I chose this as a “key” chapter from the Gospel of Mark because it includes such a variety of activity in the ministry of Jesus. The six scenes in the chapter cover the rejection of Jesus in His hometown, the sending-out of the disciples, the murder of John the Baptist, the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus walking on the water, and many miracles of healing.
For this lengthy passage, I am going to summarize each section with a list of questions that may lead to application.
Verses 1-6. What was so offensive to the people of Nazareth about Jesus sharing His wisdom and healing the sick (v.3)? Why does it seem that those who need Jesus the most are the ones who are most offended by Him? Could it be that we can’t accept the ministry of Jesus without also dealing with the authority of Jesus? Does our unbelief (lack of faith) limit the work of Jesus in our lives (v.5-6)? What blessings and miracles have I missed because I didn’t believe Him?
Verses 7-13. What does Jesus’ instruction in verses 8-9 teach me about living by faith and trusting Him to meet my needs? What do verses 10-11 teach me about where and to whom I should witness? Am I supposed to just give up on people, or should I do what I can and trust God with the results? Why is it important to tell people they should repent (v.12)? Can a person be saved without repenting?
Verses 14-29. John had a very unique ministry, but should we follow his example in pointing out the sins of public officials (v.18)? What kind of treatment should we expect when we speak up about God’s standards for morality? How does Herod demonstrate the shallow, ineffective faith of a person who gives intellectual assent to the truth (v.20) but does not apply it to his or her life?
Verses 30-44. What does it mean to be “like a sheep without a shepherd” (v.34)? Have you ever felt that way? How can I develop a compassionate heart like Jesus (v.34)? What does this miracle teach about the power of Jesus to make much out of little? Does it apply only to food, or could it also include ability, influence, knowledge, opportunity?
Verses 45-52. How should it comfort us to know that Jesus is watching us and that He is aware when we are struggling? How does the presence of Jesus make a difference when we are afraid and discouraged? What “wind” is blowing against me that I need Jesus to calm?
Verses 53-56. Have I ever been so desperate for Jesus to save my relatives, neighbors, and friends that I would run to them, bring them to Him (v.55), and beg Him to help them (v.56)? If not, why not?