Studying Mark: An 11 Week Guide
Nursery & Preschool: Our story this week begins with the baptism of Jesus. We see in verse 11 of the Passion Translation, the Holy Spirit descends like a dove from heaven and speaks these words, “You are my Son, my cherished one, and my greatest delight is in you”. As part of your bedtime routine, pray this prayer with your children, “Father God, thank you for your Son. Thank you that You delight in Jesus. Thank you for delighting in us. Thank you for loving us so much. Thank you for giving us Jesus.”
Elementary School: As you study Mark:1-14 this week, spend time imagining what the baptism of Jesus was like. What did it look like, sound like, feel like? You may want to talk about the imagery of heaven being torn open, draw a picture of the scene, or make music as you imagine what God’s voice would sound like ( is it thunder like a drum or whimsical like a piano?) There is no wrong way to disciple your children as you help them understand that scripture is alive and exciting!
Youth: Spend time discussing the differences between the experience Jesus encountered through his baptism and the 40 days in the wilderness (verses 9-12). What was the overall mood of each experience? What was significant about the order of events? What is God saying to you through this passage?
One of the most impactful and powerful actions we can teach our children is leaning on God through conflict resolution. When we model how to seek and grant forgiveness, we are laying a foundation of understanding the Gospel message, that our sins are forgiven and that God is always pursuing us.
At some point this week, you will probably encounter an opportunity to seek forgiveness with your children. Whether a biting remark, a tone of voice, unmet expectation, or how incredibly frustrating it can be to pack the snacks, put on the shoes, and make it out the door at a reasonable time, we encourage you to recognize that the Prince of Peace himself, has built a dwelling place within your soul. Take a moment to inhale the presence of God. Ask your children to do this with you. As you take a breath together, recenter yourself on seeking connection with your children. That may look like asking for forgiveness or trying to communicate in a different way. Remember that it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Be kind and gentle to yourself. You are doing a great job as a parent and there is no other like you.
This week, we see in Mark 3:13-19, Jesus appoints his disciples. He calls these 12 to live in close proximity to him, learning from him all while experiencing a deeper more intimate relationship with Him. As we grow in deeper and more intimate connection with our own children, as disciples, seek out opportunities to talk about Jesus in organic ways. Look for themes in shows, movies, or music and talk about how they relate to the Gospel.
Nursery & Preschool: Mark 4:21-23 is a great practical lesson that our small children can experiment with to understand Jesus in their hearts. Take some time to play hide and seek with a flashlight. Use this game to teach your children that Jesus lives in our hearts and the way to make his light shine through us is to be kind to one another. This week, focus on showing kindness to others so they can see the light of Jesus.
Elementary School: Read the parable of the mustard seed ( Mark 4: 30-34). As a family, talk about what Jesus meant when speaking this parable and how we can apply this message to our lives today.
Youth: Read Mark 4:26-34 together as a family. As you spend time in the word together, ask these questions to begin a discipleship conversation: 1. What verse stuck out to you? 2. What is the Holy Spirit intending to communicate through this text? 3. How can you shift your mindset based on what you’ve learned?
Nursery & Preschool: Mark 6:30-44 is a miraculous story, one that will amaze and excite your children! As an illustration, serve crackers or pretzels during snack time. Tell your children about how Jesus took a few pieces of snack and turned it into lots and lots of snacks, simply by praying for it! You can have your children pray with you and then break the snack into small pieces. You’ll want to share in the excitement of how amazing Jesus is, that he can use his words to make lots of snacks for lots of people!
Elementary School: Read Mark 6:34-37 together. As you read, have a conversation about these questions 1. Jesus says the people in the crowd were like what? 2. What does sheep without a shepherd mean? 3. How does Jesus show his compassion for the crowd? (v.34) 4. How will spending time with Jesus in the Bible help us today?
Youth: Read Mark 6:7-9. Notice how Jesus has told his disciples to take nothing for their journey, of spreading the Gospel, except their walking stick- no food, no bag, no money, nothing. If we are considered disciples and Jesus were to give us this mandate today, what would he ask us to leave behind? (For deeper discussion, ask what idols and things do we place in our heart and mind as more important than Jesus and what is he asking us to leave behind?)
Nursery & Preschool: In Mark 8, Jesus asks his disciples “Who do you say I am?” This week, pray with your children before bed and focus on the characteristics of Jesus. You may want to say, “Jesus, thank you for being compassionate, kind, loving, friendly, strong, my friend, etc.” If your children are old enough to pray on their own, ask them to come up with a prayer including what they think Jesus is like.
Elementary School: Family discussion prompt: Before Jesus, many people were waiting for God to come to earth and be a very strong king who would win every war and have total power and control over the earth. But, we see that Jesus isn’t quite what they expected. How is Jesus similar and different from what they were expecting?
Youth: Watch this video from the Bible Project with your family: https://youtu.be/OVRixfameGY
After you watch, discuss the following questions: 1. What makes Mark 8 unique to the rest of the Gospel of Mark? 2. How is Jesus similar to and different from what the Jews were expecting in a Messiah? 3. The characteristics of Jesus are intentional and not by accident, for what purpose did He come as He did?
Nursery & Preschool: Mark 9 focuses on a child possessed by a demon, which is not exactly G rated reading material, but a valuable lesson nonetheless! Essentially, what Jesus shows us in Mark 9 is that through our time of prayer and fasting, we can encounter faith in Jesus that can shut out darkness. So take some time this week to pray over your children and family. Pray for Jesus to guard hearts & minds. Pray a covering and protection over every inch of your home. Pray for an army of angels to form a hedge of protection. May your home and family be under the mighty care of our God.
Elementary School: Mark 9:14-29 is a graphic passage, if your children are old enough to discuss demon possession consider reading the passage and talking through these questions. 1. What images did you see as we read the passage? 2. Jesus wasn’t phased by the demon possessed boy what does that say about Jesus? 3. What hope can we draw from this passage? 4. What can I remember about Jesus in hard times?
Youth: Read Mark 9:14-29 and talk through these questions. 1. What images did you see as we read the passage? 2. Jesus wasn’t phased by the demon possessed boy what does that say about Jesus? 3. What hope can we draw from this passage? 4. What can I remember about Jesus in hard times?
Mark 10:14-15 Jesus says, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” So today, no matter how old or young your family is, you have permission to be silly and fill your home with childlike wonder! Plan a fort party, play hide and seek, bake something, have breakfast for dinner, record a silly music video! Whatever you choose to do, we pray your house is filled with laughter and joy as you delight in making memories as a family.
Nursery & Preschool: Mark 12:33 says, “To love God with all your heart, with all our understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than any sacrifice or thing we can ‘do’”. Today, talk to your children about how loving God doesn’t mean we have to work really hard to make him proud of us! He loves us no matter what we do, and we can love others’ like that too! Check out this book for a wonderful illustration of how we can love our neighbors!
Elementary School: Mark 12:33 says, “To love God with all your heart, with all our understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than any sacrifice or thing we can ‘do’”. Today, spend time talking about the difference between serving and giving out of love for the Lord and doing “works” to earn God’s approval. For a great read on loving others’ well check out this book!
Youth: Mark 12:33 says, “To love God with all your heart, with all our understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than any sacrifice or thing we can ‘do’”. This week, encourage your children to seek out ways to show love to their classmates, teachers, friends, neighbors, etc.
Nursery & Preschool: Mark 14 tells the story of Jesus’ betrayal. Jesus finds himself praying out to God the Father with a ‘deeply troubled soul’, he cries out “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Next time you children have big feelings and aren’t able to work through them, remind them that Jesus had a lot of feelings too! “It’s ok to feel sad/mad/angry/scared. Sometimes it helps to take a deep breath and ask God for help.”
Elementary School: In Mark 14:1-26, Jesus sits around a dinner table with the disciple that is to betray him. Jesus knows what that betrayal will bring because we see later in Mark 14:32-42 that Jesus’ soul is deeply troubled and he cries out to Father God to remove the torture that he will endure. Can you imagine sitting next to the ‘friend’ who sells you to your death? Can you imagine knowing that you are going to be taken and suffer pain? Start a conversation with your children asking these questions. I’m sure they will find that sitting next to someone that has planned to send them to death would be unthinkable, which is a great transition to talk about what characteristics of Jesus we see from that story.
Youth: In Mark 14:1-26, Jesus sits around a dinner table with the disciple that is to betray him. Jesus knows what that betrayal will bring because we see later in Mark 14:32-42 that Jesus’ soul is deeply troubled and he cries out to Father God to remove the torture that he will endure. Can you imagine sitting next to the ‘friend’ who sells you to your death? Can you imagine knowing that you are going to be taken and suffer pain? Start a conversation with your children asking these questions. I’m sure they will find that sitting next to someone that has planned to send them to death would be unthinkable, which is a great transition to talk about what characteristics of Jesus we see from that story.
Nursery & Preschool: Today, focus on celebrating that Jesus is amazing! Find ways to share that Jesus is amazing with your children through games, activities, prayer, singing, etc. Today is all about laying the foundation that Jesus is amazing and He can do anything (even conquer death!)
Elementary School: As a family, read Mark 16. After you read, ask these questions: 1.Why did Jesus have to die? 2. What is important about Jesus rising from the dead? 3. Why does that matter for us today?
Youth: As a family, read Mark 16 and discuss what stood out to you most about his resurrection.