Bible Study week 3 notes

Session 3 – Thursday 20th November

Section 3 – Mission and Menace – Chapter 6:6 – 8:26


  1. Have you got any comments or questions arising out of Session 2? Did you learn anything new? Have you any insights to share (and can we put them on the website?)
  2. Did you manage to read the section for this week? Did it raise any questions or puzzles for you? Did you see anything that you hadn’t seen or thought of before? Any other comments?
  3. John the Baptist and his relationship with Jesus has featured quite a bit in discussions so far – today he comes in again, in a violent and horrible way – is violent death a consequence of saying and acting on what you believe? Is there a connection with events in the Middle East (and other places) today?
  4. In this section there is:
    1. The sending out of the twelve with instructions about their mission.
    2. A ‘nature miracle’ – the feeding of the 5,000 – notice Jesus words to the disciples: ‘you feed them’ – is this pointing to mission?
    3. Another ‘nature miracle’ – Jesus walking on the sea and calming the storm – might this be about mission too?
  5. The ‘sandwich’ story is about mission too – look at 6:7-30.
    1. First there is the sending out of the twelve and their return – the ‘bread’ of the ‘sandwich’ – verses 7-12 and 30 – how did they feel as they went out and as they returned?
    2. The ‘meat’ of the sandwich is the account of John’s execution and the reasons behind it – John’s condemnation of Herod’s marriage; so Mark put’s John’s mission and its consequences alongside the mission of Jesus and his disciples – hinting at the consequences.
    3. Notice how Mark uses a ‘flashback’ technique – v.14 people are talking of Jesus as ‘John back from the dead’, which Herod himself echoes (v.16) which leads into a backwards look at how John died. What do you make of the individual reactions of all the people involved?
  6. In chapter 7, Jesus’s mission moves outwards:
    1. A direct challenge to the purity laws of the Jewish religious leaders – do we put up barriers to outsiders in the way we practise our faith?
    2. What do you think of Jesus’s idea that it’s ‘thoughts’ (‘what comes out of a person’s heart’) that corrupt, not ‘food’ (‘what a person eats’)? What about all the other influences that ‘come in’ to our lives – eg TV, advertising, etc? Should we ‘cut ourselves off’, as sects like the Amish do?
    3. Then we have the Gentile woman’s challenge to Jesus’s notion of his missiondoes she make him think afresh?
    4. In the healing of the 4,000, note that 7 baskets of leftovers are collected – compared to 12 after the feeding of 5,000. John Proctor suggests this is a symbol of the widening mission – 12 = the Tribes of Israel, 7 = the whole of creation. Do you buy this?
  7. Next time . . . . . the story ‘turns a corner’ towards Jerusalem and the Passion and Crucifixion. What has been a ‘secret’ begins to be revealed. In preparation, please read chapter 8:27 – 10:52.


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