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Mark 1:21 - 3:12(1)

Good Questions by Josh Hunt

These Questions Have Groups Talking



Good teaching has focus. You can touch lightly on a number of things, but eventually center in on one thing. There are a dozen lesson in this passage, and I will touch on two or three. Don't try to conquer all these questions. Seek to make disciples. I will choose as the focus of this lesson as I present it the issue of spending daily time with the Father. You may choose another focus and I will be wandering into a few other areas. Often, we teach so little because we try to teach too much. If I were actually teaching this lesson to a class, I might just start in on the questions toward the end that deal with prayer and only deal with those. I try to give you more questions than you could possible use and let you pick and choose which ones relate to your class.


Mark 1:21 - 3:12(2)



  1. Read through this passage silently. See how many people you can count that Jesus cured.
  2. Locate Capernaum on a map. Someone show us where it is.
  3. What is a synagogue? What is the difference between a synagogue and a temple?(3)
  4. In this passage we encounter someone possessed by a demon. Why does demon possession seem more commonplace in Jesus' day than it is in ours?(4)
  5. Verse 28 says that news about Jesus spread rapidly. Is this normal? Is it normal that the news of the gospel would spread rapidly?(5)
  6. What keeps the gospel from spreading rapidly?(6)
  7. Verse 31 is interesting. In this verse, Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law. As soon as he does, she began to wait on them. Is this normal? Is it normal and natural for people who have been touched by God to start helping on their own with out a lot of outside motivation?
  8. Everyone enjoys helping others to some degree and in some ways. How do you enjoy helping? If you had and extra day a week, how might you use it to serve?(7)
  9. In verse 43 (as well as other places) Jesus warns a man not to tell about him. Why did Jesus do this? I thought he wanted us to tell.(8)
  10. In chapter two we read of some men who brought their friend to Jesus. Who brought you to Jesus? Who influenced you to embrace the faith?(9)
  11. Family relationships and friendship is one of the most common conduits through which the gospel flows. To put it another way, people seem to like to become Christians at the hands of their friends. Why is this? Why do people tend to be brought to Christ through friends rather than strangers?
  12. Skip down to chapter two verse fifteen. What did Levi do after meeting Jesus?
  13. What was this a party about? What was Levi's motive?(10)
  14. The religious community had a complaint about Jesus and Levi's party. What was it and what was Jesus' justification for his behavior?
  15. Who can explain the parable of the wineskins?
  16. What is the application for us?(11)
  17. What is the deal with Jesus breaking the Sabbath? Was he breaking the Sabbath?
  18. Did David break the Sabbath?
  19. Who can explain, or summarize Jesus' teaching on the Sabbath?
  20. Why did Jesus get mad in 3:5?
  21. What do we learn about God from this? What makes God mad?(12)
  22. Let's return to 1:35. Do you think this was an unusual day for Jesus, or normal stuff?
  23. Why do you think Jesus got up early to pray? Do you think it was a discipline for him, something he knew he ought to do? Or, do you think it was a joy for him, something he wanted to do?
  24. Do you enjoy prayer?
  25. Should you get up and pray when you don't feel like it?(13)
  26. Have you had prayer times in your life that were among the most pleasant, joyous experiences in all of life? Tell me about a time you have had recently.
  27. Jesus prayed early morning. Is this a good time for you to pray? When is a good time for you to pray?
  28. What distracts you from prayer?
  29. What could you do about these distractions?
  30. What are the mechanics of prayer? Suppose you do get up early. What do you do?(14)
  31. What are the benefits of consistently spending time with God in prayer? Let's make a list on the board.
  32. What does it cost you if you don't consistently spend time in prayer? What will you miss out on?(15)
  33. Would you join me in recommitting your life to a regular, specific time of prayer, as Jesus had? Let's pray together.

1. These lessons are used under a licensing arrangement with the Baptist Sunday School Board. To learn about many of the fine products that they have available, call them at 1 (800) 458 2772.

2. Mark 1:21-3:12

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. [22] The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. [23] Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, [24] "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"

[25] "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" [26] The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

[27] The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." [28] News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

[29] As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. [30] Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. [31] So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

[32] That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. [33] The whole town gathered at the door, [34] and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

[35] Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. [36] Simon and his companions went to look for him, [37] and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"

[38] Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." [39] So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

[40] A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean."

[41] Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" [42] Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.

[43] Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: [44] "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." [45] Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

[2:1] A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. [2] So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. [3] Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. [4] Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. [5] When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

[6] Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, [7] "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

[8] Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? [9] Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." He said to the paralytic, [11] "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." [12] He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

[13] Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. [14] As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

[15] While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. [16] When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

[17] On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

[18] Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?"

[19] Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. [20] But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.

[21] "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. [22] And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."

[23] One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. [24] The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

[25] He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? [26] In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."

[27] Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. [28] So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

[3:1] Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. [2] Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. [3] Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."

[4] Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.

[5] He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. [6] Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

[7] Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. [8] When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. [9] Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. [10] For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. [11] Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." [12] But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.

3. There was only one temple and it was all about the sacrifices. There were many synagogues and they were more of teaching centers.

4. Here are a couple of ideas. Some think these people actually were not demon possessed at all, but Jesus did not see a need to inform them of this, so he went along. Conversely, some attribute demon possession today to disease and what not. The issue is this explanation is that we just don't acknowledge the demon possession that exists today. Some say that the cross did limit the power of the evil one so that he does not have the power to possess as he did before the cross and resurrection. He still has power, but it is more limited. It was broken at the cross. I tend to go along with this third approach. Another idea is that perhaps the devil simply changed his strategy of dealing with people for his own reasons.

5. It really is normal, as 2 Thes. 3:1 says, "Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you." All over the world, the gospel is spreading rapidly. We have grown so used to a plateau in America that it seems normal to us. We are like a sick person who has been sick so long he doesn't actually remember what normal health is like. It is normal for a healthy body to grow. My goal is to see Southern Baptists reach 20 million in Sunday School attendance by the year 2020 and to see the number of evangelical God-worshipers double during the same period of time. I need your help. By each group doubling every two years or less, we can easily accomplish this goal.

6. One group of answers has to do with methods. We must constantly re evaluate our methods and create new wineskins for the gospel. Another answer has to do with enthusiasm. Sheer dumb enthusiasm will do what slick methods that we are bored with will never do.

7. The design of the question is to get people in touch with their own internal desire to serve.

8. A big focus of Jesus ministry was to train the twelve. To some degree, the push of the crowd distracted him from that.

9. It is interesting to note how many of your group grew up in Christian homes, in contrast with those who were saved without the advantage of Christian homes. In most cases, we are reaching very few other than our own children.

10. If you are familiar with my concept of "giving Friday nights to Jesus" you may want to explore this concept in detail with the group. It is a great time to motivate people toward the ministry of hospitality.

11. It is the responsibility of every generation to "reengineer" the church. Never tinkering with the wine of the gospel itself, we are to constantly reevaluate the forms that contain the gospel.

12. People matter to God. When they don't matter to us, it makes him mad.

13. Yes. But, you should always realize this is not the ideal. You should seek to enjoy prayer.

14. You might introduce the groups to the A.C.T.S. format (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication) or, as I typically do it, pray through the Lord's prayer, or some other approach. You may also want to talk about Bible reading as well.

15. People are motivated by two things-pain and pleasure. We do well to remind the group of both.

























































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