Community Group Leaders Guide

Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, Spring 2020

Who Does Jesus Think He Is?

30 Days in the Gospel of Mark

Dear Community Group Leaders,

Consider this a VERY short discussion guide to help you navigate all of the videos/texts and provide a road map for discussion you may choose to lead in your groups. Remember, the accompanying videos we (Bart, Matt, and I) recorded for each text can be found at wcpres.org.  Feel free to pick and choose which texts/videos you use in your groups (if you use these at all!), since most of your groups only meet weekly and you won’t likely go through every one. Basically, what follows is designed so that you could ask three questions of your members for each text. Notice that only the first question changes. Pray that your members will encounter the real Jesus through your study! Here’s the general format of the questions:

  1. Who does Jesus think he is?
    (I’ll have some bullet points to add under each text about what this particular text reveals about Jesus, his purposes, his claims about himself, etc.)
  2. Who do you think Jesus is?
    (i.e. does what Jesus says or implies in this text expand upon or contradict what you’ve thought about him until now?  Where are you challenged? Where affirmed? Where confused? Where might part of you remain skeptical?)
  3. What implications does that have for your life?
    (i.e. were you to take Jesus at his word, what new thoughts, new feelings, new courses of life or behaviors might you need to engage in? What comfort would you be free to experience? What limitations? What new hope? Etc, etc.)

Enjoy this brief guide, pardon the roughness, and be creative!

In Christ,
Brian Kay
Assistant Pastor of Community Groups and Connections

Week 1

3/30 - Day 1

Mark 1:1-20

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Jesus the Christ (means “anointed one”), the Son of God
  • The coming Lord
  • Beloved Son
  • True Israel
  • Bringer of God’s kingdom (which means “active reign” of God)
  • One who calls people to “repent” (i.e. admit their wrong direction and change it)
  • Caller of disciples (yes, there’s an action step for all of us here)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

3/31 - Day 2

Mark 1:21-45

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Deliverer from evil (spirits)
  • Healer (fever, leprosy)
  • Connected to Father in prayer (a glimpse of doctrine of the Trinity)
  • A preacher (not just a mercy worker, he came to teach. Ministry still has this balance.)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/01 - Day 3

Mark 2:1-17

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Not just a healer, but a forgiver of sins (more significant!); they were as amazed as we would be!
  • Hung out with “partiers” and people who needed God but who would not have appeared spiritually “serious” perhaps; he came to be with sinners!

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/02 - Day 4

Mark 2:18-28

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Fast-Breaker
  • Sabbath-Breaker (at least as people in his day wrongly understood it)
  • Lord of the Sabbath (he claim he’s in charge of the rules of this ancient practice!)
  • Teaches that Sabbath is not a set of onerous rules, but a life-giving gift

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/03 - Day 5

Mark 3:1-12

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Continues to heal on the Sabbath, angering religious authorities
  • A highly popular healer by now, draws many from all regions of Israel and beyond
  • Continues to silence demons who know his full identity: the “messianic secret”

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

Week 2

4/06 - Day 6

Mark 3:13-35

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Assembles 12 core disciples, clear reminder of 12 tribes of Israel (i.e. is he reconstituting Israel itself? Is the Jesus Movement Israel 2.0?)
  • Scorned by his own nuclear family as “out of his mind”
  • Claims the truest family is spiritual family, i.e. followers of Jesus constitute a family closer than biological family!

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/07 - Day 7

Mark 4:1-20

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Uses parables as prime way of teaching - and yet parables seem to be intentionally opaque. Why do this?
  • Gives “secret of the kingdom” to some, while others shrug their shoulders and walk away
  • Names four types of spiritual receptiveness, and only one lasts. 
  • Challenges listeners to diagnose the soil type of their hearts

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/08 - Day 8

Mark 4:21-41

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Defines of the “kingdom” through several short parables
  • Mustard seed concept: kingdom has arrived in Jesus, though it is still small, but one day it will be huge, and in it’s hugeness is provides “shade” for many.
  • Lord of Natural Forces - he calms a storm with a spoken word; implies that to be with him takes away fear for those who trust him

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/09 - Day 9

Mark 5:1-20

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Goes out of his way to cast spirits out of a man in Gentile territory
  • Spiritual bondage of man has led to self-harm, mental breakdown, spiritual despair, social outcast - all of which Jesus reverses
  • Opposite reactions: man wants to follow Jesus/villagers want Jesus to leave
  • Commissions man as an evangelist, to tell his story to others

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/10 - Day 10

Mark 5:21-43

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Compassionate One: heals a long-suffering woman, praises even her timid and perhaps a bit superstitious faith
  • The resurrector: raises a girl from the dead, with a word (is the reversal of death part of the kingdom too?!)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

Week 3

4/13 - Day 11

Mark 6:1-29

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Rejected in his hometown and being an upstart
  • Sends out his disciples in pairs to continue kingdom proclamation but without him there (a sign of things to come? Is this how kingdom will grow into full-sized mustard tree?)
  • Herod’s kingdom by contrast: murder not healing, fear of his guests vs. boldness, rocky soil vs. good soil

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/14 - Day 12

Mark 6:30-56

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • The Feeder of His People
  • Jesus provides miracle bread to a crowd (is he a New Moses? But also, the God who recruited Moses to serve crowds the way Jesus recruited the disciples to serve the 5,000?)
  • Water Walker (again, he’s Lord Over All Nature and Its Laws)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/15 - Day 13

Mark 7:1-23

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Critic of Lip Service (vs. Heart Service)
  • Declares all foods clean (and this IS an update on laws of Moses. Is Jesus allowed to do that?!)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/16 - Day 14

Mark 7:24-37

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Heals a Gentile woman’s daughter - but seemingly grudgingly? What’s he up to?
  • Again names “faith” as the proper response to him and his kingdom
  • Ear Opener/Tongue Loosener: deeper implication that Jesus helps us all to hear properly, and to speak properly

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/17 - Day 15

Mark 8:1-21

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Miraculously feeds ANOTHER crowd (this time 4,000)
  • He’s making a point, “do you not yet understand?” (v.21)
  • What’s his point? Perhaps: I AM your bread.  With me, you’ll NEVER be hungry. Also: 7 = completion; 12 = Israel; so, Jesus is creating the Completed Israel, entered by faith, by just anyone who turns to him for spiritual sustenance.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

Week 4

4/20 - Day 16

Mark 8:22- 9:1

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • The Eye Opener: with Jesus, we see everything rightly
  • Peter’s (Correct!) Confession: Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), but now Jesus immediately predicts his death and resurrection:  this is not the Messiah they’d expected or the kind of “ruling” they’d have chosen. Also, they probably think it’s another parable and not literal!

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/21 - Day 17

Mark 9:2-29

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • The Transfigured One: a rare glimpse of his true glory, a theophany (“God-shining”). Moses’ face had “glowed” after encountering God on another mountain, but here Jesus himself is the source of light.  Moses/Elijah summarize Law/Prophets, i.e. whole Old Testament. Jesus is validated therefore by the “whole Bible”.  
  • Human response: let’s just stay with you here, forever.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/22 - Day 18

Mark 9:30-50

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Redefines “greatness” in this kingdom: humble service (it’s an upside-down kingdom, for sure!)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/23 - Day 19

Mark 10:1-31

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Lord of Family Law (!): marriage is for life (exceptions are given elsewhere)
  • Kingdom must be received “as a child” (a check against spiritual elitism and a defense of simple trusting faith as the ideal)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/24 - Day 20

Mark 10:32-52

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Another foretelling of his death and resurrection (the third time! This must be important, and maybe it’s not figurative afterall!)
  • Another template of the servant leader vs the bossy leader
  • Another Eye-Opening (see Day 16 for earlier one)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

Week 5

4/27 - Day 21

Mark 11:1-33

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Full Claim to Kingship - riding into Jerusalem and accepting worship/ a repeat of King David’s entry, perhaps
  • But a Humble Kingship (riding a donkey)
  • Curses a Fig Tree = cursing faithless/fruitless Israel (a fig tree would have symbolized Israel itself)
  • Temple Cleanser - does he have a right to purify the temple and put out all who defile it? Yes, he thinks he does.  Deeper point: he clears the way for access to his Father.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/28 - Day 22

Mark 12:1-27

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Parable of the Vineyard: Jesus claims to be the late in a line of prophets, but also the specialist since his is the Owner’s only “beloved Son.”
  • Defines Life in Non-Christian Culture: pay your taxes, participate, but give your life only to God (icon = image; if you bear God’s image (not Caesar’s image), and you do, render yourself to God, even if you give your Caeser-icons to Caesar)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/29 - Day 23

Mark 12:28-44

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Summarizer of the Law: love God, love others
  • Claims of Supremacy: David, looking down channels of history, called me “Lord”

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

4/30 - Day 24

Mark 13:1-23

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Prediction of Persecution: if you follow me, you’ll be harassed, but don’t worry, you’ll have my Spirit
  • Predicts the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, which came true in 70 AD.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

5/01 - Day 25

Mark 13:24-37

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Promises he’ll return at the close of history - with divine glory
  • Silences End Time Predictions: only the Father knows the day and time, not even me! (implies that even the divine Son in his human nature doesn’t all operate out of his own full omniscience)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

Week 6

4/27 - Day 21

Mark 14:1-31

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Accepts a Kingly Anointing (even though it was expensive)
  • Redefines Passover with his own blood as central, not the blood of the lamb!
  • Passover celebrated how God protected his people from his own judgment, with the blood of a sacrificial lamb shielding them.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

5/05 - Day 27

Mark 14:32-72

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Prays his human desires, but follows with “but your will be done.” The model for all prayers of petition.
  • Claims to one day sit at right hand of the Father (implies equal glory)
  • Future judge of the world

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

5/06 - Day 28

Mark 15:1-20

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Admits to being king of the Jews (“you have said so” is an idiom = yes)
  • Allows mockery, doesn’t defend himself.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

5/07 - Day 29

Mark 15:21-47

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Death triggers tearing of the “temple curtain” which would have removed the barrier between God’s presence in the Holy of Holies and the worshipper.  Point: Jesus’ death gives us access to the presence of God in a way that no one ever experienced before.

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?

5/08 - Day 30

Mark 16:1-20

Who does Jesus think he is?

  • Rises from the dead
  • Fulfills mission
  • Allows women as the first witnesses (surprising elevation of women, since female testimony wasn’t accepted in court)
  • Commissions his followers to spread his word everywhere. (see Matt. 28 for another version, since Mark 16:9-20 may not be in original Gospel text but a later addition.)

Who do you think Jesus is? 

What implications does this have for your life?