Friday, November 6, 2015

The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior / Lesson 06 -- “Four Miracles” -- Mark 4:35-5:43

Lesson 06  -- “Four Miracles” -- Mark 4:35-5:43
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark 4:1-2, 33-6:4 to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 4:35-5:43 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use. 
In this passage the events do seem to have taken place one after another.  Take a moment to reflect on the cumulative effect of the massive storm, the eerie calm after Jesus’ command followed by the sudden appearance of two wild demoniacs as they arrived at Gadarenes.
1.     ID: (4:33-41) How was this miracle (calming the storm) different from those recorded so far in Mark?  How do you think it affected the disciples’ view of Jesus?
2.     ID/CR: (5:1-20) List observations can you make about the man with the unclean spirit?    (Note that Matthew 8:28-34 records two demonized men, but Mark and Luke only refer to one of them.)
3.     ID/WS: (5:1-20) What changes were there in the formerly demonized (daimonizomai) man?  What assignment did Jesus give the man?  Was that unusual?
4.     ID: (5:21-24) What was Jairus’ initial view of Jesus?  Did you see it change as the events unfolded?  (It is interesting to note that Mark, usually the briefest, uses more verses to describe these miracles that Matthew or Luke.) 
5.     ID: (5:25-34) Why was the woman with the issue of blood was so desperate to get help?  Why do you think she initially didn’t speak to Jesus?  Why did Jesus say she was healed?
6.     ID: (5:35-43) Compare and contrast the responses of the mourners, Jairus (the girl’s father), and the disciples to Jesus and this miracle He performed?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     How was the disciple’s fear during and after the storm different?  Is there an area in your life where fear might reveal a lack of faith?
2.     What can you tell people that God has done for you? (See going beyond.)
3.     Which of the characters in this lesson do you relate to most?  Why?
4.     What do you think the disciples learned about Jesus from these four miracles?  How have they affected you?
5.     Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response? 
Going Beyond:  Write a short (1-3 minute) salvation testimony about what God has done in your life.  Familiarize yourself with it so that you could share it with someone.
2. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
   The Bible     God    God the Father    Jesus Christ      The Holy Spirit      Man     Salvation     The Church     Angels & Satan     Future Things –

Context, Context, & Context
Begin your study of a passage by establishing the context which lays the foundation for subsequent interpretation.  Context is the setting in which a passage occurs or simply what precedes and what follows the text you are studying.  Thus context includes those verses immediately before and after the passage, then the paragraph and book in which the passage appears, then other books by this author, as well as the overall message of the entire Bible.
Establishing the context forces the reader to examine the biblical writer's overall flow of thought.  The meaning of any passage is nearly always determined, controlled, or limited by what appears immediately beforehand and afterward in the text.  Context is "king" in interpretation.  Since context always "rules" in interpretation and Scripture must always be interpreted in light of its context, the first step in the study of any book of the Bible is to get an OVERVIEW of the book you are studying. Why?  Because when you get an overview of the entire book, it will help you discover the context.
Everything in a given book must be considered and analyzed within its setting, which means we can never isolate one verse or portion of the book from the rest of what is written.  Setting is context and context is central if you are to arrive at a correct understanding of the text.

Two Kinds of Context in the Gospels
In the Gospels we observe two kinds of context.  One can be called chronological context.  This refers to the temporal connections between the sermons and events in Christ’s life.  Consecutive events or sermons can have an impact on each other.  Looking at a harmony of the Gospels and cross references helps us to determine the chronology of Christ’s life.  Using all the Gospels to create more complete accounts can help us gain a more complete understanding of an individual sermon or event. 
Another kind of context in the Gospels is thematic.  It looks at the way sermons and events are organized to communicate the author’s theme and core message (emphasis).  To do this, the Gospel writers will choose and omit events to record (and sometimes present them out of chronological order) and then pick certain aspects of the events they record to emphasize or minimize.  These are woven together to communicate and emphasize a book’s big idea or theme.  It is helpful to understand a passage in the context of the author’s message.    
Since the Holy Spirit inspired the Gospel writers to organize their content along a more thematic than chronological order, thematic context is probably the one that we should focus on more.  However, it is helpful to keep both of these in mind.  We do not want to make deductions that assume a temporal proximity that does not exist or be unaware of how other details in a record of an event or sermon affect the complete event.  It is even more important to not miss the thematic context that the author intends when he puts events and sermons together in a specific way.

Lesson 06 – Mark 4:35-5:43
If you are having your men take turns facilitating your study, you might forward these notes to them to help them prepare.
2-3  I am afraid that these questions could open the door to an extensive, distracting, and wandering discussion of angelology, “demon stories,” and debates about whether a believer can be “demon possessed.”  I would encourage you to stay focused on the what Jesus did for this man and the responses. 
Angels: Elect and Evil by Fred Dickason is my “go to” resource for questions about angels and demons.  I have extra copies that I would be happy to loan you.
1.  This question is pregnant with possibilities for discussion about how the fear of God, a high view of God, etc. calms other fears, etc.  If your men are ready to be this open, they might share and pray for each other about some of their fears.
2.  Encourage the men to write out and share a 1-3 minute testimony that they can use with unbelievers.  I would suggest you consider suspending the Mark study and spending a week where each of them men share their testimony.  Wouldn’t that be powerful?
I have included a couple short thoughts on context and Bible interpretation.

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