King of Glory – Mark 9:1-29 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1. How does Mark describe the transfiguration?

Through the eyes of Peter (probably). Jesus’ appearance shone forth in glorious, bright light.

2. The transfiguration wasn’t a new miracle. What was the real miracle that was going on here?

Jesus could keep from displaying his glory.

3. How does what Jesus says at the end of Mark 8 explain why he did this?

He just told his disciples that he was going the way of the cross and that spiritually they should follow him in the way of the cross. As Jesus displayed his glory, they knew that Jesus knew what he was doing. Jesus showed that cross bearers would be glory receivers.

4. What do Elijah and Moses represent?

They both represent those who are caught up to God. Moses represents those who die and go to glory and Elijah represents those who are caught up to heaven without death (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). They also represent the law and the prophets.

Future fulfilment of prophecy – they’re likely connected to the witnesses of Revelation 11:3-13.

5. What confidence does this give the disciples?

They saw evidence of life beyond this life. It gave them confidence in Jesus’ claim to resurrection. It seems the disciples just knew that this was Elijah and Moses. It implies we will know each other when we get to heaven.

6. Why is Peter’s offer a bit foolish (v5-10)?

We often get into trouble when we speak like Peter did, not knowing what to say. We say many foolish things without thinking and out of fear. He put Jesus on an equal level with Elijah and Moses – one tabernacle for each.

7. Where has the cloud of God’s glory appeared before?

It was the pillar of cloud that stood by Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21-22)

The cloud of glory that God spoke to Israel from (Exodus 16)

It was from this could of glory that God met with Moses and others (Exodus 19:9, 24:15-18, Numbers 11:25)

It stood by the door of the tabernacle (Exodus 33:9-10)

It was from this cloud that God appeared to the High Priest in the Holy Place inside the veil (Leviticus 16:2)

God appeared to Solomon (1 Kings 8:10-11); the cloud of Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 10:4); it overshadowed Mary when she conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); it received Jesus into heaven at his ascension (Acts 1:9); it will display the glory of Jesus when he returns (Luke 21:27).

8. What does the voice from the cloud of glory confirm?

Jesus wasn’t on the same level as Elijah and Moses. It assured the disciples that the plan was fine with God the Father.

9. Why did the disciples ask about Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6)?

The coming of Elijah was clearly prophesied so they wondered if Jesus is the Messiah, where is Elijah?

10. What was the prophecy of Elijah’s coming connected to?

Jesus told them that the Elijah prophecy would he fulfilled. It was concerned with Jesus’ second coming, not his first, and Elijah would likely return in connection with one of the two witnesses as Revelation 11:2-13.

There was a sense in which Elijah has also come in the person of John the Baptist. He was not a reincarnation of Elijah but did minister in the role and spirit of Elijah.

11. What were the scribes disputing with the disciples?

It’s reasonable to assume that the scribes criticised the disciples for their inability to help the demon-possessed boy. This particular case of demon possession was too much for the disciples.

12. Who might Jesus be referring to when he describes a faithless generation?

The scribes, the desperate father, or the disciples.

13. How is the father of the boy challenged by Jesus?

Jesus urges him to have faith. He did believe in Jesus’ power to deliver his boy – why else would he have gone to Jesus? But he also recognised his doubts. His unbelief wasn’t a rebellion or rejection of God’s promise.

14. Why were the disciples unsuccessful (v28-29)?

A lack of prayer and fasting.

15. What’s the purpose of prayer and fasting?

They draw us closer to the heart of God and they put us more in line with his power. They are an expression of our total dependence on him.

16. What do we learn about Jesus from these events?

He’s the king of glory and king of power. Have faith and depend on him.

Jesus Identified – Mark 1:1-13 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1. Why is Mark writing and what does the first sentence show us?

Mark takes us to the beginning of the gospel. It’s the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

2. What do we learn about the ministry of John the Baptist? What does it mean for him to be a ‘messenger’?

It was prophesied in Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. This is the first authentically prophetic voice to Israel for 300 years. 

3. Isaiah 40:3 had in mind the building up of a great road for a majestic king. How does that fit with the ministry of John?

John the Baptist was the one crying in the wilderness. Through his message of repentance he worked to prepare the way of the Lord.

4. What do we learn about John’s message that he preached (v6-8)?

John preached Jesus, not himself.

5. Why does John make a statement about the sandals?

It might sound like spiritual exaggeration but John said this because in his day, the rabbis taught that a teacher might require just about anything of his followers, except to make them take off their sandals. That was considered too much. But John said he was not even worthy to do this for Jesus.

6. What does John recognise in v8?

Baptism was only a prelude to what Jesus would bring. Jesus would bring an immersion in the Holy Spirit that was greater than the immersion in water as a demonstration of repentance.

7. Why was Jesus baptised (v9-11)?

He was baptised in keeping with his entire mission on earth: to do the will of the Father and to identify with sinful man.

8. What’s significant about the Holy Spirit being associated with a dove?

Genesis 1:2. Gentle, non-threatening birds. They don’t resist or fight back. It represents the gentle, faithful work of the Holy Spirit.

9. How did this event show great glory?

Heavens opened wide, the Spirit descending like a dove. A voice from heaven (it’s rare when we read that God speaks audibly from heaven). What could be more glorious than to have God the Father praise and affirm you publicly?

10. In just the first 11 verses, we see four witnesses testifying to the identity of Jesus. Who are they?

Mark said Jesus is the Son of God (v1). The prophets said Jesus is Lord (v2-3). John the Baptist said Jesus was the one after who is mightier than him (v7-8). God the Father said Jesus is the beloved Son of God (v10-11).

11. Again, Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ (which occurs more than 40 times in the book) and the word ‘drove’ (v12-13). Why?

The Spirit casteth him forth. It is the very afterward employed of the casting out of demons by Christ.

12. How is Jesus identifying with sinners?

In baptism and in their temptations.

13. What’s significant about 40?

It’s a number that often shows a time of testing or judgment. Noah’s flood, Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years, Moses kept sheep in the wilderness for 40 years.

14. Matthew and Luke don’t mention they Jesus was with ‘wild beasts’. What does this show us about Jesus?

He is the second Adam and like unfallen Adam, he enjoys a peaceful relationship with the animals. He remains the unfallen, sinless one with authority over the wild beasts.

15. What does this passage teach us about who Jesus is and his kingdom?

He is clearly identified as the Son of God and he came to identify with people.

Is the Rumour True? – Mark 13:24-37 – Sermon Notes

We all have to ultimately answer the question ‘who is Jesus?’ Jesus has been saying that the temple will be destroyed. It’s the centre of their lives. It’s how the people relate to God. Jesus is talking about the day, which is in the future. It’s a foreshadowing of the end of the world.

Jesus is the ultimate prophet

The biblical prophets spoke the words of God to the people. They were the mouthpiece for the Lord. The monumental shifts that happen on earth are connected to what happens in the throne room. Every time a city comes crashing down, that’s a picture of the last day. Jesus is speaking as a prophet. Jesus doesn’t give an exact date but says there will be signs. Prophets tell you the word of the Lord but Jesus Christ is the word of the Lord. His word is so solid, that should everything come crashing down around you, his words will stand.

Jesus is the ultimate priest

The destruction of the temple is God’s removal of the priests. God is going to shepherd his people and be their ultimate priest. Jesus gathers his elect. He comes to do the work of the priest. He goes to the ends of the earth and the heavens to get you. Your evangelism is spiritually empowered by Jesus himself. Every time you talk to someone about Jesus you’re taking part in his priestly role. You’re not alone.

Jesus is the ultimate king

Transition in v32. Jesus refers back to the parable of the tenants. He’s talking about the last day. Jesus is the ultimate king who will return to judge. He refers to evening, midnight and dawn. His second coming will come at the least expected time. There is no sign. There will be no warning. Be on guard. Look and trust in what he did the first time he came. The sinless one was judged so that on the last day those who are trusting in him will be ready. Look to the cross to receive the forgiveness that he offers. Give your total allegiance to him.

Be longing for him, captivated by him. We don’t feel that way – that’s a symptom of being distracted. Watch.

Give Your All – Mark 12:35-44 – Sermon Notes

Jesus is speaking at a ruler who’s stepped into a kingdom that’s rightfully his.

Don’t underestimate the Son

Jesus decides to teach the crowd with a question of his own. David refers to the Messiah as ‘my Lord’. Jesus exposes how people misunderstand ‘Messiah’. Jesus heals and teaches with the authority of someone greater. To the teachers, Jesus isn’t someone they’d call their king. This question of authority becomes a question of victory. The authority of Jesus is good news to those who welcome his lordship.

Don’t be impressed by long prayers

Jesus says to watch out for those people where religion is a sham. It’s an outward show. They make long prayers so that people see how devout they are. Behind the outward show their hearts are set on their honour. These people will be punished. Don’t equate praise from people as praise from God.

Don’t despise the small change

Jesus talks about a woman who knew that what she had wasn’t hers. She knew it was worthwhile giving to God what is God’s. She’s nothing but insignificant according to the law. Jesus holds this woman up as a model for his kingdom where people like her make the biggest difference. She was giving herself completely to God. If you underestimate the Son but his authority isn’t something you’re prepared to recognise, no act of obedience will be impressive to Jesus. God isn’t asking for something impressive.

What Matters Most – Mark 12:28-34 – Sermon Notes

Jesus isn’t hiding what matters to him.

What’s most important?

Jesus says it’s not difficult. What God has always wanted above all is for you to be in a relationship with him. Love the Lord your God is the overarching promise, with love your neighbour included within that. If you are loving God that will present in your life as loving your neighbour. The place you see God is in other people. Obeying one will mean you obey the other. It requires you to look at other people and think what you’d need if you were them. Jesus goes beyond imagining and became one of us. Jesus manages to offend nearly everyone. Acknowledge who God is, learn to love him and that changes how you love others.

What’s not important?

Jesus likes the answer (v34). The burnt offerings was one of the things people were told to do by God to show love for him. It’s a strange thing to say. We choose the thing we find easy to do. It seems to be a British thing to say our life isn’t all consuming but we go to church. Why would the one God who loves you want a burnt offerings when he could ask for your life of a love for him and for others?

So close, but so far away

Jesus has a huge claim to authority but has no ego. Having a life transformed by God is more important. Jesus turns the tables right back on you. God doesn’t want a feeble religious offering.

Taxing Questions – Mark 12:13-27 – Sermon Notes

What’s important? We don’t like some of the stuff Jesus says.

More important than politics (v13-17)

Jesus walks in teaching there’s a king higher than Caesar. His reply has been described as ‘gnomic’. It doesn’t seem to answer the question. It’s mysterious. Jesus says you need to have some respect for the state you live in. It’s more important to give to God what is God’s. The image of what God is like is printed on each human being. Every political cause there is thinks Jesus is on their side. The idea that Jesus came to bring justice is wrong. He could’ve done that at this point. He says there’s something more important than that – you realising your life belongs to God and giving that life back to him.

Every Christian has a responsibility to work out their relationship with the government. Jesus bringing God’s presence into the world doesn’t come that way. The image of God in us is broken but is still there. It’s more important to get right with God than to change the world. Whatever you’re doing in the world, bringing people back to God is more important.

More important than marriage (v18-27)

The Sadducees wanted to improve their family values. Jesus says they’re wrong. They haven’t grasped that marriage is temporary. The Bible describes the new world as a marriage. The purpose of marriage here is to point to that marriage. It’s one of the best ways we get to point people to the way God loves. Jesus says to get on with what matters. Don’t be inward looking.

Jesus speaks bluntly to our deepest longings. He’s about to go to his death. He has a long eternal record of putting you first. It would be right to listen to him.

The Rejected Son – Mark 12:1-12 – Sermon Notes

Jesus shows up in the temple on his last trip there. The teachers of the law, elders and chief priests were there to meet him. They ask him a question meant to trick him. The rumours about him had become so strong. A parable is a story with a point that’s meant to teach us something. The parable is about you. He’s revealing to his audience what’s really in their hearts.

The landowner builds a vineyard and rents it out. The servant isn’t welcome and is sent away empty handed. The next is beaten and the following one is killed. The landowner sends his son. The tenants plot to kill him. The landowner will bring justice. Jesus tells a short story and the ruling group decide that he must be arrested. They realised they were caught (v12). This parable must have significance.

God sent his Son to gather ripe fruit

This story isn’t new. Isaiah 5 – Israel is the vineyard. In Jesus’ story, the owner has left it in the care of tenants. Jesus was saying God sent various servants but Israel rejected them. Now the landowner has sent his last servant, his only Son, to gather fruit. He now stands in the temple, the very moment Israel had longer for. They want to know by what authority he heals, teaches, forgives. Jesus answers their question in the parable. His authority comes from heaven. The leaders are faced with whether they accept him or reject him.

Those who reject the Son will be rejected by the Father

Jesus says if they kill him, God, the true owner of the vineyard will come and bring justice on them. He says they’re the evil tenants.

If you welcome the Son in, it will be marvellous

Jesus said he himself, who would be rejected, was actually essential. Every single one of us is like a wicked tenant. We have rejected God. We all deserve what the evil tenants get, except that God so loved the world. Jesus was rejected by God for our sake. Even though humanity rejected Jesus, he was still willing. God raised him up from the dead and exalted him to the highest place in heaven. If you welcome Jesus in, you’re no longer just a tenant. You’re a son. The vineyard is your inheritance and you will no longer be rejected by God.

The gospel story is your story. It keeps you humble. Why do we continue to reject his authority? God is the rightful owner of your life. The fruit that’s produced all belongs ultimately to him.

Death – Mark 15:1-15 & 25-39 – Sermon Notes

You can be the crowd

The strange thing in this story is how the crowd behave. They choose this man called Barabbas. Pilate asked which crime had been committed. No one really knew the answer. They just wanted rid of him. They were the crowd; you can be the crowd. Jesus is a compelling figure. He is also uncompromising in his claims.

Anyone who has ever lived should respect his authority. That’s quite a claim. Each time he seems to do something scary you find him next caring for someone, allowing himself to be wrongly convicted. Yet people don’t want him. We can’t find anything wrong with him but we don’t want him making any of these claims. They had to put together a sign. He had a mocking crown put on his head. At the other side of the city, a curtain is torn. There is something very different about Jesus’ death.

You can’t be Jesus

This king over everything chooses death. He says just enough to get convicted. He rules from the place of death that he chose. He wants to save others. Jesus, who committed no crime, died and took the anger of God for us. He says we produce bad stuff. We produce jealousy, anger, pride. We like to blame our situation. There is a God who is perfectly clean and we’re separated from him. He didn’t save himself so that he could save others. At that moment, the curtain rips. The first person to trust in him was the very centurion who oversaw the crucifixion.

Does God really want to put all his anger from our sin onto someone else? There’s no uncleanness that can stop you coming back to him.

You can be Barabbas

What happened to him? We don’t know, because it doesn’t matter. All we know is that he was released. The important thing about him was that Jesus died for him. The offer to him is the offer to you, whoever you are. One of the reasons is so we know how bad paying for our sin would be. Own your guilt, admit the bad stuff that comes from inside you. Let Jesus pay for you. You can walk in and begin a life of being made clean.

The Gospel vs Success – Mark 9:30-37 & 2 Corinthians 11:30-12:10 – Sermon Notes

Service is success (or, can stupid people be Christians?)

Jesus tells his disciples he’s the Son of Man and is on his way to be killed. The disciples have a conversation amongst themselves about which one of them is the greatest. Jesus is redefining success. He says service is success. The best thing that any human being ever did was to give himself away for others. Welcome people who do nothing for you. Serving like Jesus means welcoming insignificant people. Jesus is greater than anyone else. You are not greater than anyone else. Jesus’ death shows us all of us need rescuing. If we seek success instead of service, we are believing that we’re better than others or even believing we’re better than Jesus.

Failure is success (or, am I really weak when I am strong?)

Becoming a Christian is inviting failure. The Bible says you see God most clearly as Jesus dies. The most admirable thing is when people give themselves up for others. The more Paul is unable to do things, the more opportunities to be like God in serving others. He lists his missionary failures. We’re best for what God wants to do for us when we’re at our weakest.

How does the gospel help us fight success?

We become like what we admire. If you admire the one who gave himself for the sake of others the most, that is what you’ll want to become like. If you come to love the God who serves it becomes a joy to serve. Put yourself in the weak place. There is no God but this one. This universe is an outpouring of self giving love.

Desertion – Mark 14:66-72 – Sermon Notes

Sometimes our claim to follow Christ is narrowed down to a few words. Sin is enormously popular and is surprising. Sin doesn’t always send a calling card.

Peter, one of Jesus’ best friends, makes a terrible decision at the worst time even though he had been warned about it earlier.

Pride

Pride is not strength. It lies to us. It distorts. Peter followed Jesus but only at a distance (v54). The danger was already there. Peter’s pride had misled him so badly. Jesus taught that only God is good. Only he is ultimately and completely good. We’ve all sinned. We’ve all rebelled against God. Christians aren’t surprised when proud rulers fall. Our pride leaves us exposed to dangers. Ironically, the areas where we’re proud are the areas where we’re most likely to deny Christ.

Sin

Backsliding is not apostasy. In this world true Christians sin and sometimes unrepenting sinners claim to be Christians. See Hebrews 6:4 and 1 John 2:19. We know that Peter would turn back to Jesus after he’d denied him (Luke 22:32). We also know that after the resurrection, Peter was commissioned again. He begins preaching boldly in Acts. A real Christian is marked by this kind of repentance.

Trials

What would it mean for you to deny Christ? Jesus said that the heart is revealed through our words. Do you imply that you’re not a Christian? Pick close friends who are strong Christians. Trials don’t rule out trust in Christ. They push us to him.

Christ

Though we are unfaithful to him, he will not be unfaithful to us. Peter broke down and wept. Trust in God’s forgiveness. He is faithful and gracious. Jesus has promised he will build his church. He will not lose us. It’s his work. Peter was martyred for his confession that Christ is Lord.