14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This passage culminates in Jesus telling us why He came, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinner.” (Mark 2:17) So what does this mean in the context of the passage? First, let’s breakdown the different characters we see in this story: we see three distinct groups. We have the righteous (Jesus), the self-righteous (Scribes and Pharisees) and the un-righteous (Sinners and tax collectors.) However, if we contrast this with what Jesus said, we should only have two different groups: the healthy (righteous) and the sick (sinner.) So where is the disconnect? Why do we see the story differ from Jesus’ teaching? The answer is worldview, and how they are different among the groups. The scribes and Pharisee’s were righteous…to the letter of the law and to the “traditions of the elders” (Man-made religious ordinances observed as The Law). They were only righteous by their own standards, standards that they had put in place. A self-fulfilling prophesy if you will. A ruse… a con… as 1 John 1:8 says “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Or take Paul’s words in Romans 3:10 “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one.”” This paints a bleak picture. Enter Jesus onto the scene, "The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them," (Isaiah 9:2); "if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 John 2:1-2); “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Let us not deceive ourselves….we ALL are in need of a savior whether we believe so or not.
1. How does the Mark passage teach us about a biblical worldview? Can you find contrasting worldview's in the passage?
2. Do your behaviors and values align with your beliefs? What are ways that your life might not align with a Christian worldview? Pray for each other and hold each other accountable for these areas. (What does your social media look like? Are you chasing the "American Dream?")
3. Discuss the establishments (culture, Progressive christianity, "mainstream" churches) that the church is battling against today? What are the issues that we need to stand firm against? (Hint: whatever is antithetical to the Bible)
4. Do you feel infected by the lifestyle influencer culture? What compromises do we make (or the church) trying to influence the culture without the power of Jesus and His message to the world?
Text: Mark 2:1-12 When Jesus came back to Capernaum a few days later, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer space, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3 And some people came, bringing to Him a man who was paralyzed, carried by four men. 4 And when they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and after digging an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5 And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and thinking it over in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were thinking that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you thinking about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet, and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Big Idea: When Jesus was through healing and forgiving the sins of the paralyzed man, the people who had witnessed the "event" proclaimed, "We have never seen anything like this!" What Jesus did was a significant break from the mundane. It was supernatural. It was non-traditional. It even challenged the theology of the Jews. What does the present church need to experience? We need to experience God (both His person and acts) in such a way that it causes the people of our time to proclaim: "We have never seen anything like this!"
Read verse 1-3: When Jesus came back to Capernaum a few days later, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer space, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3 And some people came, bringing to Him a man who was paralyzed, carried by four men.
1. The door was blocked by the crowds of people which made it hard for these men and others to enter. How can we make it easier for people to access Christ and remove the hurdles?
Read verse 4: 4 And when they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and after digging an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralyzed man was lying.
1. These men ripped a hole in the roof of a house that was not theirs in order to get to Christ. What are some other extraordinary examples in scripture that people went to in order to receive a touch from Christ?
2. Have you ever met someone (maybe even yourself) that went to extraordinary lengths to receive a touch from Christ? How did that strengthen your faith?
Read verse 5: 5 And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
1. Why do you think Jesus brought up forgiveness at this particular point?
2. Was this man there for forgiveness, healing or both?
Read verses 6-7: 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and thinking it over in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except God alone?”
1. These Pharisees began "reasoning" in their hearts when they heard Jesus declare this man being forgiven. Have you ever read something in scripture or heard something preached that led you to start reasoning or arguing in your mind?
2. What is the difference between reasoning in our hearts and questioning/pondering in our hearts?
Read Verses 8 & 9: 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were thinking that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you thinking about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'?
1. Healing the man wouldn't have been a huge issue for the Pharisees; but Jesus speaking of forgiving the man's sin was problematic. Why does Jesus equate the two together; healing and forgiveness?
Read Verses 10 & 11: 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet, and go home.”
1. What are the things that Jesus demonstrated He had authority over while He was on earth?
2. What authority do believers have today?
Read Verse 12: 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
1. Have you ever experienced something supernatural in your life?
2. What are some of the signs that Jesus is working or moving in our midst?
3. What are some events in your life that led you to the place of saying "I've never seen anything like that!"?
Text: Mark 1:35-39 35 And in the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and prayed there for a time. 36 Simon and his companions eagerly searched for Him; 37 and they found Him and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 He said to them, “Let’s go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may also preach there; for this is why I came.” 39 And He went into their synagogues preaching throughout Galilee, and casting out the demons.
Jesus, the Son of Man, was a man of prayer. If Jesus, who was God in the flesh, needed to pray, how much more is prayer a necessity for the saints? Prayer is an expression of our dependence on God, and so we pray, on all occasions, about all our concerns, without ceasing.
Read verse 35: And in the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and prayed there for a time.
1. Why do you think Jesus got up early to pray? What is it about getting up early and be secluded that benefits our prayer life?
2. When you do you like to spend time with God in prayer?
Read verses 36 & 37: Simon and his companions eagerly searched for Him; 37 and they found Him and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
1. Why didn't Jesus stop praying and address these crowds?
2. Why were these people searching for Jesus? Was it because they loved Him, wanted something from Him or both?
3. What is the difference between "looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2) and looking for Jesus?
Read verse 38: He said to them, “Let’s go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may also preach there; for this is why I came.”
1. Why do you think Jesus left the crowds of people that flocked to Him?
2. Jesus says: "..so that I may preach there; for this is why I came." In your opinion, how important is the preaching of the gospel?
Read verse 39: And He went into their synagogues preaching throughout Galilee, and casting out the demons.
1. Does casting out of demons and the preaching of the gospel go hand in hand? Why or why not?
2. How do you think the devil and demons work today in and through people?
Big Idea: Recent events have made everyone (worldwide) aware of how vulnerable we are to disease. Please note that before sin entered the world, there was no disease. Part of the future hope for Believers is that there will be no sickness in heaven. Jesus demonstrated His authority over sickness by healing people. The ultimate completion of Christ's atoning work is that Believers will pass from this life into eternal life with a glorified body that is never tired, never sick and will never die.
Big Idea: Jesus had come to Capernaum and entered the synagogue to teach on the Sabbath. This wasn't like any other Saturday though, Jesus was teaching in a way that was unrecognizable to the crowds in attendance. They were accustomed to listening to the scribes way of teaching which was a very rote and rehearsed teaching where reading from the scriptures and providing some commentary was normal. But when Jesus taught, the people said that He did so with 'authority.' Just then, an unclean spirit cries out in the middle of Jesus' teaching and interrupts the whole thing. The demon speaking through the man knows who Jesus is and even calls Him the 'Holy One of God.' Jesus casts out this unclean spirit and everyone is amazed. The teaching of Jesus was with authority, and His handling of the unclean spirit was with authority. Everyone knew, this Man was no ordinary man.
Text: Mark 1:21-28 NASB 21They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22 And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, “What business do you have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are: the Holy One of God!” 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 After throwing him into convulsions and crying out with a loud voice, the unclean spirit came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Read: Mark 1:21- They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and began to teach.
1. Jesus was not the scheduled teacher that day at the synagogue, yet He walks in and begins teaching. Why did Jesus think it was okay to do this?
2. What would a typical Sabbath day look like in a Jewish synagogue?
Read: Mark 1:22- And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
1. What does it look like when someone teaches with authority?
2. How do you know someone has authority on a given subject?
Read Mark 1:23 & 24- Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do you have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are: the Holy One of God!”
1. What caused this demon to manifest and speak through this man?
2. If this demon knew who Jesus was, why did he not try and hide away from him?
3. How did this demon know who Jesus is and none of the people did?
Read Mark 1:25 - And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
1. Why didn't Jesus answer the question from the demon?
2. What does it mean when it says Jesus 'rebuked' him?
Read Mark 1:26 - After throwing him into convulsions and crying out with a loud voice, the unclean spirit came out of him.
1. Where did the evil spirit go once he left the man? (Matthew 12:43-45)
Read Mark 1:27 & 28 - And they were all amazed, so they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding region of Galilee.
1. Does casting out of demons still take place today? Why or why not?
2. Evil spirits obey Jesus, do evil spirits obey us as believers of Christ?
3. What authority do we as believers have today?
Mark 1:16-20 16 As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
Big idea: God's calling versus Vocation….
Our world can fixate greatly on our education/vocation for our lives and for the lives of those we love. However, the embracing of God's calling on our lives may not always be our focus. When we embrace God's calling on our lives our vocation, as well as all areas of our lives, falls into place. But for areas of our lives to fall into place we need to first here from God 'Where are you calling me?'
Scriptures for Discussion:
Mark 1:17 Jesus calls his disciples to be fishers of men, an assignment they will fulfill as they have continual fellowship with him and carry out the mission that Jesus gives them (3:14). Jesus’ words recall Jer. 16:15–17, where “fishers” and “hunters” of men will call people back from idols to God after judgment has occurred. This call happens in a context of purification (Jer. 16:17) and will include Gentiles (Jer. 16:19).
-What strikes you about Jesus' way he engages with Simon and Andrew?
-What strikes you about Simon and Andrew's response to Jesus?
Mark 1:20 they left their father … with the hired servants. Several of Jesus’ first disciples were not poor but were self-employed fishermen or, as in this case (James and John), were part of a family business. Levi (2:14) was a fairly well-to-do tax collector.
-How would you respond if you were in Simon and Andrew's shoes?
Closing Commentary: (From Charles Spurgeon)
The gospel minister is like the fisherman with a net. I have sometimes heard the comparison drawn as though the gospel fisherman had a hook and a line, which he has not. His business is not to entice a fish to swallow his bait but to cast the net all round him, and lift him, by his grace, out of the element in which he lies in sin, into the boat where Christ still sits, as he sat, in the olden days, in the boat on the sea of Galilee. To shut the sinner up to faith in Jesus Christ, — that is the main work of the true gospel fisherman.
How can we as a church cast wide our nets with the Gospel? What about our community groups? What about our families?
Community Group Discussion Guide
Text: Mark 1:14,15 (NASB) 14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
The Big Idea: Repentance is often cast as being negative; however, repentance is actually a very positive step that brings about freedom, life and future hope. Repentance cannot be uncoupled from the Gospel message and has, in fact, been a part of the Biblical narrative from the beginning, contained in both the Old and New testaments and emphasized by Jesus himself. We should not try to avoid the message of repentance but should instead look deeper into the true meaning of it and how it leads us to a saving faith.
Luke 4:14-20 (NASB) 14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. 16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the [e]book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the [f]book and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” 20 And He closed the [g]book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your [h]hearing.”
Community Group Discussion Guide/Temptation of Jesus
Text: Mark 1:9-11 (NASB) 12 And immediately the Spirit *brought Him out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving Him.
Big Idea: Although the Gospel of Mark does not give us the details of Christ’s Temptation, we know that this experience was divinely appointed by God as Jesus is being led by the Holy Spirit. This is also an affirmation of Christ’s humanity. God cannot be tempted, but the human side of Christ was not immune from the attempts of the Enemy. This truly makes Jesus into an advocate who understands “us.”
Read: Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB) 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Read: Matthew 4:1-11 (NASB) 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" 5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'" 7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" 8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
Big Idea: Jesus steps onto the scene in a way that would have went unnoticed. He came from Nazareth in Galilee without a parade or entourage with Him. Humbly He enters into the narrative. Then to make it even more head scratching, He is baptized by a man that has been baptizing and preaching repentance to groups of sinners! The difference between the men who came to John and Jesus is revealed when the heavens open, the Spirit descends and the Father speaks. This is no ordinary man, but He is, as John declares: 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!'
Text: Mark 1:9-11 (NASB) 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came from the heavens: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
Read: Mark 1:9- In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
1. What kind of days was Jesus stepping into? What was taking place in Israel during this time?
2. Why do you think God pre-ordained that the Messiah would come from Galilee and not some highly esteemed place?
3. What does this say about our God that He would send His Son to dwell among those He created, yet not be esteemed?
Read: Mark 1:10 And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him;
1. John's baptism was called a baptism of repentance. The record in Luke 3 describes people coming to him that have need of repentance for the evil deeds they have done. Yet, Jesus is baptized by the same man in the same waters. Did Jesus have need to repent? Why was He baptized by John if He had no sin?
2. In your eyes, how important is the baptism of Jesus by John? What did it do or accomplish?
3. What is the significance of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus? Did Jesus have the Holy Spirit before the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove?
Read Mark 1:11 and a voice came from the heavens: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
1. This is the first time we see the complete trinitarian God on display. What was the main focus of both the dove (Holy Spirit) and the Father?
2. What does the Father mean when He says "in You I am well pleased."?