Mark 4:1-20

The crowds were so large again that Jesus teaches from a boat on the lake of Galilee for safety’s sake and also because Jesus wanted as many people as possible to hear his teaching, which is actually part of this parable’s point. There are well over 40 parables in the New Testament but only 3 are actually explained by Jesus, the rest are meant for us to meditate upon, memorize or prayerfully study. Sometimes, Jesus will end a parable with a single pointed conclusion, but for the most part, most parables are left for us to pray about to make our own conclusion as the New Testament shows us that…

The Spirit of Christ is our _______________ (Matthew 23:10, John 14:26 & Colossians 3:16) and James warns the church globally, that leading the church as a Teacher is not a role the majority of Christians should try to fulfill, James 3:1-2. Yet it is a requirement of Elders, 1st Timothy 3:2. “LISTEN” v3, is a command made only by Jesus, as every leader in the church should be calling for everyone to listen to Jesus, not just our leaders, preachers, Elders & teachers. 

Jesus gave the disciples an allegorical interpretation of the parable of the sower (Mt. 13:18), and of the wheat and tares (Mt. 13:37) in which every little detail of the story had a significant meaning. The parable of the vineyard (Mt. 21:33) also has an allegorical message about God sending his prophets, and finally his Son, who are rejected by Israel. The sower would sow the seed (Word of God) and generally Jesus defines people as having four different kinds of soil (or hearts, Mt. 13:19).

  1. Hardened,   2. Rocky,    3. Thorny,   4. Good.

Was the farmer picky about what type of soil he sowed his seed in?   Yes or No ?

How many of the different types of hearts actually bear fruit from the seed planted?

Which type of soil (heart) never had an opportunity to let the seed germinate?

Why did the growing plants in rocky soil (hearts) have a shortened lifespan?

Which soil (heart) was troubled by the deceitfulness of riches and worldly interests?

So that good soil (hearts), can actually be good, do we see the opposite of hard is soft? Do we see the rocky soil is shallow and the opposite, is soil that has depth and is able to hold moisture for the seed? Do we see that the opposite of soil with thorny weeds is soil that is kept clear of weeds?  All the problematic soils, hard, rocky & thorny, have this in common; water either runs away, dries up, or is taken up by the weeds, choking the plants growing from the implanted seed (Word of God). What does Jesus claim to give any who come to him, recorded in John 7:37? What does Paul compare water to in 1stCorinthians 12:13 ?

Mark 3:7-35

Even with such large crowds begging for help, and from practically all the regions of Israel, Jesus is powerfully merciful towards them all. He successfully meets the challenge of helping them, even those with evil spirits. How did the unclean spirits react to Jesus?

Jesus had at least two reasons why he silenced demons, firstly because they were evil and had no right to speak out of turn before ruling divinity, as it is inappropriate for evil to proclaim what is holy. Secondly because if he let them speak the truth, in any capacity, the obvious political implications are not what Jesus wanted people to pursue, the timing of the public’s desire for a King had to wait till he was nearer the passion week. In this way Jesus was still in complete control of his self-sacrifice. At the end of his ministry, he did not deny such a lofty title as Christ when the high priest asked him (Mk. 14:61-62). But as his ministry developed (Mk. 8:29), Jesus began to ask his own closest disciples to define their identity of him. Here in the first year of ministry, Jesus is not only calling disciples, but he “Appoints” them, 3:14. What is the primary purpose in appointing or naming them? (Luke 6:13).

v20-22 shows us a persistent refusal of Jesus by Jewish Leaders, who are in contrast to his disciples. Mark even includes the physical family of Jesus as refusing to accept Jesus as even reasonably serving The Lord. The fact that Jewish leaders accuse Jesus of being in league with the devil (22-30) is included between Mark’s mention of Jesus’ family coming to restrain him (the Greek word for restrain here is also used to mean arrest; see Mk. 6:17, 12:12, 14:1-51) because they thought he was out of his mind (v21). This is an amazing conclusion by his physical family since they had been eye-witnesses to his first miracle of turning water into wine, see John 2:1-12. How do you think Mary and his brothers expect Jesus to make known his identity?

It is probably Mark’s intention in this passage to show that Jesus’ family is to be regarded as comparable to the experts in the law & Pharisees in their perception of the true identity of Jesus; the family of Jesus are wrong in their understanding of him as well. The tone is obviously one of sadness and the emphasis on Jesus’ true family in v31-35 effectively underscores the comparison between his relatives and the scribes on the one hand, and those who truly obey God on the other hand!

How did Jesus reply to the charge of casting out demons by the power of Satan?

If we are wrongfully charging the Forgiver to be in league with the Devil, how could we even want to be forgiven, much less be surprised to find out that it’s impossible to be forgiven of the sin of blasphemy?

Does it not surprise any reader of this passage to find that educated Jewish leaders would attribute the power of miracles performing so much good, to “Beelzebul”? It means “Lord of Dung Flies”. The only possible reason for doing this, is that they thought Satan was a master of deception, using his power for good to trick people into following him to their ultimate destruction. 

Who does Jesus describe as his “True” Family? v33-35.

Mark 2:23-3:6

During the days of Jesus, it is estimated that Jewish oral law restricted at least 38 kinds of labor on the Sabbath and the activity of Jesus and his disciples was a violation of that law. Why was Saturday so important to the Jews for rest?

2:23-24, What did the disciples of Jesus do that was challenged by the Pharisees?

They were plucking heads of grain on the ______________, see Duet. 23:25 & Colossians 2:16.

2:25-28, What two arguments did Jesus make in defense of His disciples?

  1. The _____________ of David and his men eating the showbread, 
  1. The Son of Man is _________ of the Sabbath. Would David ever be referred to as Lord of the Sabbath?

How did Jesus ultimately treat the Sabbath Law of Moses, in reference to Matthew 5:17?

The phrase “First Day of the Week” occurs eight times in the New Testament, 

Name three events of the LORD, that are connected to the “First Day of the Week”.

  1. The Lord’s  R________________, Mt. 28:1, Mk. 16:2-9, Lk. 24:1, Jn. 20:1-19
  1. The B____________ of B________ , Acts 20:7
  1. The Churches C_________________, 1st Corinthians 16:1-4

What day is more significant than any other day of the week in the New Testament? See Revelation 1:10

3:1-5, What two commands did Jesus give the man with the withered hand in the Synagogue on the Sabbath?

A.                                                                    B.

When Jesus asked Pharisees about good vs evil and life vs killing on the Sabbath, He must have had Isaiah 58:7-14 in mind, to put the idea of work on the Sabbath as something the Lord would do.

3:6, Who began to plot to destroy Jesus?  The Pharisees together with the _________________