Biblica: Biblical and Practical Teaching

Biblical and practical teaching by Andrew Fountain at Newlife Church, Toronto.

Reading through Mark - The Big Story and Structure (Mark in a Month Pt.2) (Mark 2:13-22)

  • Let Mark’s presentation of Jesus engage you, captivate you, and change your life!

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  • Invitation to people to share from last week’s readings


To engage you with the message of Mark
so that as you read it
the message will engage you in return.

Mark in a Month Pt.2

  1. Who wrote Mark and why?
  2. The Shape of Mark—how it fits together
  3. An example passage from last week: Mark 2:13–22

1. Who wrote Mark and why?

  • Who: John Mark wrote it on behalf of Peter
  • Widespread external evidence in early church writings
  • Good internal evidence that it is Peter’s eyewitness account

%He doesn’t omit any of the bad stuff he did, and even plays down the good stuff%

  • Why: Written in Rome for Gentiles

%before Paul got there. There are some latinized expressions%

  • Doesn’t assume you know the O.T.
  • Shortest, fast paced
  • Just the “beginning of the good news” (1:1)

Call to discipleship

  • Following a person, not simply a code of conduct
  • Fellowship with Jesus is at the heart
  • Trusting him
  • Confessing him to others
  • Taking note of his conduct
  • Following his teaching
  • Being shaped by a relationship with him
  • Being prepared to face rejection (ESV-SB)

Mark’s Big Story

  • The key to understanding the literary structure of Mark is to notice the way that he uses unique stories to mark the start and end of each section.
  • Each part starts with a story that serves as a theme for that section
  • The end is marked with a very similar story, in most cases forming a unique pairing within Mark
  • Another advantage of noticing the theme is seeing how the miracles and teaching in each section work together to advance the plot.

Theological development

  • The most remarkable element in the structure is the way that the “Big Revelation” is in the center, not at the end.
  • This would provide a reason for why the theological explanation for the death and resurrection is not at the end but in the middle section: e.g. Mark 10:45 “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.”

How Mark fits together

This man is the Son of God
E. 14:1–16:8

Replacing the Temple
D. 11:1–13:37

The Big Revelation
C. 8:22–10:52

Greater miracles, challenging teaching
B. 6:30–8:21

Kingdom Launched in Power
A. 1:1–6:29

  1. Starts with a bang
  2. Expands to greater level
  3. Seeing the real Jesus
  4. The Kingdom extends beyond Israel and Jesus replaces the Temple
  5. Truly, this man is the Son of God %-a Roman becomes a disciple%
  1. The first section starts and ends with John the Baptist
    • It is about Jesus’ ministry starting with a bang!
    • Power, healing, conflict,

A. The Kingdom Launched in Power

  • John the Baptist & the first followers
    • Kingdom Power & Conflict
    • Kingdom Teaching
      • Parables of the sower, the lamp, the mystery of growth & the mustard seed
      • Four miracles: storm, legion & the pigs, Woman who is sick 12 years…
    • Culminates with raising the dead
  • Followers sent out & John dies

B. The second starts and ends with feeding of thousands

  • Two remarkable, and almost identical, miracles bracket this section
  • Moses type miracles (like manna from heaven)
  • But he is re-defining the law of Moses
  • and goes to a Gentile city of Tyre
  • so at this point we have the question: who is this Jesus?

B. Greater miracles & more challenging teaching

  • Jesus feeds 5000
    • Walks on water
    • Declares all food clean
    • Heals in a Gentile city!
    • Dramatic healing of deaf man
  • Feeds 4000, but disciples “still do not understand”

How Mark fits together




Greater miracles, challenging teaching
B. 6:30–8:21

Kingdom Launched in Power
A. 1:1–6:29

C. It’s generally recognized that the middle is a turning point

  • There are only two blind men healed in Mark, so the markers are very clear.
  • A declaration of Jesus being the Son of God
  • Three times he states that he will die and be raised from the dead
  • What is really interesting is:
  • The last story in Part B, the disciples are blind “how do you not understand?”
  • Part C: two healings of a blind men in Mark
    • starts with the man who could see partially, then completely
    • ends with blind Bartimaeus
  • So it begins and ends with matching stories
    • This is how Mark marks out his sections

C. From blindness to seeing—The Big Revelation

  • Blind man receives sight in two stages
    • Peter sees that Jesus is the Messiah
    • Disciples see Jesus’ glory
    • Sell everything and follow Jesus
    • Jesus reveals three times that he is going to die and rise again but the disciples don’t get it
  • Blind Bartimaeus receives sight

How Mark fits together



The Big Revelation
C. 8:22–10:52

Greater miracles, challenging teaching
B. 6:30–8:21

Kingdom Launched in Power
A. 1:1–6:29

D. The end of Jesus’ life comes into sight

  • He sees a fig tree with no fruit on it and this is prophetic of what Israel are like
  • Parable of the vineyard
  • he sees some good fruit
  • I am the temple! (readers in Rome would be encouraged by this.
  • A strong theological unity and coherent theme, ending with Jesus saying “the owner of the house will return”

D. Jesus visits the Temple, predicting he’ll replace it

  • Jesus comes to the temple and finds no fruit
    • Parable of the fruitless vineyard. Jesus is the new cornerstone
    • Two attempts to trap Jesus with words
    • Jesus responds, pointing out some good fruit
    • The Temple will be destroyed
  • Jesus will return one day, so stay alert!

C. Two stories of anointing bracket the last section

  • The climax is the Roman who declares this is the Son of God!
  • Because the theological foundation has already been laid, the book can end with vivid storytelling

E. “Truly this man is the Son of God”

  • A woman comes to anoint Jesus
    • Last supper, and betrayal
    • Prayer and betrayal in Gethsemane
    • Jesus is tried and Peter denies him
    • Jesus is tried by Pilate
    • Jesus is crucified and a centurion believes
  • Women come to anoint Jesus, but he has been raised from the dead
  • Each park of Mark’s big story is build on the previous part:

How Mark fits together

This man is the Son of God
E. 14:1–16:8

Replacing the Temple
D. 11:1–13:37

The Big Revelation
C. 8:22–10:52

Greater miracles, challenging teaching
B. 6:30–8:21

Kingdom Launched in Power
A. 1:1–6:29

3. A Reading from Last Week

Seven steps for hearing God speak to you personally through the Bible

  1. Begin with prayer that God will bless his Word through the Spirit.
  2. Read through the day’s passage prayerfully, asking God to help you understand as you read.
    • You should always follow a plan of reading that takes you right through a book, starting each day where you left off the previous day.
    • Never plan to read too much, or there will not be time for the meditation. Ten to fifteen verses is usually ideal, depending on the kind of book. In the Epistles it may be less because there is so much content; but in narratives such as in the Old Testament it may be more.
    • Try to find the natural breaks in the book, and stick to these.
  3. Title: Having read the passage at least once, take out a notebook or journal kept specially for this purpose. Note down at the top of the page the passage reference, the date, and in as few words as possible a title that you can think of for the passage.
  4. List four or five events or facts, in order, from the passage. This is one of the most important parts. The very act of having to recognize and note these down is a great help in understanding what has been read. What’s more, it makes you stop and think.
  5. Context: Now look back at yesterday’s passage. Can you see any connection? The Bible is not a random collection of “precious truths”, but is organized so that the ideas in one passage relate to those before and after it, and to the flow of the whole book. Much richness can often be gained by relating these ideas together. If you can see a connection with the previous passage or with the theme of the book then jot it down. If you can’t, then don’t feel that you have to.
  6. Message: Ask yourself what the writer was trying to accomplish with this passage? “What was the message of the passage for those who originally read it?” As you can see, these questions are designed to get you meditating on the Word. The message may have been some specific teaching in an Epistle; something to learn about Christ in a Gospel; something in the Old Testament about how God relates to men and women, etc.
  7. Me: Finally we come to the most important question: “How does this message relate to my life?” Write down how the message should make a difference to my thoughts or actions. You may find that the Spirit continues to speak to you from the passage throughout the rest of the day.
  • Let’s pray now and then read the passage:

Mark 2:13–22

  1. Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them.
  2. Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him,“Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.
  3. While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.
  4. When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? ”
  5. When Jesus heard this, he told them,“It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
  6. Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but your disciples do not fast? ”
  7. Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast.
  8. But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
  9. No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made.
  10. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins.”

based on NET Bible

Mark 2:13–22

  • (Title) Jesus turns our thinking upside down
  1. Jesus called Levi, the tax collector, to follow him—and he did.
  2. Jesus was at Levi’s house, eating with many tax collectors and sinners.
  3. The Pharisees complained and Jesus said “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners”
  4. People asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t fast like John’s
  5. When the bridegroom leaves, they will fast, but now’s a time of joy!
  6. New wine must go into new wineskins


  • Context: This teaching puts into context the two amazing healings from just before
  • Message: Be prepared for a radical shakeup of your thinking by Jesus. If you think you already have it all together, then you will miss it!
  • Me: Holy Spirit, show me where my own thinking needs changing and I need a new wineskin!
  • I want to challenge you all with this last point.
  • If you are not a Christian today...
  • And if you are...
Last updated on 11 Feb 2024
Published on 11 Feb 2024