Mark 8:22-33

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These small group studies of the gospel of Mark contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Mark 8:22-33 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

Jesus heals a blind man (22-26)
Peter’s highs and lows (27-33)
Being a true disciple (34-38)

Verses 22-26 Discussion Questions

Is there any special significance in Jesus healing a blind man?

Why do you think Jesus spit on His hands first?

Any thoughts on why Jesus took two steps to heal this man?

Are there any parallels between healing the blind and salvation?

Why did Jesus ask him not to enter the village?

Cross-References

2 Corinthians 4:4- Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from understanding the truth.

John 8:12 – Jesus said that He is the light of the world.

John 9 – Jesus heals a man who is born blind.

Teaching Points

1. Jesus seems to be always willing to heal. There are no cases mentioned in the gospels where Jesus refused to heal someone who asked Him (He originally said no to the Gentile lady, but finally healed her daughter after she demonstrated her faith.)

2. Jesus took this blind man out of the village. We cannot be sure of all the reasons for this. However, it is clear that Jesus was not craving publicity or He would have healed him inside the village. Perhaps Jesus wanted a more private place where He could communicate with the man on a deeper level.

3. It is noteworthy that this is one of the only instances where Jesus healed someone in two steps. There is no reason given for this.

4. The man was healed and could see clearly. How exciting this would have been for this man! When I was a kid sometimes I tried closing my eyes for as long as I could to imagine what it would be like to be blind. I never made it very long. This man lived that way day after day, possibly for his entire life. He may have never seen a beautiful sunrise, a rainbow, a flower in blossom, kids playing together in the rain, or a million other treasured sights. Now he could! This is what Jesus does. He completely transforms people’s lives. The blind man’s life would never be the same again and he wouldn’t live a single day without remembering Jesus’ compassion and kind touch which gave Him sight. What has Jesus done for us? Jesus transforms our spiritual lives like He transformed that man’s physical life. To quote Amazing Grace, “I was lost, but now I’m found. I was blind, but now I see.” Because of the grace of God, we too can see. He is the Light of the World and opens our eyes to see His truth, to see His creative and redemptive work across creation. Most people in the world are blind to this, having been blind by Satan, but we have been granted a great gift, the gift of sight. What are you going to do with this gift? What should you do today? Tomorrow? Next week?

5. Jesus told him not to enter the village. This is similar to other commands to certain people not to tell others how they had been healed. There were certain points in Jesus’ ministry when He purposefully tried to keep the crowds following Him from growing too large. Overly large crowds tended to be more disorderly and sometimes hindered Jesus from His more in depth discipleship and teaching ministry.

II. Verses 27-33 Discussion Questions

What was Jesus doing on the way? What insight does this give us into Jesus’ ministry? Are there any lessons or applications for us? What productive things can you do “on the way” to work or home? How can you apply this in teaching your children or discipling others?

Why did Jesus ask this question since He already knew the answer?

How did Jesus get them to think about who He really was?

Who piped up with the answer?

What can we learn about Peter from this passage? Do you think the other disciples agreed with Peter?

When do you think they had come to this conclusion? How important is this statement considering their weaknesses and lack of faith which we have seen in past chapters?

Why should they not tell others?

Why did Jesus tell them about His coming sufferings, crucifixion and resurrection? Did they “get it?” How do you know?

How did Peter react to Jesus’ statement? What can you learn about Peter from this? Are there any applications for us?

Why was Jesus so harsh to Peter? Why did He call him Satan?

What seems to be going on behind the scenes in this passage?

Cross-References

Matthew 16:13-20 – Parallel passage.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:19 – We should talk about the things of God wherever we are.

Isaiah 14:27, Job 42:2 – God’s purposes will stand.

Verses on the “hour” or “time” that had not yet come:

John 2:4, 7:6,8, 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, 13:1

Teaching Points

1. On the way – We have discussed this concept before. Jesus’ teaching was not in a classroom. He didn’t have the disciples get twelve desks, twelve pencils, twelve textbooks and then open their books to page number… While there is a time and a place for this type of teaching, teaching in real world context is much more powerful and tangible. Generally classroom teaching exists because it is not feasible for a teacher to teach each student in the context of daily life. Whenever that is possible, it is the better alternative. In the school where I teach, we call this kind of teaching, “teachable moments.” For a parent, that could mean teaching a child about math while at the store buying groceries, teaching about nature while walking in the park, teaching about history while at a memorial, teaching about geography while on a trip, etc. For biblical things there are opportunities every day. For example, I taught Caleb about sharing and giving on JoJo’s birthday. I try to teach them about hospitality when we have guests and so on. Jesus modeled this type of effective teaching. Wherever He went, we can see Him engaging the disciples using real life examples of things they saw every day. Not only is this type of teaching effective, but it is a very productive use of time. They had what some people might say is a lot of “time to kill” while they were travelling from one place to another. But Jesus didn’t kill or waste the time. He used it constructively by stimulating fruitful conversation on important topics.

A. Applications: Teachers, how can you implement this type of teaching in the classroom? Parents, how can you begin to do this more with your kids? If you are not a teacher or a parent, how can you apply these principles? What productive things can you do “on the way” to work or home?

2. Jesus questioned His disciples – This is the second prong of Jesus’ teaching method. He doesn’t lecture them on the way. He questions them on the way. In this passage did Jesus teach? All He did was ask questions. But learning was taking place. Critical thinking was happening. Jesus didn’t ask just one question. He asked a follow up question. His questions were open-ended. Notice that they were not questions that could be answered either “yes” or “no.” Too often we as teachers like to “show off” our knowledge. We like talking. It might be easier to feed the answer to people and it is certainly faster, but it normally won’t help them remember it or obey it. Do you implement this method of teaching in sharing the gospel? Parenting? Leading a Bible study? If not, why not? How can you improve?

3. There was a wide range of opinions on who Jesus was. Some of them were very clearly ill-informed. Which one of these answers is obviously false? Why? Jesus clearly could not have been John the Baptist since their lives overlapped and they were born just a few months apart and had actually seen each other face to face on at least one occasion. But all of the opinions had one thing in common. Everyone believed Jesus was somebody special and not just an ordinary man.

4. “You are the Christ.” – This is a high point in Peter’s “career” as a disciple. Throughout the gospels we see the weaknesses and flaws of the disciples under a magnifying glass. We have seen their hard hearts, their fear, their lack of faith, their short-term memories, their pride, their lack of understanding and the list goes on and on. But this statement right here shows their heart. They believed in Jesus. Matthew gives the full version of what Peter said as, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” What do we learn about Peter and the disciples from this statement? The people were fickle. They followed Jesus for many reasons, many to get help or to be healed or because they were curious. Not so for the disciples. They gave up everything in order to follow Jesus. Why? The disciples believed He was the Son of God. And therefore He was worth it. It wasn’t just empty words. They put their money where their mouth was. When you are challenged by the world around you, what will you say? Will you make a bold statement of faith like Peter did? Or will you waffle? Will you stand on absolute truth or take a relativistic “all roads are equal” path?

5. Jesus warned them not to tell others about this. See cross-references from John. Jesus was very much driven by the mission He had been given to finish. Within that mission, He had a very clear idea about the timetable He wanted to follow as He moved through it step by step. In the book of John we often see this clearly as Jesus makes statements such as his “time” or “hour” had “not yet come.” Perhaps going around proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah would have stirred up opposition to early. Or perhaps it would have led the people to try to make Jesus king by force as they attempted another time. We don’t know exactly what would have happened, but we do not that Jesus didn’t plan for it to happen yet and so restrained them.

6. Jesus did not try to keep the disciples in the dark. He didn’t promise them a utopian existence and then surprise them at the last minute with an “Oh, btw, you will be killed first.” He was very up front with them about the costs of following Him and how they too would suffer by association.

Application: It is important to be honest with seekers. Do not spend all your time in a gospel presentation on eternal life and heaven. They need to understand sin, repentance, lordship, and the cost of being a disciple.

Jesus was friends with the disciples. John 15:15. That meant telling them about His plans, telling them about what was going to happen so that they could be as prepared as possible when that time came. It seems, however, that no matter how much Jesus warned them about these things, they were never fully prepared. That was because of them, not because of Jesus. There are some things that are almost impossible to prepare for. Imagine trying to prepare a mother who is going to give birth soon. You might tell her that it is going to hurt… a lot. Yet I’m going to guess that no amount of preparation can fully prepare a mother for that moment because it is simply outside of anything they have experienced before. The disciples just couldn’t fathom what Jesus was telling them. Hadn’t He stopped the storm? Hadn’t He healed thousands of people? Hadn’t He walked on water? Wasn’t He going to save them?

7. Peter – This passage gives us a concise character study of Peter. What do you learn about Peter from this passage?

  • He liked to answer questions.
  • He was the disciple’s spokesman.
  • He wasn’t shy.
  • He didn’t mince words.
  • He had strong faith in Jesus and wasn’t afraid to say so.
  • He was bold.
  • Sometimes he was too confident.
  • Sometimes he acted without thinking (He had just said Jesus was the Son of God and now he is rebuking Jesus???)
  • He liked taking the lead.
  • He didn’t fully grasp Jesus’ plan.
  • He was rash.

Sometimes he followed up a “high” spiritual moment with a “low” one. He was somewhat of a roller coaster spiritually.

8. Jesus – What do we learn of Jesus from this passage? Peter started off rebuking Jesus, but it ended up to be Peter who was rebuked by Jesus. This is pretty much as harsh a rebuke as you can get. It seems that Satan was attempting to use Peter as a way to discourage Jesus from going through with His plan. Jesus was having no part of it. He shows us that there is a time and a place for a strong rebuke. Sometimes it takes a strong rebuke to knock the sense back into someone who has lost it. Yet we see that Jesus’ rebuke is a corrective one. He doesn’t simply scold Peter. But He gives Peter the reason why he is wrong. He shows Peter that the way back is to stop setting his mind on his own interest, but instead set his mind on God’s. See 2 Timothy 3:16.

Application: What do you learn from Jesus’ response to Peter? What do you think you need to apply from this passage?

STUDY MARK 8:34-9:9

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