Small Group Questions: 03-24-2024

ICE BREAKER

Mark 15 records Jesus’ last words before he died. What would you want your last words to be?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Read Mark 15 together as a group. Feel free to pause and discuss things you notice, were reminded of, have questions about, etc. Once you’ve done this, feel free to re-read sections that are related to the questions below.

1. Discuss as a group, times when you feel or have felt that God is not there just when we need Him.

-What feelings did you have?

-How would you describe this time to a friend?

-Is it right or wrong to feel like that?

-Are there practices or ways have you found helpful that remind you of God’s presence?

2. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus hinted at where the story would lead. But it is not just his story…it’s meant to be a pattern for our story as well. Jesus taught that true greatness is found in being a servant: “Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

-What does the world consider true greatness to be?

-In the eyes of the world, was Jesus truly a great man? Why or why not?

-Is it true that to be great, we must be a servant? Why or why not?

-Using Jesus’ definition of greatness…where are you great?

-Using Jesus’ definition of greatness…where might you need greater humility?

3. Group and/or Personal Reflection Activity

-Take time to reflect on what it might have been like for Jesus to face his own death.

-What emotions might he have felt? Thoughts? Doubts?

-After a few minutes talking together, pause and give thanks to him for his willingness to go through it for you.

4. Pilate decided to hand Jesus over to be crucified, despite finding no fault in him.

-Why would he do this?

-What explanations have you heard that might explain his actions?

5. Jesus, an innocent man, was delivered over to be crucified. His death atoned for the sins of all people.

-How is this fair…to punish an innocent person instead of the guilty?

-How would you explain this to someone who doesn’t understand how this works?

-When did you become convinced that this is true and what were the circumstances?

6. The cross was a political symbol long before it became a religious symbol. Pilate knew, the crowds knew, the chief priests knew, and Jesus knew, what it meant. It was the ultimate symbol of Roman power. It said, “We are in charge here, and this is what happens to people who get in our way.”

-How does looking at crucifixion through a political lens expand our understanding of its significance?

-How do the political & spiritual aspects of Jesus’ crucifixion come together in your view?

7. Mark records the reactions of different groups to Jesus. There are the soldiers, the crowds, the Jewish leaders, the centurion, and others.

-How do these varied responses add to the narrative?

-What is ironic about the taunts leveled against him by the various groups present?

-What do you make of the centurion’s confession, “Truly this man was the Son of God”?

-How does his statement contrast with the reactions of others present at the crucifixion?

8. A theme in the book of Mark is discipleship defined as carrying your cross.

-Why do you think Mark includes the detail about Simon of Cyrene being compelled to carry Jesus’ cross?

-What might this episode reveal about the nature of discipleship and carrying one’s cross?

9. Let’s say you could time travel back to the events recorded in Mark 15.

-What would you want to do?

-What would you want to say?

10. Mark’s record of the moment of Jesus’ death is brief.

-Speculate as to why Mark spilled so little ink on such a seemingly significant event.

-How do all the little details given along the way expand the picture Mark is trying to paint for his readers?

11. Try to imagine that you are reading Mark for the first time & hearing the story end this way.

-What emotions or thoughts arise when reflecting on the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion & the events preceding it?

-How does the end of the story change the way you read the rest of the story up to this point?

-How might you understand the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice?

12. Jesus’ cry in verse 34 has been called the climax of his sufferings.

-Would you agree? Why or why not?

-What is the significance of these final words?

-How do these words deepen our understanding of Jesus’ humanity and his role as the sacrificial lamb?

-In what ways does this passage invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus’ suffering and death?

-What does Jesus’ crucifixion reveal about God’s character and plan for salvation?

PRAYER PROMPT: The temple’s curtain that separated the holy place from the holy of holies was ripped apart when Jesus died. The symbolism is that we have been granted access into God’s very presence. Read Hebrews 10:19-25 together as a group and let it guide & inform your prayer time.

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