Explore the Bible Study: Proclaimed

10:29 AM

What do these words have in common: chatty, garrulous, loquacious, talkative, talk your ear off, chatty Cathy, chatterbox? These all describe someone who just can't keep quiet. Even the quietest person will speak up and possibly become more talkative than anyone else in a group regarding a subject that is interesting to them.  Mark 1:35-45, the focus of the Explore the Bible Study: Proclaimed, is all about knowing when to remain silent and when to speak up.

After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Mark records Jesus’s interactions with His first disciples and a series of miraculous events that took place in Capernaum.

  • Mark 1:21-28 records Jesus displaying His authority over Satan by exorcising a demon from a man who had disrupted Jesus’s teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the man.
  • Mark 1:29-34 then records Mark’s account of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law, along with many other residents of Capernaum.

Then, in Mark 1:35-45, we find Jesus in another part of the Galilee region. Jesus makes a very important decision to separate Himself from the crowds, disciples, and busyness so He can spend time with His Father. 

It’s during this event that we discover something about when we should remain silent and when we should speak up as we follow Jesus.

The Disciples Missed the Silent Part! - Mark 1:35-39

Multiple times throughout the gospel writings, we are told how Jesus would get away from the crowds to be alone with His Father. Seeking God and spending time alone with Him was vital to his mission. He was residing in a human body that functioned with all the personality and emotions of any other human being. He needed time away to recharge, rethink, and refocus.

Yet this time away was not received very well by the young disciples. They totally missed what was unfolding. Notice how Mark includes that, “Simon and his companions searched for him, and when they found him they said, “Everyone is looking for you”?

The disciples seemed oblivious and quite possibly irritated by Jesus’s disappearance. It’s only through Mark’s writings after the fact that we understand why Jesus went away. He desired time with God through prayer. 

If Mark had written this event in real time as it unfolded, he might have said something like this: “I can’t believe Jesus is missing. What was He thinking? Just when things were really starting to look up, he disappeared, and we can’t find Him. All these people are waiting on Him to do more great things. We have an opportunity here to capitalize on the momentum.

The word “search” most likely describes this type of response. “Search” is derived from a verb that means to “track down.” In the Greek, it was usually used in a hostile way. The disciples were most likely disturbed and maybe even aggravated with Jesus, so they were trying to track Him down. 

Do you sometimes wonder why Jesus isn’t doing something you think He should be doing? Do you ask the same question Simon Peter asks? What can you learn from this scene?

There are a few things we can learn from these verses. 

  • First, if Jesus seems silent or absent while you are experiencing a problem or a need, this doesn’t mean He is ignoring you.
  • Second, as believers we all need to know when to get away and alone with the Father in prayer. It is during those times that God usually speaks the loudest. However, we should understand that when we are alone with God in prayer that there will be people, situations, and other distractions that will try to pull us away as did the disciples with Jesus.

What activities could keep you so busy that you miss spending time with God?

How can busyness drain you physically and emotionally?

How can busyness distract you from God’s plan for your life?

How can busyness cause you to miss hearing from God?

Where is your “deserted place” that helps you hear from God?

Because Jesus spent time with the Father, He was more resolute regarding His mission and purpose. He knew He could not remain silent.

Jesus Couldn’t Remain Silent – Mark 1:38-39

Jesus always knew why God had placed Him in this world. He hadn’t forgotten, but He had grown tired and possibly distracted by all the needs around Him. After pulling away for awhile, we see Jesus becoming refocused and more resolute about His purpose and His next steps.

Notice how Jesus said, “Let’s go”; then he began talking about what He had come to do personally.

Why did Jesus take His disciples with Him when it was His mission that He had come to fulfill? How would you describe your mission as a believer? Who should you take with you as you go?

Why didn’t Jesus simply stay put and let the people come to Him? Do we sometimes expect people to come to us instead of us going to them?

Jesus had come to preach the good news of God’s kingdom to as many people as possible. His ministry and message involved far more than just one or two towns and He invited His disciples to join Him and learn from Him as we went from town to town.

This should also be our purpose and ministry as believers. We are commissioned to take the good news to those who have not yet heard about Jesus, letting them know that salvation is only available through Him. As we go, we too should take others with us so that they can learn and grow in their faith.

People Who are Looking for Jesus Won’t Remain Silent - Mark 1:40-42

According to the World Health Organization, leprosy still affects more than 200,000 people worldwide today; but it can be treated, and most people are able to live normal lives. In the first century, though, it was a feared and dreadful disease. 

Leprosy during biblical times could have described many skin diseases, but it commonly affected every part of the body. In worst cases, it would slowly eat away and rot the body, putting its victim under a guaranteed death sentence. According to Old Testament writings we know that lepers were isolated from social interactions and placed in leper colonies outside the city. They would have to dress like people in mourning by wearing torn clothes and a face covering. When other people approached, lepers were required to shout out that they were unclean so those people could avoid them.

But this leper did not shout out that he was unclean. He came to Jesus begging to be made clean which was the equivalent to being healed. His boldness was measured with humility, as he fell to his knees and pleaded with Jesus to make him clean. 

What actions demonstrated Jesus’s view of the leper and His needs? How does this compare to how you might respond to someone who is “unclean” because of sin? 

We see in Jesus how all believers should respond, yet we must admit it is easier said than done. Jesus had a compassionate heart toward this man. His compassion for this man’s need was larger than His fear, prejudice, or bias. Jesus reached out and touched this man. Then He healed the leper.

If Jesus could reach out to a leper with compassion, certainly we can offer the healing power of the gospel to someone who might come to us seeking Jesus. If someone reaches out to us because they know they are “unclean” because of sin, we certainly should be ready to reach out to them, demonstrate compassion, and offer them the healing power of the gospel.

People Who Have Been Healed by Jesus Can’t Remain Silent - Mark 1:43-45

Why did Jesus not want the man to tell anyone except the priest? Do you believe Jesus knew this man couldn’t keep his mouth shut? What was the result of the man’s disobedience? Did it stop the spread of the gospel? (No)

Jesus warned him not to tell anyone about being healed. Yet, this man told everyone. His testimony could not be silenced. The fact that Jesus could no longer enter a town openly, was out in deserted places, yet they came to Him from everywhere tells us a lot about the power of the Gospel message. 

When Jesus is revealed to a world desperate for something or someone to heal their lives, they will seek Him wherever He may be found because of the testimonies of those whose lives have been changed by Him.

Consider your times of silence and times when you speak up for the gospel. 

What can you learn from this passage today?

Perhaps you need to learn from Jesus regarding the time you need to be quiet as you let God speak to you through prayer. 

Perhaps you are like the disciples who didn’t know when to keep silent and didn’t understand the silence of Jesus when so many people were seeking Him. 

Perhaps you are like the leper before he was healed. You know you need to come to Jesus for healing. If you come to Him, He will come to you in compassion, reach out and touch your life, and heal you from your sin. 

Or perhaps you think the way the leper responded after he was healed is the way you need to live your life. Perhaps you desire to be so bold that you speak up, even when we are told not to speak up so that others might seek Jesus.

 The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

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LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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