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We are now reading the book of Deuteronomy.
No author is named in the text. However, an early tradition ascribes this Gospel to Mark, the son of Mary (Ac 12:12) and the companion of both Paul (Ac 12:25;
Date: Mark was written somewhere between A.D. 50-70; probably in the mid-60's.
Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
Historical Background: Mark was written for a Gentile audience; traditionally, the
church at Rome. It may have been occasioned by the great fire which devastated much of Rome in A.D.64. Despite his efforts at rebuilding the city,
many people believed the Emperor Nero himself had arranged for this fire. To shift the focus off himself, Nero placed the blame for this tragedy on the
Christians. This led to an outbreak of severe persecution which tested the faith
of many. It was to people in this situation that Mark may have written this Gospel. This book would encourage these suffering believers by showing them
Jesus' authority over all types of opposing forces. At the same time, Mark called on them to serve Christ faithfully even as they shared in his sufferings. Mark was
probably the first Gospel written, forming the basis for much of Matthew and Luke.
Mark is not so much a biography of Jesus as it is a character sketch. Without any
introduction or infancy narrative, Jesus bursts onto the scene as a fully grown man. Three years of ministry are packed into chapters 1-10, while Jesus' final
week stretches out through chapters 11-16. You are most welcome to get in contact with me during the week about any questions, thoughts or suggestions about these Bible reading notes. My Tel:
0828250499 or email me aGod bless you and give you a lot of joy in reading HIS word and speaking to HIM
Regards, Jochen Volker
Monday, 31 January 2011
Read Markus 6:14-29
Why include this "flashback" to Herod in between sending out the disciples
(vv.6-13) and their return (vv.30-31)? What drew Herod's attention to Jesus? What was the significance of Elijah and John the Baptist to the people of Jesus'
day (see Mt 17:9-13)? Why might people mistake Jesus for one of them? Why
does Herod jail John? What does that reveal about Herod? About John? About Herodias? What kind of leader do you think Herod was? What is at stake for him
here? How powerful do you think he felt when he went to bed that night? What kind of soil (4:13-20) does he represent? How do the two "kings"—Jesus and
Herod differ in terms of their kingdoms, character, popularity, and use of power?
What would this story say to someone facing persecution, then and now? When have you felt like Herod–attracted to the truth but afraid to follow through with
it? What happened? In contrast, how might you grow in reflecting John's courage?
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Read Markus 6:30-44
Why did Jesus decide to take the disciples away? What happened as soon as they left? How did the disciples and Jesus differ in the way they viewed the
problem? How would you have felt about this intrusion? What emotions might have been expressed by the disciples in verse 37? What would you feel as a
disciple when you gathered the leftovers? What was the purpose of doing so?
How does this dinner party of Jesus compare to that of Herod (6:21-29)? What does this story imply about Jesus' identity? His mission?
How has Jesus "fed" you when you've been spiritually hungry lately? When you sense that hunger, do you come searching for him, or do you usually try to "fill
up" on something else first? If so, what? Why?
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Read Mark 6:45-56
What new problem do the disciples encounter on this day? How would you react
in their place? What is the significance of Jesus' walking on the water and his
response to their terror (see Isa 43:1-3; 44:8)? How do you think the disciples understood it? What should they have perceived in the "lesson of the loaves"
that would have prepared them for this? Who is he revealing himself to be? Why is he doing it this way, rather than telling them directly? How do the crowds (vv.
Where are you "straining at the oars"? How do Jesus' words (v.50) speak to that storm?
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Read Mark 7:1-23
What is the issue debated by the Pharisees and Jesus? Given this debate, how would each define what it means to be spiritual? How does the quote from Isaiah
address the issue at hand? Although the traditions were established to help people obey the law, how is it that they ended up overshadowing that law (vv.8-
9)? Something declared "Corban" meant it was dedicated to God, thus it was no
longer able to be given away. What does this illustration show about how traditions twisted the law? How does Jesus' idea of being unclean differ from that
of the Pharisees? Why doesn't Jesus offer any solution to the problem at this time?
What in your religious life is comparable to the "tradition of the elders" (i.e.,
rules or regulations not from Scripture but from your tradition and culture)? How could these rules actually block someone from God? How might they mask evil in
a "religious" disguise? How would you decide whether someone was really "spiritual" or not? How has your view of spirituality changed over the past few
years? Why? Verses 20-23 represent an evil heart, whereas 12:30 represents a
pure, whole heart. How can you strengthen that second kind of heart? What do you do when the evil heart wins out?
Friday, 4 February 2011
Read Mark 7:24-30
What is Jesus' point in going to Tyre (a Gentile area) after the discussion in 7:1-23? Were Jesus' words harsh or a play on words? How does this woman take it?
How does her reply show faith? What message is Jesus giving by this healing? If Jesus came to your community, who are the "unclean" he would care for? How
might you be his hands and feet for them?
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