Questions on Mark 1:14-20 for Group Leaders

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The Bible in Your life and Your Life in the Bible

"the kingdom of God has come near" (Mark 1:7)

QUESTIONS ON MARK 1:14-20 for Group Leaders

Mark 1:14-20. The call to discipleship.

  1. What were all the events in the previous verses (1-13) working up to?
  2. Do you think these are casual events taking place at a casual point in time or do you think they were brought together as part of an overall plan? Whose plan? For what purpose?
  3. How should we read the events of history and the events of today in the light of these verses?

verse 14
  1. Why do you think Jesus waited until the arrest of John before beginning his ministry in Galilee?
  2. Is there a right time and a wrong time to act? How do we know when is the right time? (Romans 8:14)
  3. What does the ministry of Jesus consist of?
  4. What does the word ‘proclamation’ mean? Discussing? Debating? Arguing?
  5. Are we, as Christians called to do the same?
  6. What is proclaimed?
  7. Whose is the Good News?
  8. Was Jesus doing his own will or that of the Father? Was he proclaiming his own ideas?
  9. What does this teach us?

verses 15

  1. What expression tells us that the beginning of Jesus’ work in Galilee is the climax towards which everything until then had been leading?
  2. Was the Good News of the Kingdom communicated by example only or also by words?
  3. Do we proclaim the Kingdom? How do we do this? By example only or also with words (1 Peter 3:15)
  4. Do you think that what we are doing in these meetings help us to do this?
  5. What do you think the Kingdom of God is? Is it something concrete, tangible, observable, a territory perhaps? To help you answer this please read John 18:36 and Romans 14:17.
  6. How are we invited to respond to the arrival of the Kingdom?
  7. What does the word ‘repent’ mean?
  8. Let us think of the general direction of our lives. Is there peace and joy in times of trial? If not do you think this is due to our general way of seeing things? Does the direction of lives need to be changed or turned around? How do we know?
  9. What is belief? What does the verb ‘to believe mean’. What does it imply?
  10. If I want to go to London and see a train standing at the platform and hear the announcement say that is the train for London, I obviously believe it is true. But will it get me to London if I don’t board it and act according to what I believe to be true? Can you relate this example to believing the good news that the Kingdom of God is here now for you?

verse 16

  1. “As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee”. This might sound like a casual event. Is it? Why not?
  2. Who were Simon and Andrew? Were they special, famous or influential people or ordinary folk like you and I? Do you think you or they had more education? What was their job? Were they at work when they were called? Why do you think Mark mentions these details? Can we identify with these disciples?

verse 17

  1. Did Jesus interrupt their work? Did they let Jesus interrupt their work or did they object to being disturbed?
  2. What did Jesus say to them while they were working? Was this ‘reasonable’? What would you have replied?
  3. Why do you think they accepted without hesitation? Was there some sort of preparation? What sort of preparation? Can this be somehow related to the events mentioned earlier in this chapter? Is there something more going on than meets the eye in the lives of these people and in ours? How do we relate this to the events in our daily lives?
  4. What was promised them? Material prosperity? What were they called to do? Can we relate to this? What were they to fish for now? What does ‘fish for people’ mean? How does this relate to the good news of the Kingdom?
  5. Who will enable these simple folk to accomplish their task? Can they do this by themselves?
  6. What relation, if any, is there between ‘follow me’ and ‘I will make you’. Between discipleship and ability to accomplish a task? Can I become a changed person without following Jesus, without becoming a disciple of his? Am I prepared to follow him and go fishing? Do I love to be with other people? Am I a caring person? Am I interested in bringing people into the Kingdom of God by proclaiming the good news? Think of specific ways you can do this individually and as a Christian group.

verse 18

  1. What was their response to the call to follow Jesus?
  2. How do you explain the immediacy of their reaction?
  3. What did following Jesus imply for them and their work and daily lives?
  4. How do we respond to the call to accept and follow Jesus? Do we respond immediately or do we invent excuses for delaying our decision?
  5. What does it mean for these to follow Jesus? What does it mean for us?

verse 19

  1. Mark doesn’t tell us but when Jesus continued on his walk with his first two disciples what do you think they did? Do you think they continued in silence or enter into a conversation? What effect do you think Jesus had on them? A reading of Mark 1: 22, 27 and Luke 24:32 might help you give a hypothetical answer to these questions.
  2. Do you think Jesus only met these four persons on his walk or do you think he met many more? Why do you think he called only these four? Read John 2:25.
  3. Jesus also knows what is in us. Are we ready to be called to discipleship? Are we spiritually prepared for the calling? Have we been like the clay in the potter’s hand (Isaiah 64:8) being shaped and formed from within in order to respond to that call to follow Jesus, to walk with him on our own road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)?
  4. How do we allow the Holy Spirit of God to shape us, to make us into new creatures able to accept enthusiastically and unhesitatingly the call to discipleship?
  5. Are we so absorbed in mending our nets that we do not hear the call or we hear it and brush it aside as something unusual, radical, irrational or too demanding?
  6. What are those daily activities that absorb us and prevent us from listening to the call?
  7. Are we ready to leave all that is necessary to follow Jesus and become transformed and trained for to his service?
  8. Do you think there is any link between the national preparations for the coming of the Messiah outlined earlier in this chapter and the ordering of events in these first disciples? Can we see the divine guidance in circumstances and relationships preparing us for becoming aware of the attraction and call of Jesus? Let us look back at our lives to see the action of God placing the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of our lives together to form a coherent picture. Can you see the picture gradually coming together when we respond to his call? Read Romans 8:28.

verse 20

  1. What were James and John doing? Who else was with then in the boat?
  2. Why do you think Jesus called only James and John from among the group?
  3. What did they leave to follow Jesus?
  4. All four men had a vital encounter with Jesus. What do you think characterizes that vital encounter they had and we can also have the same experience? What are the steps involved in this encounter? Is there any sort of preparation? Is there an audible call? When can that call be heard? Does that call require a response? Is that response part of a process that has been building up to a climax? Is that response senseless impulse or has there been some sort of drawing or attraction beforehand? When we hear that call how strong do you think the impact will be? Can it be resisted? What can get in the way? Can our reason get in the way? Can our subjectivism get in the way? Can family ties get in the way? Can work and ambition get in the way? Can a sense of material wealth and security get in the way? Have you heard that call? Are you hearing that call now? What is my response? Do I feel a sense of urgency? Is anything getting in the way of my responding?

General discussion questions

Robert Walsh

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