BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: Sunday 5 November 2023
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Mark – Chapter 11, verses 1-24
Everyone loves a story that involves a dramatic sacrifice. Yet, it’s not quite as entertaining when we are the ones who might need to make the sacrifices! Jesus calls people to give him every part of our lives, not Sundays or simply giving the impression that we’re doing ok. What does this look like for us? How do we be resilient followers of Jesus at every stage of life?
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BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
Each week there are TWO different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
A | DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others in your group):
1 | Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?
2 | Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?
3 | As a result of the talk, what:
a. Changes do you want to see?
b. Truths do you need to remember?
c. Actions do you need to take?
B | QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
Read: Mark – Chapter 11, verses 1-24
1 | When was the last time you had to make a ‘sacrifice’? How did it feel to do so?
2 | In Mark 11:1-11, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9. What do you think is the significance of this prophetic fulfilment, and how does it point to Jesus’ identity? (See also Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:4-5)
3 | Reflect on the people’s response to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in Mark 11:8-10. How can we apply their enthusiastic praise in our own lives, despite the challenges and distractions we may face? And yet, compare their response to the response of the crowd a week later. What challenges might there be for us in this?
4 | In Mark 11:15-17, Jesus drives out the money changers and stall-holders from the temple. What does this cleansing signify, and how can we apply Jesus’ call for the temple to be a house of prayer to our lives today? (See also Isaiah 56:7 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
5 | In Mark 11:20-21, Jesus uses the withered fig tree as an illustration of the power of faith-filled prayers. How can we avoid the trap of superficial faith and cultivate a deeper and more genuine relationship with God through prayer? (See also James 1:6-8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
6 | Discuss the importance of forgiveness in effective prayer, as emphasised in Mark 11:25. How might holding onto grudges and resentment hinder our prayers and affect our relationship with God and others?
7 | In Mark 11:24, Jesus assures that whatever we pray for in faith, believing, we will receive. How do we reconcile this promise with unanswered prayers or times when our faith is met with disappointment? (You may like to also read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 and 1 John 5:14-15)
8 | Reflect on Jesus’ authority in the temple and His teachings on faith. How does this challenge our perception of religious rituals and the importance of genuine faith in our relationship with God?
9 | As you pray, ask God for the ability to sacrificially follow him.
As you explore these questions pray for one another to deepen and develop your relationship with Jesus.
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
King’s Cross’ by Timothy Keller
Unpredictable yet reliable, gentle yet powerful, authoritative yet humble, human yet divine.’ Respected pastor and bestselling author Tim Keller takes a deep and thought-provoking look at the life of Christ. Drawing from Mark’s gospel, he explains how Jesus’ identity as king and his purpose in dying on the cross have meaning and significance on a cosmic scale as well as for the individual. THE REASON FOR GOD gave a passionate and intellectually compelling case for God, while THE PRODIGAL GOD explored the gospel’s central message of grace. Now KING’S CROSS gives a captivating account of the person at the heart of it all: Jesus. Written in Keller’s trademark authoritative yet inviting style, this book will unlock new insights for believers and unbelievers alike. (Source)
‘The Gospel According to Mark’ by James R. Edwards
This new Pillar volume offers exceptional commentary on Mark that clearly shows the second Gospel—though it was a product of the earliest Christian community—to be both relevant and sorely needed in today’s church.
Written by a biblical scholar who has devoted thirty years to the study of the second Gospel, this commentary aims primarily to interpret the Gospel of Mark according to its theological intentions and purposes, especially as they relate to the life and ministry of Jesus and the call to faith and discipleship. Unique features of James Edwards’s approach include clear descriptions of key terms used by Mark and revealing discussion of the Gospel’s literary features, including Mark’s use of the “sandwich” technique and of imagistic motifs and irony. Edwards also proposes a new paradigm for interpreting the difficult “Little Apocalypse” of chapter 13, and he argues for a new understanding of Mark’s controversial ending. (Source)
‘Gospel of Mark Summary’ by The Bible Project
Watch this overview video on the book of Mark, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. Mark demonstrates that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah who inaugurates God’s kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.