“Mark somewhat forces us to rid ourselves of our preconceived notions about what God is like and how God operates. He zeros in on the person of Jesus with a strong emphasis on His majesty as the ‘Son of God’ and His mission as the ‘Suffering Servant’.”
— Terry Evans

For questions or comments regarding this study please contact Terry Evans at terryevans@upi.org


Guides for Leaders

STUDY ONE

STUDY TWO

STUDY THREE

STUDY FOUR

STUDY FIVE

STUDY SIX

STUDY SEVEN

STUDY EIGHT

STUDY NINE

STUDY TEN

STUDY ELEVEN

STUDY TWELVE

STUDY THIRTEEN


Study 1: The Time has come

Summary Statements

  • Jesus Christ is the source of that gospel aroma that lingers throughout the Old Testament.
  • Whereas a religion focuses on advice and instruction, Christianity is simply good news.
  • We can’t claim belief when there’s been no repentance.
  • The ministry of Jesus and His Kingdom is full of the unanticipated and the unexpected.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: Mark immediately introduces Jesus as the Son of God. What are other less controversial ways we might introduce Jesus to the world around us? How might these give the wrong impression concerning Christ and His mission?

 

  • Question #2: How do you feel when people give you good advice? What is the motivation to act or respond to good advice or instruction? How do you feel when people give you good news? What is the motivation for responding to good news?

 

  • Question #3: Jesus commands the demons to be silent (v. 25,34), He withdraws from the crowds (v. 35,38), and He orders the healed to keep quiet regarding their healing (v. 44). It’s a continuous theme throughout Mark but what are some reasons you think Jesus constantly removed himself from the large gatherings of people and commanded silence from the demons and the healed?

Study 2: the greater healing

Summary Statements

  • True faith is willing to do whatever it takes to get to Jesus.
  • Jesus addresses our sin as our most urgent and desperate condition.
  • Jesus claimed to be able to do things that only God can do.
  • Jesus declares, “You need much more from Me than you think you need. And I am much more than you think I am.”

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: So often we think that if we can just get this person to come to our church and hear our pastor then we’ve done our job. What are the inadequacies of this approach? In what ways can we help people get beyond the crowd and to the feet of Jesus?

 

  • Question #2: Why is sin so serious? What are some reasons we tend to overlook the seriousness of sin?

 

  • Question #3: What are ways we underestimate our need for Jesus? What are ways we underestimate the authority of Jesus?

Study 3: Lord of the sabbath

Summary Statements

  • Christ didn’t come to reform religious but rather to replace it with Himself.
  • The true gospel of Christ is unsettling and offensive to both the conservative moralists and to the progressive ‘free-thinkers’.
  • We rest from our work and rejoice in the work of Christ.
  • The gospel reveals that we can find rest and ultimate satisfaction in the finished work of Christ - the Lord of the Sabbath.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: How much of our Christian life is spent focusing on things we shouldn't do instead of focusing on the things we should do? What is the fundamental error that Jesus is revealing in the lives of the religious leaders?

 

  • Question #2: Why is the gospel of Christ unsettling and threatening to many?

 

  • Question #3: What does it mean to ‘rest in Christ’? How do we go about doing that on a daily basis?

Study 4: Insiders and outsiders

Summary Statements

  • The grace of God is His own to distribute as He pleases.
  • Discipleship is a relationship (with Christ) not a process.
  • Believers belong to a new family with God as our Father and other believers as our adopted brothers and sisters.
  • Christ conquers souls through seeds not swords.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: Mark seems to repeatedly emphasize the nature of discipleship as being with Jesus, sitting around Him and hearing Him. In your own words, what does it look like to ‘be with Jesus’ as one of His disciples today?

 

  • Question #2: Why should God’s family take priority over earthly family?

 

  • Question #3: How do we know whether or not we have ‘ears that hear’? Describe the difference between listening and hearing as it pertains to reading and studying the Bible?

Study 5: What ONly God Can Do

Summary Statements

  • Fear versus faith is a life-long war that we will continue to fight throughout this life.
  • Failure to understand who Christ really is will always lead to a deficiency in our faith and an increase in our fear.
  • The power of salvation is found in the object of our faith.
  • Jesus has done what only God can do.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: What causes our fear and lack of faith when we experience sudden “storms” in life? How have the storms in your life shaped your relationship with Christ?

 

  • Question #2: What do you think was the disciples’ general perception of Jesus before entering that boat on the Sea of Galilee and after the storm?

 

  • Question #3: What’s the difference between placing your confidence and hope for salvation in your faith versus placing it solely in the object of your faith? Why does it matter?

 


Study 6: Just believe

Summary Statements

  • God may give us more than we’re asking for and require more than we were expecting to give.
  • Desperation and persistence are crucial elements to our faith.
  • Suffering has a way of exposing whether or not we are simply trusting God on our own terms.
  • Christ confirms that we must come to Him for who He is rather than simply for what He can do.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: What is the example of a prayer that may end up giving us more than we were wanting or expecting? In what ways might coming to Christ end up costing you more than you were expecting it to cost you?

 

  • Question #2: In what ways does suffering expose the our level of trust in God? In what ways is suffering an opportunity to experience your theology?

 

  • Question #3: Would it have been more loving of Jesus to just heal the little girl rather than putting Jairus through such pain and anxiety? How do you think this experience changed Jairus‘ perception of Jesus?

 

  • Question #4: In what ways do we attempt to hurry Jesus? Why do we get impatient and frustrated with waiting on Jesus? What might Jesus have to say to us about our impatience?

Study 7: surrender and see what happens

Summary Statements

  • Divine appointments are rarely scheduled appointments.
  • True service to Christ requires trust.
  • The power of God comes not through what we have but what we surrender.
  • Deficits are opportunities to focus on the Provider rather than dwelling on what needs to be provided.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: How do we typically respond when we are interrupted in life? What are practical ways we can restructure our daily routines to allow time for interruptions?

 

  • Question #2: Do you first exhaust your own strengths and resources before turning to God with what you need? If so, why might this habit have formed in your life? Discuss how self-sufficiency hinders us spiritually?

 

  • Question #3: For us with an abundance of resources, what can we do to place ourselves in a position to experience spectacular stories of God’s faithfulness and provision? In what ways has Christ satisfied your various ‘hungers’?

Study 8: Cleansed Hearts Through the Cross of Christ

Summary Statements

  • Our good intentions can often lead us into idolatry.
  • It is the sinfulness of man’s heart that produces a world of uncleanliness.
  • Christ has declared that all the cleanliness laws have now been fulfilled in Him.
  • Christ’s sacrifice is the soap that cleanses us from sin.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: What might be some ‘church traditions’ that people devote themselves to and demand others to adhere to? What ways do people uphold human traditions over God’s commands? Explain the danger of this kind of devotion to tradition?

 

  • Question #2: What are some ways in which we look for external things to help us deal with our uncleanliness? What are things that we passionately pursue or get involved with to help us feel better about ourselves? In what ways do these prove to be inefficient in cleansing our own sinfulness?

 

  • Question #3: What is the only thing that brings lasting transformation to ‘what comes out of a man’? Describe how the transformation of the heart is a process performed by the three persons of our holy triune God? In your own words, describe this transformation in your own heart and life?

Study 9: wonderful counselor and suffering savior

Summary Statements

  • Just as there are no foods that are to be considered unclean (v. 19); there are no people that are to be considered unclean as well.
  • In Christ there is an abundance of grace for anyone who comes to His table.
  • Our Lord as the Wonderful Counselor always gives us exactly what we need.
  • This Wonderful Counselor must ultimately be understood and most intimately known as our Suffering Savior.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In what ways do we sometimes find ourselves feeling as if we deserve something from God? How is this a denunciation of the gospel?

 

  • Question #2: In what ways do we sometimes find ourselves feeling as if we shouldn’t expect anything from God because of certain sin in our lives? Have you ever felt as if you needed to “clean some things up” in your life before God could love you and accept you? How is this a denunciation of the gospel?

 

  • Question #3: Salvation is offered to the Gentiles through God’s revelation to Israel. What does it mean that salvation is offered to the Gentiles through the Jews? (See Romans 11) What lesson in humility can we learn from the woman's acceptance of her place in the parable and even more so, her acceptance of her place in God's plan of redemption?

 

  • Question #4: Share a moment that you might remember in your own life and experience in which our Lord might have given you exactly what you needed at that moment?

Study 10: Seeing everything clearly

Summary Statements

  • Christ alone is the One who possesses the ability and power to truly satisfy all people who need satisfying.
  • Truth must be heard, but grace opens ears.
  • Faith can never be separated from understanding. It is understanding that makes faith possible.
  • Spiritual blindness is only healed through the grace and triune work of God from the Father through Christ and of the Holy Spirit.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: Jesus said that the crowd had been with Him for three days which obviously implies that He had intentionally been with them for those three days. Who are the non-believing crowds gathered around us on a regular basis? What are ways we ought to be intentional in being ‘with’ the non-believing crowds around us?

 

  • Question #2: What might be some warning signs of a hard-heart?

 

  • Question #3: How has your vision or understanding of God changed over the last two years? To what do you attribute this change?

 


Study 11: the christ and the cost

Summary Statements

  • Jesus is the Christ who must suffer the cross, and therefore following Him will come with a cost.
  • Those who confess Jesus as the Christ (Lord and Savior) inevitably have then confessed what they must become.
  • The order to ‘take up your cross’ was a scandalous call for one’s total allegiance and radical relinquishment of everything to Jesus as Lord.
  • The cross of Christ has secured the ultimate deliverance and victory over humanity’s most formidable foe - death itself.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: What are some of the expectations of power, peace or prosperity that many people have who come to Christ and Christianity? In what ways do we come to Christ expecting a ‘kingdom on earth’ here and now rather than a ‘kingdom not of this world’ already here but not yet consummated?

 

  • Question #2: If we confess Jesus as the Christ (our Savior and our Lord), what are some of the real life everyday implications of this confession?

 

  • Question #3: In what ways do we attempt to water down what our Lord is actually saying in His call for His people to deny themselves and take up their cross for the sake of His Name and His Gospel? Why is this a seemingly impossible call to actually undertake?

study 12: the new exodus

Summary Statements

  • Moses reflected the glory of God; Jesus radiates the glory of God.
  • Christ alone is able to bridge the infinite gap between sinful man and our holy God.
  • In Christ, the day of the Lord has come, and the prophet greater than Moses is here.
  • The disciples’ experience of Christ’s glory was meant to equip them for what was expected of them.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In what ways might the disciples experience of the transfiguration strengthen them for what’s coming and help them later understand the implications of the cross and Jesus’ declaration that, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18)?  

 

  • Question #2: In what ways does the coming of Christ effect our approach and understanding of the Old Testament? In what ways is Christ the Mediator of a ‘better covenant’ (read Hebrews 7:22-10:18)?

 

  • Question #3: What observations can you make in describing how the original exodus of the Israelites and Moses prefigures the greater and ultimate exodus of true Israel in Christ? How can experiencing what we believe to be true about God equip us for what is expected of us as God’s people?    

study 13: is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?

Summary Statements

  • Stop searching for what God may tolerate and strive for what God treasures.
  • You are not ready to discuss the issue of divorce until you have properly understood and accepted God’s view of marriage.
  • The institution of marriage is God’s sacred illustration of His love and redemptive plan for mankind.
  • May we not look for what is permissible but live by what is commanded by loving our spouse as Christ has loved us.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: Read Deuteronomy 24:1-4. What is the actual commandment given in that particular passage? Why might that commandment have been given and how does this actually provide opposition to divorce? 

 

  • Question #2: In what ways do we among the church exploit God’s commands and excuse ourselves in the name of ‘God’s grace’ and ‘God’s love’?

 

  • Question #3: Read Ephesians 5:22-33. In what ways is our responsibility in marriage (or in singleness preparing for future marriage) a call to radical self-denial? What are our unconditional responsibilities to our spouse?

study 14: with man it is impossible

Summary Statements

  • Badness will keep us out of the kingdom, but goodness won’t get us in.
  • The great misconception of all religion is that we must ‘do’ something in order to inherit eternal life.
  • Life in Christ is not merely a sacrifice; it’s an investment.
  • Only in the call of Christ do we find the salvation, security and strength that we need to set our hearts upon God rather than on what we own.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In what ways is true Christianity a substitution of your life rather than merely something you add to your life? What are some ways people attempt to add Christ to their life?

 

  • Question #2: What are some of the admirable characteristics of this rich young man? What might this man look like today? Have you ever found the call to be a Christian difficult and somewhat offensive? Should true love sometimes be offensive? Why or why not? 

 

  • Question #3: Does your life and lifestyle look like something only God could do? Do people close to you and who are able to observe your life find your way of life amazing, astonishing or interesting? Are you an anomaly in this world or are you the average middle-class American “Christian”? In what ways might our Lord be calling us to radical self-denial in regard to money?  

 


study 15: it shall not be so among you

Summary Statements

  • “Our discipleship is never as noble as we imagine it.”   
  • Any concern for glory in this world is ultimately the wrong concern for a follower of Christ.
  • The moment we begin to serve those in need in order to meet our own need is the moment we are subtly beginning to act in selfish selflessness. 
  • A good measure of your Christian condition is whether or not your desire to serve others trumps your desire for status among others.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: After giving him what we wanted, Jesus tells Bartimaeus to “Go your way”, but instead he chooses to follow Christ “on the way” (v. 52). In what ways are we tempted to try and get something from Jesus and then go our own way once He has given it to us? 

 

  • Question #2: What are some things we wish to gain in our pursuit for power? Why is it so hard for us to believe and totally trust that what Christ is offering is better?

 

  • Question #3: Sex, wealth and power are three of the biggest idols of a man’s heart in his pursuit for personal happiness and fulfillment in life. Jesus has dealt with all three of these potential idols throughout His teaching in chapter ten. Reflect on what you’ve learned from this particular chapter and contemplate how God might be leading you to respond to what you’ve heard:
    • What is one particular conviction that has been placed on your heart concerning self-denial in regards to sex and/or marriage? (v. 1-12)
    • What is one particular conviction that has been placed on your heart concerning self-denial in regard to your wealth and resources? (v. 17-31)
    • What is one particular conviction that has been placed on your heart concerning self-denial in regard to your pursuit of power and status?  (v. 32-45)

study 16: entering jerusalem

Summary Statements

  • Christ remains misunderstood when understood apart from His cross.
  • Few were found in true prayer and reflection; many were found in empty practice
    and religion.
  • Because Christ’s cleansing of the Temple wasn’t intended to bring its restoration, but rather to announce its approaching termination.
  • True worship of God is no longer to be found in a place but rather in a person; not in a building but rather in a body.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: Why is Israel rejecting Jesus as their coming King? Why are people still rejecting Him as King today? In what ways are we tempted to disperse from discipleship when Christ doesn’t seem to deliver what we were expecting from Him?

 

  • Question #2: How might we discern between what would be considered ‘leaves’ versus what would be considered ‘fruit’ in our worship of God today? Why do we find it easier to fill our Christianity with religious ritual and practice rather than with serious spiritual reflection and prayer?

 

  • Question #3: Read Ephesians 2:11-22. In what ways does this description of the new people and the new Way of worship encourage you and lead you into thanksgiving for what God has done in Christ? 

Study 17: judging jerusalem

Summary Statements

  • The real issue is often not what we lack in understanding but in our unwillingness to understand.
  • Human history is the long story of man trying to rid the universe of God and His Son.
  • The Temple and its tenants are being destroyed, and Christ is constructing something entirely new.
  • Those who wish to follow Christ will worship like the widow.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In what way does Jesus elevate the religious leaders' (and most of Israel's) view concerning their Savior King and coming Christ? What can we learn from the way Jesus elevates the conversations in these encounters?

 

  • Question #2: Read 1 Peter 2:4-10. Discuss the New Testament equivalents to the Old Testament concepts of a chosen race, nation, Temple, priesthood, high priest and sacrifices? In what ways does this encourage you and lead you into thanksgiving for what God has done in Christ?

 

  • Question #3: In what ways might we be guilty of keeping our Christianity convenient rather than costly? What are some of the primary reasons we might struggle to worship like the widow?

study 18: warning jerusalem

Summary Statements

  • The disciples are expecting Jesus’ reign on earth; not His future return to it.
  • The Christian life is not about working constantly on your life or wandering casually throughout your life, but rather the Christian life is about waiting confidently on another life in Christ’s consummated Kingdom.
  • Those who wish to enter the Kingdom must repent and “listen to Christ”.
  • The “secret of the Kingdom of God” (v. 4:11) is the mysterious way in which the Kingdom of God has already come but is still yet to be consummated.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In your own words, how would you explain the primary focus of what’s been taking place in chapters 11-13? Are Jesus’ actions more of an amendment to God’s plan for His people or the fulfillment of His plan? Why?

 

  • Question #2: In what ways has Jesus revealed Himself as Israel’s Christ? In what way has His coming not quite been what most of Israel was expecting?

 

  • Question #3: In what ways does Jesus' parable concerning the master of the house provide some practical implications for us as current citizens of the ‘already but not yet’ Kingdom of God? In what ways does Israel’s wilderness experience shed light on how we are to live now as Christians? 

study 19: the new passover

Summary Statements

  • No one took our Lord’s life without His own willingness to be taken.
  • Jesus doesn’t merely preside over the feast; He portrays Himself as the feast.
  • In instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus institutes a type of new Passover that fulfills the old Passover and commemorates our Lord as the graciously given Bread of Life and the sacrificial Lamb of God.
  • We ought to remain watchful as we live in between remembering what Christ’s already done and looking forward to what He’s promised to yet do.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: What are some things we can learn about our Lord through His encounters with these women in Mark? (see 5:25-34; 7:24-30; 12:41-44; 14:3-9)

 

  • Question #2: How do you know that your faith in Christ will stand if severely tested? In what ways can we guard ourselves against sins we aren’t currently committing but are likely to commit if pressured? 

 

  • Question #3: In what way does your understanding of the Passover impact your perspective towards observing the Lord’s Supper? In observing those who were gathered at the table with Christ and the way in which they all “left Him and fled” (v. 50), how might you describe the original Lord’s Supper as a table of grace?

study 20: the hour has come

Summary Statements

  • The Son of God willingly surrenders His life and submits to the will of the Father despite His great sorrow over what it would cost Him.
  • Devoted discipleship will never be our default setting in this life.
  • It’s easier to fight for Christ than to die with Him.
  • Looking to Christ as an example will overwhelm us, but looking to Christ as our Savior-King will transform us. 

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In seeing the overwhelming sorrow that Sin-Bearing brought upon our Lord, what are some ways we ought to take sin more seriously?   

 

  • Question #2: What does it look like for us to have crucified the flesh and to now walk by the Spirit in watchfulness and prayer? What are practical implications and applications of this condition, command and principle?

 

  • Question #3: Have you viewed Christ primarily as an example to be followed or as our Savior-King to be trusted? Describe the difference and what might be the implications?  

study 21: the son of God

Summary Statements

  • What seems to be the tragic ending of Christ’s following is revealed by Mark to actually be the mysterious beginning of Christ’s Kingdom.
  • Jesus being held in judgement before the people declares that He is the One who will ultimately judge all people.
  • It wasn’t nails through His hands that kept our Lord on that cross; it was love for His people that kept Him hanging.
  • Therefore, Christ’s crucifixion marks the consummation of His mission and the climatic revelation of His majesty as the eternal Son of God.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: In what ways do we find public pressure in our own lives tempting us to deny Christ? What might it look like to follow Christ at a safe distance and how is this a subtle denial of Him as Lord? 

 

  • Question #2: In what way does a clear understanding of the cross provide you with strength to endure any suffering that you may have to endure?

 

  • Question #3: What are some observations we could make about the unnamed centurion that ought to encourage the way we view true faith in Christ?

study 22: he has risen

Summary Statements

  • The resurrection of Christ is not a mere Christian hoax but rather the very crux of human history.
  • Christianity didn’t collapse after the death of Christ; it exploded in power and literally changed the world.
  • God’s faithfulness supersedes human failure.
  • The role of humans concerning the resurrection of Christ is one of witnessing, not working.

Discussion Questions

  • Question #1: Why must we examine the resurrection as a historical event?

 

  • Question #2: What does it tell you about the disciples in that they were unwilling to even provide an honorable burial for their Leader? In what ways might we leave Christ “hanging” without honor in the presence of public opinion? 

 

  • Question #3: What are some possible explanations other than Christ’s literal resurrection that might explain the empty tomb, the eyewitness testimony by women and the inexplainable transformation of the disciples? 
    • What does Christ’s literal resurrection mean for us personally?