Mark 5:21-43 – Learn to read the Bible #19

I’ve just published the next part of the Learn to read the Bible series on Mark’s Gospel. This week we are looking at Mark 5:21-43, where Jesus heals a sick woman and raises a dead girl.

For those who are coming to this new, the idea behind this series is not for me to simply explain everything to you, but rather to give you things to think about yourself. This is about training you to read the Bible for yourself, rather than just giving you all the answers!

See this page if you’d like a few pointers for how to use these videos. Don’t forget to pray!

You can read the passage online here (although I’d suggest it’s better in a physical Bible). You may also want to have a pen and paper handy to jot down notes and things you want to look into more.

Key points from Mark 5:21-43

  • This passage is unusual because it has two healings. Are the two events related? I think Mark intends for us to see that they are – e.g. the girl is 12 years old, and the woman has been suffering for 12 years.
  • One of the things we need to look out for when we read the Bible is repetition – often things which are repeated are significant.
  • Something repeated in this passage is touching – significant given all the social distancing we’ve been having to do over the last 12 months! Might be worth spending some time thinking about how touch can be used to bring help and healing.
  • The woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years would have been “unclean” – you might like to look up some background about what made someone clean or unclean. She would have been isolated from the community and from God.
  • Lots of people were pressing around Jesus – it wasn’t the physical touch which healed the woman, but her faith. Maybe we could think about our own faith – what would we have done in that situation? Would we have had that kind of faith in Jesus?
  • The second thing which comes up again is faith – Jesus says “don’t be afraid, just believe”. It speaks to how confident Jesus was in God and his power!
  • Jesus takes the child’s hands. Touching a dead body is something else that would make you unclean – but cleanness flows from Jesus to the one he touches. Jesus is not made unclean, instead the girl is made clean.
  • Think about our faith and trust in Jesus: do we have the kind of faith that we need to come to Jesus and ask? Can we bring to him the things that we can’t do ourselves?

Explore Further: You might be interested in this post I wrote a few years ago on this passage.

Take a few moments to re-read the passage, think, and pray.

Looking for more?

You can see the rest of the videos in this series on the this page. If you’d like a more focussed series teaching the Christian faith, check out the teaching programme.

You might also want to see the previous episode in the series on Mark 5:1-20.

Share this:

How do you believe in Jesus? John 4:43-54 Sermon

A lot of people say they believe in God or Jesus – but what does that really mean? What kind of belief does God want us to have? A short sermon looking at what it means to believe. Part two of the ‘Seven Signs in John’ series.

See the previous sermon on John 2:1-11 (Jesus turns water into wine) here.

Enjoyed this sermon? See more on the sermons page.

Share this:

Mark 3:7-12 – Learn to read the Bible #11

I’ve just published the eleventh part of the Learn to read the Bible series on Mark’s Gospel. This week we are looking at Mark 3:7-12, when Jesus is surrounded by crowds.

For those who are coming to this new, the idea behind this series is not for me to simply explain everything to you, but rather to give you things to think about yourself. This is about training you to read the Bible for yourself, rather than just giving you all the answers!

See this page if you’d like a few pointers for how to use these videos. Don’t forget to pray!

You can read the passage online here (although I’d suggest it’s better in a physical Bible). You may also want to have a pen and paper handy to jot down notes and things you want to look into more.

Key points from Mark 3:7-12

  • Jesus withdrew to the lake but the crowds followed him. Why do you think Jesus tried to withdrawn from the crowd?
  • People came to him from a very long way away – it seems like his fame was spreading. Imagine what it would be like today if someone appeared who could actually heal people!
  • He kept a boat ready to stop people from crowding him. What do you think this says about Jesus’ priorities? Does this mean that Jesus thought it was more important to teach people than to heal them? Why do you think that is?
  • The impure spirits knew who Jesus was – but Jesus forbade them from telling people about him. Why? Do you think that people might have got the wrong idea about Jesus? – maybe people would have thought that Jesus was there just to heal them or do things they wanted.
  • How do you see Jesus? Do you see him as someone to submit to and listen to, or as someone who is simply there to heal us and do occasional miracles?

Looking for more?

You can see the rest of the videos in this series on the this page. If you’d like a more focussed series teaching the Christian faith, check out the teaching programme.

You might also want to see the previous episode in the series on Mark 3:1-6.

Share this:

Jesus, Son of God – Hebrews 1:1-4 Sermon

Yesterday in our church we began a new sermon series for Advent. I was preaching, the passage was Hebrews 1:1-4. The idea behind this series is to try to understand that Jesus is more than a ‘baby in a manger’: people often like to see the manger at Christmas time, but then leave Jesus there.

In this sermon we think about three reasons we shouldn’t leave Jesus in the manger!

Read the passage online via Bible Gateway.

During the sermon I mention our church’s Ask a Pastor videos – you can see these on this playlist.

Share this:

God is… three persons (Trinity)

In this final part of our Get to know God series, we turn to thinking about how God is three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is traditionally known as the doctrine of the Trinity. Sometimes people can have the idea that the Trinity is too difficult to think about, or it doesn’t really make much difference to everyday life. But, as theologian D.B. Knox said: “The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of the Christian religion”. It’s essential to our Christian lives: we experience God as Trinity. It matters that we don’t just think of ‘God’, but think in terms of the Father, Son and Spirit.

Obviously there are many books which have been written about this topic (and I’ll link to some of them below). We won’t be able to deal with the whole doctrine of the Trinity in one session! But I hope this will at least make a start so you want to continue learning yourself.

Let’s start by thinking about what the Bible says, before we go on to look at why it matters for us day-by-day.

What does the Bible say about the Trinity?

The doctrine of the Trinity is somewhat veiled in the Old Testament. That is, it’s there if you know what you’re looking for – there are some passages which don’t make sense any other way. And yet, we don’t really get the full picture until the New Testament. Because we don’t have much time here, we’ll concentrate on the New Testament for the moment.

Read more

Share this:

Mark 2:18-22 – Learn to read the Bible #8

I’ve just published the eighth part of the Learn to read the Bible series on Mark’s Gospel. This week we are looking at Mark 2:18-22, when Jesus is questioned about fasting.

For those who are coming to this new, the idea behind this series is not for me to simply explain everything to you, but rather to give you things to think about yourself. This is about training you to read the Bible for yourself, rather than just giving you all the answers!

See this page if you’d like a few pointers for how to use these videos. Don’t forget to pray!

You can read the passage online here (although I’d suggest it’s better in a physical Bible). You may also want to have a pen and paper handy to jot down notes and things you want to look into more.

Key points from Mark 2:18-22

  • The Pharisees and John the Baptist’s followers were fasting. Fasting is not something which is generally associated with happiness! Spend a few moments thinking about why they were fasting.
  • Jesus replies to them and says they can’t fast while the bridegroom is with them – does that mean he is the bridegroom? Is he hinting at what is going to happen to him when he talks about the bridegroom being taken away?
  • If Jesus’ followers can’t fast while he is with them because it is a time of rejoicing and joy – what does that mean about our lives? If Jesus is with us, how should that make a difference to our own emotional state?
  • Jesus finishes by talking about the contrast between the new and the old. Now that he is here, we have to do things differently. Think about how you’ve changed since becoming a Christian. Think about the ways in which you need to do things differently with Jesus.

Looking for more?

You can see the rest of the videos in this series on the this page. If you’d like a more focussed series teaching the Christian faith, check out the teaching programme.

You might also want to see the previous episode in the series on Mark 2:13-17.

Share this:

Christ – dead and buried (Heidelberg 16)

Why is it important that Jesus died and was buried – and how do we benefit from it? This session of the Heidelberg Catechism looks at five questions:

  • Why was it necessary for Jesus to die?
  • Why was he buried?
  • If Christ died for us, why do we still have to die?
  • What further benefits do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?
  • Why does the creed add “He descended into hell”?

As I hope you’ve gathered by now, Jesus’ death and resurrection is at the heart of the Christian faith. Understanding what it means is key to understanding Christianity. If you want to gain a good understanding of the faith, you need to explore deeply questions like these – why Jesus died and was buried!

If you enjoy this, you can do the whole series right here on the website, or on the app (see links on the right hand side of the page). Alternatively, I am uploading them regularly to YouTube and Facebook. All sessions on YouTube are available on this playlist.

Share this:

Heidelberg Catechism: #11 Jesus the only Saviour

Over the last few weeks I’ve started uploading the Heidelberg Catechism videos to YouTube and Facebook – one each Monday. Today I just uploaded #11 – Jesus the only Saviour.

If you’d like to do the whole course, you can sign up (free) for the Teaching Programme. If you’d prefer just to watch individual videos, they are all available on this YouTube Playlist.

Share this: