-Chapter 10 has many key components as Jesus now leads His followers toward Jerusalem and His ransomous crucifixion for the world. He begins His journey on the eastern side of the Jordan in the region of Judea. Here in approximately the same area that John the Baptist ministered, large crowds were again gathering to hear His teachings. It was His custom by now to instruct on these occasions when the people were coming to Him for the insight, knowledge, and miraculous demonstrations from this most unusual Individual. Some Pharisees were about and tested Him on the lawfulness of divorce situations. The Christ asked them first off, “What did Moses command you?” Moses, under God’s direction of course, had allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send the wife away in the Law. The Lord clarified His true position on the matter, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” This statement led the disciples to question the Rabbi later in a house concerning the subject at hand. He plainly stated to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” another gospel gives some more insight onto this issue, but the main point is that man’s hardness of heart is the primary problem with temporal relationships (Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:1-12).
-The people were bringing children to Jesus in this region that He might touch them, but the disciples were rebuking them as an inappropriate gesture. But, when Jesus saw this, He became indignant and told them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” After this profound statement, He took the children in His All-powerful Arms and began to bless them, laying His Holy Hands on them (Mark 10:13-16). What is it about a child that so closely relates them to the Kingdom of God? I can think of several things here:
1) Humility- There is no place in the Kingdom of God for those who trust in themselves (previous) or those who believe they can earn or work their way to Heaven (after). The ones who are low, who will humble themselves and seek the LORD, will be accepted (Matthew 18:4). We must give up our rights and our pride to come to this Savior, there is no other way. It is a death to self and children are willing. A nothing to lose mentality.
2) Dependence- That these were (and still are) the ones that cast their dependence on the LORD. Little ones know that they can’t do it by themselves. They need help and are willing to allow those more capable to assist them in what they need done.
3) Faith- They have faith and trust in the LORD much more than adults (Warning on causing them to stumble Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42).
4) Purity- They are less tainted by the world, closer to the image of God that He created us to be, they are more pure (although there is ample evidence of a sin nature).
5) Freedom from worldly desires- Little ones have a special enthusiasm for the things of God, a joy in the little things, don’t worry about things as much (see Matthew 6 on being anxious, Matthew 6:33 “Seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you).
-As Christ Jesus was setting out from this place on the journey which would take Him ever closer to Jerusalem, the antithesis of a childlike faith is noted by the author in the text. A rich-young ruler (Luke 18:18) ran up to Him and knelt down before the Lord to discern an important question. He asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus seized upon this opportunity to clarify His deity. He responded, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” Then He began an attempt to bring this young man into the Kingdom of God. He began with the commands, and the man thought he had done everything to abide by those requirements. But Jesus went further and deeper into his real state. Looking at the wealthy individual with love He stated, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.” This called out the fact that he neither loved God with all his heart, mind, and soul, nor did he love his neighbor as much as himself. These are the two concepts that the whole Law is built on (Matthew 22:36-40). He wasn’t as righteous as he made himself out to be as he walked away from the Lord’s call saddened and grieving due to his inability to give up his worldly riches. This had to have grieved the Lord too as He looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed by this comment since from an earthly perspective it seemed like the more prosperous had it all. But Jesus corrects this thinking when He continues, “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.” This astonished the disciples even more as they all chimed in, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus, the Master Teacher, then brought the themed lesson to completion, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” This led the thoughtful Peter to draw some rewarding conclusions. He began to say to the Master, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus, I can picture probably smiling, replied, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first (Mark 10:17-31).” What a promise! What a good, good, good God!
-Like Willie Nelson, Jesus and His disciples were on the road again going up to the majestic Jerusalem, where the Temple of the LORD was and where Christ would give His life as a ransom for all mankind to purchase them from spiritual death. Jesus walked ahead of His posse in determination of purpose. Those who followed Him did so with amazement and fear the Bible says. The Christ again took the twelve aside for a ministry briefing to alert them as to what was about to happen to Him. He told them matter of factly:
that He would be delivered (paradidōmi- betrayed) to the chief priests and the scribes, that He would be condemned to death,
that He would be handed over to the Gentiles,
that He would be mocked,
that He would be spit on,
that He would be scoured (whipped),
that He would be killed,
and that He would rise again from the dead in three days (Mark 10:32-34).
-James and John come up to Jesus at this point and ask for something special. They wanted to sit on either side of Him in His glory as the Kingdom came. Jesus wisely told them that they really didn’t know what they were asking for. He challenged them to see if they were really willing to go through the suffering baptism of fire that He was about to go through with pain and torment. They both said that they were able, and Jesus prophesied that indeed they would go through intense persecution. But then He told them frankly, “…to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” The other ten disciples were put out upon hearing this request from James and John. Jesus used the teachable moment to bring His followers closer to the Kingdom of God, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:35-45).”
-Now they came to Jericho, the regional place where Joshua had led the children of Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land many years before. As the Christ was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus cried out from his sitting position on the road, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He had heard that Jesus the Nazarene was approaching. Since he could not see, he was probably just randomly calling out as he heard voices approaching his presence. Many were trying to shut him up from speaking out, but he persisted in crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped when He came and said, “Call him here.” So they obeyed and told the beggar, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling you.” We get a vivid impression of his excitement from the text. He threw aside his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus. Jesus asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” God always wants us to be relational and specific. Bartimaeus responded, “Rabboni (My Master), I want to regain my sight!” Jesus told him that his “faith” had made him well. Immediately, a healing miracle occurred and Bartimaeus began following the Lord on the road, a new disciple in Christ (Mark 10:46-52).
-*Application* The things that jump out to us the most in this lengthy chapter are the origins and costs of discipleship. Do we have that childlike faith that it takes to enter the Kingdom of God and receive His miraculous works in our lives? Have we truly loved Him more than anything else, and do we really love our neighbors as much as ourselves? Is our heart hard or pliable for goodness sake? When we are confronted with these calls and challenges, will we go His way or our own? This makes all the difference now and for eternity. I love what the Lord says though. When we do give everything up for Him and die to ourselves, He raises us back up in His overwhelming power and gives us more than we ever could have hoped or imagined (Ephesians 3:20).
Verses to Memorize: Mark 10:21, 45