Resurrection - Mark 16:1-8

Study Notes

Before you start

This week is a bit different. Instead of a series of questions asked by the leader, this week all the questions are going to be laid out on display and as a group, you are going to choose which ones you want to answer and in what order. So in preparation for the study, please print the second page of this document and cut out the questions.

Getting started

  • What impact has Easter had on you this year?
  • Did you discover anything that you had now known / felt / understood before?
  • Was there anything about Easter you found challenging?

Getting into it

  • Read Mark 16:1-8
  • Lay the individual questions out on a table, in front of the group.
  • Ask one member of the group to choose a question, then invite everyone who is comfortable to answer the question for themselves.
  • Repeat for as many (or as few) of the questions you like.

Questions

(Print these on a sheet so you can them up individually)

  • In the sermon, Mark gave reasons for believing in Jesus' resurrection. Why do you?
  • Tell us about when you first became friends with Jesus?
  • Tell us about someone who has been a faith mentor to you.
  • What does resurrection mean to you?
  • Where have you seen resurrection in your life or around you?
  • What needs to die in your life?
  • What has the creation story got to do with resurrection?
  • What needs resurrection in your life?

The Trial of Jesus - Mark 14:53-65

Study Notes

Getting started

  • How connected do you feel to Easter as a Christian celebration?
  • What impact have the past few weeks of reading Mark’s gospel had on you?
  • Has anything surprised you?
  • Has anything challenged you?

Look at the text

Read Mark 14:53 - 72

  • Why does the text make such a big deal about the false testimonies?
  • Why is it important that Jesus was innocent?
  • Who is setting the agenda in verses 53 – 65?
  • If Jesus is in control, why is he letting things go the way they are going?
  • What claim is Jesus making about himself in verse 63? (Read Daniel 7:13-14)
  • Why was the high priest so upset? He was clearly expecting the Messiah. (Verses 61b and 63-64)
  • How easy – or difficult – would it be for you to explain to your friends that they are going to be judged?
  • How do you feel about the idea of being judged by God?
  • What do you think about the bushfire and burnt ground metaphor Mark used in his sermon? (Listen from about 30:15 if you can’t remember it) Did you find it a helpful explanation for what happened on the cross? Why/Why not?
  • How often do you think about the people standing on the unburnt ground? Do they impact your life?
  • Read how Paul reacted to the people on the unburnt ground - 1 Corinthians 9:19-22
  • If the people standing on the unburned ground had more impact in your life, what might you do differently as an individual?
  • What might we do differently as a small group or as a church?

 

Not my will but yours... Mark 14:32-52

Getting started

  • What was this week’s sermon about?
  • What did it make you think or feel?
  • Has God prompted anything in you as a result of the sermon?
  • Was there anything you disagreed with?

Look at the text

Read Mark 14: 32-52

  • Summarise God’s plan for humanity and the world from creation to new creation. See how few words you can use!
  • In what way could the events of this passage be seen as a failure of God’s plan?
  • In  what way could they be seen as a success?
  • Mark’s description of this night can be read in a matter of minutes, but how long do you think this scene lasted?
  • Why was Jesus’ soul overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death?
  • Why do you think Jesus was so determined to pray at this time?
  • Do you think verses 35 & 36 were easy for Jesus to pray?
  • Did Jesus have free will? What were his options?
  • What would happen if he didn’t do it?
  • What do you think God the father was feeling at this time?
  • What is your emotional response to Jesus saying ‘Yet not what I will, but what your will’?
  • In what areas of your life have you found it easy to follow Jesus’ example?
  • In what areas have you found it difficult?
  • Why is it difficult for you?

Betrayal - healed and made whole - Mark 14:12-26

Study Notes

From last week

  • Did you do anything differently this week, as a result of last week’s time together?

Getting started

  • What was this week’s sermon about?
  • Has God prompted anything in you as a result of the sermon?
  • Was there anything you disagreed with?

Look at the text

Read Mark 14: 12-26

  • What is the Festival of Unleavened Bread and what is the Passover? Read Exodus 12:1-30 and also Leviticus 23:4-8
  • Why do you think God commanded Israel to commemorate this event every year?
     
  • Imagine yourself at the meal with Jesus. You have been his disciple for a long time. You are very close. How do you think you would feel when he says ‘One of you is going to betray me?’
  • Who do you think is in control of Judas’ betrayal? God certainly has a plan, but does Judas also have free will?
  • How about your choice to be a follower of Christ? Was that a gift from God? Was that of your own free will?
  • Does this have any implication about how we pray for people to be Christians?
     
  • Back to betrayal, how do you think Jesus felt when he revealed that he knew one of his close friends was going to betray him?
  • In what ways do we betray Jesus?
  • What did Jesus do in the face of betrayal? (Hint: look at the quick succession between the betrayal in verse 20-21 and what Jesus says in the very next verses)
     
  • What is the covenant that Jesus is referring to? Read Jeremiah 31:31-34.
  • What are God’s promises made in this covenant?
  • Why do we celebrate communion in church? Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
  • What is your experience of celebrating communion in church? Do you think we do it too much? Not enough? Does it have meaning to you or has it seemed confusing or ‘old fashioned’?
     
  • As Mark pointed out in the sermon, our God is unique in that he has personally experienced pain and rejection more excruciating than we will ever know. How important is it to you that God can relate is such a personal way? How does it help / not help?
  • As well as relating to our suffering, what has Jesus done about it?
  • If Jesus has taken the rejection we deserve from God, and exchanged it with absolute acceptance, what impact does this have on your capacity to love other people?
  • What difference does this make if you put yourself out there and you are rejected?

Finishing up

  • Has anything discussed today had an impact on you?
  • Spend some time prayerfully reflecting on our own betrayal of Jesus and the lengths he has gone to in response.

A Beautiful Thing - Mark 14:1-11

Sermon Study Notes

From last week

  • Did you do anything differently this week, as a result of last week’s time together?

Getting started

  • What was this week’s sermon about?
  • What did it make you think or feel?
  • Has God prompted anything in you as a result of the sermon?
  • Was there anything you disagreed with?

Look at the text

Read Mark 14: 1 - 11

  • Who is plotting to kill Jesus?
  • Why do they want to do this?
  • Look at the structure of this passage. Read verses 1 & 2, and then read verses 10 & 11. How does the attitude toward Jesus’ death in these verses differ from the attitude of the woman in verses 6 – 9?
  • What did the woman do for Jesus? Why do you think she did this?
  • As well as the woman’s motivation, how does Jesus describe the bigger picture going on? (Hint: verse 8)
  • In the sermon, how did Mark describe the worth of the perfume? Listen from 17:45 – 20:45 if you need a refresher.
  • What do you think about the woman spending that much money on Jesus?
  • Do you think this passage is saying we should give away everything we own? In your discussion also read Acts 2:42-47 and 1 Timothy 5:8.
  • In light of verse 7, how would you respond to a person who said to you “I never give money to alleviate the suffering of the poor, I only ever give my money for the purposes of evangelism?”
  • The woman certainly did a costly thing for Jesus. What have you done for Jesus, or seen done by other people, that has come at a high personal cost? (Costly things do not have to be financial. They may be costly to our time, our ambition, or at an extreme, even our life. They can also be costly in less obvious ways such as the ongoing, daily choice of faith).

Thinking further

  • Do you find Jesus beautiful? Or is Jesus useful?
  • Listen to this song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIZ77NormVI (Tim Hughes – Beautiful One)
  • Spend some time silence before Jesus and consider his beauty.
  • Is there a beautiful thing that you could do for Jesus?
  • Is there a beautiful thing that we, as a small group, could do for Jesus?

 

Eternal Life? - 1 John 5:6-21

Sermon Study Notes

From last week

  • The final question from last week was ‘What is one thing you are going to do differently this week as a result of this study?” How did that go for you this week?

Getting started

  • What was this week's sermon about?
  • What did it make you think or feel?
  • Has God prompted anything in you as a result of the sermon?
  • Was there anything you disagreed with?

Look at the text

Read 1 John 5: 6 – 21

  • Why does John write about testimony? (Verse 13)
  • When does eternal life start?
  • How do you understand eternal life after the death of your physical body?

If people are unsure how to answer this question you could prompt them with these further questions: Do you think eternal life will be good? Will it be boring? What will you do? Will you see people you know? The bible gives some clues in Revelation 22, and Mark also imagined it this way: “It’s life in new creation. Imagine the most beautiful, exquisite parts of your life. Now remove from it everything that taints its beauty, everything that makes it not as lovely as it could be. Then multiply that beauty by a thousand times and you have only just begun to imagine what eternity with God is like.”

  • According to the text, what confidence can we have, now we know we have eternal life? (Verse 14)
  • How to the words ‘according to his will’ influence the way you pray?
  • What do you think of Mark’s description of different styles of prayer.

The Petulant Child Pray-er (Give me what I want, and if you don’t, I will have a tantrum, and it means you don’t love me)
The Passive/Fatalist Pray-er (There is no point praying because God will do what he wants anyway)
The Personal Pray-er (I pour my heart out, I can tell my father anything, I am comfortable with a level of mystery. I don’t know why He doesn’t answer the way I thought but I will just keep going)

  • Verse 16 says that we should pray for our brothers and sisters who commit sin that does not lead to death. What do you think this text is really saying about the interaction between our prayer, believer’s sin and life given by God?

The text is not saying that if you pray for someone their sin will be forgiven. We all need to ask for forgiveness ourselves. Our prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters is that God will change their hearts and cause them to repent and stop sinning.

  • What is a sin that leads to death?

Jesus speaks about this in Mark 3:22-30 where the teachers of the law are wilfully denying and resisting the work of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 10:26 is also helpful. Avoid the Catholic concepts of mortal and venial sins.

  • Verse 18 says that ‘anyone born of God does not continue to sin’. How does that play out in our lives?
  • The final verse of this letter is ‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.’ What is an idol, and what are our modern-day equivalents?
  • How do you know if something in your life is an idol?
  • How can you stop it from being one?

Moving forward

  • What is one thing you are going to do differently this week as a result of this study?

The Power of Love - 1 John 4:7-21

Sermon Study Notes

Getting started

  • What did the sermon make you think about?
  • How did the sermon make you feel?
  • Has God prompted anything in you as a result of the sermon?
  • Was there anything you disagreed with?

Look at the text

Read 1 John 4: 7 – 21

  • Verse 8 says that God is love. What does this mean?
  • How does this differ from other religions?
  • How could we help our non-Christian friends understand this?
  • Where does our motivation for love come from? (Hint: look at v19)
  • The end of verse 12 says, “God’s love is made complete in us”. What is the implication in this verse for us?
  • How would your life be different if you were free from judgement?
  • These verses assure us that God loves us. What are we commanded to do in response? (Hint: look at v19 – 21)
  • How do we go about loving each other? (Hint: there are many practical ways in which we can love each other, but also look at 1 John 5:2)

Getting practical

In his sermon, Mark spoke about God meeting our deepest need – to deal with all the ‘garbage’, all the 'sin', that separates us from Him so we can be reconnected with Him as his adopted children. (Listen again from 14:00 – 20:00 if you need a refresher.) He used his mobile phone to illustrate this point and explain how Jesus took away this garbage, leaving nothing to separate us from God and his love. In your group, ask two or three people to have a go and explain this same point. Copy Mark’s illustration and speak as if you were speaking to someone who does not know anything about Christianity.

Moving forward

  • What is one thing you are going to do differently this week as a result of this study?