Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read:
Mark 1: 1-28: baptism and calling the first disciples
Mark 5: a series of miracles
Mark 12: 13-17: paying taxes to Caesar
Orientation Mark is book #2 of 27 in the New Testament, and the second of four gospels. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis The main message of Mark is that Jesus is a healer and teacher, focusing on documenting His actions.
This book skips the birth of Jesus completely - and begins with John the Baptist preaching in the desert. Jesus is baptized (1:9), retreats into the desert, and overcomes temptations by Satan (1:12). He begins His ministry in Galilee, choosing four fishermen (Andrew, Simon, James, John) at first. Then He performs a long series of miracles, and teachings by parables.
John the Baptist is arrested and beheaded to please a dancing girl (6:21). Jesus brings his ministry to Jerusalem. He enters in a triumphant manner (11:1). He attracts followers as he teaches, but also opponents (11:27). In five days he will have been arrested (14:46), tried (14:55), and crucified (15:25). Three days later, his tomb is found empty (16:6). An angel appears to declare Jesus is alive and preparing to visit his disciples, which he does on several occasions (16:12) before being taken up to heaven (16:19).
Activity Jesus performed many miracles. Refer to the Harmony of the Miracles to see which miracles are in which gospels. Choose some which appear in more than one gospel and compare the accounts. Are there differences? Discussion points Compare the ending of the OT in Malachi with the beginning of Mark. Does Mark appear to be a continuation?
Read Jesus' explanation of the parables in Mark 4: 10-12. What is the double meaning of them? Who is on the inside, and who is on the outside?
Mark has an uncertain ending. 16:8 is the end of the original manuscript. It is possible it ended there, or the original ending is lost. Verses 9-20 appear to be written later. How are they different?
Connections The Matthew study focused on the parables of Jesus. This session focuses on the miracles of Jesus. In coming sessions, The Luke study will focus on Jesus' birth. The John study will focus on other events (besides birth, parables and miracles) contained in the gospels.
For source citations see the home page. Revised April 9 2014
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