Questions on Mark 3:1-6 for Group Leaders

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The Bible in Your life and Your Life in the Bible

"He stretched it out, and his hand was restored." (Mark 3:5)

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QUESTIONS ON MARK 3:1-6 for Group Leaders

verse 1
  1. What does the initial word "and" tell us? Bear in mind that there were originally no chapter divisions.
  2. What day was this? Why was Jesus in the synagogue?
  3. What does this passage tell us about Jesus and public worship?
  4. What has happened on previous occasions when Jesus went to the synagogue?
  5. Why do you think Mark always points out the location where Jesus is?
  6. Why is it important to specify the place here?
  7. What would you expect people to do in a synagogue / church?
  8. What kind of disposition should the people have in a place of worship? Let us link these thoughts to what follows.
  9. Given the reputation of Jesus so far what would people expect when Jesus enters a place?
  10. Is Jesus present here now, where we are gathering?  Read Matthew 18:20.
  11. What should be our disposition?
  12. Who arrived in the synagogue first, Jesus or the man?
  13. It is not revealed but why do you think the man was there?
  14. Why do you think he was in the synagogue rather than begging in the streets?
  15. On which two main characters does the passage we are meditating on focus?
  16. Is it just a physical handicap or also a social and emotional one?
  17. Let us reflect for a moment on this man's handicap. If we had only one hand what could we not do? Think in detail every action from dressing ourselves to cooking, eating, etc. Think of our relations with others. Think of our work, would we be able to do it?
  18. Do you think there would be consequential emotional problems? Disappointment, frustration, embarrassment, a sense of inferiority?
  19. Do you think Jesus saw only a withered hand or also a withered life?
  20. Is there a relation between the place and the man, his inner disposition, his state of mind and the way he relates to Jesus?

verse 2

  1. Who do you think "they" refers to? Bear in mind that there were no divisions into chapters. See Mark 2:24.
  2. Who had a critical attitude towards the words and actions of Jesus?
  3. What does the word 'watch' reveal about the inner disposition of these people in the synagogue?
  4. Why are they watching Jesus? Is this compatible with the right disposition of worshippers in the synagogue?
  5. What is our disposition at church? Are we more intent on observing people or on worshipping?
  6. What was the importance of the Sabbath in Judaism?
  7. Why had the Sabbath become so burdensome when it was supposed to unburden man?
  8. What did Jesus say about his relation to the Sabbath?
  9. What do you remember about Jesus and the Sabbath from previous texts?
  10. What were they ready to accuse him of?
  11. How would Jesus have broken the Sabbath according to this verse?
  12. How can we describe the attitude of these religious leaders?
  13. Why were they intent on catching him out? Think of the end result of this confrontation. Did they manage to discredit him?

    verse 3
  1. Did Jesus actually do anything?
  2. Why do you think he asked the man to come forward?
  3. Why was it important to come forward and be distinguished?
  4. Was this coming forward easy for the man?
  5. Was there any pressure on the man not to come forward?
  6. Does being a Christian mean following the crowd or courageously standing forth?
  7. Remember the place of this meeting. Where does the greatest pressure come from to conform, from outside or from within the religious community we belong to?
  8. Does this teach us any lesson? Do we take sides according to what is convenient or do we follow what is right?
  9. The religious leaders were ready to accuse Jesus and of course those who identified with him. Why do you think this was so?

verse 4

  1. Who does Jesus speak to next? Who does ‘them’ refer to?
  2. Why do you think the religious leaders remained silent? Was it an embarrassing question?
  3. What is the obvious answer to the first question? Why could they not have given this answer?
  4. What is the obvious answer to the second question? Why could they not have given this answer?
  5. Why was the Sabbath instituted? Was it made for man, for his good and his life?
  6. Can Jesus’ words be related to the fundamental choice man must make? (see Deuteronomy 30:19)
  7. Was there disagreement and conflict here? Was it explicit or hidden below the surface? Why?

verse 45

  1. Why do you think there was no verbal conflict here?
  2. How did Jesus look at the religious leaders?
  3. Can you remember any other occasions in which we witness the anger of Jesus?
  4. Do we usually associate anger with Jesus?
  5. Why was Jesus angry at the religious leaders?
  6. Is anger always a sin? Read Ephesians 4:26.
  7. When is anger a sin or evil?
  8. When is anger righteous?
  9. What does ‘hardness of their hearts’ mean? How did Jesus know of their hardness of hearts if they did not express it? See Mark 2:8, 16 and 24? Do you think the religious leaders of the time had a critical spirit towards Jesus?
  10. Did the man ask Jesus for anything?
  11. What was the second command Jesus gave to the man?
  12. What do you think the man might have said to himself at these words? Was he able to stretch out his hand? What was the man’s handicap? Don’t forget his hand was withered.
  13. What was the man’s attitude in face of this impossible command?
  14. Did he manage to stretch out his hand?
  15. Was it by his own power that he did this?
  16. Was this the result of his obedience and faith or by the creative power of the ‘word’ / ‘Word’?
  17. Would the miracle have been possible without the man’s obedience and faith? What does this teach us?
  18. Did Jesus break the Sabbath by doing something?
  19. Jesus could have done this miracle on any day of the week why do you think he chose the Sabbath?
  20. How do the dynamics of this miracle relate to our lives? Does God call us sometimes to do what we think we are unable to do? Why?
  21.  Are we withered, spiritually paralysed, powerless? Are we in a difficult situation and cannot see a way out?  

    Applying the Word to Life

    What does the passage teach us?
  1. To stand up and be counted?
  2. To have the right disposition at our place of worship?
  3. To have a personal relationship with Jesus?
  4. Not to observe from a distance but to let ourselves be personally involved?
  5. That we need to obey and trust because God’s commands are for our wellbeing as God is love and love is a self-giving and self-sacrificing attitude?
  6. That even when Jesus calls us to do something that is beyond our ability we need to walk in faith?
  7. Does God ever ask us to do the impossible? Does he ever take us out of our comfort zone? What is our response? Do we question and reason and find excuses not to do something? Or do we simply act in faith and see the glory of God in our own lives?
  8. Do we stretch out for the blessing of God?

Robert Walsh

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