- These three incidents all emphasize the same necessity for any who would enjoy the experience of Christ’s saving power. What is it? Why is it sometimes lacking? What must it resist?
- Why were the disciples puzzled by the question of Jesus (5:30, 31)? Why did Jesus wait for a trembling women to speak in public before a crowed? What had she to give which no-one else there possessed? Do you possess it, and are you giving it – particularly before people who think that contact with Christ makes no difference?
- What can we learn: (a) from our Lord’s method of preparing his disciples for the work that he intended them later more fully to do, and (b) from such details as ‘two by two’, ‘to take nothing for the journey’ (cf. Matt. 10:10), ‘enter a house’ and stay there’, if any place will not welcome you’, ‘The …preached that people should repent’?
- How would you sum up Herod’s character? What were the causes of this failure?
Note. 6:7, 30. Another new beginning – the first mission of the Twelve; and so, when they return to report, they are temporarily called ‘apostles’ or ‘missioners’.
- What lessons did the disciples need to learn before Christ could use them in feeding the crowd? Are there similar lessons we need to learn before we can be of use to him?
- Verses 45-53. It seems from the situation described here that the disciples got into difficulty as a result of obedience to Christ’s command. What light does this throw on the life of discipleship with its trials and deliverances? Why does it say in verse 48. ‘He was about to pass by them’? Cf. Luke 24:28, 29. Note. Verse 48. ‘The fourth watch’:i.e., the last watch, beginning about 3 a.m.
- No-one would dispute the earnestness of the Pharisees in observing genuine historical traditions, aimed at the honoring of God. Why then should Christ use such strong language in condemning them (verse 6), and how does he show up their inconsistency?
- Notice in verses 21-23 that Christ makes no distinction between sins of thought and sins of deeds; they all alike defile a man. Cf. Matt. 5:28. Are we seeking deliverance from the uncleanness of an evil heart? Or, like the Pharisees, are we content with a fair appearance outwardly?
- Verse 17, 18a. Why do you think the disciples were so slow to understand some of Christ’s simplest teaching? Are we perhaps also at fault here? If so, what ought we to do about it? Cf. John 14: 26.
- Verse 3. ‘The tradition of the elder’s: i.e., rules and regulations drawn up by generations of scribes to guide people how to act. The Pharisees were those who made it their aim to walk strictly according to this ‘tradition’. They regarded themselves, and were regarded by others, as ‘the righteous’.
- Verse 6. ‘Jesus here not only quotes Scripture but also adds to it in verse 8, thereby interpreting it’ and establishing his own authority (see Mark (TNTC).
- Why did Jesus at first seem to refuse the women’s request (cf. Matt. 15:24), and why did he use such harsh words? What can we learn from her response, and from the Lord’s answer to her further plea?
- Assuming that the deaf and dumb man knew little or nothing about Jesus due to his limitations, what would the strange actions of Jesus mean to him? How would they help him to respond in faith?
- Is there anything we can learn here about personal witness from the example of those who brought their deaf and dumb friend to Jesus?
Note. Verse 27. The term ‘dogs’ is an expression of contempt and disgust. In many parts of the East the dog is still basically a scavenger and by its very nature unclean and a potential carrier of disease.