenderness that He displayed to the woman earlier, He says to the child, “Talitha cumi,” which means “little girl, I say to you, arise.” Unsurprisingly, she is brought back to life. Jairus and his wife are in awe. They knew of Jesus’ power to heal, BUT TO BRING SOMEONE BACK TO LIFE? It was unfathomable. God, as he does in our lives today, executed His plan for His glory in a way that even the faithful did not know was possible. We can have faith in how He works in mysterious ways that we often can’t see or imagine. Often, when we see no solution or positive outcome in life, God reminds us who He is.
1.As God, Jesus already knew what had happened when the woman touched his clothes, so why did Jesus ask who had touched Him?
2.Why would the woman be fearful and trembling in confessing that it was she who touched Him? Think of what the Jews would think of someone ceremonially unclean amidst a crowd.
3.Why would Jesus strictly command Jairus’ family not to tell anyone what had happened? (Look back at Mark 1:42-45 with the healing of the leper)
4.How has God used seemingly hopeless circumstances in YOUR life to remind you who He is?
Reflect back on this lesson. Is there anything in your life that you feel hopeless about now? How can your faith carry you through it?
Coming to the next section of chapter six in our study of The Book of Mark, there are two stories to observe. The first is dealing with the death of John the Baptist. Herod, hearing of the work Jesus is doing, is in fear that the prophet who rebuked him has risen from the dead. In this account we will see boldness to proclaim God’s truth, as well a conscience troubled by the truth. We too must be bold as John but remember to also not be casual as Herod.
The second part of our passage focuses upon Jesus’ feeding of the 5000. A popular miracle we are familiar with, but one which we simply view as just that, a great miracle. Then we move on. However, what we need to recognize within this miracle is our similarities to the crowd in why they come to Jesus in the first place. Not to worship Him or to glorify Him. Rather, what can be obtained from Him. Christ is all we need to sustain us in life. Let us not seek for momentary fill that will soon leave us hungry, but bread that feeds the soul for eternity.
1.What keeps you from being bold when talking about the truths of God?
2.Have you ever rebuked someone with God’s word? How did it go? What could you have done better? What will you do differently next time?
3.How often do you find yourself coming to Jesus because of what He can give you, rather than for who He is? Why?
4.Why is it important to seek rest? Should your time of rest consist of mindlessness? How can you make your time of rest beneficial to your spiritual growth?
1.Consider the story of John the Baptist. His proclamation of truth troubled the king. What is it about the truth of God’s word that causes our conscience to become uneasy? Journal for your personal record when you came to Christ and how the Word of God moved upon your conscience. (if you are not a believer) Do you feel your conscience becoming uneasy when God’s word is read, and truth proclaimed? If yes, why? If no, Why?
2.Read all four accounts of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:32-44, Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:5-13). Use all four Gospel accounts to fill in the gaps as to what took place. Take time and write out chronologically each moment in this event in order to see the full picture.
In Mark 7:1-23, Jesus and His disciples are confronted by the Pharisees and scribes, who had been sent from Jerusalem to investigate the popularity of Jesus’ ministry. The scribes were EXPERTS in the interpretation of the oral law at the time, which was not God’s law, but a culmination of excess tradition and rules lumped on by the Jews.
The Pharisees and scribes confront Jesus about His disciples’ eating with defiled hands, as washing them was a tradition and part of the oral law. Jesus responds with a fiery rebuttal, outlining how men had added on to God’s law, losing the heart behind God’s laws in the process. Jesus even highlights how the oral laws often times actually CONTRADICT God’s law, and were often invented as ways to create “loopholes” in God’s law.
Jesus then explains, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” Jesus shows that the traditions of the Pharisees and scribes are a result of sinful hearts and a complete misunderstanding behind the purpose of God’s law.
• What are some ways that we allow our hearts to pervert what Scripture says today? How are we similar to the Pharisees and scribes?
• Have you ever utilized God’s word with bad intentions? Throughout history, how has the church struggled with abusing God’s word?
• What are some ways that we try to bend Scripture to conform to our agendas today?
• Read James 3:1-12. Think about James words on bridling the tongue. How are our words a reflection of what is deep inside our hearts?