Lesson 7

Teaching the Disciples

(Mark 9:14-10:31)
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Introduction: This week, our text in Mark teaches us several lessons. We are going to try to unravel three of those. These are lessons on prayer, divorce and money. You might want to hold your hands over your eyes! For the brave, let's dive in!

  1. Prayer


    1. Last week we skipped over the account of Jesus taking three of His disciples up to the top of a mountain and being visited there by His Father, Elijah and Moses. (Mark 9:1-8) In their presence, Jesus was transfigured into a dazzling being. Let's read Mark 9:14-16. When Jesus comes down from His glorious mountain top experience, He finds the rest of His disciples in a dispute. How would this make you feel if you were Jesus?


    2. Read Mark 9:17-18. What do you think was the subject of the argument between the disciples and the teachers of the law? (Remember in Mark 7 we read that the teachers of the law were harassing Jesus on account of His disciples not washing their hands? It is obvious that the disciples tried to heal this boy. Since they could not, the teachers of the law were no doubt casting aspersions on Jesus because of the disciples' failure.)


      1. How do you think the disciples felt? (Did you notice that they did not answer Jesus? The father answered Jesus. They were too embarrassed to tell Jesus what was going on.)


        1. Had they let Jesus down? (Yes.)


    3. Read Mark 9:19. Who is getting yelled at by Jesus? His disciples? The teachers of the law? The parents? The crowd? The demon? (In discussing this, recall Mark 6:4-6 and Mark 6:13. If it were simply a lack of faith of everyone but the disciples, how could Jesus cure that problem?)


    4. Read Mark 9:20-22. Jesus sounds like a doctor here. What does this question have to do with healing the boy? (Jesus could be asking the question to inspire faith in the father or He could be measuring the severity of the demon-possession.)


      1. Is the father sure that Jesus can help?


      2. What role did the disciples play in his attitude?


    5. Read Mark 9:23-24. What level of faith is necessary for healing?


      1. Tell me about the attitude of the father? (He turns to Jesus not only to heal his son, but to strengthen his faith.)


    6. Read Mark 9:25-27. Compare the attitude of Jesus with the attitude of the demon towards the boy? Was the demon trying to kill the boy if it could not live in him any longer?


      1. Some commentaries say that this boy had epilepsy instead of being demon possessed. What do you think? (I think we should stop trying to be more sophisticated than Jesus or the Biblical account. The Bible writers would not have known the modern names, but they knew how to distinguish between seizures and demon-possession. See Matthew 4:24.)


    7. Read Mark 9:28-29. Remember that we discussed who was at fault for the disciples' inability to cast out this demon? The disciples want to know the answer. Who is at fault?


      1. What does Jesus mean when He says "this kind can come out only by prayer?" (Recall the disciples had done this before. They were getting self-confident. Jesus reminds them that they are not performing these miracles, but rather God is performing these miracles. A solid heavenly connection is required.)


      2. Do you ever ask yourself if a spiritual failure is due to your lack of prayer?


  2. Divorce


    1. Read Mark 10:1-2. Why do you think they asked Jesus this particular question? (Recall what got John the Baptist killed? It was this subject.( Mark 6:18-19) The Pharisees may have been fishing - hoping that Jesus would offend Herod Antipas or contradict Moses.)


    2. Read Mark 10:3-5. Did Moses write ( Deuteronomy 24:1) on his own? Was this his own idea? (No.)


      1. If Moses wrote the words of God, and God varied His command based on the fact that their hearts were hard, what does this teach us about God's views on divorce? (Obviously, God allows some "flex" on this issue.)


      2. Is God flexible on all of His commands? (I think we are safer to say God has flexibility only where He indicates He is flexible.)


      3. Why didn't Moses write about adultery being a grounds for divorce? (Since the penalty for adultery was death ( Deuteronomy 22:22) there was no need to discuss divorce.)


    3. Read Mark 10:6-9. Who wrote the Creation account? (Moses.)


      1. What is Jesus arguing with regard to Moses? (Moses' writings contain God's perfect plan for marriage. However, because of the sinfulness of humans, Moses also created an exception.)


      2. Is Jesus revoking the Moses' exception?


      3. Look again at Mark 10:6-8. For what reason did God make males and females? (God made male and female humans because He had marriage in mind. The "one flesh" refers to sex and children. Those who advocate marriage between members of the same sex are blind to God's plan.)


    4. Read Mark 10:10-12. The disciples have some questions. What topic does Jesus cover that He did not discuss publically? (Remarriage. Jesus was only talking about divorce before.)


      1. Why would Moses not discuss remarriage? (Because having more than one wife was permitted. See Deuteronomy 21:15; Leviticus 18:18; 2 Samuel 12:7-8. If you could marry more than one wife, then the only issue was the level of commitment to your current wives.)


      2. What does Jesus' teaching tell us about His view of polygamy? ( Mark 10:8 "two [not three or four] become one." Jesus teaches that the ideal is one man, one woman, who do not separate.)


      3. Jesus says that if you divorce and remarry, you commit adultery. How serious a sin is that? (See Leviticus 20:10.)


    5. Read Matthew 5:32. Matthew contains an exception that Mark does not mention. What is it? Why would Mark leave this out?


    6. The difference between Jesus and Moses is striking. Moses allows divorce and allows a man to marry a new wife or wives. Moses also allowed the divorced wife to remarry. ( Deuteronomy 24:2) Jesus says to break the marriage bond is a sin that formerly got you stoned. Since Jesus attributes Moses' rule to human hardness of heart (Mark 10:5) is God that flexible? (This is hard for me to understand. Moses was no renegade. He was speaking for God.)


      1. To further complicate matters, Paul adds another exception to the rule. Read 1 Corinthians 7:12-13, 15. What is the purpose of this exception? (Religious peace.)


      2. From all of this what rule would you conclude applies? (In everything we need to strive for God's ideal. His ideal is one man and one woman married for life. That is the gold standard.)


  3. Money


    1. Read Mark 10:17-19. What strikes you as odd about this list of commandments? (It includes only those that deal with our obligations to others. It omits those that deal with our obligations to God.)


      1. Is Jesus pulling this guy's leg? Read Galatians 2:16. If Paul had been standing here he would have gasped! (Yes, I think Jesus is "pulling his leg.")


    1. Read Mark 10:20-21. Is Jesus changing the rules? Jesus says keep the second half of the Ten Commandments, the man replies, "I always have." Is Jesus giving him more rules - or is this part of the second half of the Ten? (Some might argue that Jesus is referring to the Tenth Commandment - the one prohibiting coveting. That does not seem right to me because you cannot covet what you already own.)


      1. What is Jesus asking this man to give up? (Mark tells us this man is rich. Luke tells us that he is a ruler. Jesus asks him to give up his money and follow. Thus, Jesus is asking him to give up all that sets him apart in the world.)


    2. Read Mark 10:22. Why did this man decide not to enter heaven? (He had great wealth.)


      1. How was it appropriate for Jesus to require this of him? (Let's go back to Paul. Read Galatians 2:16 again. Faith is the key to salvation. This fellow had faith in his money and his position. He trusted his stuff instead of trusting in God. Jesus brings in the first half of the Ten Commandments and, in accord with Paul, teaches this fellow the true path to salvation - trusting God.)


        1. Is grace "cheap" here? How about in your life?


    3. Friend, Jesus upholds a very high standard for your life. Will you go for the gold standard?


  1. Next week: The Final Journey.

Discussion

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Lessons on Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark

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