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Q&A: Mark 6

Questions and Answers on Mark 6

Bruce Stanley

March 6, 2023

Mark 6 Q and A

Here are some brief answers to our questions from our Sunday evening service.

If you would like to discuss more, please call me or email:

1. Should we aim in evangelism to draw as large a crowd as possible or to find only a few to disciple deeply?

These are two different things we are called to do. Evangelism is sharing the gospel to see people come to know Jesus. Discipleship is training and leading Christians in their faith. Matthew 28 Jesus calls us to go and baptise making disciples... and teaching them. Here is the command to evangelist AND disciple. Two things.

Drawing large crowds is never the aim. God will provide the people to evangelise whether large or small, 1 or 1000. We are called to evangelise and disciple. It will look different for each of us depending on where and how God leads us in each ministry. But numbers are God's call, not ours. We aim to take every opportunity to reach every household and every generation!

2. How do you know that you are still having a personal relationship with Jesus? (Even if you pray, regularly read the bible, etc) ?

Sometimes we don't feel connected personally with God. This is something I think we all can feel at times. Sometimes it is because we are not spiritually feeding ourselves on the Word of God or in prayer. Sometimes it is because the world weighs us down and it is difficult to connect spiritually to God. When we are in a personal relationship with Jesus, we understand that he understands. That he is not only our Lord and Saviour, but also our brother and friend. Prayer is in my opinion the most personal thing we can do in our relationship with God. We can talk to him at any time, even when we have failed him. When we struggle in prayer or Bible reading or worship in any way, it is that struggle that reminds us that this relationship with Jesus is important and personal. If it was not, we wouldn't care about it. But if you are not sure, please talk with a pastor or friend and share your heart on this.

3. How can Jesus' (ie God's power) be limited by the attitude of family and the people in his hometown??

If their hearts were hardened, any miracle Jesus did would not have brought glory to God. So he could have done these miracles (because he is God), but chose not to because there would have been no purpose for their faith or for the glory of God.

An example in our setting could be "I was not able to vote for my political candidate because of his policies on refugees". Obviously, I COULD vote for that candidate, but chose not to because it would not represent me well if I did. Jesus "was not able" because any work among these cynical people would not have furthered his mission or purpose, or glorified God.

4. Did Jesus send out just the 12, or the 72+?

in this passage, he sent out the 12. Luke 10 tells us of another time he sent out 72:

Luke 10:1

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

5. How did Jesus manage to preach to 15,000 people without a microphone or electronic amplification??

It's a bit of a mystery, isn't it? And how did Moses address the Israelites after receiving the 10 commandments This sort of thing happens a lot. A few thoughts and possibilities:

  • Where he was could have been like an amphitheatre and acoustically pretty good.
  • Only the men may have been up the front. Still, that's 5,000!
  • Not everyone heard.
  • Jesus may have walked around and through the crowd teaching as he walked, perhaps sitting down with various groups.
  • A combination of all of the above.

Short answer - we don't know. But he seemed to impact that many people that day.

6. Coincidence? I think NOT!!!?

Exactly. But thanks for this comment - we always need to be careful that we are not making stuff up - or drawing false conclusions. It helps to go to Biblical scholars and see their thoughts on these matters, and to compare the events with other gospels (Like John 6 in this example) and see if the other gospel writers draw similar conclusions or draw out similar things that are not "coincidences"

7. Is Dr Mario a real doctor

No-one knows. Least of all me!

8. Were the people trying to force Jesus to become King??

It seems not so much in this chapter. But you can see the groundswell of support and the crowd beginning to see that King Herod was very different to King Jesus - and they are starting to work out which one they would prefer!

In John's gospel, after his telling of the same event, he notes that the people do try and make Jesus their worldly King, which must have angered Herod!

John 6:14-15

14After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Why does Mark not say this? Probably because it is not a big focus of his gospel, and because Mark's gospel is quite brief and fast-moving. Each gospel is special in this way - they each have different approaches which highlight different parts of Jesus' life.

9. Where does the bible say God wants a "personal relationship" with us?

Jesus died for his enemies. This is a very personal sacrifice. Jesus came to earth and became a "person" - hence "personal". All of God's story in the Bible is about God reaching out to us "people". Hence it is all the story of a God who wants to be in a personal relationship with us. If you think of how you have a personal relationship with someone, it's all about spending time with them, serving them, loving them and being connected to them. This is what God does for us in the person of Jesus. Here are two of the most personal verses, I think, in the Bible (there are many more but this is a great start):

John 15:9-14

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14You are my friends if you do what I command.

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

10. Can we develop a prompt for rhetorical vs non-rhetorical questions during the sermon?

I think this would have been helpful last night at times! Perhaps I can hold my right palm out for non-rhetorical and my left palm for rhetorical... or just read the room better :)

11. Jesus came to call the Israelites to make individual repentance to God, instead, to rely on the sacrificial system. Is this movement shocking to them??

God calls all people to repentance. It hasn't really changed from Old to New covenant/testament). God still calls us individually to repent of our sins. But it is also helpful, as his people to do this corporately - that is, when we are together.

In 1 Chronicles 17, God calls his people to repent as a nation for this sin as a nation.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

13“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

In Psalm 51:4-10, David personally confesses his sins to the Lord after committing adultery with Bathsheba.

Psalm 51:4-7

4Against you, you only, have I sinnedand done what is evil in your sight;so you are right in your verdictand justified when you judge.5Surely I was sinful at birth,sinful from the time my mother conceived me.6Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;you taught me wisdom in that secret place.7Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

In the New Testament, we see calls to corporate confession and individual confession. The churches in Revelation were called to repent corporately:

Revelation 2:5

5Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Individuals were also called to repent:

James 5:16

16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Mark 1:5

5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

We may privately confess our personal sins to God, and sometimes we confess our private sins to each other.

There are also times to confess our sins corporately (while we are together):

Sometimes we confess corporately that we are individually guilty of sin.

Sometimes we confess corporately that we have sinned as a group.

For example, a church may repent together of their sins for not being generous, or for not welcoming strangers, or for not protecting children (which certainly is the case with the results of the recent royal commission for institutional child abuse).

All of these options happen in the Bible, Old and New Testament:

  • Corporate confession of corporate sin
  • Corporate confession of personal sin
  • Personal confession of personal sin
  • Personal confession of corporate sin

12. The Israelites who abandoned the sacrificial system repented to God to respond to Jesus’ calling. Can it be said a leap of Faith and also guided by Holy Spirit??

The Holy Spirit marks the new and final epoch of salvation history. The work of the Holy Spirit allows us to recognise our need for repentance and our need to trust in Jesus. However, we still operate under a sacrificial system. In the Old Testament, the sacrificial system did not actually take away sins. It pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus, who DID take away sins:

Hebrews 10:11-12

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

"This priest" referred to in Hebrews 10 is Jesus. he is the New Covenant sacrifice for sins, but he is also the sacrifice that the Old Covenant pointed to.

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