- Verses 1-12. What is Christ’s teaching about divorce, and on what grounds does he base it?
- Verses 13-16. No doubt the disciples were trying to be thoughtful here by guarding their Lord from unnecessary intrusion; why then was Christ so indignant?
In what ways am I also in danger of obscuring Christ form those who are seeking him?
- Verse 15. What does it mean to ‘receive the kingdom of God like a little child’, and why is this so essential Cf. Matt. 18:2-4.
- Verse 33-37. How does Jesus explain the way to become spiritually great?
What especially ought we to learn from the examples of a little child?
Cf. Matt. 18:4.
- Verses 38-41. What three reasons does Jesus give here why the disciples should not have acted as they did? Why did they fail to gain similar understanding about his teaching concerning what was going to happen to him (verses 30-32)?
- Verses 43-48. What spiritual truth is Jesus seeking to convey here?
In what sense are we to cut off a foot, or pluck out an eye?
Why may it be necessary to apply such drastic measures?
- Verse 43, 45, 47. ‘Hell’ or ‘Gehenna’ (Greek) is a reference to the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem, where the refuse of the city was cast and burnt.
It had become a synonym for the place of final ruin and destruction.
- Verse 49. ‘Salted with fire’: subjected to a fiery process of discipline to purge out cooption. Cf. 1 Pet. 4:17; Heb. 12:11.
- Verses 1-8. What would be the significance for the three disciples of the appearance of Moses and Elijah and also of the voice out of the cloud?
Cf. John 1:45; Luke 24:27. How would this new experience be likely to help and encourage them?
- Verse 11-13. What question did the scene on the mountain raise in the minds of the disciples, and how did Jesus reply?
Consider how closely John the Baptist resembled Elijah.
- Why was Jesus so disappointed at what he found his return to the rest of the disciples?
What does this incident teach us about the chief causes of failure in our Christian witness and service (see verses 23 and 29)?
Note. Verse 24. ‘If believe; help me overcome my unbelief!, This implies ‘Help me just as I am, a doubter who wants to believe’.
- Verses 27-29. What did the disciples need to understand first of all, before Jesus could begin to explain to them about his death?
Why was this so important and why were most people so slow to understand it?
Cf. Luke 10:21, 22.
- Why was Peter unable to accept Christ’s teachings about his death?
What is the meaning of Christ’s rebuke?
In this matter of a right attitude to Christ’s death, on whose side are you?
- Verse 34-38. What two alternative courses are presented to us in these verses?
Why is it so important to make the right choice?
What does this involve, and what does Jesus say will be the final result of a wrong choice?
- Verse 33. ‘Get behind me, Satan’ Jesus was faced with a similar temptation in the wilderness to avoid the cross. Cf. Matt. 4:8-10.
- Verse 34. For the meaning of the word ‘deny’, see Luke 12:9; 22:34. Here it means to disown self, to refuse to recognize the claims of self as against those of Christ.
- What characteristic features in the Lord Jesus stand out in the miracle of 8:1-9?
What special claim had this particular crowd on the Lord’s provision?
Cf. Matt. 6:33. Of what was his provision a sign?
- Why did Christ warn the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod (verse 15)?
Why did he question them about the miracles that had recently taken place?
How do thought and reflection of this kind help us to grow spiritually?
- Verses 22-26. What can we learn from this incident about the way and the cost of leading someone in need to experience the saving power of Christ?
Note. Verse15. The word ‘leaven’ used here symbolically refers to the unseen pervasive influence of sin.
- 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.
- No-one would dispute the earnestness of the Pharisees in observing genuine historical traditions, aimed at the honouring 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.)
- (V 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’.
- (V 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).