Over the past three days we have been going through a brief survey of the Gospel of Mark. Here are the links to the previous two days studies:
Today we are going to move forward and study Mark chapters 7-10. The focus of this passage is on the death of Christ on the cross. We will see today that Jesus died to pay the ransom to set us free from our sin.
1. Jesus Corrected the Teaching of the Pharisees (7:1-23)
In Jesus day, the Jewish people were divided into many different groups or sects, each having slightly different beliefs on certain doctrinal issues. Three of the groups that we meet in the New Testament are the Pharisees, the Scribes, and the Sadducees. Without getting into great detail, the Pharisees and Scribes believed that strict observance of the law was necessary for a person to be right with God. In addition to the commands found in the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pharisees added hundreds of additional commands intended to build a fence or boundary around the command so that they would protect themselves from committing any sin. By Jesus’ day, this set of commands was so vast and complex it was nearly impossible for anyone to even remember them all, let alone obey them. In this passage, Jesus comes into conflict with the Pharisees and Scribes over their interpretation of the law.
The Scribes and Pharisees were very concerned with the issue of impurity or uncleanness. In their understanding, a person could become defiled by coming into contact with anything impure or unclean. This is a complicated Old Testament concept that was taken to an extreme by the Pharisees. When they saw Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands first, they were offended and brought their complaint to Jesus. Specifically, they wanted to know why the disciples were breaking the “tradition of the elders.”
Jesus’ response to them is important, because it shows us how tradition can interfere with the worship of God. He shows the Pharisees that many of their traditions were in direct contradiction to the intention of the original command. But, more importantly, Jesus shows them that defilement comes from the inside rather than the outside (v.17-23). In other words, the impulse sin comes from within our hearts rather than from outside. As believers, we always need to remember that the problem of sin is internal, not external. In other words, the temptation to sin comes from within our heart rather than from the environment that we live in. Therefore, spiritual transformation must focus on our hearts rather than on just external conformity to rules and regulations.
2. Jesus Feeds Five Thousand People (8:1-12)
The word “compassion” in v.2, is a key to understanding the life and ministry of Christ. The word literally means to “be moved in one’s inward parts.” It describes the tightening of the stomach that we feel when we see someone who is hurting or in need. The important thing to remember when “compassion” is used in the Bible, is that it always results in action.
Points to Ponder:
What Did Jesus do in response to the people’s needs in this passage?
What does this teach you about Jesus?
3. Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection (8:31-38; 9:1-13; 9:30-32; 10:32-34)
Three times in this passage Jesus predicts His death and resurrection. The verse that I want us to focus on is Mark 10:45 where Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man did not come be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
When most people hear the word “ransom”, they immediately think of a kidnapper holding someone for money. A “ransom” is the price paid in order to set a kidnapped person free. This is essentially the same way that the Bible uses the word when it refers to the death of Jesus as the ransom paid to forgive our sin. As we learned last week, human beings are under the bondage of sin and death. Because our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned, we are all sinners, both by nature and by choice. In Genesis 2:17, God told Adam the penalty for not obeying Him would be death. We see this same teaching repeated in Romans 6:23 when it says, “The wages of sin is death…” Before going any further, we must understand exactly what the Bible means by the word “death”. The Bible refers to death in three separate ways:
1. Death refers to the physical cessation of life- This is the most basic sense in which the Bible uses the term death. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Prior to Adam’s sin, there was no death in the world, but by his one act of rebellion death came into the world and spread from generation to generation.
2.Death refers to the breach in our relationship with God- While Adam and Eve did not physically die on the day they sinned, they did suffer a breach in their relationship with God. Rather than enjoying their fellowship with Him, now they feared Him and ran to hide from His presence (see Gen 3:8-10). Because we have inherited Adam’s nature, we are all born separated from God and dead in the trespasses of our sin. (see Ephesians 2:1-3)
3. Death refers to eternal separation from God in hell- Revelation 20:14 says that those who do not repent of their sins and believe in the gospel will one day be thrown into a lake of fire, which is called “the second death.” This is the ultimate penalty for our sin. We are created to live forever, but where we spend eternity will depend on our response to the gospel. Jesus died in order to pay the penalty for our sin, but we must turn away from our sin and put our trust in Him.
In the comments section, share with all of us what you have learned about Jesus in today’s Bible study: