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Total Allegiance to Jesus
Tamene Menna, Director of Outreach and Care
Overview: Throughout the first half of the Gospel of Mark, the disciple’s initial response to Jesus was very favorable as the core message of Jesus’ ministry was His proclamation of the arrival of the kingdom of God. Jesus’ authority over nature, evil spirits, and diseases were all signs for the arrival of the kingdom of God. The disciples thought this was a unique opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new kingdom. And the initial climax point of Jesus’ ministry is Peter’s confession of Him as the Christ—the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. However, when Jesus started to discuss His mission in terms of His death and resurrection, the disciples failed to understand what He meant. In fact, throughout our passage today, we see them thinking in terms of power, greatness, and status. Yet, Jesus continually corrects their misunderstanding and teaches them what it means to be His followers. Mark 9:14-41 records Jesus’ teachings to His disciples on His way to Jerusalem. Through the events that unfold in this section of the chapter, the disciples learn the importance of avoiding self-reliance, ongoing dependence on God through prayer, and the nature of true servanthood in God’s kingdom.
01. True disciples who give their full allegiance to Jesus depend on God through prayer—day-by-day and moment-by-moment—to fulfill the mission they are given by Jesus.
02. True disciples who give their full allegiance to Jesus serve others sacrificially following the example of their Master.
03. True disciples who give their full allegiance to Jesus collaborate with others in the cause of the gospel to do the work of ministry and advance God’s kingdom.Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. Read Mark 9:22. The father of the boy with an unclean spirit said, “If, you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” In what ways do we often relate to the father’s plea when we pray? What does Jesus mean in verse 23 when He says, “All things are possible for one who believes.”?
2. Read Mark 9:33-37. Discuss the fundamental value of the kingdom that Jesus reminded His disciples. How does it apply to us today?
3. In Mark 9:37, Jesus said that the disciples must welcome even children. What does welcoming a child mean in this context? Have you ever had a chance to serve someone regarded as having the least social status in your community? How can we better serve those who cannot repay us?
4. According to Mark 9:33-37, how do we know if we are real servants of God?
5. Read Mark 9:38-40. What are some ways we can collaborate with those who share our vision and values in the cause of the gospel?
For Further Reading: Trevin K. Wax, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals (Crossway, 2010)