Responses to “Who is This Man”

HOMECOMING – Mk.6:1-6a and Parallels (Bible Hub, pg.72)

What is Jesus doing in Mk.6:1-2 and parallels? Comes into home territory and teaches in synagogue

What is the reaction of the people to Jesus in Mk, v.2 and parallels? – amazement

What does Mk., v.3 and parallels add? – some recognise Jesus as one of their own

What are they stumbling on in the last line of this verse? they knew him as he was…like themselves

What is Jesus saying about his role in Mk, v.4 and parallels? – he is a prophet

Why is Jesus’ statement true?  the people have known Jesus for 30 years as one of them, so he is not special; he does not symbolise anything special for them; they have no expectations he can do anything they can’t

In Mk, vv.5-6, why could Jesus do no mighty works? the people lacked faith

Note the difference in Mt. What is difference between “could not” (Mk) and “did not” (Mt)? ‘could not’ = inability; ‘did not’ suggests it was Jesus’ choice

Which is original? Mk is probably original; given Mt’s desire to promote Jesus as Messiah, he would not want to portray him as impotent, and for the same reason, Mk. is unlikely to have been changed by a later editor so as to lessen Jesus’ power.

If Jesus ‘could not’, what does this suggest about how ‘mighty works’ occur? the power to do them is sourced in God or in the ‘beneficiaries’ or in both, but not in Jesus

Thinking about ‘miracles’, what is needed for healing and wholeness, and what are the respective roles of Jesus and belief? 

                        Jesus                                                        Belief                                                                      

                  Healing symbol                                                        Removes rational barriers          

                  Source of hope                                                        Desire for change           

                                                                                                      Awareness of need

                                                                                                      Recognises symbol of wholeness

What are your symbols of healing?  (your personal response)

GIVE US A SIGN – Mk. 8:11f and Parallels (Bible Hub, pg. 83)

What is asked for in Mk.8:11 and parallel ?a sign

Why is the question asked? to test Jesus or as a storyteller’s device to recall to the reader the temptations in the wilderness or because they were genuinely wondering?

If the question is genuine, what does it say about the previous signs and wonders associated with Jesus? – they weren’t miraculous enough or were stories that came later with little basis in fact

What was Jesus’ answer? – there will be no sign

How do you explain the differences between Mk. & Mt?   – Mk. has Jesus giving an unequivocal statement: no sign.  Mt. allows for the ‘sign of Jonah’ because Mt. wants to be able to refer to the sign of Jonah in order to symbolise the death and resurrection

Which is original?    we see Mt’s agenda creeping in, wanting to portray Jesus as special, so Mk is probably the original

If Mark is the original form, what are the implications?  Jesus is not a sign nor is able to produce a sign OR the Kingdom of God is internal, so there is no external sign OR the Kingdom is already present, so there is no point in a sign.

How do you feel hearing there will be no sign? – If I am to experience the Kingdom, I have to do it on faith alone, so this is a real challenge, and I feel a bit frightened or underprepared

What in us wants Jesus to be the sign?frightened child, insecure part, dependent part, lazy part

How do people look for signs? – astrology and the like; psychics, religion, looking to make concrete the symbols in nature or in Scripture, gurus, dreams

What does it mean for you to have to live life without a sign? I must be courageously responsible for myself

OPINION OF DISCIPLES – Mk.8:27-33 and Parallels (Bible Hub, pg.85-86)

 What is the theme here? – Who Jesus is

What is the source document?  Document Mark

Where is Jesus? – Road to Caesarea Philippi, northernmost part, turning point, source of the Jordan

What does Jesus ask in the first verse?  Why?unsure himself; to gauge public opinion; make disciples think

Who do people say that he is?a prophet

What does Jesus ask in Mk, v. 29 and parallels?  To whom? – he asks the disciple who they think he is

Why is he asking them?  Why now?  to test them; to gauge how much of his mission they’ve understood; to help him understand himself; to evoke understanding in them

What is Peter’s answer?‘You are the Christ’

What does Peter mean? i.e. what is his understanding of ‘Christ’? He seems to have a Jewish expectation of a worldly messiah who will restore Israel and its people

What is Jesus’ reaction to this in Mark?  – a strong rebuke of Peter’s response

What doesn’t Jesus say?  – he doesn’t say what or who he is

Where else has this issue arisen in our studies? – the voice of the unclean spirits, question from John the Baptist, the temptations in the wilderness

Why does Jesus react this way?the strength of his response suggests he is still tempted and struggling with understanding his role

What does Jesus talk about in vv.32-33 and parallels? the son of man

What qualities of the son of man have we identified in our studies so far? – a source of forgiveness, lord of the sabbath, can take a bit of blasphemy

What does Jesus do with Peter’s declaring him Christ? – gives an alternative to the category of Messiah that involves suffering and death

What is unique about this reference to Son of Man? – it is first in a future tense, it is the first reference to resurrection

What is Peter’s reaction in Mk, vv. 32-33 and parallels?  Why? Jesus’ response is opposite to his expectations

What are the “things of men” that Peter is minding? a wish for a messiah in the Jewish sense, and a desire for a better life promised in the Hebrew Scriptures

Why would Jesus be so upset by Peter?  Peter brought back memories of the temptations in the wilderness; this was a real temptation for him, so anger is the response he has in fighting this desire; this is the return of Satan prefigured in Lk.4:13

COSTS OF DISCIPLESHIP – Mk.8:34-9:1 and parallels  (Bible Hub, pg.86-87)

What does Jesus say in Mk, v.34 and parallels? each has to carry his/her own cross and follow

What would a cross mean for Jews?suffering, persecution, bondage

How would you restate this in your own words? (your personal response)

Do you note any differences in the accounts? Luke adds the word “daily”

What does ‘daily” in Lk. imply?following Jesus is an ongoing challenge that must be renewed each day

What are the implications of not ‘taking up the cross’? Note the danger of projecting onto Jesus our conflict and that which will make us whole. – if we do not take up the cross, we do not find life

In Mk, vv.35-37 and parallels, we come across the so-called “Great Paradox.” What is the difference between Mt/Lk and Mark? -only “for my sake” in Mt. & Lk; Mk adds for the sake of the gospel.

What may account for the difference? – a bit of poetic license is being used by the authors to embellish what seems to be the core teaching of Jesus.

What is the difference in motivation if “for my sake” is or is not included? by removing ‘my sake’, the only motivation left is to gain the result; namely, life

Do you think Jesus said “for my sake” or not?Jesus was not one to point to himself; quite the opposite. It is highly improbably Jesus was concerned with ‘his sake’.

Focussing on the basic teaching as without any of the qualifications of the word “sake”: What is the motivation for following this teaching? desire for life

What is the outcome in the first half of the statement? – loss of life

What is the process in the first half? – seeking life

Write ways in which you seek life.acquire financial security for the ‘good things’ in life, close relationships, have children, get a good education and a good career, look for fun and entertainment, create 

What is the outcome of the second half?  – find or gain life

What is the process of the second half? lose life

Write ways in which you might choose to lose life. – letting of the reins and being vulnerable; stop worrying about providing for tomorrow, live courageously for others

Re-write the paradox using new words in a way that makes sense and is true for you. (your personal response)

Where is God in all this? – God is that which creates both the yearning inside to take the risk and the faith which makes risk possible; God is that which provides the model of a human life well-lived in order to show us what we may become.

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