Questions on Mark 1:29-39 for Group Leaders

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"In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed." (Mark 1:35)

QUESTIONS ON MARK 1:29-39 for Group Leaders

Mark 1:29-34: The Message in Action.

verse 29
  1. The passage begins with the conjunction ‘and’ (not translated here). Is this significant in any way?
  2. Have you noticed so far any other passages in which the same concept as that expressed in ‘as soon as’ appears? What effect does this have on the narrative?
  3. Do you remember what happened previously in the synagogue?
  4. Would you have left the scene immediately if you made an impact on the crowd and were admired or would you have remained to enjoy the admiration? What virtue or attitude characterises the decision of Jesus? What can this teach us? Think of concrete situations in which we can imitate Jesus. Should there be a significant difference between the reaction of the Christian and the non-Christian in similar situations?
  5. Can you see any continuity between the previous scene and this? What do they have in common? In what do they differ?
  6. What will Simon’s name become later on?
  7. Can you think of any other moments in which Jesus takes with him Peter, James and John? Why do think he does this?
  8. On the basis of this verse what relation should there be towards our public worship and our private domestic world?
  9. Do you think our faith should be relegated to the private sphere only or spill out into the public sphere?

verse 30

  1. The fever spoken of here was life-threatening. What was her illness preventing her from doing?
  2. Did the early disciples request Jesus to do anything?
  3. Do you think they showed faith in drawing Jesus’ attention to her plight?
  4. Is there a lesson for us in this? Do we make our needs known in prayer? How and with what spirit? Do we attempt to ‘pressurise’ God in any way to obtain our own will or do we simply make our needs known and then say as Jesus himself did ‘not my will but your will be done’?
  5. Was Simon Peter’s mother-in-law in a situation of weakness or strength? Was she able to heal herself? How does Jesus relate to our weaknesses? Read 2 Corinthians 12:9:10.

verse 31

  1. What three actions did Jesus take when he heard of Peter’s mother-in-law’s illness?
  2. What does the fact that Jesus approached her tell us of how he relates to our weaknesses?
  3. Jesus could have simply said something to heal her as in the case of the man with the unclean spirit. What does the fact that Jesus took hold of her hand reveal? Do you trust Jesus to reach out to you, too, in your moments of weakness?
  4. Was reaching out to heal a person a transgression of the Sabbath laws of the time? What does this also reveal about Jesus’ concern for those in need?
  5. 'He lifted her up'. Do we have faith that he can he lift us up above our weaknesses and limits?
  6. What do Jesus’ actions teach us about how we should relate to those in need of help?
  7. Jesus had served her with a miracle. She rose to serve others. What does this teach us? Do we see our Christian life as service to others? Is serving others a way of serving God? In what way have I served someone today? Is there someone who crosses my path that I must learn to serve?
  8. From this we might also ask how do I serve my Christian community?

verse 32

  1. Why do you think they brought everyone to Jesus for healing at sunset?
  2. How many people in need of healing were brought to Jesus?
  3. What does this tell us about the crowd and the way they saw Jesus?
  4. What does this suggest about the fame of Jesus?
  5. In times of trouble, illness, discouragement to whom do we turn? Do we, in loving silence in the presence of the Lord, accept his saving hand extended to set us free from everything that oppresses us? Or do we complain and moan?
  6. Do you think these people were really interested in becoming disciples of Jesus or do you think they were attracted by self-interest? Read also John 2:23-25.
  7. Are we just part of the crowd here for the miracle or are we part of the inner circle of his disciples who follow him wherever he leads?

verse 33

  1. What place was at the centre of Jesus’ ministry here?
  2. Are our homes centres of Christian witness?  How?
  3. Are we waiting for an official mandate, which may never come, to preach the message of the Gospel to those who enter our home? Are we actively engaged in evangelisation from home?

verse 34

  1. How many were brought to Jesus for healing? How many were cured?
  2. Why do you think he prevented the demons from speaking?
  3. Have we seen another occasion when a demon recognised the true identity of Jesus?
  4. In these verses (v. 29-34), how many actions are expressed in this brief episode and how many words were spoken?  Do you think this explains why the Gospel of Mark is often called the Gospel of action?


Mark 1:35-39: Prayer, the Power for Action.

verse 35

  1. Now we have a change of scene. Where does Jesus go?
  2. Why did he go there? Why do you think Jesus needed to pray?
  3. What does this teach us?
  4. When did he go there?
  5. When did Jesus start healing the crowd that came to the door? What time do you think he went to bed? What time did he get up? How many hours sleep do you think he got?
  6. What does this tell us about him?
  7. Do we serve others without counting the cost in time and effort? Or is ours an ‘Andy Cap’ existence sitting in the armchair with our slippers on, a packet of crisps in one hand and a can of beer in the other watching a soap opera on the TV?
  8. Have we discerned the mission the Holy Spirit is calling us to accomplish in the service of the Lord and of others?
  9. What do you think is the relation of prayer and action?
  10. Do we act without discerning the will of God for us? Do we pray without acting? Have we separated prayer from action? Or are our actions done with the leading of the Holy Spirit and in awareness of the presence of God? Read Matthew 7:21-23.

verses 36, 37

  1. Was it easy to find Jesus? What does this tell us about the place Jesus chose?
  2. Who went in search of him?
  3. Why did they go in search of him?
  4. Who was looking for him? Why? Do you think there was unfinished work?
  5. What do you think the disciples implied that Jesus should do?
  6. What do you think they were focusing on?

verse 38

  1. Do you think Jesus’ answer took them by surprise? Why?
  2. Do you think it was more reasonable to go back with the disciples to continue the healing begun the previous evening or to move on what do you think the disciples saw as more reasonable? How do you account for this difference, if any?
  3. Why do you think Jesus arrived at a different decision to what was implied in the disciples’ words and was perhaps more natural? Why did Jesus decide to move on?
  4. Why did Jesus say he had come? What was that message? How has he preached that message so far?

verse 39

  1. According to this verse where was the focal point of his mission? What does this tell us?
  2. What two ways of proclaiming the Good News converge in the mission of Jesus according to this verse?
  3. What does this verse tell us about Jesus’ lifestyle?

General discussion questions


Robert Walsh

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