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On King Herod's birthday a young lady danced for him.


The Book of Mark takes a look at the Pharisees.

The second of the four Gospels is that of Mark. Mark never saw Jesus in the flesh, but he was a close friend to Jesus' disciple Peter, who passed on the details of Jesus' life to Mark. Whereas Matthew's Gospel was written primarily for Jewish Christians, it seems that Mark's was intended for Roman readers. He uses Latin expressions and explains Jewish customs to those who would be unfamiliar with them.

Mark's Gospel presents Jesus as a suffering servant. He describes Jesus' actions more than His teachings, and focuses on His humanness; His emotions, limitations and mortality.

All quotations from the Bible are taken from the Authorised King James Version.
Mark's Gospel opens with an account of John the Baptist. John says that he baptises with water, but Jesus will baptise with what?
With fire
With oil
With the Holy Spirit
With love
John had many followers, but he himself had come to prepare the way for Jesus, as prophesied in the Old Testament.

Mark 1:1-8
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost"
Jesus' disciples broke the Jewish law when they picked corn on the Sabbath. Which group of Jews, strict observers of the law, criticised Jesus for this?
The Pharisees
The Zealots
The Sadducees
The Essenes
Mark 2:23-28
"And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath"

The Pharisees believed the literal truth of Scripture, and strictly followed it. Sadducees rejected the Old Testament, except for the first five books written by Moses. The Zealots were a patriotic group of Jews who wanted to overthrow the Roman government. The Essenes were a minor Jewish sect whose beliefs have come down to us through the recently discovered "Dead Sea Scrolls"
On King Herod's birthday a young lady danced for him. Herod was so pleased with her dancing that he offered her any gift she chose. What did the girl ask for?
A hundred pieces of gold
Jesus' head
A hundred pieces of silver
John the Baptist's head
John had been in prison for some time. Herod did not want to kill him, but he could not go back on his promise to the girl.

Mark 6:21-29
"And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb"
Jesus' reputation as a healer brought great crowds to Him. Everyone who even touched Jesus' what was cured?
Everyone who touched Jesus' hand
Everyone who touched Jesus' clothes
Everyone who touched Jesus' foot
Everyone who touched Jesus' head
It was the people's faith and trust in Jesus which cured them. Even touching His clothing was enough.

Mark 6:53-56
"And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, and ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole"
Jesus was once again criticised by the Pharisees, regarding His disciples' eating habits. How did Jesus respond to this?
He said that the old Jewish Laws were to be forgotten
He said that what comes out of a man sullies him; not what goes in
He said that their interpretation of Jewish Law was biased
He said that food is a gift from God to be enjoyed
Jesus had come to fulfil the Law. It was no longer a sin to eat 'unclean' food. One's actions made one evil, not one's diet.

Mark 7:14-23
"And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man"
Jesus did not only help the Jews. In Tyre and Sidon (modern day Lebanon) Jesus rid the daughter of a woman of evil spirits. What nationality was this woman?
She was Greek
She was Persian
She was Egyptian
She was Roman
Jesus asked the woman if it was right to feed the dogs before the children. By this He meant, should He help the Gentiles before He helped the Jews.

Mark 7:24-30
"And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed"
Famously, Jesus fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. Later, Jesus was faced by another hungry crowd of followers. He repeated His previous miracle by feeding this crowd as He had done before. How many people were fed in this second miracle?
2,000 people
4,000 people
6,000 people
8,000 people
Mark 8:1-9
"In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away."

The feeding of the 4,000 is less well known as it is only recorded in Mark's and Matthew's Gospels. The feeding of the 5,000 is reported in those of Luke and John too
Jesus explained to His disciples that the greatest of people is the what?
The King
The prophet
The priest
The servant
Jesus encourages us to help others. He Himself came as a servant and to give His life for us.

Mark 10:41-45
"And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many"
When Jesus came to the temple in Jerusalem He was angered by the people there making money. What did He say they had made the temple into?
A den of iniquity
A place of evil
A den of thieves
A market of sin
Jesus was disgusted by what the merchants had done to His father's house. His actions at the temple made Him many enemies who wished Him dead.

Mark 11:15-18
"And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine"
After Jesus had died on the cross, He was resurrected back to life. Who was the first person Jesus appeared to after His resurrection?
His disciple, John
Mary, His mother
His disciple, Peter
Mary Magdalene
Mary told Jesus' disciples that she had seen Jesus, but they did not believe her. Jesus then appeared to two of His disciples, but the other nine still did not believe until He had appeared to them.

Mark 16:9-14
"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen"


Author:  Graeme Haw

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