Questions on Mark 1:1-8 for Group Leaders

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The Bible in Your life and Your Life in the Bible

"I am not worthy" (Mark 1:7)

QUESTIONS ON MARK 1:1-8 for Group Leaders

Mark 1:1-8. Preparing the way.

verse 1
  1. In what straightforward way did Mark open his account of Jesus?  What could you compare the first sentence to? Note the lack of a verb in this first sentence.
  2. Do you think the original title was "The Gospel According to Mark"?
  3. Does the word ‘beginning’ remind you of other books of Scripture?
  4. Do you think this opening sentence would have made an impact on the listener or reader at the time? Why?
  5. What is the meaning of the word ‘gospel’?
  6. When, on TV, you see the words “BREAKING NEWS” what do you think? Do you remain indifferent or do you have a sense of expectation? Are you anxious to know what that news is about or couldn’t care less?
  7. Is this still news to us today 2000+ years later? Why / why not?
  8. How does this news compare to the news we see on TV every day?
  9. What is the Gospel or Good News about? To answer this question you might also want to read John 14:6. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; does this help you to understand the content of the good news?
  10. Whose good news is it?
  11. Where do we normally learn about Jesus? St. Jerome wrote: “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”. What do you think of this?
  12. Does Mark’s beginning create indifference in us or a sense of expectation?
  13. What expectations do you have, if any? Write them down and share them with the group to see later if your expectations have been met.
  14. What does the name ‘Jesus’ mean?
  15. What does the title 'Christ' mean?
  16. What does the expression "Son of God" reveal about God and about Jesus?

verses 2, 3

  1. These two verses combine quotations from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. What was written of John the Baptist in these verses?
  2. What do these two quotations have in common?
  3. The meaning of the verses is: The Father will send John ahead of Jesus. What is said about the forerunner (John the Baptist)? What is said about he who is to announce the coming of Jesus?
  4. On the basis of these two quotations why do you think the Old Testament is important in understanding the New?
  5. What is the relation between both Testaments?
  6. Bearing in mind that for 400 years Israel had not had a prophet what do you think must have been the sentiments of the people on hearing these words?
  7. Do we share those expectations?
  8. Does this verse tell us something about how God relates to the history of mankind?
  9. Does this verse tell us something about how God relates to the history of your life? Is this also relevant to our lives? Romans 8:28 may help you to answer this question.
  10. To whom does the word ‘Lord’ refer (v. 3)? In the Old Testament to whom did this word refer? What does this tell us of Jesus?
  11. What is the key idea in verses 2 and 3? What was the crowd asked to do?
  12. What do the words “make his paths straight” mean?
  13. Are these words also relevant to us? How?
  14. What is one of the main objectives of our community in meditating on Scripture?
  15. Can this be seen as a preparation? Preparation for what?
  16. In what way can this prophecy be applied to us? Have we also been sent to prepare the way of the Lord for someone? Are we attentive to this call?
  17. How do we accomplish our ministry?
  18. What kinds of wilderness do we have today?
  19. Is our voice heard in the wilderness?
  20. Is the Lord’s voice heard in this wilderness?

verse 4

  1. Who was the messenger foretold and what message did he proclaim to those who came to him? What word in this verse means to ‘decide to change’?
  2. What is the condition for obtaining forgiveness?
  3. How can we have access to forgiveness of sins?
  4. Why do we need forgiveness?
  5. Can we earn forgiveness?
  6. Who forgives sins?
  7. We can journey through life in one of two directions. Which are they? What fundamental choice does every person have? See Deut. 30:19.
  8. In view of this choice what does John the Baptist’s call for repentance mean?
  9. Can you think of examples of those who choose to travel along the road to destruction?
  10. What was the outward sign of repentance?
  11. What does the word ‘baptism’ mean?
  12. What does repentance mean for us?
  13. Where did John carry out his ministry? Is this significant?
  14. Why do you think God did not choose a man of the establishment, a powerful person, a politician?
  15. How does John's ministry prepare the way for Jesus?
  16. In your own words explain what ‘sin’ is for you?
  17. What are the effects of sin on an individual, on a community, in the world?
  18. What is the significance of the wilderness? Why was the desert chosen?
  19. What would the people have to do to go out into the desert?
  20. Are we also in a wilderness, an urban spiritual wilderness?
  21. Are we indifferent to the wilderness in which others find themselves?
  22. What are we called to do in the wilderness we find ourselves in?
  23. John preaches in the wilderness, can we identify with him? Are we imitating him? Should we imitate him? How can we imitate him?
  24. Do we think of John as a conformist or do you think he is going against the trend of the times? Do we go with the tide, with what our friends say and do or do we choose not to conform to the ‘norm’?

verse 5

  1. Was John a popular figure? Why? Was he an influential person? Do you think he might have constituted a threat to the authorities, especially the religious and political leaders at the time? To answer this question read Mark 6:17, 18.
  2. What was taking place as a result of John’s message? The people did two things. What were they? What is the relation between these two actions?
  3. How was repentance symbolized? What does ‘baptism’ or being immersed in the water symbolise?

verse 6

  1. How does Mark describe John in this verse? Was he dressed in fancy clothes, did he live in a palace, did he eat luxury food? Is he in any way similar to the celebrities people imitate today? Would you imitate him?
  2. What would the people of the time think of when they considered John’s character and message? Read 2 Kings 1:8; Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:10-13.
  3. Why is the description of John important? Is he in some way a model for us?
  4. Do you think John is a wise or a foolish person? Is he a ‘normal’ person? Are Christians meant to be ‘normal’ persons? What does the word ‘normal’ mean.
  5. Can you think of other verses in Scripture that speak of openly confessing one’s sins?
  6. Why do you think openly confessing one’s sins is important? What beneficial effect would this have? Do you think it would help us to see ourselves more objectively? Would it help create a sense of humility and self-knowledge?

verse 7

  1. What did John say of himself when he compared himself to Jesus?
  2. What virtue is this?
  3. What do you think of the virtue of humility? What is humility?
  4. What else do we read about John’s humble character later on? Read John 3:26-30.
  5. Does John’s humility tell us that he was not an important person?
  6. How do we approach our duty to evangelise?
  7. Have we learnt to let the Holy Spirit work in and through us?
  8. What virtue does this require?
  9. How does John emphasize the greatness of the one who will come after him? Does John compare himself to others? Why not? To whom does he compare himself? Does this teach us something about humility?
  10. Do you think humility is realizing what we are compared to Christ or compared to other people? Is humility self-debasement?

verse 8

  1. What was the significant difference between John and the One to come (v. 8)?
  2. What is the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
  3. When was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit given? See Acts 2:1-13
  4. Are we baptized in water, in the Holy Spirit or in both? See John 3:5. When were we baptized in water? When were we baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  5. What do we know about the Holy Spirit? Why is it important to realize how the Holy Spirit works in us, with us and through us?

General discussion questions

Robert Walsh

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