Mark 4:35-5:20

  1. 4:35-41. What were the disciples surprised at in Jesus, and what was he surprised at in them?
    What was he both testing by leading them into such an experience?
    Why did this miracle mean more to them than anything that they had yet  seen Jesus do?
  2. 5:1-20. Contrast men’s way of treating the demoniac with what Jesus did for him. In which way is the power of evil active in my life being dealt with?
  3. Why did the people ‘plead with Jesus to leave their region’ (5:17) and why did Jesus leave the healed demoniac behind?
    What may be the best form of witness in a home or neighbourhood that seems not to want Christ?

 Notes.

  1. 4:40. It is significant that Jesus did not rebuke men used to sailing on to Sea of Galilee for their failure to bring him safely through the storm.
  2. 5:1-20. This happened in Decapolis, on the south-east side of the lake, in Gentile territory.
    The use of the title ‘Most High God’ (verse 7) and the local keeping of swine (verse 11) confirm this.

Mark 4:21-34

  1. Verse 21-25. What is the responsibility of the hearer:
    (a) for what he does with his knowledge, and
    (b) for his personal response to what he hears? What, therefore, are:
    (a) the divinely intended consequences of spiritual privilege, and
    (b) the conditions of spiritual progress?
    Cf. Mark 3:14
  2.  Verse 26-29. What is suggested in this parable concerning the character and purpose of:
    (a) the first coming, and
    (b) the second coming into the world of the Lord Jesus?
    Cf. Ps. 126:6. What truth do both of the parables illustrate here concerning the seed of God’s word when it is sown in human hearts?

 Note. Verse 26, 30. ‘Kingdom’: this word (Particularly its Old Testament antecedent) signifies primarily ‘sovereignty’ i.e., the sway exercised by a king, and only secondarily ‘realm’,i.e., the sphere or territory over which he rules. ‘This is what the kingdom f God is like…’ (verse 26) virtually means ‘the way God exercise his sway and works out his purposes among men is like this’.

Mark 4:1-20

  1. What does this parable teach concerning:
    (a) The reasons why even the teaching of Jesus failed to produce fruit in the lives of many of the hearers?
    (b) The method by which the kingdom comes in this present age?
    (c) The criteria by which true success is measured in gospel hearing?
  2. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ Is the Word of God finding entrance into my heart (verse15)?
    Is it taking deep root (verses 16, 17)?
    Am I allowing some other crop to mature in my heart (verses 18,19)?
    What measure of fruit is being produced in my life (verse 20)?
    Cf. Heb. 3:7,8.

Notes

  1. A new method in Jesus’ teaching begins here. The first parable is itself an indication of the purpose of teaching by parables. See verse 13. Such a method brings hearers under judgment, and finds out the truly responsive. The real cause of blindness to the truth is unwillingness to repent and to be forgiven. Those who, as disciples, are responsive are given fuller understanding. See verse 34.
  2. Verse 11. ‘The secret’ (AV and RV): this is not something that cannot be understood. Rather it is something specially disclosed by divine revelation to those who are ready to understand it. The secret of the kingdom of God’ is the content of the gospel of Christ. Cf. Eph. 3:4; 6:19

Mark 3:19b-35

  1. Note the official source and the evil character of the opposition that Jesus now had to meet.
    His reply to their accusation falls into three parts
    (a) he disproves their assertion;
    (b) He sets forth the true explanation of his power over evil spirits;
    (c) He gives a solemn warning State his argument in your own words.
  2. Jesus distinguishes here his spiritual kinsmen from his human relatives.
    Why did the latter misunderstand him?
    How do the former reveal their kinship with him?

Notes

  1. Verse 19b-21 are connected with verses 31-35. The words ‘his friends’ in verse 21 mean literally ‘they from his home’, and might be translated ‘his family’.
  2. Verse 29, 30. The scribes’ sin was unforgivable because it was a defiant rejection of God-given light.
    They were knowingly calling good evil and holy unclean.

Mark 3:7-19a

  1. At this stage in his ministry, what obvious dangers and what positive desires made Jesus withdraw and go up into the hills?
    Whom did he take with him, and why?
    What were the overriding aims and the underlying strategy of his method?
  2. The Twelve are first described as ‘disciples’ (i.e., ‘learners’) and later as ‘apostles’ (see 3:14, i.e., ‘men sent on a mission’).
    What kind of response did each calling demand?
    Can we become one without becoming the other?
    How far have you got in this sequence?

Mark 2:13-3:6

  1. Note how, when questions were asked about his behaviour, Jesus made himself, and the work that he had come to do, the sufficient justification for his action. Cf. 2:6-12.
    What claim was he thus making for himself?
  2. Why were Jesus’ disciples not condemned for ‘doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath’?
    Who did stand condemned for their wrong use of the Sabbath in the subsequent controversy concerning the healing of the man with a withered hand?
    Since Jesus used the Sabbath as his day, and for men’s good, how ought we to use the Lord’s day?

Notes:

  1. 2:19. The ‘bridegroom’ is, according to Old Testament usage, virtually a description of God in his covenant relation to his chosen people Israel. Cf. Hos. 2:16-20.
  2. 2:25,26, Note the repeated phrase ‘and his companions’.
    In such company their action could not be condemned.
  3. 2:23, 24 and 3:2. The scribes taught that to pluck ears of corn was a form of reaping, which the law did not allow on the Sabbath (Exod. 34:21); also that it was unlawful to do the work of healing on the Sabbath, unless life was in danger.

Mark 1:35 – 2:12

  1. After the astonishing events of the preceding day Jesus had to consider what he should do next. How did he arrive at a decision, and to what decision did he come?
    In what way did the healed leper’s disobedience hinder Jesus’ work?
    What bearing has this on:
    (a) our prayer life, and
    (b)the church’s missionary duty?
    Cf. John 20:21; Mark 16:15.
  2. What evidence do you find in this story in chapter 2 of our Lord’s powers of discernment?
    What did Jesus ‘see’?
    And when he confirmed a verbal claim, which men questioned, by a miraculous work that none could deny, to what truths was he bearing decisive witness?

Note. 2:4. The house would have had a flat roof, which could be reached by an outside stairway.