Series: Bios of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 9:30-50
Other Pertinent Scripture:
Parallel passages: For Mark 9:30-32 see Matt. 17:22, 23; Luke 9:43-45. For Mark 9:33-37 see Matt. 18:1-5; Luke 9:46-48. For Mark 9:38-40 see Luke 9:49, 50.
Proverbs 3:34, 16:18; Mark 10:14-15; Luke 14:11; John 1:1-5; Romans 6:1-2; Romans 12:3; Galatians 5:16-24; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 5:7-9, 12:2-4; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-11;
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory. Join us as we dive into this fast paced narrative filled with astonishing events, dramatic responses and a give-all-that-you-are challenge from Jesus who stands at the center of it all.
a note on this week’s text:
In the second half of Mark 9 we find Jesus repeating his teaching on his coming death and resurrection and the disciples repeating their misunderstanding of his mission and what it means to follow him. In response to their argument about who it the greatest Jesus teaches them that those who would want to be first he must, in fact, be last and a servant of all.
Jesus’ teaching on humility is accompanied by the welcoming of a lowly child, an encouragement away from prideful posturing, and teaching on the seriousness of sin. Following Jesus means we follow him in humility, holiness and endure in this costly discipleship journey.
a few items to help take a deeper look this week or share with others:
“The Grace and Greatness of True Humility” by Albert Mohler
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. Jesus says again that he is going to be delivered into the hands of men and be killed, and when he is killed he will rise again after three days. Without understanding what Jesus is saying, the disciples remain silent, afraid to ask more about what Jesus is teaching. This teaching is obviously weighty and, for the disciples, a little confounding. Why do you think the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus about this teaching that they did not understand? We want to encourage seeking and asking questions when we come to tough teaching and places where we are confused. What kind of things are we afraid to ask questions about? Where does our fear come from? Is it because of our past experiences in church/with religion? Is it because of our pride?
2. The argument of the disciples (Mark 9:34) is one of self-promotion as is their rash judgement about someone else casting out demons in Jesus name (Mark 9:38). Their eyes are on their own greatness and distinction, that is, what makes them special and important. This posture of the heart is the starting place for Jesus’ teaching on true greatness in the Kingdom of God. He counters their attitude with the statement, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus calls the disciples to a disposition of humility and it is counter to everything in man. Like the disciples we are prone to pride, to self-promoting, and to self-interest. Every one of us deals with pride, though it may show up in different ways. How do you define pride? What are some ways that pride shows up in our lives? Looking back on your life, can you identify places where pride in you was being exposed? How about now, can you see how/where your pride shows itself?
The counterpart to pride is humility and it is to this that Jesus calls his disciples to. How do you define humility? What expression of humility does Jesus point to in Mark 9:37? If you’ve seen genuine humility in someones life, what did that look like? How did you feel when you saw it?
3. The hyperbole Jesus uses, saying if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off, etc. is an intentional shock-statement to draw his listeners attention to the seriousness of sin. Jesus knew the full devastation that sin brings because he was God in the beginning at the creation of all things (John 1:1-5) and he saw all of creation when it was good before evil entered the world through sin. Jesus also knew the seriousness of sin because he was on a mission to defeat sin and that mission would require his sacrificial death. It is important for us to sense the weight of sin and for us to acknowledge that we are prone to not take sin seriously. Can you think of ways that we are prone to take sin lightly? Are there certain sins that we consider as less severe sins and therefore give ourselves a pass on taking them seriously? What does it look like for you to fight against sin? What are some of the most effective devices God has given us to fight sin?
4. Enduring in this life, with the hight costs of discipleship is no easy matter. I recently read an authors explanation about how salvation costs us nothing but discipleship costs us everything. We have these high callings: to deny ourselves, to consider others better than ourselves, to welcome the weak, to fight against sin, to avoid tempting others toward sin, and so on… To try and to fail at these things continually and to get back up each and every time can be at times a grueling journey. Jesus illustrates with another word play here that everyone of us will face purification through hardships, testing, and suffering. This again is a hard truth. How are we doing here? Are there places you are really struggling that you can share? Looking back on your life, is there a time that you can see where you were going through a time of purifying? What was it like? On the other side of it, what comes to mind when you look back on it now?
5. Ultimately bearing these “crosses” of discipleship is impossible in our own strength and doing them perfectly will certainly never happen. Where do we turn in these times?
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