Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mark 9:14-29 Small Group Questions

Our church is currently studying the book of Mark. For twenty-eight weeks we're walking through the book and talking about the action-packed story of Jesus. Mark was more concerned with what Jesus did than what Jesus said. A big "Thank you!" to Joey Ross for preaching this week and writing these questions for us. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Stick-to-itiveness ::: Mark 9:14-29

Coming down from a mountain top experience is never easy, even for Jesus.  As Marks gospel continues to unfold, we get a glimpse into the events that have taken place with the 9 disciples left behind when Jesus was away.  And while there are many incredible characters and themes found in this passage, including one of the most relatable prayers in all of Scripture, the main point Mark seems to want to drive home is the need for any disciple of Jesus to continually devote themselves to doing life with Jesus, that nothing should become merely mechanical.  It severs as a reminder to us, that life with God is about living in continual reliance upon him. Open up to Mark 9:14-29 as you read the story unfolding

1) All of us go through stages in our relationship with God.  Typically it goes something like committing ourselves to Christ, a time of exciting growth with Jesus, serving Jesus, etc…  For many of us though there are ruts we fall into at some point in our journey.  Periods where things maybe seem stagnant, or where we just start going through the motions.  Have you ever had an experience like that?  Share a little bit of the challenges you have experienced.

2) Read Mark 9:14-29.  What stands out to you in this passage as you read it together.  Maybe there is a character you can relate to, phrase that stands out to you, or something that seems confusing.  If you want maybe, even share what stood out to you in the sermon this week that impacted your understanding of the passage.

3) Jesus is constantly surrounded by injustice, often times taking on the form of sick and demonically oppressed children (Mark 5:23; 6:56; 7:26 to name just a few).  In our culture, we hear about injustices all the time and as a result it is so easy to start to experience “empathy fatigue,” but that’s not the case with Jesus. How does Jesus show empathy in this passage?  What things does he not only do but say? (Hint read Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2)

4) Read Matthew 17:19-20 which is a parallel passage and Mark 9:23; 28-29.  Sadly these passages can be misinterpreted that healing is contingent on the size of our faith (Matthew 17:20 should be translated disbelief, not little faith), rather than the object of our faith (even in the smallest faith in Jesus is enough).  Discuss the difference, and any damages you have seen because of misuse of this passage.

5) One of Marks favorite words in his gospel is immediately, three times it is used in this passage alone.  The term doesn’t mean in a hurry (Jesus was never rushed like we tend to live) but it carries the idea of without thinking, second nature, subconsciously.    Take note of each time the word is used here.  What are the immediate reaction of the crowd, the demonic spirit, and the father?  What is the natural reaction of your heart when you encounter Jesus?  Fear? Wonder? Desperation? Excitement?

6) Jesus tells his disciples about his coming death and resurrection in 8:31-33 and again in 9:30-32. Sandwiched between these passages is the Mount of Transfiguration as well as the healing of a boy in which he eventually gets worse (appears dead) before he gets better and is lifted by Jesus to new life (resurrected).  Why do you think Mark places these stories between Jesus prediction?  What is Mark trying to tell us.

7) Reread Mark 9:28-29. Jesus says the disciples were unsuccessful because they didn’t pray, but ironically this passage doesn’t record any prayer by Jesus either.  It seems that Jesus is not pointing to a ritualistic, eyes closed, hands together prayer, but a lifestyle of prayer.  Think of it like a lifestyle of prayer. Where in your life do you find yourself becoming self-reliant instead of relying on God? What are some ways/practices you can put into your life in order to become more aware of Jesus in your everyday life and remain in contact with him?

Close your time in prayer and ask God to continue to transform your life for Him in 2020.

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