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Sabbath School Lessons on Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 1: Introducing Jesus, the Son of God *
Introduction: Papias, an early Christian writer, provides a very
interesting insight into the Gospel of Mark. Relying on a very early
source, Papias tells us that Mark was a close associate of Peter.
This is supported by 1 Peter 5:13 where we find Peter referring to
Mark as "my son Mark." Church tradition refers to Mark as "Peter's
interpreter." (The Bible Exposition Commentary) Thus it appears that
Peter preached about his work with Jesus and Mark wrote it down and
arranged it. (NIV Study Bible, Introduction to Mark) The book of Mark
is filled with action - small wonder if he took his source material
from Peter. Let's jump into the action by beginning our study of
- The Proof
- Read Mark 1:1. Have you ever said, "Keep it simple,
stupid?" Do you prefer things straightforward and
- How does Mark start his gospel? (Simple and to the
- Can you see Peter preaching this way?
- The word "gospel" means "good news." Read Mark 1:1
and substitute "good news" for the word "gospel."
- Read Mark 1:2-4. Being simple is one thing. Being accurate
is another. What is Mark's approach to proving to us that
his statement in Mark 1:1 is the truth? (He quotes the
prophets: Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. Mark knows the
prophets foretold that Jesus would have someone who
prepared the way for His coming. Mark says, "This
happened. These prophecies were fulfilled.")
- How, specifically, did John prepare the way for
Jesus? (He preached a gospel of repentance.)
- How does this apply to your life? If you want Jesus
to come into your heart, is repentance your first
- Read Mark 1:5-7. What is the next proof that Mark presents
about Jesus being "the Son of God." (First, John prepares
the way for Jesus, just as was prophesied. Second, John
testifies that he is preparing the way for Jesus. You have
both the witness of Scripture and the witness of the
- How popular was John? (He got the attention of
- Why was John so popular? Was it his "dress for
success" approach? Was it his great diet
- Was there a reason why John was asking the people to
repent and be baptized? (We must not miss the big
picture here. The reason for the people to repent and
be baptized was because the Messiah was coming. Mark
1:7 very clearly tells us "this was [John's] message"
that the Messiah was about to come. It was not his
diet or dress, it was his message that the Messiah,
at long last, was about to appear. The reaction of
the people in believing that the Messiah was coming
soon is yet further proof that Jesus is the promised
- What lesson can we learn from this about the
relative importance of our message versus our
diet and dress?
- Or, is our diet and dress part of the message?
- Read Mark 1:8. How do the roles of John the Baptist and
Jesus compare? (John facilitates the initial cleaning,
Jesus purifies them through the power of the Holy Spirit.)
- Consider again the comparison to your spiritual life.
After you repent and are washed by baptism, what
happens next? (This is what we studied last quarter -
the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying our life.)
- Read John 4:1-2. How do you explain this text, when
John the Baptist predicts Jesus will baptize with the
Holy Spirit? (This text is consistent in that Jesus
is not baptizing with water. John the Baptist must
mean that Jesus would cause people to come "under"
the power of the Holy Spirit. I can see the symbolism
between being buried in water and covered with the
Holy Spirit. Compare Matthew 28:19. )
- Read Acts 1:4-5. What other insight do we get from
this text about Jesus' baptizing others with the Holy
- Read Mark 1:9. Why would Jesus be baptized by John? Was
it to wash away His sins?
- Compare Matthew 3:13-15. What does Jesus mean to
"fulfill all righteousness?" (Baptism is the
ordinance that we go through to show that we died to
our old life and now are righteous by faith. (Romans
6:4-5.) Jesus was being an example to us - He was
showing us how to fulfill righteousness.)
- Read Mark 1:10-11. What other proof is Mark presenting
that Jesus is the Son of God? (God the Father and the Holy
Spirit are now also witnesses.)
- Read Mark 1:12-13. The Bible Exposition Commentary says
that God and the Holy Spirit were the final witnesses to
Jesus being the Messiah. I'm not sure. Who else is
witnessing to the divinity of Jesus? (Why would Satan
spend 40 days tempting Jesus if he did not think it
important? The stature of your enemies says something
about you. I think Satan and the good angels are the last
witnesses Mark uses to prove that Jesus was the Son of
- The Time Has Come
- Read Mark 1:14-15. Why did Jesus wait to begin His
ministry until after John had been imprisoned? (I think He
understood that this was God's signal that it was time for
Him to begin. John prepared the way. Now was the time for
John to diminish and Jesus increase. See John 3:30.)
- Read Mark 1:16-18. Today I spent most of my time listening
to a private school consultant. He stressed the important
of "profiling" school board members. Profiling means that
you pick board members on the basis of whether they will
be able to fulfill the strategic goals of the church
school. Does Jesus seem to be "profiling?" Is He picking
helpers based on their ability to accomplish His strategic
- Read Mark 1:19-20. Again, we have Jesus picking men who
seem to have no theological background. What attitude did
James and John appear to have? (They were willing. Simon
and Andrew "at once" ( Mark 1:18) decided to follow Jesus.
James and John followed Him when He called them. All four
of these men seem most willing to follow Jesus.)
- In the strategic goals of your church, how important
is it to have people who are "willing?"
- We asked why Jesus would choose these men. Let's turn
the question around, why would these men follow
Jesus? (This was not their first meeting with Jesus.
Read John 1:35-49. They believed that Jesus was the
- Friend, how about you - do you believe that Jesus is the
Messiah? Are you willing to follow Jesus by building your
life around His mission?
- Next week: Amazing Miracle Worker.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.