Category Archives: Bible Study

Jesus vs. Jewish Leaders

Portraits of Jesus

A Study of the Gospel of Mark

 


Jesus vs. Jewish LeadersLesson 8


Jesus Enters Jerusalem

>>> Read Mark 11:1-11. <<<

Jesus sent two disciples into Jerusalem to bring him a colt. As He rode it into the city thousands of people lined the route, spreading their clothes and leafy branches in His path to honor Him. While the enthusiastic crowd cheered, Jesus remained calm. Why had He chosen to enter the capital on a donkey, not on some great white steed (see Zechariah 9:9-10)? His life reflected one of His favorite sermons: greatness in the kingdom comes to the one who humbles himself.

*1* What did Jesus ride when He entered Jerusalem? (a) a horse, (b) a boat, (c) a chariot, (d) a donkey colt. Answer: ______.

*2* As Jesus entered Jerusalem what did the crowd not do? a) put their clothes in the road; b) shout praises; c) try to prevent Him from entering the city; d) lay leafy branches in His path. Answer: ______.

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Expels Commerce from the Temple

>>> Read Mark 11:12-26. <<<

Jesus was hungry and saw a fig tree in leaf. When He approached, He observed that it had no fruit. He cursed it and by the next day, it was withered up. Jesus’ action taught the amazed disciples some lessons. First, people who bear no fruit will be cursed by God. This principle applied to the Jewish nation as a whole, because it was bearing no fruit for the Lord. Second, Jesus noted that God has the power to wither fig trees and move mountains; in short, to respond to prayer. What we must do is to trust Him and turn to Him with our needs.

When Jesus entered the temple He saw a stockyard and money-changers’ booths. Some people were selling the special coin used to pay the temple tax, while others sold animals for sacrifices. Jesus began to cast out these merchants, overturning the money-changers’ tables and the vendors’ chairs. He said that the temple was supposed to be a place of prayer but had been turned into a robbers’ den.

Note — Would Jesus cleanse the temple again? Why did Jesus vehemently oppose these activities? It wasn’t because He was against selling animals or changing money; rather, He opposed the perversion of the temple’s function. God had given the temple for spiritual purposes, and it was wrong to make it a bazaar. We must never use what God has given us for purposes He has not authorized. God gave us a pattern for the local church. Its function is to worship, teach the gospel and help needy Christians. But many churches have begun to do other things: they sponsor recreation, entertainment, secular education, etc. If Jesus returned, would He not come to churches and begin to cast out all of the unauthorized practices that have crept into them?

*3* What was on the fig tree that Jesus saw? a) figs; b) leaves, but no figs; c) neither figs nor leaves; d) rotten figs. Answer: ______.

*4* Whom did Jesus expel from the temple? a) money changers and animals sellers; b) priests; c) harlots and murderers; d) Gentiles. Answer: ______.

*5* What was the main problem with the money changing and animal sales? a) it was always wrong to sell animals and change money; b) they were cheating people in the transactions; c) these activities weren’t a part of God’s purpose for the temple; d) there was no problem with it. Answer: ______.

(Thought question: What else have we already studied about people who change what God has revealed in His will? Hint: Restudy Mark 7.)

Question about Jesus’ Authority

>>> Read Mark 11:27-33. <<<

Jesus’ bold actions in the temple stirred opposition. The Jewish leaders thought that the temple belonged to them, so they questioned Jesus’ right to come into it and make such drastic revisions. Jesus replied to their challenge with a question. He asked whether John’s baptism came from God or men. They consulted among themselves and decided that it would be politically unwise to answer. Their refusal demonstrated that they were not sincerely seeking truth. Therefore, Jesus refused to answer their question.

Note — Jesus’ question is a model: Jesus asked the Jewish leaders an outstanding question: Did John’s baptism come from God or man? This is the question that we should ask about every religious practice. Anything that originates in man should be rejected; all that God commands should be carefully observed. There is an easy way for us to determine whether a given teaching or activity comes from God or man. Everything that comes from God is in the Bible. If a particular doctrine or practice is not in the Bible, it is not from God. We should verify everything we do by this simple test: Does it come from God or from man?

*6&7* When Jesus asked the Jewish leaders about John’s baptism, what two choices did He give for its origin? Answer: He asked whether it came from ______ or from ______.

*8* Why did Jesus refuse to answer the Jewish leaders’ question? Answer: They proved they were dishonest because they refused to ______ His question.

Parable of the Vineyard

>>> Read Mark 12:1-12. <<<

Jesus told about a man who planted a vineyard, equipped it with first-class installations and then rented it out. His rent was to be a share of the crop. When the harvest time arrived, he sent servants to collect, but the renters beat, mistreated and even killed them. Finally the owner of the vineyard sent his son to demand payment, but they killed him too. How outrageous! The owner would undoubtedly destroy his tenants and rent the vineyard out to others. The story meant this: God was the owner of the vineyard; the Jews were the renters. God blessed the Jews greatly and expected them to bear the fruit of righteousness, truth, mercy, etc. He sent prophets to collect this “fruit,” but they were mistreated and killed. Finally He sent His son, Jesus, whom they murdered. God would certainly destroy the Jewish nation and give His blessings to others. The religious leaders understood that Jesus had spoken this story against them (12:12).

Note — God’s stone: Jesus spoke of the stone the builders rejected which God used as His chief cornerstone (12:10-11). He was speaking of Himself, rejected by the Jewish leaders, but selected by God as the foundation of His great building. These words were being fulfilled as Christ spoke. The Jewish authorities, intent on building their own religion, decided Jesus was unsatisfactory–He wasn’t suitable for their building. God often reverses human values, however. That which men rejected, God chose and exalted above all (see Philippians 2:5-11).

*9* What did the renters not do to the ones sent to collect the fruit? a) mistreat; b) beat; c) kill; d) give the fruit. Answer: ______.

*10* Jesus spoke this parable to rebuke whom? a) His disciples, b) the religious leaders of the Jews, c) Old Testament prophets, d) no one. Answer: ______ .

*11* In the Scripture about the stone rejected by the builders, the stone referred to whom (see also Acts 4:11)? Answer: The stone was ______, who was rejected by the Jews’ religious leaders.

Question about Taxes

>>> Read Mark 12:13-17. <<<

The Jews were desperately seeking to discredit Jesus. To do so, various groups began to ask Him questions designed to trap Him. They asked about paying taxes. At this time, the Jews were ruled by the Romans, who were the ones receiving the tax money. The people hated the Roman government and thought it was contrary to the will of God. So Jesus was trapped. If He said not to pay taxes, He would be guilty of treason and liable to prosecution. If He told them to pay, patriots would view Him as a traitor and even disloyal to God. Jesus didn’t answer the question at first. Instead, He requested a coin. He asked whose name and picture were on it. They replied: Caesar’s. Since you put your name and picture on something you own, Caesar’s markings on the coin showed that it belonged to him. The Jews had no right to withhold Caesar’s property from him when he requested it. So Jesus said simply: Give back to Caesar what belongs to him; and give to God what belongs to Him. His answer could not be challenged. It still provides the basis for our relationship to government. We should pay our taxes and serve the Lord.

*12* What question was Jesus asked (v14)? Answer: Is it lawful to ______ to Caesar.

*13&14* What answer did Jesus give (v17)? Answer: Render to Caesar the things that are ______ and to God the things that are ______.

Question about the Resurrection

>>> Read Mark 12:18-27. <<<

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They asked a question designed to show that the doctrine of the resurrection was absurd. It involved the invented case of a woman who was married to seven brothers in succession. They asked Jesus to tell them whose wife she would be in the resurrection, since all of them had been married to her. Jesus’ reply revealed the ignorance of the Sadducees: There is no marriage in heaven. Furthermore, Jesus showed how even the Old Testament proved the resurrection. He cited the text where God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and described Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even though they had been dead for hundreds of years. If death was the end of existence (as the Sadducees believed), then God would have been calling Himself the God of that which doesn’t exist. For God to call Himself their God, in some sense Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must still have been “alive” and thus the Sadducees’ view of death was wrong.

*15* What did the Sadducees believe? Answer: They believed there is no ______.

*16* How did Jesus answer their question about marriage? Answer: He said that, when we rise from the dead, there will be no ______.

*17* How did Jesus prove the Sadducees’ belief about resurrection was wrong? Answer: He quoted a passage in which God said, “I am the ______ of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” even after those men were dead.

Question about the Greatest Commandment

>>> Read Mark 12:28-34. <<<

A scribe tried his hand at stumping Jesus. He asked Him to name the greatest commandment in the law. Jesus easily replied that it was to love God. He added that the second was to love others. This response demonstrated remarkable insight. Instead of choosing a specific command, Jesus cited the principles that form the foundation for all of the God’s laws. Even the scribe had to admit that Jesus’ answer was right.

*18&19* What did Jesus say are the greatest commands? Answer: The greatest command is to ______ God, and the second greatest is to ______ your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus Condemns the Scribes

>>> Read Mark 12:35-40. <<<

After weathering their barrage of questions, Jesus asked His opponents a question: How could the Christ be both David’s son and David’s Lord? This question was crucial, because the scribes’ objection to Jesus was that He (a mere man they thought) claimed divine authority. Jesus showed by His question that the Old Testament had predicted that the Messiah would be both David’s son (human) and David’s Lord (divine).

*20* How did Jesus show that the Jewish leaders misunderstood the Christ? Answer: They thought the Christ would just be David’s son (i.e., He would be human), but Jesus quoted a passage showing He would also be David’s ______ (i.e., He would be Divine).

Observations on the Collection

>>> Read Mark 12:41-44. <<<

Jesus sat and observed people contribute into the temple treasury. He saw many rich people deposit large offerings. He also saw an impoverished widow give two small coins which were nearly worthless. The Lord explained that the widow had contributed more than the rich–she put in everything she had, while they had simply given their surplus.

Note — Jesus contradicts modern views of giving: Many modern churches seem to regard large donations more highly than small ones. Some honor wealthy donors in special ways and allow them more influence in church policy; occasionally they even ridicule small contributions as unworthy of the Lord. It is clear that the Lord Himself viewed giving in a very different way. He was unimpressed by the absolute size of the offering, whether large or small, but very concerned with the attitude of the giver. To Jesus, the gift of the widow, while having almost no monetary value, was worth much more than the large and impressive donations of the rich. We need to think of riches like Jesus did.

*21* How did Jesus’ view of giving differ from that of most religious leaders then and now? He said the most important thing is: a) how much we give, b) the attitude with which we give, c) we must give a tenth, d) we must give as much as others give. Answer: ______.

The Unfaithful Bride

Hosea 1:2 “And the Lord said to Hosea, Go take unto thee a wife of  and children of whoredoms:for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.

The church of the living God. The bride of Christ, purchased with the blood of Christ, and yet she has turned to a woman of whoredom. Chosen to be a spiritual beauty, she has become material girl to be sold to the highest bidder. She has become more interested in making money than she is about saving souls, giving birth to children of whoredom. She professed to love the Lord, but she prostitutes herself for the things of this world.

The Church of the living God, built upon the foundation of Peter confession to Jesus, that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God, but this message has gotten lost. Jesus gave His life for the Church, He paid for it yet she has wandered into the way of a harlot. The message she preached has changed from one of soul saving to one of fund-raising. The church of God revelation has been replaced with the many ministries of mans imagination. So much of the world has been invited into the temple, the temple has been turned from a house of worship, to a worldly prostitute, following what ever will bring in the most money. The under shepherds have turn from being servants of the Lord, to servants of self. Like a dime store pimp they use the church of God to line their pockets, and fill their lives with the toys of this world, preying on the flock instead of praying over the flock.

The Love of God, His church, has turned away from the truth of God’s word, to the empty promises of this world. But God is faithful and He stands with His arms stretched wide open awaiting her return. Let us go back to God, let the church get back to the business of saving souls. Let the men of God be servants of God, that they might be better leaders to the people of God

Jesus Accepts The Lowly

Portraits of Jesus

A Study of the Gospel of Mark

 

Jesus Accepts the Lowly

Lesson #7

Jesus Announces His Death, Rebukes Pride

>>> Read Mark 9:30-37. <<<

Please read the text in your Bible as you study each part of the lesson. Jesus wanted to prepare His disciples for the tragedy that was nearing. He warned them that He would be betrayed into men’s hands and be killed, but encouraged them by announcing that three days later He would rise again. The disciples did not understand; they were too busy arguing about who would be the greatest in Jesus’ coming kingdom. Knowing what they had been disputing, Jesus took a child into His arms and used him as a model of the humility that should characterize disciples. It must have disappointed Him greatly to see the disciples vying for power while He was preoccupied with His coming suffering.

*1&2* What did Jesus predict was going to happen to Him? Answer: Men would ______ Him, but on the third day He would ______ from the dead.

*3* About what subject were the disciples arguing? Answer: They disputed about which of them was the ______.

*4&5* What did Jesus say one should do, if he wants to be first of all (v35)? Answer: He should be the ______ of all and the ______ of all.

Jesus Warns of the Dangers of Stumbling

>>> Read Mark 9:38-50. <<<

John related how he had seen someone expelling demons in Jesus’ name and had forbidden him to do so. Evidently John thought that no one should have been doing any work for the Lord who was not following in their immediate company. But Jesus had commissioned many to go out, preach, and expel demons (see Luke 10). He was pleased with those who were faithfully serving Him in other places.

Jesus went on to warn of the danger of causing someone to fall. He said that it would even be better to tie a huge stone around a man’s neck and cast him into the sea than for him to cause another to stumble. He also warned of the danger of allowing anything to cause us to stumble. The Lord encouraged radical, decisive action: cutting off a hand or a foot or plucking out an eye in order to avoid abandoning Him. He was not speaking literally–but He was forcefully declaring that we should sacrifice anything that is tempting us to sin. He described Hell as a horrendous place of maggots and perpetual fire that must be avoided at all cost.

*6* What had John tried to stop someone else from doing? Answer: Someone was casting out ______.

*7* A person would be better drowned in the sea rather than to do what? Answer: It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around the neck rather than to cause someone to ______.

*8* What lesson is taught by Jesus’ statements about cutting off a hand, foot, or eye? a) if we pray, He will miraculously restore the missing member; b) He doesn’t care if we suffer; c) we should be willing to make great sacrifices to avoid the consequences of sin; d) we won’t miss the body part anyway. Answer: ______.

Question about Divorce

>>> Read Mark 10:1-12. <<<

Jesus’ opponents decided to test Him with a hard question. They asked Him whether it was right to divorce. In their society as in ours, there was much disagreement, even among religious people, as to whether or not it was right to divorce and, if so, under what circumstances. Jesus answered their question by reminding them that in the beginning God created only one man and one woman. He intended for marriage to be a permanent union. Because God joins people together when they marry, it is wrong for man to separate them. Later He explained to the disciples that it is not only wrong to divorce, but that a divorced person who remarries is committing adultery.

Note — The need for commitment in marriage: Many people today enter marriage with the notion that they will divorce if it doesn’t work out. This is wrong. Throw-away marriages are opposed to God’s created order. God forbids divorce. The only exception is when one divorces his mate because of sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9). In any other case, divorce is sinful and remarriage is adultery. The fact that men frequently disobey God does not change what He said.

*9* What principle did Jesus use to forbid divorce (v9)? Answer: What God has joined together, man should not ______.

*10* In what circumstance did Jesus allow divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:9)? a) when one of the partners no longer loves the other; b) when there is abuse; c) when one divorces a spouse because he/she committed fornication; d) when irreconcilable differences exist. Answer: ______.

*11* If a man or woman divorces his/her spouse (not for fornication) and remarries, what did Jesus say about the remarriage (v11,12)? Answer: It is ______.

Jesus Blesses the Children

>>> Read Mark 10:13-16. <<<

The disciples never seemed to want Jesus to be bothered, so they were constantly trying to keep certain kinds of people away from Him (see 10:46-52). In this case, it was children. When Jesus saw that they were hindering the children from approaching Him, He was indignant and rebuked them. He said that the kingdom of God itself belongs to people who become like children. He took the young people into His arms and began to bless them. He always had time for children.

*12* Whom did the disciples try to stop from coming to Jesus? a) Pharisees; b) children; c) sinners; d) tax collectors. Answer: ______.

*13* What reason did Jesus give why He wanted to receive children? a) He wanted to baptize them; b) He wanted to give them candy and ice cream; c) He hoped their parents would give Him money; d) the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like little children. Answer: ______.

(Thought question: If the kingdom belongs to those who are like little children, then are little children born guilty of sin?)

Rich Man Considers Cost too High

>>> Read Mark 10:17-31. <<<

A rich young man ran up to Jesus requesting information on how to receive eternal life. Jesus first told him to keep the commandments, which the man said he had done. Then Jesus ordered him to sell all that he owned, give the proceeds to the poor, and start following Him. The man wanted eternal life, but not at that price. He turned away, saddened. Many follow in this young man’s steps. They desire eternal life . . . as long as they don’t have to make too many sacrifices. Jesus referred to these people when He remarked about how difficult it is for those who are rich to enter heaven. He said that it is easier to thread a camel through a needle than for a rich man to be saved. The disciples were shocked. The Lord explained that with God all things are possible, but that it is hard for rich people to go to heaven, because of the tendency to trust in material possessions and not in God.

Note — The lack of one thing: As Jesus talked to the rich man, He observed that he lacked only one thing: he only needed to get rid of his possessions. It became obvious that Jesus had properly diagnosed the man’s need, because the man was unwilling to do so. He indeed was valuing his possessions over the Lord. To follow Jesus, we must give up anything in our life that is more important to us than He is. It is interesting that this man lacked only one thing. Some people have the idea that one sin is not all that bad. They think that while they may be failing in one area, at least they serve the Lord faithfully in all the others. This story shows clearly that even one thing can keep a person from being accepted by God. Is there one thing in your life that is separating you from faithfulness in the Lord’s service?

*14* What did the rich man want Jesus to tell him? Answer: He wanted to know what he should do to inherit ______.

*15* What was the rich man’s reaction when Jesus told him that he needed to sell all and give the money to the poor? Answer: He went away ______.

*16* How many things in our lives that we refuse to repent of does it take to keep us from pleasing God? (a) none, (b) one, (c) we must do more evil than we do good, (d) the Bible does not say. Answer: ______.

Greatness in God’s Kingdom

>>> Read Mark 10:32-45. <<<

For the third time, Jesus warned the disciples about what was going to happen when they got to Jerusalem. He gave a detailed description of the suffering He would experience there. Meanwhile, James and John were imagining a different scenario. They asked Jesus to agree to do whatever they would request. Jesus asked them what they wanted; He was not going to sign a blank check by agreeing before they made the request. They replied that they wanted to sit on Jesus’ right and left hand; that is, they wanted the chief positions in His administration. Jesus responded by asking if they could drink the cup He was going to drink or be baptized with His baptism, and they said they could. Jesus was referring to His sufferings which were often spoken of as a cup of agony that He would have to drink (see Mark 14:36) and as a baptism (immersion) in pain (see Luke 12:50). They had no clue as to His real meaning, but they enthusiastically accepted the challenge. Jesus then replied that He did not have the authority to grant their request, because He was not the one who assigned the positions of honor in the kingdom.

The other disciples were incensed. James and John had gotten the jump on them. They themselves wished to have the highest positions and resented the fact that the sons of Zebedee had requested them first. Jesus took some time to define what greatness in the kingdom really meant. He said that in human affairs, whether government or business, the greatest have the most authority. But, He explained, it isn’t that way in the kingdom of God. Rather, the greatest is the one who humbles himself most and serves most. He pointed to Himself as the model. He had not come to be served, but to serve and to offer Himself as a sacrifice for others.

Note — True greatness: We still desperately need these lessons of Jesus. Many, even in religion, are seeking to be great by trying to gain honor, glory and power. Churches are infested with “politicians” who want the limelight and who vie for positions of maximum control and authority. We should be ashamed. Jesus was born in a stable outside a small town. He lived His life as a village carpenter and itinerant preacher. He accumulated neither riches nor worldly power. Yet, today, many of His self-proclaimed followers seek and promise the very things He rejected, as they pursue higher and higher positions in churches. It is hard to imagine that Jesus would feel at home in their costly cathedrals. It is impossible to believe that He would preach the “gospels of health and wealth” so popular today. Jesus said the way to true greatness was the road of service and suffering.

*17&18* What did James and John want Jesus to do for them? Answer: They wanted to sit one at Jesus’ ______ and the other at His ______in His glory (kingdom).

*19* According to Jesus, how can you become great in the kingdom? a) attend the biggest church with the most beautiful building; b) give lots of money; c) take a high position of authority in the church; d) humble yourself and serve others. Answer: ______.

Jesus Heals Bartimaeus

>>> Read Mark 10:46-52. <<<

As Jesus passed through Jericho, a blind beggar cried out. The crowds tried to silence him, thinking that the Lord should not be bothered with such unimportant people. But Jesus called the blind man to come to Him and healed him. The beggar began to follow Him. Few rich men followed the Lord (see 10:17-22), but many of the poor and downtrodden did.

*20* What was the name of the blind man Jesus healed (v46)? a) Peter; b) Bartimaeus; c) Thomas; d) Andrew. Answer: ______.

*21* What did the blind man keep calling Jesus (v48)? Answer: He called Him ______.

Summary: Jesus accepted the humble folks, even though the disciples tried to turn them away. He accepted the man who worked for Him but was not in His personal company; He welcomed the children; He invited the blind beggar. He rejected those we might have accepted: a rich ruler with so much to offer, and all those who sought position and greatness. The great one in the kingdom is the servant.

Defective Spiritual Vision

Portraits of Jesus

A Study of the Gospel of Mark

Defective Spiritual VisionLesson 6


Jesus Feeds 4000 Men

>>> Read Mark 8:1-10. <<<

Huge crowds were constantly following Jesus. On this occasion, they had been in a wilderness area and hadn’t eaten for three days. Jesus didn’t want to send them home hungry for fear they would faint during the trip. So He asked for a food inventory: there were seven loaves and a few small fish. Jesus directed the multitude to sit down, and then began serving the food. Miraculously, the supply didn’t dwindle. Each loaf generated a large basketful of leftovers besides feeding 4000 men. Jesus’ power could not be disputed.

*1* How many men did Jesus feed on this occasion? (a) 4000, (b) 5000, (c) 12, (d) none. Answer: ______. (Note carefully: This is a multiple choice question. In order to answer correctly, the student must insert a letter, not a number!)

*2* How many baskets of food were taken up from the seven loaves and few fish (v8)? Answer: ______ baskets.

Warning about Leaven

>>> Read Mark 8:11-21. <<<

Despite much evidence of Jesus’ power and authority, the Pharisees challenged Him to show a sign from heaven. He refused their request. They were simply blind to all evidence and no sign would ever be enough to convince them. Then Jesus and His disciples began to cross the sea by boat. The disciples were worried because they had forgotten to take enough bread with them for the trip. Jesus warned about the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. Immediately, the disciples imagined that He was criticizing them for having forgotten the bread. Jesus knew what they were saying to each other and rebuked their hard-heartedness. After all, He had twice produced enough food to feed thousands with abundant leftovers. They should have known that He could handle problems with insufficient food. His warning wasn’t about the leaven of bread, but about the false teaching and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Herod. Bad attitudes spread like leaven and He was worried that the disciples might be contaminated by them.

*3* What request did the Pharisees make that Jesus refused to grant? Answer: They wanted Him to perform a ______ from heaven.

*4* What warning did Jesus give to His disciples? Answer: They should beware the ______ of the Pharisees.

*5&6* In saying this, what did Jesus mean by “leaven” (see also Matt. 16:12; Luke 12:1)? Answer: He referred to their false ______ and their ______.

Jesus Heals a Blind Man in Two Stages

>>> Read Mark 8:22-26. <<<

Normally, Jesus’ healings were complete and immediate. This case was different–He applied saliva to on the eyes of the blind man, laid His hands on him, and then asked what he saw. The man reported seeing men like trees walking around. So Jesus touched his eyes again, and his vision was perfectly restored. Why didn’t Christ heal this man all at once, like He normally did? Jesus’ healings were signs, symbols of spiritual truths. In this case, the two-stage healing of the blind man symbolized how men’s understanding and insight is often healed in two steps. The disciples, for example, weren’t totally blind, for they understood that Jesus was the Son of God (see 8:29). But, on the other hand, they still didn’t perceive Jesus’ complete ability and therefore had defective vision (see 8:17-18, 31-33). They needed to be touched again so they could see clearly.

Note — Don’t be satisfied to see men like trees walking: Consider the situation of the blind man. While blind, he saw absolutely nothing. When Jesus first touched him, his vision improved: he saw men, though they looked like trees. To one who had been totally blind, that was fantastic progress. But Jesus could do more–He touched the man again and he began to see perfectly. Unfortunately, in the spiritual realm, some are satisfied with one touch. They see, but not clearly. Many don’t even realize that they need a complete cure, that they should not be content to see men like trees walking. Consider, for example, someone whose life has been totally devastated by sin. He hears about Jesus, begins to follow many of His teachings and his life improves. Sadly, however, He is unaware that he lacks understanding of Jesus’ word in many areas and that he should not settle for distorted vision. Let’s check out our own lives. Could it be that we still are not seeing clearly and that Jesus could restore our vision perfectly?

*7* How did the blind man see after Jesus first touched him? Answer: He saw men that looked like ______ walking around.

*8* How did he see after Jesus finished with him? Answer: He saw everything ______.

The Strength and Weakness of Peter

>>> Read Mark 8:27-33. <<<

Jesus asked what the public thought about Him. The disciples reported varying opinions: John the Baptist, Elijah, etc. When Jesus asked their own opinion, Peter boldly responded: Thou art the Christ. It was a brilliant insight. Nevertheless, when Jesus went on to warn about how He was going to be rejected and crucified, Peter was horrified. He could not imagine the Lord being killed. He began to correct Jesus telling Him that this would never happen! Jesus sternly rebuked Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Peter was tempting Him not to suffer. Temptations are often strongest when they come through people we are close to. So Jesus flatly rejected Peter’s advice. Isn’t it strange that one minute Peter proclaimed Jesus to be Christ, the next he was calling Him aside to inform Him that He was mistaken! If Jesus was truly the Christ, Peter had no business arguing with Him. Nor do we.

*9* Who did people consider Jesus to be? a) John the Baptist, b) Elijah, c) one of the prophets, d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*10* What did Peter confess regarding Jesus’ identity? a) He was a great teacher; b) He was a sublime philosopher; c) He was the Christ; d) He was a prophet, but not Divine. Answer: ______.

*11* How did Peter react to Jesus’ announcement of His coming suffering? Answer: He took Jesus aside and began to ______ Him.

*12&13* What did Jesus say was the reason Peter would not believe Jesus was going to die? Answer: He was not minding the things of ______ but the things of ______.

The Conditions of Discipleship

>>> Read Mark 8:34-9:1. <<<

Jesus plainly explained what was required to become His disciple. He said that you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. These requirements are demanding. A person does not naturally deny himself; rather, he usually does what he wants. Death to self is painful, but that is exactly the meaning of taking up one’s cross. The cross was an instrument of death–to take it up would be to die to oneself and to one’s own desires in order to serve Christ. There is no profit in gaining the entire world, only to lose one’s soul in the transaction. It is worth everything to submit to God’s stringent requirements for discipleship.

Note — Deceptive discipleship: Jesus highlighted the requirements for being a disciple because it is so easy to imagine that you are a follower of Jesus when, in fact, you aren’t. Discipleship is not mere church membership or moral living. It is total devotion to Jesus Christ. It is to die to self and live 100% for the Lord. Am I really Jesus’ disciple?

*14* Which of the following was not given as a requirement for being a disciple? a) deny self; b) take up ones cross; c) follow Jesus; d) speak in tongues. Answer: ______.

*15&16* How did Jesus teach the importance of proper priorities? Answer: He asked what profit a man would have if he could gain the whole ______ but then lose his own ______.

*17&18* Jesus said some of the people standing there would not die before they saw what (9:1)? Answer: They would not die till they saw the ______ of God come with ______.

(Thought question: How can this statement be harmonized with the doctrine that says Jesus’ kingdom still has not come even today?)

Jesus Is Transfigured

>>> Read Mark 9:2-13. <<<

Jesus had taken three of His closest friends with Him to a high mountain. There, he began to glow with breathtaking brilliance. Just then, Elijah and Moses appeared, talking with Jesus. The disciples were awestruck. Moses was the great Lawgiver, the one who had led Israel out of Egyptian bondage and through the wilderness. Elijah was a great prophet, one of two men in the Old Testament who went directly to heaven without dying. And there they were talking to Jesus. Peter was profoundly moved by the occasion and suggested that they build three tabernacles: one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. No doubt he felt that it would honor Jesus to receive a tabernacle alongside Moses and Elijah. But God’s voice boomed from heaven: This is My beloved Son, listen to Him. Moses and Elijah vanished. Only Jesus remained. As they descended, Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone about what had happened until after He was raised from the dead.

Note — The greatness of Jesus: God’s rebuff of Peter’s suggestion to construct three tabernacles teaches volumes. The problem with Peter’s plan was that it put Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah. He isn’t. Jesus is above everyone–in this case, above the greatest figures of the Old Testament era. Our problem is like Peter’s. We often tend to build multiple tabernacles. One for Jesus and one for our parents. Or one for Jesus and another for our pastor, for our church, or for a favorite activity. This won’t do. Jesus must have the only tabernacle; He must be the supreme authority in our life. Nothing else can be on a par with Him.

*19&20* What two Old Testament characters appeared on the mountain and talked with Jesus? Answer: ______ and ______.

*21* What did Peter want to do on the mountain when he saw Jesus together with these men? Answer: He wanted to build three ______.

*22&23* What did the Father then say about Jesus? Answer: He said that Jesus was His ______, so people should ______ to Him.

*24&25* When were Peter, James and John permitted to tell about the transfiguration? Answer: They could tell about it after Jesus had ______ from the ______.

The Disciples Fail to Cast out a Demon

>>> Read Mark 9:14-29. <<<

As Jesus descended the mountain, He noticed great commotion in the valley. The crowd ran to meet Him. While Jesus had been with three of the apostles on the mountain, the others had been unable to cast a demon out of a boy. Since the apostles had normally been able to cast out demons (notice Mark 6:13), this failure puzzled them and surprised the bystanders. Jesus’ enemies were taking advantage of this lapse to discredit Him. The father of the tormented lad asked Jesus to do something, if He could. The Lord turned his statement back on him: “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” The father said that he believed, but recognizing the possibility that his faith was not as strong as it needed to be, he begged Jesus to help his unbelief. With that, Christ commanded the unclean spirit to leave the boy. The demon cried out and threw the boy into convulsions, but left. Later, the disciples asked why they had been unable to cast out the demon. Jesus explained that they were not relying on God enough, but on their own power: “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” Perhaps their prior success in expelling demons had caused them to be self-reliant, and they had neglected to pray in faith to God so that He would cast out the demon.

*26* What problem did the man’s son have? Answer: He was possessed by a ______ that caused him to be mute.

*27* What happened when Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit (demon)? The spirit (demon): a) cried out, b) convulsed or tore him, c) came out, d) all of the preceding. Answer: ______.

Summary: Time and again the disciples demonstrated a lack of clear spiritual understanding. They saw Jesus multiply loaves and fishes, but failed to see that He could handle another food emergency. Peter affirmed that Jesus was the Christ, but thought it best to give Him some needed “advice.” He believed Jesus was great, but on the same level with Moses and Elijah. The nine disciples in the valley boldly attempted to expel a demon, but without relying on the Lord. They were like those formerly blind who even now saw men like trees walking.