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A BETTER

H E R O


All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ All material and design is © Dundonald Church 2018, part of the Co-Mission network. You are free to copy, print and use this resource so long as you do not charge for it and this copyright notice appears in it.


Contents p1

Introduction

p2

The Hero’s Identity

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Our Problem

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The Hero’s Mission

p8

Follow The Hero

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What Next...


“Someone needs to fight, someone needs to sacrifice, someone needs to inspire, someone needs to be a hero.” AMIT KALANTRI


Introduction All of us long for a hero to follow. A champion. Someone who will fight for us, give us meaning and purpose, and provide hope for the future. It might be a politician, a sportsperson, a family member or friend. It might even be ourselves. But time and again, these ‘heroes’ fail to deliver. They let us down. But what if there was a better hero? Someone who provided true meaning and purpose, who was able to save us from our biggest problem of all, and provide us with lasting hope? In the pages of Mark’s Gospel, we read about the historical account of the life of Jesus. These four short studies have been designed for you to either read on your own, or do with a Christian friend at a time and place that suits you - it might be down the pub, in a café, at work or at home. So why not make the time to examine what Mark says, and discover a better hero.

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The Hero’s Identity M A R K 2 :1 –1 2

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few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 6

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

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 hat does this story tell us about WHO Mark thinks W Jesus is?

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What does Jesus think is this man’s biggest problem? Is that surprising?

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What does this story tell us about WHY Jesus has come?

Food for thought:

How is Mark’s view of Jesus different to how you imagined Jesus?

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Our Problem M A R K 7:1 4–2 3

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gain Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

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He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” 20

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From last time, we might be left thinking:

What is sin? How could it be more serious than paralysis?!

1 2 3

What’s surprising about the list of ‘evils’ that Jesus mentions?

What does Jesus say that we are naturally like?

We might find what Jesus says hard to hear. Why?

Food for thought:

How does this help make sense of why Jesus’ priority is to forgive sin?

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The Hero’s Mission M A R K 1 0 :45 / / 1 5 .3 3 –3 9

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” It was nine in the morning when they crucified him... At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.* 34And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

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Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

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With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

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The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.** 39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” 38

In the Bible, ‘darkness’ is a sign of God’s judgment In the Bible, the curtain in the temple was a symbolic barrier separating sinful people like us from God.

*

**

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From last time, we might be left thinking: How does Jesus deal with our sin problem?

1

What does Jesus say his mission is? Is this surprising?

2

What does Mark want us to see is going on when Jesus is crucified?

3

Why do you think Mark tells us about the temple curtain being ripped in two?

Food for thought:

Look at the soldier’s response to what he sees What’s our response to all this?

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Following The Hero M A R K 8 :3 4–3 8

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hen he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

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From last time, we might be left thinking:

OK, but what is it going to look like to follow Jesus?

1 2 3

What would it mean for you to “gain the world”? What are your biggest ambitions in life?

Does Jesus promise that the Christian life will be easy?

Why is Jesus a better hero who’s worth following?

Food for thought:

If anything, what’s holding us back from following Jesus, the better hero?

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If you want to follow Jesus, the better hero, then why not use this prayer to mark the beginning of your Christian life?

Dear God, I am so sorry that my heart is turned away from you and towards evil. Thank you that Jesus came and died to take the judgment I deserved and enable me to know you personally. Please forgive me, and help me to follow Jesus in every area of my life. Amen

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what next...

come along

to Dundonald Church to find out more (Sundays at 9; 10:45; 4; 7)

carry on

meeting up with a Christian friend to read through more of Mark’s account together email {email goes here} if you’d like to meet up to talk with someone about what you’ve been reading

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