1. If you could have any superpower for just one day, but it had to be something completely absurd, (i.e., the ability to talk to squirrels or squirt water out of the tip of your finger or make someone unintentionally fart loudly 😊), what would you choose and how would you use it for that day?
SPECIAL NOTE: Read Mark 1 together as a group. As your Small Group goes on, refer to and/or re-read the various parts of the story being discussed and/or referred to.
2. The book of Mark begins a declaration that ensures we know from the start who Jesus is. He is Messiah (or Christ) and Son of God (1:1).
-If you were writing your own story of who Jesus is to you, how would you introduce him at this point in your life?
3. MLK said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” His faith was what motivated his commitment to justice.
-Would you say you agree with MLK’s statement or it is misplaced optimism? Why?
-How do you see the principles of justice and sacrifice intersecting with your own faith and actions?
-In the face of suffering, injustice, or challenging circumstances, how can faith in a different reality provide hope and strength?
4. John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin on his mother’s side, born a few months before Jesus. His ministry was to get people ready for the greatest moment in Jewish history, in world history: Jesus’ ministry and then death and resurrection.
-How does John seek to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming?
-If John were to show up on the scene today to prepare the way for Jesus, what do you think he would do or say?
-What does it look like in our own lives to be prepared for Jesus?
-What does it look like to prepare the way for Jesus in the lives of others?
5. Eric mentioned the tension between the idea of a “better” reality through Jesus and the harsh realities of suffering and injustice. The Gospel is “good news” but there’s tension and worry that maybe it isn’t as “good” as we thought.
-Have you personally experienced this tension in your faith journey?
-Is the maxim, “With Jesus better is possible” something you resonate with?
-How have you wrestled with the tensions of the hope offered in Jesus & the story so far in Mark?
6. God looks at every believing Christian and says about us what he said to Jesus on that day. He sees us, not as we are in ourselves, but as we are in Jesus Christ. It sometimes seems impossible, especially to people who have never had this kind of support from their earthly parents, but it’s true: God looks at us and says, “You are my dear, dear child; I’m delighted with you.”
-What would it mean to you to hear God say that to you?
7. Jesus is sent into the desert for testing. This seems strange after he had just heard God saying, “I’m pleased with you!” Sometimes following God & living in submission to Jesus don’t appear to make much sense. Other times it’s uncomfortable. Both are true in Jesus’ case.
-What experiences have you had of following Jesus that are uncomfortable or confusing?
-What is the Spirit engineering in your life that’s making you uncomfortable, and what are you learning from it?
8. Many understand the call to “Repent and believe the gospel,” to mean “Give up your sins and become a Christian.” Jesus wanted people to stop sinning, but repentance for him meant 1) Turning away from the social and political agendas Israel had been trusting in and 2) Turning back to true loyalty to God.
-In a day when political divisions are only getting deeper, how does Jesus call for repentance understood in these ways challenge Christians to turn away from social and political agendas to live in the Kingdom (i.e., Empire) of God and turn back to true loyalty to God?
9. To follow Jesus, the fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James and John) had to cut loose from other ties and trust him and his message.
-What are the ties in your life that you have cut loose to follow Jesus?
-What are the ties in your life that you have not cut loose but sense Jesus calling you to let go of?
-Why is it often so difficult for us to do this?
-How does Jesus’ command “follow me” summarize the essence of discipleship?
10. The leper believed Jesus was able to heal him, but he was not sure whether Jesus was willing to heal him because lepers were outcasts.
-Have you ever been in a similar situation in which you know THAT Jesus could help, heal, restore, etc. but you struggled to believe that he WOULD?
11. What might be some of the reasons that Jesus silences the demon from proclaiming who he is?
12. What impression of Jesus do you get from the portrait of his visit to the home of Simon and Andrew
13. Jesus’ authority is recognized. Yet he exercises this authority different than the political & religious figures of his day (and ours as well).
-How does Jesus exercise his authority differently from human authorities we see in our day?
-What practical differences can knowing this make in your own response to Jesus’ authority?
14. The quiet and solitude of verses 35–39 are quite a contrast from the previous events.
-What do these verses reveal about Jesus’ priorities?
-What steps do you need to take to bring your priorities more closely in line with his?
15. Look back over Mark 1.
-How does Jesus model for us different aspects of announcing the kingdom of God & following him?
Offer prayers of thanks and praise to God for Jesus’ authority to call his people to his continue his task of announcing the Kingdom. Ask him to expand our view of what he can do and is doing as we look for opportunities to teach, heal, and defeat the forces of evil.