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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 41 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 6: Passion Predicted *
Introduction: What keeps a person from having faith in Jesus? The
insults of church members? The failure of prayer to obtain the
requested results? Spiritual blindness? This week we study a series
of stories surrounding Jesus' miracles. In these stories we learn
lessons about the importance of faith. Let's dive into our study!
- Let the Dogs Eat
- Read Mark 7:24-26. How do you feel when you want to be
left alone and someone is bothering you? Is that how Jesus
- Even when you want to be left alone, are you willing
to be interrupted for sufficiently important reasons?
- Is this a sufficiently important reason?
- Read Mark 7:27. Why is Jesus talking about feeding dogs?
- If Jesus is calling this woman a "dog," what does
that say about His attitude toward her interruption?
(He was calling her a "dog." She was not only a
Gentile, she was a woman, neither of which got you
any points in that culture.)
- Mark smooths over Jesus' roughness towards this
woman. Read Matthew 15:22-23. What additional insult
do we see in Matthew? (Jesus ignores her. He does not
even answer her at first.)
- Read Matthew 15:24. Is this woman outside the scope
of God's care?
- What would she think is the answer?
- Let's look back again at Mark 7:27 and then read Mark
7:28. Put yourself in her place. What response would you
give? What response would the world give? What would be
the outcome of this story if verse 28 reported that she
threw back insults at Jesus and said: "I'm having nothing
to do with whatever religion you have to offer." (She made
no insult. Instead, she called Him "Lord!")
- What do her words reveal about her? (If you look
carefully at Mark 7:27, you will see that Jesus is
not closing the door on her. He is implying that
something may be available after the children eat.
She grasps the small hope given in His words.)
- What cuts across racial and gender lines and gives
this woman a miracle? (Faith! She did not look to the
left or the right. She tossed off insults and
societal disabilities. She held fast to faith.)
- Read Mark 7:29-30. What lesson do you find here for the
modern church? (How many times do we wail about our
inherited problems? I have this problem because of my
race, my gender, my upbringing, my parents, etc. We get so
upset if someone treads on our "problem." If that is the
focus of your life, you are missing the point of this
story. Faith is the great leveler. Faith brings you to the
throne of God.)
- Now, all of you bigots (and, honestly, we all are,
including you) what is the lesson in this for us? Should
we be making distinctions based on race and gender? Is
that the lesson Jesus is teaching? (No. Jesus is teaching
us that faith is our common bond. Whatever side of the
equation you are on, whether the favored or disfavored
race or gender, we need to look only through the eyes of
- Would Jesus have so throughly insulted this woman if
she lacked faith? (It is hard to imagine that Someone
who stands at the door of our heart knocking
( Revelation 3:20), is waiting to hurl insults. Jesus
knew her heart.)
- Bread and Yeast
- Let's talk about food some more. In Mark 8:1-10 Jesus
again feeds thousands of people by multiplying the small
amount of food they had on hand. He and his disciples then
got into a boat. Read Mark 8:14-16. What are some of the
ingredients of bread? (Yeast would be one.)
- When the disciples go to the store to buy supplies,
they should avoid the yeast marketed by the Pharisees
or Herod. Right? Herod brand yeast is out.
- Read Mark 8:17-18. What problems do the disciples face,
according to Jesus? (They cannot properly see, hear, think
or remember. And, they are unspiritual.)
- Let's do a self-check. Is Jesus talking about bread?
- Read Mark 8:19-21. What is there to understand? (Jesus is
talking about bread at some level. Why should the
disciples worry about having enough bread when they have
Jesus with them - the man who had twice fed thousands of
people from basically nothing.)
- Should you be worried about your needs in life? (Yes,
if you cannot properly see, hear, think or remember.
And, you are unspiritual. The disciples were worried
about having enough bread and Jesus said those things
- Compare the Gentile woman to the disciples. (She
showed faith in the face of adversity. The disciples
did not show faith when things were going perfectly
- Let's get back to the initial question: Jesus warning
about the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Is Jesus
talking about bread in that context?
- What does yeast do to bread? (It makes it expand.)
- What was Jesus doing to the bread in the feeding of
the thousands? (He was making it expand.)
- What, then, is "Jesus yeast" versus "Pharisee
yeast?" (Jesus performed these miracles through
the power of God. Herod and the Pharisees were
working through their own power. The disciples
were using "Pharisee yeast" when they were
worried about forgetting to bring more bread.
They were focused on what they could do or what
they had. Although yeast is used to represent a
number of specific sins (see, 1 Corinthians 5:6-7; Galatians 5:7-9; Luke 12:1), it seems that
Jesus is talking about an attitude of faith
versus the attitude of the world and false
religion. We need to have faith that Jesus can
"expand" whatever we have to meet the need.)
- Whose fault was it that they had forgotten bread?
- Does the spiritual lesson turn on who is at
fault for creating the problem? (The focus is on
Who is the solution, not who is at fault. The
focus is on faith.)
- Tree Watching
- Read Mark 8:22. Who asked Jesus to heal the blind man: him
or others? (It appears that those who brought him asked
Jesus to heal him.)
- Read Mark 8:23-24. What does it mean to see people who
look like trees walking? (I know all about this. Until
some recent surgery, my eyesight had been getting worse
over the years. (Too much reading!) When I was in college,
because I could not see that well at a distance, I would
recognize people on campus by the way they walked. This
fellow is telling Jesus that the only way he can tell
people from trees is that the people are moving.)
- Read Mark 8:25. How many times did Jesus have to perform
this miracle to obtain perfect results?
- How do you explain an imperfect miracle?
- Why would Jesus imperfectly heal this man's
vision the first time? (Let's start with the
assumption, based on His other miracles, that
Jesus had the power to do it right the first
time. Recall two things. First, Mark has been
teaching us about faith. Second, it appears the
blind man came based on the faith of others. By
performing a "two stage" miracle, Jesus
cultivated this man's faith.)
- What lesson do we find for us? (When it seems
that God has not perfectly solved your problems,
perhaps it is to cultivate your faith.)
- Friend, what about you? Have you let the insults of others
keep you from faith? If so, consider the faith of the
Gentile woman. Have you let "imperfect" answers to your
prayers keep you from faith? If so, consider the blind man
healed in two stages. Has your faith failed simply because
you do not open your eyes to what Jesus has done in your
life? If so, consider Jesus' disciples and their concern
about bread. Faith in Jesus is central to your spiritual
- Next week: Teaching the Disciples.
* 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.