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This past weekend, we continued our study through the Gospel of Mark. This intimate look into the life and ministry of Jesus will help us understand who He truly is and what our response to Him should be. In the second study of this series, Pastor Doug taught from Mark 2:18–3:6. In this message, we saw how Jesus dealt with people who sought to trap and discredit Him. We learned why Jesus constantly answered questions with questions, how His questions would draw out the true heart of people, why He invited honest questions, and why He is the answer to our deepest questions.
In this week’s group study, Fort Lauderdale campus High School Ministry Leader Javan Shashaty expands on our examination of Mark 2:18-3:6.
Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points for the week, and a look ahead.
Ice Breaker: Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met and why?
Getting the Conversation Going: Jesus was different. He didn’t think, look, and act like everyone else! He had a very different approach to life and ministry as the rest of the people. He had a different view of life, faith, truth, community, good works, the Word of God, righteousness, and what faithfulness to God looked like. And these differences, coupled with His growing popularity, ruffled the feathers of the religious establishment and led to numerous conflicts and confrontations. In fact, you could say that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried hard to “cancel” Jesus! But as we saw in this weekend’s reading (and so many other instances in the Gospels), no matter how hard they tried, they simply couldn’t trap Him, discredit Him, or undermine Him. Why? Because He wasn’t just a teacher, a prophet, or a fallible man. He was and is God in the flesh!
“We have to let go of how we see the world to see the world as Jesus does!”
The Lord of the Fast: The first confrontation we see take place deals with the question of fasting. John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, but Jesus and His disciples weren’t. When questioned, Jesus uses an analogy about friends and companions of the groom not fasting while accompanying him to the house of the bride for the wedding. He actually used this analogy specifically for John’s disciples, because in John 3:29 (NIV), John testifies about Jesus, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”
Basically, His point is that the goal of a fast is to draw closer to the Lord, to know Him more intimately, and to experience a deeper connection to Him while seeking answers, healing, breakthrough, or whatever else. The ultimate benefit of a fast is always a greater awareness of Him, His presence, and His power. But the disciples didn’t need to fast to experience this. The object of their fast was with them! If they wanted to draw nearer to God, they only needed to listen to Him and be with Him! As He shows us with His authority to forgive sins, here we see Jesus explaining that He is the Lord of the fast.
Discussion Question 1: Why does Jesus’ way so often conflict with the way we see the world?
New Wine: Jesus then shifts the analogy to not putting new wine in old wineskins. In this, He isn’t saying that fasting is wrong or bad. Instead, He says He is doing a NEW THING! He uses the illustration of wineskins to prove His point. If you put new wine in old wineskins, they would burst—even with a patch! Jesus didn’t come to patch up the old way of the law. He came to fulfill it; He came to establish a new covenant, a new way of life, and a new way of doing things! But the religious leaders loved the old way because it was comfortable for them.
Letting go of what’s familiar is hard. Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable. If we’re honest, the way of Jesus is anything but comfortable! Remember: Jesus operates differently. He is doing a new thing! In order to see the new thing Jesus was doing, the religious leaders had to let go of their own way of seeing things, of their rules and regulations, of how they saw the world in order to see the world as Jesus does . . . and so do we! Because even though His way isn’t always comfortable or easy, it is the ONLY way to eternal life in heaven and abundant life here and now! The results of living His way are a life of meaning and purpose, a life of peace and joy, and a life truly worth living!
“The way of Jesus is anything but comfortable.”
Discussion Question 2: What are some steps we can take to change our mindset and lifestyle to align with Jesus’ way?
Discussion Question 3: How does spending more time with Jesus bring about change in us?
The Lord of the Sabbath: Following this, we see another confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus and His disciples. This time, the religious leaders were so angry because Jesus’ disciples picked some heads of grain while walking through a field on the Sabbath. Again, Jesus used this to bring true perspective to the Sabbath. He explained how the Sabbath law was instituted for our good, for our health, and for the health of our relationship with the Lord. It was not instituted to oppress and enforce any harmful or unreasonable restrictions. It was made for man, so we can draw closer to God in dependency, trust, and devotion. And again, on another instance, Jesus used the healing of a man on the Sabbath to show that the religious elite had lost the heart of God in favor of the appearance of righteousness. They had no compassion or love for others. On the other hand, Jesus was chiefly concerned with loving others. So, in His great love, He healed the man with the shriveled hand (Mark 3:1–6). In this He showed He was Lord of the Sabbath!
“Jesus’ way isn’t based on titles or appearance, but on love and compassion!”
Discussion Question 4: What are some ways we as Christians fall into the same kinds of behaviors as the Pharisees?
Discussion Question 5: What steps can we take to ensure we are thinking, acting, living, and loving like Jesus? How do we avoid self righteousness and compassionless Christianity?
This Week: Spend time in reflection. Ask yourself . . .
Jesus was different than the people around Him. He calls us to be different, too!
Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week.
QUESTIONS FOR FAMILIES
Parents, here are a few questions to go over with your kids around the dinner table or during dedicated family times.
Discussion Question 1: Can you think of anything Jesus did that made Him different from other people? What was it?
Discussion Question 2: Jesus asked His followers to do a lot of things that made them different from other people. Can you think of a way that obeying Jesus would make you different from people that don’t know Him?
Discussion Question 3: How do we know that we are living like Jesus asks us to?
Discussion Question 4: Do you think spending time with Jesus makes us more like Him and more obedient to what He says? How?
Discussion Question 5: What are some ways you can spend time with Jesus this week?
“THE GOSPEL OF MARK” RESOURCE PAGE
Looking for more info on the Gospel of Mark? Check out this page with all sorts of resources, a weekly breakdown, message takeaways and group studies, devotionals, articles, and much more!
Mark Resource Page
This weekend, we’ll continue our study through the Gospel of Mark as Pastor Doug teaches from Mark 3:7–35. In this message, we’ll see Jesus appoint the twelve disciples as we dive into the purpose and cost of discipleship.
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Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.