A Study in Mark, Week 5

Chapters 9&10 of this gospel tell of Jesus’ final days of ministry on Earth. As his ministry comes to a close, and Jesus approaches Jerusalem, where his crucifixion will take place, we read many more stories of not only Jesus’ desire to heal, but also his vision to send out apostles to carry on his will.

The apostles must have been at an interesting place in society. The majority of them were unschooled, teenage fisherman who met Jesus early on in his ministry, and answered a simple call to “follow him”. They were not scholars of the Old Testament. They were not philosophers who had well-thought-out views on life. They were young men who trusted Jesus for more than what they could provide themselves. Even though we think of them as the heroes they were, we must remember that they were still learners. They never seemed to fully understand what Jesus meant in his teachings, and they made mistakes in how they perceived the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ that Jesus kept proclaiming.

Jesus’ life and ministry introduce us to a new kingdom with new values that we are becoming more and more acquainted with each day. We wrestle with the tension of living in God’s Kingdom and the world at the same time. Just when we think we have got it, our brokenness shines through and we get very discouraged. We cannot dwell on this. Jesus knows our brokenness. He knows that we just sometimes don’t get it. But, He is faithful to forgive us, and He chooses to use us despite our flaws. For this we must press on in our faith. We must receive his forgiveness and believe the truth about ourselves as children of God.

In our focus passage, Jesus speaks about a quality of faith that marks the kingdom...childlikeness. We see Jesus place two spirits of faith in opposition throughout his teachings. 1. The religious spirit. 2. The childlike spirit. The Pharisees possessed a religious spirit. Jesus proclaims his followers need to possess a childlike spirit. But what is a childlike spirit?

Our goal this week we will discuss how the child-like faith Jesus encourages fits into our spiritual maturity and growth as Christians.

Passage: Mark 10:13-15

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (NIV)

Questions:

  1. What stood out to you in chapters 9&10 of Mark?
  2. Why do you believe the disciples rebuked the people who were bringing the children to Jesus? Is there anything significant about their reasoning to keep them away?
  3. There are only a few occasions in the Gospels where Jesus becomes cross. Why do you think this is one of those situations?
  4. What does it look like to receive the kingdom of God like a little child?
  5. In contrast, 1 Cor. 13.11 states, “when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” How does Paul’s calling to spiritual maturity relate to Jesus’ words about childlike faith? (See also Heb. 5:11-14)
  6. Spiritual maturity is defined as the growth process of becoming more like Christ. Is your faith currently bringing you closer to Jesus, or do you find yourself placing conditions on your relationship with God?

Prayer:

As Christians, we believe that prayer plays an important role in all aspects of our lives. We want to encourage you to pray that God will take what has been discussed and change your life. Be bold, and be brave as you reach out to claim wisdom from Jesus for your life.