Introduction: What kind of an attitude should we have as missionaries
to the world? It would seem this is an easy question. The answer to
is be kind and loving and share the gospel message, right? But,
perhaps this issue is a bit more complex. When I was growing up, I
learned about a problem in the church mission program. It seems that
American missionaries had trouble realizing where their American
culture left off and the gospel message began. To combat that
potential problem, the suggestion was to have American missionaries
go to foreign lands, train the locals in the gospel, and then let
them push forward with American financial support. Imagine how those
conceptions from my youth disappeared when I was approached this
summer about having missionaries from Brazil and Europe come to my
area to share the gospel. They were coming to share with English-speaking Americans! So much for the idea of leaving it to the
natives. I was now the native! Our lesson is not about this specific
issue, but it is about some of the complexities of how we approach
our work as missionaries for Jesus. Let’s jump right into our study
of the Bible!

  1. Getting Our Priorities Straight

    1. Read Mark 5:21-23. If you were a missionary, and Jairus
      came to you for help, would you help him?

      1. Would you move him to the front of the line?

        1. Remember that others are there to hear Jesus.
          Would you go with Jairus anyway and temporarily
          ignore the crowd for practical reasons? (Jesus
          is not generally ignoring the crowd, but Jairus
          is an important man. I might think I could gain
          an advantage by healing the daughter of an
          important man.)

    2. Read Mark 5:24-32. Having agreed to help Jairus, is Jesus
      now risking the wrath of an important man by delaying over
      such a small matter?

      1. Would it have been better not to have agreed to heal
        Jairus daughter, than to agree and then get
        sidetracked? (It would seem foolish to delay if the
        reason that Jesus agreed to help Jairus was because
        he was an important man. Jesus’ actions bring into
        question whether that was Jesus’ motive at all. Maybe
        Jesus just agreed to help someone who showed faith.)

    3. Read Mark 5:33-35. Should a missionary have priorities?

      1. What potential priorities are involved here? (First,
        helping an person of influence versus helping part of
        the “rabble.” (I’m not being unkind by saying rabble.
        This woman was unclean by the religious standards of
        the day.) Second, helping the emergency case versus
        the non-emergency case.)

        1. Why does Jesus seem to have no priorities here?

        2. Or, does Jesus have a different set of

          1. If you say “yes” to the last question,
            tell me what you think they are?(Jesus is
            operating from a different play book than
            most of us. We would help the important
            person first on the idea that he could
            help us, and we would logically help the
            emergency case first. I think it is clear
            that Jesus did not help Jairus because he
            was important. He helped Jairus because he
            had faith. In that sense, the woman with
            the issue of blood had an equal faith

          2. Does Jesus have a different view of time
            than we do – even when He lived here on

          3. If you know the rest of the story (Mark
            5:36-42) what do we learn about God’s
            sense of time? (That time does not matter.
            Whether or not the child died because time
            ran out for her, Jesus could bring about
            the exact same result.)

    4. What lessons do we learn from this for our missionary
      activities? Should we give preference to those in places
      of authority? Should we make the world’s time priorities
      our priority? (One thing is generally different: we need
      to share the gospel before the person dies! I’m not sure
      how many people are miraculously raised to life and then
      converted. I suspect the number is small.)

  2. Getting Attention

    1. Read Mark 12:35-37. Why was the crowd delighted in
      listening to Jesus?

      1. Were they entertained? (I think Jesus captured their
        imagination with His unusual question. We know that
        He also taught using stories ( Mark 4:2) and He taught
        with authority ( Mark 1:22).)

    2. What lesson should we take from Jesus’ approach to the
      crowds for our missionary activities? (There is no room
      for boring. There is no room for dull. There is no room
      for uncertainty on foundational matters. There is room for
      the unique, the captivating and the certain.)

      1. Should this approach apply to teaching this lesson?
        (It may not be easy, but whenever we are presenting
        the gospel to groups, we should strive to make it
        unique, captivating and confidence inspiring.)

      2. Are all three elements required? Desired? (I’ve been
        in Bible classes in which the teacher comes up with a
        controversial topic and then just lets the class run
        with it. That is better than dull and boring, because
        people are thinking about the issues. However, that
        is an unfinished job. If you are the teacher, then
        you need to teach. You should have a defensible
        position, what you understand to be the truth, when
        it comes to foundational matters of the gospel.)

  3. Having Compassion

    1. Read John 9:1-2. What is the assumption behind the
      disciples’ question? (That some human was at fault for
      this fellow being blind.)

      1. Were the disciples a bunch of nuts? Were they

        1. If you say, “no,” what does that teach us about
          the life of this blind fellow? (The disciples no
          doubt reflected mainstream views. Thus, the
          fellow, in addition to being blind, was saddled
          with the guilt that he or his parents did
          someone so terrible that he was blind from

    2. Read John 9:3. Let’s discuss Jesus’ answer. Is it
      compassionate? (It lifts the load of guilt from this
      fellow or his parents.)

      1. Let me ask you again, is it really compassionate?
        What does it suggest about God (and Jesus was God)?
        (It suggests that this fellow was blind to give glory
        to God.)

        1. So, this fellow was blind since birth to allow
          God to look good? (That is a very crude way to
          put it, but I think it is on target.)

        2. What lesson for missionaries follows from this
          point? (We live our life for the glory of God.
          It is not about us, it is all about Him.)

    3. Read John 9:4-7. Now that we learned that the quality of
      our life does not matter, what do we learn from these
      verses? (That the quality of our life does matter to God.
      Jesus was the Light of the World by showing the character
      of God. God wants us to be blessed. He wants us to be
      healthy. He wants us to see. That is His desire. But,
      sometimes things happen to us for reasons which God

      1. Let’s go back to our first story about the daughter
        of Jairus. Did Jesus make a conscious decision to
        allow her to die? (Yes. He understood the emergency
        nature of her illness.)

        1. Why did Jesus allow this? (For the glory of

          1. Does this sound harsh? Could a person ever
            forgive God for letting their little child

          2. Did Jairus “forgive” Jesus? (Jairus story
            is a compressed example of God’s plan for
            our life. The fact that the little girl
            died did not matter to Jairus and his wife
            when Jesus brought her to life a few
            minutes later. When God brings our loved
            ones to life, when He cures all of the
            ills of this sin-sick world, when He
            finally destroys all evil, sadness and
            death, then we will be like Jairus. The
            delay will not matter.)

    4. Friend, can you make a compelling and interesting case for
      the love and mercy of God based on the actions of Jesus?
      If so, will you?

  4. Next week: The Apostle John.