Small Group Questions: 11-12-23

REMINDER: UPCOMING SMALL GROUP SEMESTER BREAK

Small Groups will be on a Semester Break starting the week after Thanksgiving. Groups will begin again the week of January 14 and run through the week of May 5. During the Semester Break there will be no Small Group Questions written or available.

Group Leaders, be sure to communicate your plans for leading in the Winter/Spring Semester.

Group Members, be sure to communicate your plans for participation in the Winter/Spring Semester.

READ-ALOUD SMALL GROUP TIP

A Small Group is only as good as its members. To help you and everyone in the group be great Small Group Members there will be a tip to read aloud & discuss briefly as a group.

TIP: OCCASIONALLY HOST THE GROUP MEETING.

Hosting a Small Group each week is a lot of work. This is why it can be a big relief for someone to offer to take that responsibility occasionally. It’s also nice for the group to meet in a different environment. A new location can lead to a different perspective.

DISCUSS

-Is there a new or different location the group mind like to try meeting? If you meet at the church, maybe someone in the group would be willing to host in their home for a week? Or, if you already meet in a home, maybe there’s a different home or place you think would be conducive to a great group time? Discuss.

ICE BREAKER

Paul is obviously a Star Wars fan. Are you? Why? Why not? If not a Star Wars fan…what are you a fan of?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

SPECIAL NOTE: Read Mark 8 together as a group. This can be all at once or the group can read the relevant sections of the chapter based on the story or section being discussed.

1. In his sermon, Paul identified in Mark 8 the two questions Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”

-How would you answer the first question?

-How would you answer the second question?

-How there been other ways you would have answered those questions?

-What changed to make your answers change?

2. Mark 8:1-10 records Jesus feeing a group of around 4000 people. Unlike the feeding of the five thousand which occurred in Galilee, the feeding of the four thousand probably took place in Gentile territory.

-Why do you think Mark chooses to include another miraculous feeding, when the stories are so similar?

-Taken with Mark 7:24–30, what does the feeding of the 4,000 show about who Jesus is for Gentiles?

-Why do you suppose the disciples, having witnessed the feeding of the 5,000, have such a hard time believing Jesus can supply the needs of 4,000?

-Has there been a time when you have acted similarly, not expecting God to work just after he has met a need in your life?

3. Jesus cautions his disciples against the yeast of the Pharisees & the yeast of Herod.

-Were the Pharisees suggesting that the miracles Jesus had been performing were not signs from heaven?

-How did the Pharisees’ request for a sign differ from those who had requested miracles or healing from Jesus?

-What do you think Jesus refers when He speaks of the yeast of the Pharisees?

-Is the yeast of Herod the same as or different from the yeast of the Pharisees? If different, what is it?

-What yeast would you caution a Christian against in our day & age?

4. Mark 8:12 Jesus says he will give no sign to this generation.

-What do you think he means in light of the many miraculous signs and healings he has already performed, not to mention his coming death and resurrection?

5. Mark 7:34 & Mark 9:12 both record Jesus sighing deeply.

-In each situation, what do you think might have prompted this reaction from Jesus?

-What do the stories have in common? What is different?

-Are there times or seasons in your life that you imagine Jesus “sighing deeply”?

6. Paul talked about the various reasons people may have thought he was John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. But then after this Peter acknowledges Jesus to be the Christ. It’s then that Jesus begins to explain what must happen to him.

-Why do you think people in our day have different answers to the identity of Jesus?

-Why do you think Jesus waited until this point in His ministry to reveal Himself as Messiah?

-Why do you suppose Jesus warned the Twelve not to tell anyone He was the Messiah?

-Why do you suppose Peter reacts so strongly to what Jesus has said?

-Why does Jesus respond to Peter so harshly?

-How is Peter like the blind man in verses 22-26?

7. Jesus links Satan & human concerns in 8:33.

-What do these two have in common that would make Jesus link them together in the same breath?

8. Jesus says that whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

-What do you think it means to “lose your life for Jesus and the Gospel”?

-How do verses 36 and 38 help fill out what Jesus means?

-What does this mean in the context of modern society, and how can we practically apply this concept in our careers, relationships, and daily interactions?

-Is your life characterized more by seeking to lose your life or to save it? Explain.

9. Discuss this statement from Paul’s sermon: By calling Peter his opponent, Jesus was making it clear that Peter’s idea was the opposite of Jesus' true mission. We do this too. Or at least I do at times. We put Jesus in a box. We put our expectations on him and say, “If I follow you, this is what you are going to do for me. I come to church on Sunday then you fix all of my problems the way I want them fixed.” But Jesus says, “No, when you follow me I change you, not the other way around.”

10. Keeping in mind the significance of the word cross in Jesus’ day, how would you apply Jesus’ command to take up your cross?

11. Jesus emphasizes the value of the soul in Mark 8:36-37.

-How can we prioritize our spiritual well-being in a world that often values material possessions and achievements, and what practical steps can we take to maintain this balance?

PRAYER PROMPT

Ask Jesus to help you to see more clearly who he truly is and to reveal to you those areas where you are not yet following him as you should.

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