For Ministry Resources Youth Series : Miracles From the Gospel of Mark

MIRACLES 03/04: JESUS INVITES YOU TO PARTICIPATE

MIRACLES 03/04

Mark is a powerful account of the miracles of Jesus, but there’s also a deeply personal message within his words. He accomplishes something special in his gospel. Mark wants his audience to see that we are invited to participate in the miracles of Jesus. Mark showed the participation of the paralyzed man's friends as they carried him to Jesus to receive healing. Mark describes Peter walking on water alongside Jesus. In today's story, Mark shows how the participation of a young boy leads to a miracle for thousands of people.



Large Group

Large Group Instructions

Overview
Materials:
Leader
  • Illustration (Tell a story of someone opting to watch a video game instead of actually playing it. Example follows)

"What game are you playing, buddy?"

I ask my nephew as a cartoon throws a football across his computer screen. "Oh, I am not playing. I am just watching someone play my favorite game."

Wait, is he seriously just watching someone play a game? How sad and bleak. He must just need someone to play with him. With optimism in my voice, I announce, "Grab a controller; I will play your game with you, man." With this gesture, I will be the uncle of the year, no doubt.

"No, I am good. I'd rather watch him play it." Ouch.

This one is a head-scratcher for me. Why would he just watch the game when he can actually grab a controller and play?

At the risk of sounding old, wouldn't it be more fun to play the game yourself than watch it be played by someone else? I feel critical until I realize that I do this all the time. I watch life, opportunities, and potential experiences pass by me while I merely spectate.

This demonstrates a central truth in the Gospel of Mark — God's Kingdom is not a spectator sport. Jesus doesn't want you to be a spectator. He wants you to be a participant.

  • Setting Up The Talk

Mark is a powerful account of the miracles of Jesus, but there's also a deeply personal message within his words.

  • He accomplishes something special in his gospel.

  • Mark wants his audience to see that we are invited to participate in the miracles of Jesus.

    • Mark showed the participation of the paralyzed man's friends as they carried him to Jesus to receive healing.

    • Mark describes Peter walking on water alongside Jesus.

    • In today's story, Mark shows how the participation of a young boy leads to a miracle for thousands of people.

Here's what happened. Over 5,000 hungry people were following Jesus around the countryside of Capernaum.

  • This city had a population of 15,000. This may seem like a small town to you, but Capernaum was actually one of the most populated cities in the entire nation.

    • Jesus had drawn a crowd of over five thousand people.

    • Wrap your head around that! Over one-third of the whole city gathered to hear a message from the messiah.

Even though Jesus was exhausted both physically and emotionally, He had compassion on the crowd (6:34).

  • I imagine his voice shook at first, but He quickly got into the groove of preaching to a packed house.

    • Okay, it wasn't a house. It was a field, but you get the point.
  • As the sun began to set, people started to get a little restless.

  • They whispered, "This sermon is fantastic, but I am getting a little hungry."

The disciples realized the rumbles of grumbling stomachs and encouraged Jesus to dismiss everyone to go out into the city for a snack (6:36).

  • The good restaurants were about to close, and they were all about to be stuck with mediocre fast food on their way home.

  • Jesus had a different plan, though.

  • With a little generosity, something amazing was about to happen.

Materials:
Leader

READ: Mark 6:35-44

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take more than half a year's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" "How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five—and two fish." Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.”

Materials:
Leader

This story teaches us three valuable lessons about our invitation to participate in the miracles of Jesus.

Small Gifts Can Have a Big Impact

  • Jesus used this opportunity to teach His disciples when He said, "Give them something to eat."

  • Confusion washed over their faces since that would cost half a year's salary.

    • They did what anyone else would do in this situation and asked if anyone had some food they were willing to share.

    • Maybe there was a caterer in the crowd with a massive truck full of fruit or something.

    • A little boy spoke up over the commotion and explained that his mom had packed him a Happy Meal — five pieces of bread and some fish.

Joyfully, the boy announced, "Jesus, you can have this."

  • It wasn't a big gift, but it was all the little boy had. In the hands of Jesus, a small gift is more than enough.

  • ILLUSTRATION: Bring out a Happy Meal Box that is packed full of burgers.

  • Walk through the crowd handing out the snacks. (You’d be amazed how many you can fit in there — about 12.)

    • Jesus has the power to feed thousands with a single happy meal.
  • Take a look at what happens!

  • Jesus held the boxed lunch, blessed it, broke it, and multiplied it, over and over and over again.

  • Everyone shared a feast and had a full belly when all was said and done.

The feeding of the five thousand was a domino effect triggered by the donation of a young boy.

  • The miracle of multiplication started with participation.

  • Jesus could have easily made it rain chicken nuggets and honey mustard, but He didn't do that.

  • Instead, He invited a young kid and twelve followers to play a part in His miracle.

    • God doesn't just want you to witness His purpose; He invites you to take part in it.

    • God doesn't just want you to see miracles; He wants you to participate in them.

      • Regardless of the size of your contribution, God will bless it. This brings us to our second point.

Don't Compare Your Contributions

  • I am sure the boy considered staying silent. A stadium-sized crowd needed to eat; how would his fish and bread make a difference?

  • That didn't matter to him, though.

  • The little boy just wanted to contribute whatever he could to Jesus.

    • We can easily let comparison get in the way of our contribution.

    • We often think that others are more gifted, more wealthy, or even more worthy.

    • That's all nonsense.

      • When you give your gifts to Jesus, He will bless them and multiply them.

      • Regardless of the size of your contribution, other people will benefit when you take small steps in generosity.

      • So, in closing, let’s see what happens when we take the initiative.

God Blesses You When You Bless Others

What miracle does God want you to participate in today?

  • Maybe you need to give generously to help others in need.

  • Maybe you need to sacrifice your Saturday to serve at a local outreach.

  • Maybe you need to take some time to write music, create a blog, or pursue a passion that you can use to point others to Jesus.

    • Whatever it is, participation is required. The Kingdom of God is not a spectator sport.

    • You need to get some skin in the game.

    • God's giving you an invitation to participate.

    • Are you ready to help make a miracle happen?

      • When we participate, God replicates. God will bless you and bless others in the process.
  • Landing

Mark describes hundreds of miracles that fill our minds with awe.

  • While powerful, they can also be personal. Jesus moves us to bless others.

  • Jesus blesses others in extraordinary ways through the faith-filled movement of ordinary people.

  • Are you seeing what Mark is saying here?

    • All of those people were blessed when a little boy participated in faith.

    • The potential for God-triggered miracles is all around you, so step out and help make miracles happen.

      • We can all serve, give, share, and participate in God's Kingdom.

      • God doesn't just want you to see miracles; He wants you to participate in them.

      • A miracle might be on the other side of your next move. So get out there and move!



Small Group

Small Group Instructions

Small Group Discussion
Materials:
Small Group Leader
  • Go through the following questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.

    Icebreaker: Introduce yourself and share your highs and lows from the week (the best part of your week and the lowest part of your week).

Q2: Summarize the miraculous story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.

Q3: What is the significance of Jesus having disciples and a young boy play a role in this miracle? What does that imply for us?

Q4: Have you ever experienced God using someone to meet your needs? How did you respond?

Q5: Do you think you make yourself available to be used by God? How could you begin to participate in His purpose even more?

Application: What’s one thing you can do this week that would allow God to bless someone else through you?

Materials:
Student

This reading plan includes:

Luke 6:11-17 Luke 8:26-38 Luke 14:1-6 Luke 17:11-19 Luke 22:47-51 Acts 1:9 Psalm 112

Do the following with each passage:

ASK– God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down and inviting God to be present.

Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you today.

READ– the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.

REFLECT– on what grabs you. How does this passage personally relate to your own life and experiences?

RESPOND– to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered.

About For Ministry Resources Youth Series

FMR develops a monthly youth ministry curriculum that is free to all local churches. Each monthly release includes a sermon series, small group series, Bible devotional, and supporting graphics packs that are original, practical, and ready to use.