To listen to the lesson- click here! Welcome to Empty Cross Ministries Basic Bible Study. I am Brother David and will be your host and fellow student for the next 30-45 minutes. This study is designed for the beginning Bible student. So if you are a new Christian or just beginning to study the Bible this study will be a great help to you and bring you closer to Christ. If you are a long time Christian and an old hand at Bible study, you will probably find this study boring but if you listen anyway, it will bring you closer to Christ, and that is the whole point of Bible study is it not? Today, we will be looking at the second and third chapters of the gospel of Mark. Just a little about the gospel of Mark before we get started!
Mark is more about what Jesus DID than what He said. The book of Mark is an action book and is a very fast and exciting read. Mark shows Jesus as a servant to us and to God. Mark shows the power that flowed through Jesus life and ministry. This power was not like that of a severe thunderstorm, this power was leveraged in serving, the power of God, contrast this with the those who wield power in the world, they use their power for selfish ends, but it is not to be that way for those who follow Jesus, nor for Jesus Himself!
The author of the Gospel is John
Mark. Though Mark was not an eyewitness to the events in Jesus life, he was a good friend of the Apostle Peter, and got his information from Peter, who was an eyewitness to the events in Jesus life, thus making the Gospel of Mark an eyewitness account to the events and teachngs recorded in this Gospel. Marks gospel was written to a non-Jewish audience, that is a gentile audience. This Gospel was probably written between 57 ad and 65ad. Now on to the scriptures!
Opposition to Jesus Grows
Jesus Heals a Paralytic >>> Read Mark 2:1-12. <<< Mark 2:1-12King James Version (KJV) 2 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. As a result of His teaching and miracles, Jesus’ popularity grew rapidly. So many wanted to hear Him that they filled the house in Capernaum where He was teaching and crowded around it. Just then, five men arrived, eager to see Jesus too. One of them was paralyzed and the other four carried him on a stretcher. It was impossible for them to get in through the door, so they climbed up on the roof, dug a hole in it and let the paralytic down through the opening they had created. You can imagine the commotion among the crowd in the house below. When Jesus saw the faith they had demonstrated, He told the lame man that his sins were forgiven. That was probably not what the man had expected, but it is every man’s greatest need. The scribes who were present thought Jesus had blasphemed because God alone can forgive sins. Jesus read their minds and asked: Which is easier to say– your sins are forgiven, or get up and walk? To prove His ability to forgive sins (something invisible and therefore impossible to verify), He healed the paralytic who then got up and walked. Jesus proved His power to conquer invisible, spiritual problems by overcoming a visible, physical problem. The crowd was dumbfounded. They had never seen anything to compare with Jesus. Note — Who will reach Jesus? Consider the five men as they approached the house in which Jesus was teaching. They had come in order to see Him, but their way to Jesus was blocked by a big obstacle: the crowd. Many would have simply turned around and gone back home. Not these men. They were determined, even desperate, in their desire to see Jesus. Their procedure, unroofing the roof, was radical but it worked. Even today, those who want to come to Jesus frequently encounter barriers in their path. The only ones who actually reach Him, are those who are absolutely determined and who refuse to allow anything to keep them from following Him. How determined to be with Jesus are you? *1* What did the paralytic and his friends do when they were unable to reach Jesus? a) gave up and went home; b) waited for God to open a path through the crowd; c) offered a financial contribution; d) took off part of the roof so the paralytic could enter the house through the opening. Answer: ______. *2* What did Jesus do for the paralytic before healing him? Answer: He ______ his sins. *3* Who alone can forgive sins? Answer: Only ______ can forgive sins. *4* How did Jesus prove He has the power to forgive sins? Answer: He ______ the paralyzed man. (Thought question: If only God can forgive sins, but Jesus proved that He could forgive sins, what does that prove about the nature of Jesus?) Jesus Socializes with Outcasts >>>
Read Mark 2:13-17.
Mark 2:13-17King James Version (KJV)
13 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
<<< One of Jesus’ more surprising actions was calling Levi to be a disciple. Levi had been a tax collector. In that era, tax collectors were viewed as both thieves and traitors because they used dishonest tactics to raise funds for the hated Roman invaders. Adding a tax collector to His inner circle was hardly a move that could be expected to increase Jesus’ popularity! Later, Levi held a banquet in Christ’s honor. He invited his friends: other tax collectors and sinners. The scribes and Pharisees were outraged because they thought it improper for a teacher of religion to eat with immoral people. When Jesus overheard their criticism, He asked: Who needs a doctor–the sick or the well? His purpose, He said, was not to call righteous, but sinners. The Lord never hesitated to break society’s norms and customs. *5* Name the tax collector whom Jesus called. Answer: His name was ______. *6* What reason did Jesus give to explain why He socialized with sinful people? a) He wanted to participate in their sins; b) He did not believe that sinful people can be a bad influence on good people; c) He wanted to teach the sinners to repent; d) He believed sinners will be saved, even if they don’t change. Answer: ______. Jesus’ Disciples Don’t Fast >>>
Read Mark 2:18-22. <<< Mark 2:18-22King James Version (KJV) 18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? 19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. 22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles. Some of the Pharisees and disciples of John came to Jesus asking why He and His disciples didn’t fast like other religious people did. Jesus explained by illustration. He said that no one would fast at a time of celebration, such as a wedding. His own presence on the earth made it a joyous time of feasting because He was the bridegroom. Since fasting should fit the occasion, it was inappropriate in this situation. He also explained that just as no one would put new wine in old bottles or a new patch on old jeans, it was equally out of place to put the newly revealed gospel of Christ into the old traditional forms of the Jews. Fasting was just not the right thing to do when the Son of God Himself was present. *7* How did Jesus explain why His disciples didn’t fast? a) He said they did fast, but did it secretly; b) He said that His presence made it a time of joy in which fasting was inappropriate; c) He condemned all fasting; d) He admitted they were wrong and should have fasted. Answer: ______. Disciples Break Sabbath Traditions >>>
Read Mark 2:23-28. <<< Mark 2:23-28King James Version (KJV) 23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. The more popular Jesus became, the more outspoken His opponents’ attacks. Jesus and His disciples provided easy targets for their critics, because they refused to follow the religious traditions of their age. Jewish tradition regarding the Sabbath day prohibited all activity, including plucking grain to eat, but Jesus and His followers ignored these cherished doctrines. When the Jewish officials criticized the disciples, Jesus defended their actions by noting His opponents’ inconsistency: they justified David when he broke God’s law, but they condemned Him when He merely violated men’s traditions. Then He explained that God had intended for the Sabbath command to provide relief for man, not be an additional burden. Finally, Jesus proclaimed His authority over the Sabbath saying that He Himself was Lord of the Sabbath. If Jesus created the Sabbath, surely He knew what activities violated it. *8* What did Jesus call Himself? Answer: He was Lord of the ______. Jesus Heals on the Sabbath >>>
Read Mark 3:1-6. <<< Mark 3:1-6King James Version (KJV) 3 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. As their hatred of Jesus mounted, His enemies searched for every possible chance to attack Him, but He kept evading their traps. On this occasion, a man with a withered hand was in the synagogue. Jesus asked His opponents’ opinion on whether or not to help the man, but they refused to reply. Jesus then told him to stretch his hand out. Apparently He neither touched him nor did any other physical thing–He merely asked the man to reach his hand out. When he did, it was healed. Jesus’ critics were furious and began plotting to assassinate Him. Note — To save a life or to kill: In 3:4 Jesus asked His opponents: Should one save a life or kill on the Sabbath? They chose not to reply, which showed that they were not interested in truth, but only wanted to discredit Him. It is always easy to find fault, but it is much harder to give a positive recommendation. Normally Christ healed men by laying His hands on them or performing some other physical sign. If He had accompanied the healing by physical action in this case, they would have attacked Him for doing medical work on the Sabbath, something contrary to their tradition. This time, however, Jesus did nothing–He merely told the man to reach his hand out. Even Jesus’ enemies did not believe it wrong to stretch out your hand on the Sabbath. Thus, He outsmarted His opponents; they were furious. When a man in an argument begins to get angry, it is a sure sign that he is losing. As it turned out, Jesus’ enemies are the ones who plotted to kill on the Sabbath, because He had done good. *9* How many sins did Jesus commit during His lifetime (see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:21,22; Hebrews 4:15)? Answer (give a number): ______. *10* The activities Jesus did on the sabbath violated what rules? a) only uninspired Jewish traditions; b) the 10 commands; c) the Law of Moses; d) the New Testament; e) all the preceding. Answer: ______. *11* What did Jesus’ enemies do after He had healed the man with the withered hand? Answer: They plotted to ______ Jesus. Jesus’ Popularity Grows >>>
Read Mark 3:7-12.<<< Mark 3:7-12King James Version (KJV) 7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, 8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. 9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. 10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. 11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. 12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. Though Jesus frequently tried to withdraw, people followed Him from everywhere. He continued teaching, healing and casting out demons. While neither the crowd nor the religious leaders seemed to have recognized His true identity, the demons confessed Jesus as the Son of God. He declined their testimony, however, since He did not want the recommendation of the Devil. Jesus Appoints Twelve as Apostles >>>
Read Mark 3:13-19. <<< Mark 3:13-19King James Version (KJV) 13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. Jesus needed to train apprentices to represent Him and preach the gospel after His departure. He chose twelve of His followers for that job. The twelve He chose were an unlikely bunch: included were four fishermen, a tax collector, a revolutionary (Simon the “Zealot”), a skeptic (Thomas), and a traitor (Judas Iscariot). Jesus proved that He could work with and make something out of even the most unpromising material. *12* What work did Jesus empower the apostles to do (read Mark 3:15,14 and Matt. 10:1)? a) preach the gospel; b) heal diseases, c) cast out demons, d) all the preceding. Answer: ______. Accusations of Satanic Influence >>>
Read Mark 3:20-30. <<< Mark 3:20-30King James Version (KJV) 20 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. 22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. While Jesus’ family thought He had gone crazy, the Pharisees charged that He accomplished His work through the power of the devil. They were desperately seeking to discredit Him and diminish His influence. Jesus’ devastating reply silenced them. First, He said that it would be unreasonable and even disastrous for the devil to begin attacking himself. Civil wars don’t produce strong kingdoms. Second, Christ explained that He had come to rob the strong man (the devil), taking from him the souls that had been under his control. Logically, He would need to disarm Satan to accomplish this goal, so expelling demons was a predictable facet of His strategy. Finally, He warned of the serious consequences of hardening one’s heart to the point of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. These scribes were demonstrating a malicious and possibly fatal attitude toward the work of God. * 13* How did Jesus’ enemies explain His ability to cast out demons? a) He did it by the power of the devil; b) He did it because He was the Son of God; c) it just seemed like He expelled demons but He really didn’t; d) they didn’t try to explain it. Answer: ______. *14* What did Jesus say would happen to a kingdom that was divided against itself (v24)? Answer: He said that kingdom cannot ______. Jesus’ True Family >>>
Read Mark 3:31-35. <<<
Mark 3:31-35King James Version (KJV)
31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Jesus’ physical family didn’t understand Him. They came to try to talk to Him, perhaps to persuade Him to take a break. He refused to give them a private hearing, explaining that His family no longer had a special claim on His attention. Jesus’ true family consists of those who hear and do His will. This incident shows that Mary had no special influence or privilege; Jesus treats all of His obedient followers equally. *15* Who wanted to talk to Jesus? a) His aunt and cousins, b) His mother and brothers, c) His father, d) all the preceding. Answer: ______. *16* Who did Jesus say are His real family members? Answer: Those who ______ the will of God.
Summary: Jesus was continually under attack. He was criticized because He forgave sins, ate with sinners, didn’t fast, didn’t observe the religious establishment’s Sabbath doctrines, and cast out demons. He never cracked under the intense scrutiny and pressure. Much to the contrary, He continually affirmed principles that are extremely important even for our service to Him: 1) the priority of forgiveness of sins over physical healing, 2) the importance of recognizing one’s spiritual sickness, 3) the fact that fasting is to be done only when it fits the circumstances, 4) the uselessness of religious traditions, and 5) the critical danger of hardheartedly rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit.