Mark 10

Greetings!  This reading is Mark 10.

The first passage is about marriage and divorce.  The Pharisees (religious leaders) are trying to trick Jesus to make him look bad or to find an excuse to have him killed.

Mark 10 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” “What did Moses command you?” he replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) as He hates other sins because He knows how destructive it is.  Fortunately, He doesn’t hated divorced people

Note Jesus’ comments on marriage.  The part about “a man will leave his father . . . one flesh” is the most often repeated verse in the Bible (four times).  The Bible is clear and emphatic that God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman.  There is not even a hint that any other combination is desirable.  The Bible does have examples of polygamy, but the negative consequences are shown.  It is never presented as something beneficial.  Remember that the Bible is a thoroughly honest book.  It shows how even the heroes of the faith still sinned. 

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

This story of the rich man has many important points.  First, it shows that Jesus loved the man but gave him a choice whether to follow or not.  Jesus did not run after the man and try to bargain with him, saying, “OK, you don’t have to sell all your possessions . . . just sell half and we’ve got a deal!”  If Jesus didn’t make the young man (or the Pharisees) believe, why should we think we could make someone believe?  We should share the truth in love (not the pampering kind of love, but the kind that has others’ long term best interests at heart), but whether someone follows Christ is ultimately between them and the Holy Spirit.  Our duty is to obey Jesus’ command to share the Gospel. 

Jesus is not saying you have to sell everything to follow him.  He was pointing out to the rich young man that while he thought he was perfectly righteous his real “god” was money, not the Lord.  Jesus wants us to make him the top priority in life.  No one ever regretted trusting in and following Jesus.

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 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.”

The request of James and John falls into the category of, “Be careful what you ask for.”  They thought they were asking for glorious, powerful positions in an earthly kingdom.  But despite Jesus repeated warnings that He would be killed, they didn’t realize that to be at his “right” and “left” could have meant to be crucified with him. 

It continually amazes me that the God of the universe came to earth not “to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

The chapter closes with another magnificent miracle, a healing of a blind man who begged Jesus for mercy.  Jesus loves to be merciful.   

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

The next reading is Mark 11.

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6 Responses

  1. I think there are two major reasons for the high divorce rate we observe today: first is that the Church long ago surrendered the rignts of marriage to civil government – and never corrected that mistake with the reformation. Second, the feel goodism culture of today does not understand the difference between “Love” and infatuation. So, many divorces are based on infatuation and die right around year 3. It is almost like a ticking time bomb watching my friends, whom married early, having no knowledge of love – end up in divorce during year 3. Amazing how predictable it is!

    A quick check of friends shows none of them ever heard there was a difference, or at least do not remember ever being told. Sounds like a good task for youth ministers out there!

    Still enjoying my reading through your site! Yah, I am not done yet………

    Kristoff

  2. The Word of God is delicious.

    My parents are separated, and I’ve always wanted to shove it in their face. I even know Scripture to back me up, which is exactly what you noted here – Malachi 2:16 – but I realized if I spoke such things to them (they are not believers), that 1. I would not be acting in love, and 2. God isn’t a jerk, so why should I be?

    Anyway, the Bible rocks.

  3. Thanks for the comment, your candor and your passion. Blessings to you for resisting that temptation. I prayed for you and your family that God would work powerful things through this.

  4. Good points, Kristoff. One thing we are now seeing in the U.S. is that the divorce rate for couples married over 20 years is increasing! I have been married for 20 and am working hard to make sure it lastsa lifetime.

  5. In Mark 10, I see Jesus establishing Himself as a higher authority over Moses – He is acknowledging that Moses was influenced by surrounding community members (with hardened hearts no less) rather than holding to the plans of God and His influence. In Mark 10, I see Jesus’s discussion and description of marriage as His way of showing God’s ideal nature. Jesus is establishing the type of relationship with mankind that God desired from the beginning – one of spiritual wedlock. To enjoy our earthly marriages, we really need God’s spirit to reign – we are invited to be married to Him first and then consider everything else from that vantage point. Ultimately, we suffer apart from God’s design when we try to bypass His authority and His definition of love to draw close to one another.

  6. Hi,
    Thanks for te good work. I was preparing for my weekly bible study and discovered this blog. Keep up the good work.
    In addittion, Mark 10 highlights what servanyhood is; serving others selflessly with a positive attitude. Looking out for opportunities to serve others than being served.

    God Bless!

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