Discernment, False Doctrine, False Teachers, New Apostolic Reformation, Podcast Appearances

Throwback Thursday ~ Echo Zoe Radio Guest Appearance: The New Apostolic Reformation

Originally published March 14, 2017


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Last week, I once again had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with my friend Andy Olson as his guest on the Echo Zoe Radio podcast.

Click here to listen in

as we talk about the New Apostolic Reformation– their beliefs, and how NAR false doctrine can creep into your church. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and follow Echo Zoe on Facebook and Twitter!


Got a podcast of your own or have a podcasting friend who needs a guest? Click the “Speaking Engagements” tab at the top of this page, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat!

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 12

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Mark 9:1-29

And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son;listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. Notice that verse 1 is the concluding statement of Jesus’ remarks at the end of chapter 8. How does verse 1 point to the events in verses 2-8?

2. Who did Jesus take with Him up the mountain? (2) Why do you think He took only these three and not all of the disciples? Why Elijah and Moses? (4) Why not Abraham and David or Isaiah and Noah? Hint- think about the two major categories of Old Testament Scripture, the L__ and the P_______. Which did Moses represent? Which did Elijah represent? How did the Old Testament Law and prophets each point to the coming of Christ? How did Christ fulfill both the Law and the prophets? Considering their upcoming roles in establishing the New Testament church and writing Scripture, why would it have been important for Peter, James, and John to witness the Transfiguration?

3. How does Peter demonstrate the importance of keeping our mouths shut and paying attention to the word of God when we’re ignorant or at a loss for words? (5-7) How do these verses help to show us that God loves, uses, and understands weak and imperfect people?

4. How would the Transfiguration have pointed to the deity of Christ and affirmation of His Messiahship for first century Jews? For Gentiles? For you?

5. Compare verses 11-13 with these Scriptures. How, and in whom, did Jesus say the prophecy of Elijah’s coming had been fulfilled?

6. Compare the private versus public nature of the Transfiguration and the healing of the demon possessed boy. Why would Jesus choose different audiences for these events? Which people/groups were present at the healing of the demon possessed boy? (14-17) Why might the scribes have been arguing with the disciples? (14, 17) Who was Jesus aggravated with in verse 19, and why? We know from verse 19 (and other passages) that Jesus sometimes got aggravated with people, yet we also know that He did so without sinning. Are there any circumstances in which it is possible for us to get aggravated, frustrated, or annoyed with others without being in sin?

7. Describe the effects the demon had on the boy (17-18,20,22,26) and consider how this is a glimpse of the destruction Satan brings to the life and soul of an unsaved person.

8. Think about Jesus’ words to the father (21,23) in light of His omniscience as well as the teaching aspect of His ministry. Did Jesus sometimes say things – not because He lacked knowledge – but in order to elicit a certain response or to get people to think? Do Jesus’ words in these verses indicate that He wasn’t compassionate toward the father and son? What is the father’s response to Jesus in verse 24? What did he mean?

9. The Transfiguration demonstrates Jesus’ power and authority in which spiritual realm? Contrast this with Jesus casting the demon out of the boy, which demonstrates His power and authority in which spiritual realm?


Homework

In verse 24, the father says, “I believe; help my unbelief.” Have you ever prayed a similar prayer? Is there an area of your life in which you’re having difficulty trusting God, or a part of Scripture you have trouble believing? This week, spend some time studying what the Bible has to say about it and pray every day that God will strengthen your trust in Him and your belief in His word.


Suggested Memory Verse

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
Mark 9:42

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 11

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Mark 8:

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. In verses 1-10, what need of the people had Jesus already met (2), and what need was He about to meet (1-3)? How does this passage demonstrate that God cares about and provides for both our material and spiritual needs? How does this passage mesh with, and provide a real life example of the truth of Matthew 6:25-33? Considering verse 4, why do you think none of the disciples seemed to remember Jesus feeding the 5000 and asked Him to provide in the same way? How could this incident have instilled greater trust and dependence on Christ in the disciples and the crowd?

2. Examine verses 11-13. Compare and contrast the crowd’s satisfaction (8) with the dissatisfaction of the Pharisees. How would you apply the following words to the crowd versus the Pharisees as they related to and interacted with Jesus: enough/not enough, content/discontent, not demanding/demanding, humble/proud? What was Jesus’ response to the Pharisees?

3. Jesus’ teaching, compassion, provision, healing, and miracles were sufficient in God’s eyes to provide for the spiritual needs of all people and to fulfill God’s purposes, yet the Pharisees judged God’s ways not to be enough to satisfy them and demanded signs and miracles that were above and beyond God’s ways. Compare the Pharisees and their demands with “churches” today who are not satisfied with God’s sufficient written Word and ways, and demand things like hearing God’s voice, ecstatic utterances (“speaking in tongues”), faith healing, fortune telling-esque “prophecies,” miracles, etc.

4. Read verses 14-21 in light of the miracle the disciples had just witnessed in verses 1-10, the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees in verses 11-13, and the fact that the disciples had forgotten to bring bread (14,16). Notice how Jesus uses a metaphorical interplay between “bread” (1-10, 14,16) and “leaven” (15). What does this passage teach us about rightly handling God’s word? How did the disciples mess up by taking Jesus’ words literally instead of metaphorically, as He meant them? Compare Jesus’ use of metaphor here to “He said this plainly” in verse 32. What did Jesus’ warning in verse 15 mean? Re-read question 3 above. What teaching(s) of the Pharisees was Jesus warning against?

5. Compare the healing of the blind man in verses 22-26 to healings we’ve seen in previous lessons. How did the man get to Jesus, and who interceded for him? (22) Why did Jesus take him out of the village before healing him (23) and instruct him not to return afterwards (26)? What method did Jesus use for healing the man? (23-25)

6. Examine verses 27-38. Think about what John the Baptist, Elijah, and the Old Testament prophets preached and the miracles they (Elijah and the prophets) performed. Considering what the people had seen Jesus do and heard Him preach, why would they more readily have compared Jesus to John and the prophets than recognizing Him as the Messiah (hint: think about the kind of messiah they were expecting)?

7. Most of Israel, including at least some of the disciples, expected a Messiah like David- one who would free them from Roman tyranny, reestablish Israel as an independent nation, and reign as a literal, political king. Compare Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Messiah (29) with his rebuke of Jesus (32) for saying that He would be crucified. What kind of Messiah do you think Peter was expecting? Why would Peter have been surprised or confused when Jesus said He would suffer, be rejected, and be killed? (31-32)

8. What is the significance of Jesus “turning and seeing His disciples” in verse 33? Compare Jesus’ rebuke of Peter (33) to Jesus’ rebuke (12) and warning (15) about the Pharisees. In what ways were they each believing and spreading “leaven” (false doctrine)? How were each setting their minds on the things of man instead of the things of God? (33)

9. Imagine you’re one of the disciples listening to what Jesus is saying in verses 31-38. What might you be thinking as Jesus dispels the idea that He will reign over Israel as an earthly king (and that you might have a significant position in His court), and teaches the exact opposite: that He will be humiliated, rejected, and murdered, and that the same is in store for His followers? Consider your own service to Christ- do you serve Him hoping for glory and high position, or do you embrace anonymity, suffering, persecution, and humiliation?


Homework

Take some time to examine the Open Doors web site. What might Jesus’ words in 34-38 mean to a Christian in North Korea, Somalia, or Afghanistan compared to a Christian in the United States?

Intercede for a different prayer request each day this week, and donate if you’re able.


Suggested Memory Verse

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 
Mark 8:34-35

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 10

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Mark 7:

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem,they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. Examine verses 2-5. What was the basis for the scribes’ and Pharisees’ criticism of the disciples’ unwashed hands? Hygiene, or another issue? Who is the audience for the book of Mark (hint: scroll back up to the title picture if you can’t remember)? Why would it have been important for Mark to include the parenthetical explanation of verses 3-4 for his audience? According to verse 3, who originated the hand washing rule- Scripture?

2. How many times is the word “tradition(s)” used in verses 1-13? Is Jesus saying all traditions are bad, even traditions at church? Summarize Jesus’ main point (6-9) in your own words. Have you ever observed a church placing a particular tradition ahead of God’s word? How would this passage have applied to that situation?

3. Have you ever been called a “Pharisee” or “legalistic” for standing for the truth of, and obedience to, Scripture? Verses 1-13 crystallize Jesus’ main point of contention with the Pharisees. Was He accusing them of holding too closely to Scripture and insisting God’s word be obeyed? What was He rebuking them for? Is it accurate to call someone who stands firmly on God’s word a Pharisee? What about someone who creates his own man-made doctrine, opinions, or beliefs and holds them in higher regard than God’s written Word? (7) What does it look like today for a person or a church to honor God with their lips, but their heart is far from Him? (6)

4. At the end of verse 13, Jesus says, “And many such things you do.” What are some other traditions of the Pharisees we’ve seen in previous lessons that they held above God’s word? Why is it so important to Jesus that we obey His written Word rather than doctrines created by men?

5. Read verse 15 through the lens of a first century Jew. Think about all the dietary laws and all the things they could not touch or come in contact with because they would be made unclean. List any of those commands you can remember. Is it any wonder the disciples were confused? How might this have been an easier teaching for Mark’s Gentile audience to understand and accept?

6. If you’ve ever discussed the issue of homosexuality with an unbeliever, he might have accused you of “picking and choosing” which Scriptures to obey by pointing out that you don’t obey Old Testament prohibitions against eating pork or shellfish. How do verses 14-22 counter this argument?

7. Why would Jesus not have wanted anyone to know where He was staying? (24) Put yourself in the shoes of a first century Gentile and read verses 25-30. Compare Jesus’ compassion toward an unclean Gentile “dog under the table” with the impossibly high expectations of “holiness” (which even the best Jew couldn’t completely meet) demanded by the scribes and Pharisees in verses 1-13 and in earlier chapters. How would Jesus’ grace and mercy toward the Syrophonician woman and her daughter have demonstrated “God’s good news to the Gentiles”?

8. What did Jesus and the woman mean by their respective words in verses 27-28? Who are “the children“? Who is the “bread“? Who are the “dogs“? Think back through Old Testament history, the covenants, and the promises and prophecies of the Messiah. Why was it appropriate and necessary that Jesus’ earthly ministry was almost exclusively to the Jews rather than the Gentiles?

9. Examine verses 31-37. Scripture doesn’t specify exactly, but who do you think the “they” was in verse 32? Think back over the individuals in Mark who have come to Jesus for healing or exorcism. How did they get to Jesus? Sometimes the afflicted person approached Jesus individually, but in 25-26 and 32, whom do we see interceding on the afflicted person’s behalf?

10. Compare the method Jesus used to heal the Syrophonician woman’s daughter (29-30) with His method of healing the deaf man (33-34). Why did Jesus use different methods for healing different people?

11. “The region of the Decapolis” (31) was Gentile territory, meaning that the deaf man was almost certainly a Gentile. Considering what Jesus explained to the Syrophonician woman in verse 27- why would Jesus have charged the deaf man and his friends not to spread the word about his healing throughout Gentile territory? (36) And why would they have been so disobedient to Him? (36-37)

12. Think about the authority Jesus has, as God. What are the different aspects of His authority demonstrated by: verses 1-13, 14-23, 24-30, and 31-37? How does this chapter showcase law (1-23) versus grace (24-37)? Compare the way Jesus sternly rebuked the scribes and Pharisees, the “teachers of Israel” who were supposed to know God’s word, teach it correctly, and model it for God’s people, with the compassion and mercy He showed the two clueless Gentiles in this passage. Is it appropriate to sternly rebuke “Christian” leaders and “teachers” of the church who are supposed to know God’s word, teach it correctly, and model it for God’s people, yet disobey Scripture and teach their own man-made doctrines instead?


Homework

In this chapter, we saw a mother intercede with Jesus on behalf of her child, and friends or relatives who interceded with Jesus on behalf of the deaf man. Skim back over chapters 1-6 and jot down all the instances in which a parent, friend, or loved ones brought someone to Jesus. Why did these people bring their loved ones to Jesus?

Do you need to intercede with Jesus on behalf of an unsaved loved one? Why do you want that person to come to Jesus? Write down that person’s name and commit to pray for her salvation every day this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.
Mark 7:15

Mark Bible Study

Mark: Lesson 9

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Mark 6:30-56:

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. Since this is the second half of chapter 6, you may wish to review lesson 8 (link above), which covered the first half of chapter 6. Notice again Mark’s use of the word “immediately.” How many times does he use this word in chapter 6? Recall how “immediately” gives a sense of urgency to Jesus’ message and mission.

2. In Mark 6:7-13, we saw Jesus send the disciples out two by two on history’s first mission trip. What is happening with regard to that mission trip in verses 30-32? What, according to verses 12-13, would the disciples have reported back to Jesus that “they had done and taught”? (30) Why was it important for the disciples to get some rest? (31) Why is it important today that we help guard our pastors’ down time so they can be well rested?

3. Re-read verses 30-44, noting the imagery of Jesus as the Good Shepherd – of both the crowd and the disciples – and the disciples as under shepherds (pastors) of the people. How does Jesus shepherd – provide for, teach, etc. – the disciples in this passage? In what ways does He shepherd of the entire crowd of people (compare 39 to Psalm 23:1-2a, and 34 to Psalm 23:3 for a couple of nifty examples)? How do the disciples foreshadow the New Testament pastors they will become (and the ones to follow them) in these verses? Could Jesus separating the crowd into groups of hundreds and fifities (40) with different disciples serving each group point ahead to the multiplicity of New Testament local churches, each with its own under shepherd?

4. Examine verse 34. Why did Jesus feel compassion for the people? What were they needing that they weren’t getting from their current “shepherds” (the scribes, Pharisees, and teachers)? What did He do for the people? Considering what Jesus did for them, did He think their greatest need was for health, wealth, a better political situation, a stronger economy, entertainment, or self-esteem? What did Jesus think was their greatest need? As followers of Christ, is our greatest need the same?

5. In verses 33-44, why were the people hungry? What had Jesus been doing for the hours the crowd had been with Him? (34) Perhaps some had come for a miracle (as was the case with many who sought Jesus out), but those who stayed so late, stayed for what? (34) Examine this passage in light of Matthew 5:6 and James 2:15-16. In what two ways were the people hungry, and in what two ways did Jesus fill them?

6. What might Jesus have been trying to teach the disciples – His under shepherds – about feeding His sheep (pastoring) in verses 35-42? Did Jesus know they wouldn’t be able to physically feed the crowd with what little they had? (37) How did Jesus demonstrate to the disciples how much they lacked in and of themselves to provide for the flock, and how they needed to depend completely on Him to be the Bread of Life to the sheep they were tending? (37-38) Do you notice in these verses that the disciples (under shepherds/pastors) did not make or provide the food? They merely served the people what Christ had given them. What does this tell you about the job of a pastor today? Is he to create his own food (extra-biblical doctrine) and feed it to the people, or is he merely to serve the people what Christ has given him (rightly handled Scripture)?

7. If even Jesus needed alone time to pray, what does that tell us about our need for prayer? (46)

8. What do the stories of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (33-44) and walking on the water (45-52) tell us, as well as Mark’s original Gentile audience, about Jesus’ deity and His role as Creator? Why did the disciples not already understand these things from Jesus creating food out of thin air? (52) How did Jesus’ actions on the sea demonstrate that the disciples (and we) could trust Him and put their faith in Him to care for them?

9. Which aspect of Jesus’ character is showcased when he heals people in Scripture? (53-56)

10. What three miracles take place in 30-56, and what is a central truth that can be gleaned from each? The first half of chapter 6 has a theme of rejection of Christ and His message running through it. Do you sense that same theme running through this second half of the chapter? Why or why not?


Homework

In verses 30-32, we see what a huge job it was for the disciples to both preach the gospel and return to the “office” and handle regular “church business”. And there were twelve of them, plus Jesus!

Is your pastor getting enough down time to be well rested? To be the husband and father he needs to be? Most pastors work 50-60 hours per week, and they are on call 24/7 for emergencies like deaths in the church family or the security alarm going off at church after hours.

Is there any way you and members of your church could do something to lighten his load? In small churches pastors often must take care of tasks such as typing up the bulletin or cleaning the bathrooms that could easily be taken care of by a church member. Or perhaps you could give your pastor and his wife a gift card to their favorite restaurant and offer to keep their children one evening so they could have a date night. Maybe the personnel committee could offer your pastor an extra week of vacation. Contact your pastor this week and find out what would be most helpful to him – then do it with joy!


Suggested Memory Verse

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
Mark 6:34