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Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Mark 9:30-50

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider

1. Today’s lesson is the culmination of Mark 9. Briefly review the first half of Mark 9 in lesson 12 (link above). Where was the “there” that “they went on from”? (30) Why did Jesus not want anyone to know He was passing through Galilee? (30-31)

2. Compare verses 31-32 with Mark 8:31-33 and Mark 9:9-10. Between Mark 8 and 9, how many times has Jesus taught some or all of the disciples about His impending death and resurrection? Why do they still not understand? Was it because they had no frame of reference the concept of resurrection? Because they didn’t understand why anyone would kill Jesus? Because of their incorrect expectations of what Messiah would do (review questions 7 and 9 in lesson 11 {link above})? Why do you think the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus to clarify things? (32)

3. Consider verse 34 in light of the disciples’ lack of understanding in 31-32. How might their understanding of, and focus on, Christ’s impending death, burial, and resurrection have changed the disciples’ conversation? How should focusing on the gospel change your conversation- the people you’re willing to talk to, the words you use, and the topics of your discussions with people? How do verses 34-35 reveal Christ’s omniscience?

4. Which two types of people does Jesus use as illustrations of humility in verses 35-36? What are the characteristics of a servant that demonstrate humility? A young child? How do humble Christians show these characteristics of a servant or a child in their daily lives?

5. What does it mean to receive someone (37), cast out demons (38) or do anything in Jesus’ name? Does it simply mean to tack the words “in Jesus’ name” on to the end of whatever you’re saying or doing?

When John says the exorcist “was not following us” (38), does he mean that this man was not a believer in Christ (i.e. not a “Christ-follower”), or does he mean that the man was not accompanying Jesus and the disciples on their itinerant journeys through Israel? Is it possible for someone who is not a Believer to do anything in Jesus’ name? Compare verses 39-40 with these passages. Is there any middle ground when it comes to being with or for Jesus and being against Him? Examine your own heart- are you with Christ or against Him? How can you tell?

6. What does God think of those who tempt, entice, or deceive others into sinning? (42) How does this verse help us understand how seriously God views sin?

7. Examine verses 43-47. Does sin originate in your hand, your foot, or your eye? Where does sin originate, which then tempts you to sin with your hands, feet, or eyes? Is Jesus speaking literally in these verses, or is He employing hyperbole? What is the main idea Jesus is trying to get across in these verses? Is sin really as big a deal as Jesus is making it out to be in this passage? Why? (48-49)

8. In the ancient world, salt was an important, but hard to get, commodity. It was used for flavoring, to preserve meat, and for other purposes– even in the temple. Think like a first century Jew or Gentile about salt- what would Jesus’ words in verses 50-51 have meant in your culture? How do these verses apply to Christians today?


Homework

Look back over verses 43-47, and think about the sins you’re tempted to commit: things you do (hands), places you go (feet), things you watch or view (eyes). Choose a sin you particularly struggle against. Is it something you do or see, or is it somewhere you go?

What is one practical step you could take to “cut off” or “tear out” that temptation before you fall into sin again? For example, maybe you need to stop watching a certain TV show, take a different route home from work to avoid a tempting place, or stop hanging out with that person who’s a bad influence on you. Prayerfully implement that step this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
Mark 9:42

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