We Never Saw Anything Like This
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: Mark’s overview of the life of Jesus transitions from statements of fact by those who already knew Him, to declarations of amazement by those who began encountering His ministry. Jesus’s teaching was more penetrating than people were accustomed to hearing and was more of a priority than anyone realized. Jesus’s ability to restrain evil was more powerful than the forces of darkness, although it was less easy to recognize. Jesus’s willingness to heal was readily welcomed by those who were sick though it complicated His ministry more than they knew. Jesus’s claim to forgive sins was more audacious than his opponents could accept but was the primary reason why He came to this world. The reactions that Mark provides for these four areas of Jesus’s ministry—teaching, restraining, healing, and forgiving—should be our reactions as well today.
01. Are you astonished by the teaching ministry of Jesus? If so, thank God by joyfully living under the authority of the Bible.
02. Are you amazed by the restraining power of Jesus? If so, thank God by consistently being salt and light in this world.
03. Are you encouraged by the healing power of Jesus? If so, thank God by regularly praying for others to be made whole.
04. Are you astounded by the forgiveness provided by Jesus? If so, thank God by kindly bringing others to hear the gospel.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. Notice the connection between the reactions to Jesus’s ministry (1:22, 27; 2:12) and the onset of crowds coming to Him (1:28, 32-34, 37, 45; 2:4). What do these pairings suggest about how our words/testimony about Jesus can be used to draw people to Him? Are you still impressed by who Jesus is and what He has done? Do your friends and family have any idea about your esteem for Jesus?
2. On several occasions in this text, Jesus commands silence. In what ways does this command apply to the demons (1:25, 34)? In what way does the command apply to the leper (1:44)? What is His intention behind these commands? (Hint: What was the effect when the cleansed leper disobeyed this command?)
3. Mark’s description of Jesus’s ministry quickly leads us to conclude that there is nothing Jesus cannot do. Nevertheless, Mark tells us that Jesus found a desolate place to pray (1:35). What does this detail about Jesus’s life suggest about the source of His power? What conclusion must we also draw regarding the source of our power in living the Christian life? See 2 Corinthians 1:11 and Colossians 4:2-4 for further insight.
4. Consider how the healing ministry of Jesus brought forth crowds of people (1:32, 45) and contrast that with Jesus’s understanding of His primary ministry of preaching (1:38, 2:2). Do you also value the importance of preaching and teaching God’s Word? In what ways does the preaching and teaching of God’s Word bring forth healing and hope for people today?
5. When Jesus stated that the paralytic’s sins had been forgiven (2:5), the critics noted that only God can forgive sins (2:7). Since Jesus healed and forgave the man, what does this stipulate about Jesus’s identity?
For Further Reading: Mark Dever, Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus (Crossway, 2016)