SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Mark 9:1 through 13:37
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:35-37)
A shift of focus is evident in this section of the Book of Mark. The last verses of chapter 8 and the beginning of chapter 9 are considered a midpoint of this book. From here on, Jesus began to interact more with His close followers and less with the multitudes. In about six months, He would face the Cross.
Chapter 9 tells how Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John. Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) stood before them. Yet Jesus in shiny, white raiment transcended them both. Jesus was the fulfillment of both the Law and the messages of the prophets, and God’s Voice confirmed that He was the divine Son of God.
With His steps headed toward Jerusalem, Jesus began to intensify His instructions to the disciples to help prepare them for the traumatic days ahead. He taught them about humility, unity, marriage and divorce, positions in the kingdom of God, and faith. Twice He warned them that He would be put to death, but also promised that He would rise again the third day.
Chapter 11 tells of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and His cleansing of the Temple. The opposition of the religious leaders was strong, and Jesus gave parables and instruction to them, as well as to His disciples. The stage was being set for the crucial event of all time.
The events recorded in chapter 13 are not in chronological order. Some took place in history, some are present-day happenings, and some are yet to come. The purpose was not to pinpoint the timetable of events, but rather to warn believers to be ready for the terrible times ahead. The text concludes with the theme: “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37).
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- The Transfiguration was a glorious revelation and an important event in the life of Christ. Why do you think Jesus told Peter, James, and John not to tell others about this until after His death? Mark 9:9
It might be interesting to begin by reviewing the facts of the Transfiguration with your class. Then you may want to make a list on the board of your students’ answers to the question. Their thoughts may include:
• This was not the appropriate time to tell because it might have provoked the Jews to prematurely kill Jesus.
• Telling would have caused controversy.
• The disciples did not yet understand the meaning of the Transfiguration. They expected Jesus to overthrow Roman rule and set up His earthly kingdom soon.
• The disciples would understand the significance of the Transfiguration only after the Resurrection. Then they would see the necessity of His sacrifice as the Messiah in order to atone for the sins of mankind.
• Some experiences are too precious to share.
An experience in God’s presence can help sustain believers in times of hardship and persecution. You may ask your class to share special spiritual experiences or heavenly blessings that helped sustain them through later times of trial.
- In Mark 9:43-45, Jesus gave a stern warning about the consequence of allowing sin into one’s life. He told us to cut off our hand, our foot, or to pluck out our eye if they would cause us to sin. How should we apply this concept?
This warning is to be applied figuratively. The point is to resist temptation and avoid sin at all cost because the consequences are eternal. We will need to use discipline to avoid sin. We may need to guard against friendships that hinder us. We must avoid worldly environments, worldly entertainment, some media, certain means of communication, and any other thing that causes us to be tempted to sin.
- Jesus instructed His disciples to “have salt in yourselves” (Mark 9:50). Salt has several properties, including enhancing flavor, purifying, and preserving food. How can each of these attributes of salt be exemplified in our Christian lives?
Make three columns on the board, and put these headings above the columns: Flavor, Purify, Preserve. Under each heading write specific suggestions offered by your students. For example, our lives should attract or convict others by our Christian “flavor” or uniqueness. We can do our part to make the world around us a cleaner and purer environment in the spiritual sense. We can hold to and preserve the Gospel by upholding Biblical doctrines. We can bring into remembrance the covenant we made with God when we were saved and keep it up-to-date.
- In Mark 10:17-22, the rich young ruler said he had observed all the commandments that Jesus had rehearsed. Why do you think Jesus omitted the first commandment about loving the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength when He was talking with this young man?
Perhaps Jesus was attempting to help the rich young ruler see his sin problem — he loved his money more than God. Ask your class how we can be sure that we love the Lord more than anyone or anything else. Their responses might include renewing our consecrations regularly, making sure that doing God’s will is more important to us than pleasing ourselves, quickly obeying the prompts of the Holy Spirit, and counting our blessings.
- Why was Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, as recorded in Mark 11:1-10, significant?
This was the first time Jesus publicly revealed that He was the Messiah, and the only time He allowed such public honor to be given to Him. Because it was Passover time, Jerusalem was crowded, and Messianic anticipation was high. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 by riding a donkey. Coming on a horse or in a chariot would have indicated a warring king, but coming on a donkey was a sign of royalty and of peace. Jesus allowed the crowds to proclaim “Hosanna!” and to associate Him with David’s kingdom.
- One of the scribes asked Jesus which of the Ten Commandments was most important. Jesus summarized the ten into first loving God, and second, loving others (Mark 12:28-31).What are ways we can put the second commandment into practice?
Bring out that we must build on a foundation of the first commandment. Explore the difference between a mental acceptance of Christ’s teachings, and a genuine experience of salvation.
Once we have been converted, and truly love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we should cultivate a heart of love by giving to the destitute, reaching out to the sad and lonely, and being sensitive to any kind of needs we see around us, whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual.
You may discuss with your class that serving and loving others may take our time, resources, and/or energy. It may mean giving up some activity or item in preference to someone else. In other words, it may cost us something! You might wish to have the class give practical examples of what loving and serving others may be.
- Jesus called the disciples’ attention to the poor widow who cast two mites into the Temple treasury, as opposed to those who cast in great wealth (Mark 12:41-44). What lessons can we learn from this simple account?
This widow gave her all! A mite was the smallest coin and therefore the minimal contribution possible. Jesus’ point was not the value of the coins, but rather that the woman gave all she had.
Class discussion should bring out several lessons.
• God does not condemn the rich who contribute much out of the generosity of their hearts.
• The attitude of giving is important; giving for show will earn no eternal reward.
• This widow gave sacrificially. Proportion may be more important than quantity, and God may look more at what we hold back than the amount we give.
• Our giving should be evidence of our love for God and faith in Him.
Ask your students what we can give to God besides money. They may mention time, talents, and energy. Sometimes we can give by a smile, a word, or a prayer.
- In Mark 13:32-37, Jesus warned His listeners of things that would occur at the end time. He repeatedly urged them to be ready, to watch and pray, and then concluded it all by saying, “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” What are some ways we can “watch” in order to be ready for Jesus’ coming?
Your class may bring out the following thoughts:
• We must keep the Lord close in our minds at all times.
• We must be alert, and always choose what we know to be right in each decision we make.
• We must pray always, and seek for our deeper experiences and a closer walk with God.
• We must study His Word.
• We need to gather for worship and fellowship with other believers, even more as the day of Jesus’ coming draws near.
• We need to love God with all our hearts, and give Him thanksgiving and praise.
After Jesus gave instruction concerning the Kingdom of God, He concluded by warning His listeners to be ready for His next coming, and to “Watch.”