BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: Sunday 3 September 2023
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Mark – Chapter 1, verses 1-8
K. Chesterton once said , ‘I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story, there is a storyteller.’ In this introduction to the series, we are introduced to the ultimate story of history – the story with Jesus at its heart. Jesus was the rescuer promised for thousands of years, as described in the Old Testament. It is a story of God’s great rescue plan. It began in Gen 3:15, and continues to this day, as we discover our part in the greatest story ever.
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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 1, verses 1-8
1 | What is the greatest story you have ever heard? What makes it such a great story?
2 | Read Mark 1:1-8. What, according to theses opening verses, is the purpose of Mark’s Gospel?
How does the opening verse set the tone for the rest of the book? (See also John 20:30-31)
3 | In Mark 1:3, the prophet Isaiah’s words are quoted to describe John’s role as a voice calling out in the wilderness. Read Isaiah 40:3-5 – discuss the significance of its fulfilment in John the Baptist and Jesus. What does this show us about the epic scale of the story that Mark is telling? (Matthew 3:1-3; Luke 3:2-6)
4 | Why is it important to understand the role of John the Baptist as a messenger sent to prepare the way for Jesus? How does his message resonate with us today? (See also Isaiah 40:3 and Luke 1:16-17)
5 | In Mark 1:4-5, people from all over Judea and Jerusalem went to John to confess their sins and be baptised. What is the significance of confession and repentance in our lives, and the role of baptism as a public declaration of our faith?
6 | Why do you think John emphasises that he baptises with water, but one greater than him will baptise with the Holy Spirit? What is the significance of the Holy Spirit in these verses?
7 | John’s clothing and diet choices symbolise his simplicity and focus on spiritual matters. Is there anything we can learn from John’s lifestyle, and how he responds to Jesus therefore? What does it mean for someone like him to respond to Jesus in the way he does?
8 | How might your life be different if you realised the enormity of this story?
9 | Take some time to pray. Ask that, at the beginning of this series, God would help you see the part you can play in this epic story.
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.