Refresh Ministry Bible Study – “A Man On a Mission”
I. Text: Mark 1:21-45 (ESV)
Driving Out An Unclean Spirit
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Healings at Capernaum
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Preaching in Galilee
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
A Man Cleansed
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Ask for someone to give a point that they remember from last week (maybe get three or four people). Last week, we talked about calling and how much of a role it played in preparing the way for Jesus’s ministry. What were some aspects of calling that stood out to you this week, if any? We also ended with response and thinking about our response as those stepping into a whole chain of calling – who were our examples from last week’s text regarding response? This week, the spotlight is entirely on Jesus and His ministry work
III. Observations/Main Points
In this section, six instances of “at once” or “immediately;” in last week’s passage, there were four instances (per the ESV). The contrast with Jesus’s teachings and the scribes’ teachings was on the basis of authority. Jesus doesn’t want the unclean spirit to talk about Him. Jesus has power to immediately cast out the spirit. With Jesus’s words, there is action. He commands, and the spirit is cast out. Simon is married due to his having a mother-in-law. They hadn’t seen Jesus heal when they first followed Him, but now that they have, they ask Jesus to heal his Simon’s mother-in-law. What He does is simple (talk about how His Gospel message was just “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”) but the effect is profound (“she began to serve them”). He didn’t permit the demons to speak “because they knew Him”; why is this? How did they know Him? He just got here! Might point to a kind of supernatural knowledge of who Jesus is (ie., in the spiritual realm). In the middle of ministering, the rhythm that gets set in His life is to start with isolated prayer. In v. 36-37, what were they concerned with? However, what was Jesus concerned with? Preaching and casting out demons – speaking truth and demonstrating authority from the truth. Black text shows Jesus’s love, red text shows Jesus’s truth (Helicon). Jesus touches the leper to heal him; consider how illnesses might reach deeper into a person than just the surface of it. Jesus understood the leper’s desire to be healed and also loved. Jesus probably knew that what happened after the healed leper talked about Him was exactly what was going to happen, and so, He didn’t want word to get out in the instances before. Response of the people is another good reminder for us; some might have been satisfied with just hearing the wondrous stories, but still some people came to Him even if He was in the deserted places.
Split into four groups (if possible), and have them read one section each, preparing to summarize.
What do you notice about Jesus in your passage? Is there anything that might seem out of the ordinary in His responses to events? Give three observations/three questions from the passage.
What might the other people around Jesus be saying/thinking about Him? How might you respond to what He was doing/how He was acting?
In each section, examine the responses of the people that witnessed His working.
Ask for any observations/questions that don’t relate to anything that was already discussed.
After all these verses about the actions of Jesus, it must be obvious that we’re supposed to go out and be His hands and feet, right? Not so fast. Although it is easy to see that the general theme of these passages was healing of the sick and those with unclean spirits, the life of Jesus speaks to something a lot less extravagant and wondrous. He started His day with isolated prayer (v. 35), His purpose was to preach (v. 38), and He engaged with the sick with pity (v. 41). This pity wasn’t the kind of condescending pity that we might think; it’s “to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity),” a deep compassion that’s visceral and urgent. This is how Jesus went about sharing the Gospel. He could have given them all the prophecies and done all the miracles, but He started with prayer. He could have done fortune-telling and tell them about themselves, but He chose to preach. Instead of addressing the marginalized and the outcast, He received them and met their deepest needs. As Jesus lives this life infused with the Gospel, we too should strive to live the same way before others. Start with prayer, speak of God, and show love to the unlovable.