Mark 10 Chapter Study
With ch. 10, we come to the second half of Mark’s gospel.
1He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the
other side of the
While Mark keeps his narrative of the life of Jesus divided into the 2 parts of our outline, we know from the other gospels that Jesus did go to Judea & Jerusalem a few times during His earlier ministry.
In fact, as an adult Jew, He was
required to attend the annual feasts at
But His trips south had only been limited in the scope of His ministry & time.
This trip is different in that we won’t be returning north
Let’s get an idea here of the geography & regions of
As Jesus & the disciples arrived in Judea, they’d be in
the lush plain of the western bank of the
It was the same area John the Baptist had performed most of his ministry.
Now that Jesus is there, huge crowds went to see & hear Him.
As He had in
Among those who came to see Him were His determined opponents, the Pharisees.
These guys thought their northern cousins had not been smart enough to take Jesus down — after all, even though they were Pharisees, they were backward Galileans.
But they were sophisticated Judeans, far better educated, or so they thought.
There was a long running debate between themselves and the other main Jewish sect — the Sadducees, over the issue of divorce.
The debate centered over the teaching of 2 well respected rabbis of the past, Hillel & Shammai.
These men differed in their interpretations of Deut. 24:1-4 in which Moses said that a man could divorce his wife if he found some “uncleanness” in her.
Hillel & Shammai defined uncleanness very differently.
Shammai said it meant infidelity, adultery; that the husband had discovered his wife cheating on him.
In that case, Shammai and his followers said, not only was divorce allowed, IT WAS DEMANDED!
Hillel said by “uncleanness” the law meant any perceived fault or failure on the wife’s part.
It’s not hard to imagine which view was more popular in Jesus’ day.
All a man had to do was get a rabbi to print up a document that said,
“On the day, of the 2nd week, of the 4th month, year 3065 of
the world, according to the calculation in use in the town of Beth-Shemesh,
situated by the river Jabbok, I, Levi, son of Matthias, and by whatever name I
am called here, present this day, native of the town of Beth-Shemesh, acting of
my free-will, and without any coercion, do repudiate, send back, and put you
away Miriam, daughter of Eliah, and by whatsoever name you are called, and
until this present time my wife. I send you away now Miriam, daughter of Eliah,
so that you are free and you can at your pleasure marry whom you will and no
one will hinder you. This is your letter of divorce, act of repudiation,
certificate of separation, according to the law of Moses and of
It was afterwards proved by a court of three rabbis, and then lodged with the Jewish high court.
The Pharisees, as the staunch conservatives of the day, followed Shammai’s more strict interpretation while the Sadducees sided with Hillel.
The debate had raged for years & while the Pharisees didn’t like Jesus or want to give Him any credit, they knew the common people held Him in high regard.
They had every reason to believe that Jesus would back them & their interpretation of Deut. 24 and the law of divorce, & so find ammunition with the common people in the debate with the Sadducees.
So they went to Jesus & asked Him what He thought.
2The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
In their eyes, this was a crucial test to determine if Jesus was someone who had a liberal or conservative view of the Word of God.
If He turned out to side with Hillel, then they would just have more ammo to use in opposing Him.
If He sided with them, then they’d come off looking better in the debate with the Sadducees.
Little did they know there was a dfferent take on the whole issue of divorce than they’d perceived.
3And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
Jesus wanted them to clarify their own interpretation of the command first.
4They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
They acknowledged that Moses did make provision for divorce, but they weren’t going to give up any more information than that.
They didn’t want to tip their hand; they wanted to hear what Jesus’ views were.
5And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The Pharisees were only interested in the proper grounds for divorce.
Jesus takes them back, to long before Moses gave the concession for divorce to the original plan and purpose of God for marriage.
In marriage, God makes a man & woman one.
The concession for divorce comes only after the Fall & sin.
It’s allowed because of the hardness of heart that comes when a man or woman refuses to yield to the mercy & grace of God & forgive their spouse.
You see, the problem with even Shammai’s & the Pharisees interpretation of the grounds of divorce was that they had made adultery a requirement for divorce! A husband or wife whose mate had been unfaithful had to divorce them.
Jesus said, “No! Divorce is not required, it’s permitted. But God’s higher will & desire is repentance & reconciliation.”
In light of the ease with which people could divorce, this teaching was radical and surprised them — including the disciples.
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
The reason why adultery is committed in such a case is because while a man or woman may get a certificate of divorce in a human court, IN GOD’S EYES THEY ARE STILL MARRIED.
Mark abbreviates Jesus teaching here. In Matthew we get a fuller treatment and discover that Jesus said that the only PERMISSABLE grounds of divorce in God’s eyes is adultery.
If adultery is committed, the offended mate does have the option of divorce.
But it is only an option. The higher plan and purpose of God would be the healing of the marriage f the errant spouse is repentant.
13Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
It was a common practice for Jewish parents to bring their little children to great rabbis for blessing. They do that here.
But the disciples thought it was their job to keep the riff-raff away.
Women and children were not considered by Jewish men as worth spending any time on. They were just a necessary bother.
So when these parents began brining their children to Jesus for a blessing, the disciples tried to run interference.
In their thinking, Jesus was much too important to be bothered by such a silly thing.
14But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said
to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of
such is the
That seems like a simple remark to us — one we’ve heard many times.
What we don’t realize is just how revolutionary it was to the disciples — to all the adult Jewish men standing there.
You see, if you said, “The Kingdom of God” to these men they would have conjured up images of intense power and glory in their minds.
They would have pictured Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, and the other prophets.
They would have pictured David, sword in hand, crown on his head.
They’d see tall, muscular men dressed in armor, itching for battle with the evil forces of Earth.
No where in their images of the Kingdom were children — No where!
They’d see no women in that idea of the Kingdom.
They’d simply taken worldly ideas of greatness & power & lifted them a notch to make them spiritual.
To their minds, the
When Jesus said the
15Assuredly, I say to you,
Jesus puts the stamp of affirmation on what He’s telling them.
As hard as it might be for them to accept because it’s so radically different from what they’ve believed — it is no less true.
whoever does not receive the
Jesus is not saying you have to come to faith while a little child, but as a little child.
In other words, our faith in God, which is our ticket into the Kingdom, must be a simple, whole-hearted reliance on Him, just as a little child places simple, complete reliance & dependence in his/her mom & dad.
16And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Jesus blessed these little ones — not as a polite duty to appease the parents, but in a genuine desire to demonstrate His love for the children themselves.
He took them up in His arms & placed His hands on them in a tender way.
Gayle Erwin tells a wonderful story about when he was a pastor.
He decided to visit the toddler’s class one day and play with the kids.
He walked in the door and the little one’s all turned around and stared at him.
Towering over them he reached out his hands to them, but they all ran away, with a look of terror on their faces.
He realized they didn’t know Him and his imposing size had scared them.
So he sat down on the ground and a couple of the braver kids eventually came over to him and showed him their toys.
Then he got and idea and laid all the way down on the flow, propping his head up with one arm, and suddenly ALL the children came running over to pile onto him.
He got down to their level and made himself one of them as best he could. That’s when they felt comfortable enough to approach Him.
What a GREAT picture of the incarnation!
God came down to our level — He became one of us, just like us, without giving up any of what He in His essence as God is.
Then, coming as a man, He didn’t stop at the level of the upper reaches of human society.
No, He came all the way down, to the point of pouring Himself out for little children — for those who are the very least in the eyes of man.
How humble is the love of God! How far it will go to make sure EVERY soul is touched, every heart loved!
The Power of the
It’s the Power of a Love that is so strong it would compel The Creator to become a man and take little boys and girls in His arms to tousle their hair, look in their eyes, and let them know they have a Father who will always be there.
17 as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
Jesus & the disciples now turn to take the highway from
As they begin the trek, a man came & presented himself before Jesus in the posture of one in great need.
There was an earnestness in his appeal to the Lord that was remarkable. He began with a title of great respect for Jesus — calling Him “Good Rabbi.”
18So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
The man had asked Jesus what he needed to do to gain eternal life. Here’s the answer. The man called Jesus “good.”
Jesus asked him why he’d called Him good.
Was he merely being polite?
Was he using flattery, so he could get something rom Jesus?
Or did he recognize genuine goodness in Jesus?
Jesus then pointed him to the sole person who can truly be called good — God.
The invitation implicit in Jesus’ words to this guy are to acknowledge that He is God.
And that is the answer to the man’s question about what he must do to gain eternal life — believe in Jesus!
But he doesn’t bite, so Jesus takes this whole idea of goodness & presses it farther.
The man thought there was some thing that he must QQ to merit eternal life.
And he thought he was an expert on what constitutes goodness.
So Jesus takes him on a little journey into morality & the law to show him he isn’t as “good” as he fancies himself.
19You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” 20And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
The commands Jesus listed are all the ones on the second tablet of the 10
Commandments — the ones dealing with man’s duty to other men.
And as far as those rules go, this guy had lived a life of exemplary morality! He was a fine moral specimen.
But the first tablet of the 10 Commandments contain the list of our duties to God. How had this guy fared with them?
21Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
As Jesus looked at this man He saw huge potential & a heart that really did think it was doing good as far as God’s law was concerned.
But Jesus could see that while the man did great as far as morality was concerned, he failed at the very first commandment — “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
This guy’s wealth was more important to him than anything else.
Jesus gave him a simple choice — “Your possessions or Me.”
He chose his stuff over Jesus.
You see why Jesus challenged him to consider what He meant by Good?
Jesus wanted him to realize that He was God & that his own view of what goodness means was mixed up.
Goodness isn’t something you do. Goodness is a Person you trust in above all other things.
And THAT is the how one attains eternal life.
Eternal life isn’t a reward God gives to those who are good enough!
Eternal Life is found in the Only One who is Good — Jesus!
Belief in Him means eternal life.
Eternal Life is IN Jesus. If we would have eternal life, we must be IN Him. Think of it this way — Alice Springs Chicken is in Outback.
That’s the only place you can get it.
If you want Alice Springs Chicken, you’ve got to go into & sit down at a table at Outback.
Eternal Life is in Jesus. Those in Jesus have eternal life.
This story warns us that being a good, moral person isn’t enough to merit heaven. There are billions of people today who think that they will merit heaven after they die because they’ve been a good person — relatively speaking.
Of course the people they compare themselves to for this relative assessment are the infamous like Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Jeffrey Dahimer, John Wayne Gacy, Scott Peterson, Saddam Hussein.
Holding themselves up against such as these they come of looking pretty good.
But that isn’t the gauge of goodness God will use to determine who gets heaven.
His gauge is the epitome of Goodness — Himself!
Sorry folks — we don’t measure up, not even the very best of us.
And God doesn’t grade on the curve.
“Doing good” is not the basis of how we can gain the promise of heaven.
“Trusting totally in He Who is Good” is how we gain heaven.
23Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How
hard it is for those who have riches to enter the
He said it again because they did not think they’d heard Him right the first time.
In the Jewish theology of that day — one’s state in life was thought to be a reflection of God’s favor, which was directly tied to one’s performance.
So the rich & powerful were assumed a being righteous and holy and to be keeping the laws of God.
Now, the error of this thinking ought to have been obvious to them since they knew of many godless, rank pagans who were wildly wealthy & powerful.
How could they explain the wealth of Herod & the Romans officials who daily defied the laws of God in a very public manner?
When Jesus said it was hard for the rich to enter the
So if the rich were going to have a hard time getting into the kingdom, then there was no hope for the less fortunate, such as themselves.
25 is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich man to enter the
Contrary to what you may have heard — there was no Gate in
Jesus meant this literally. It’s would be easier to run a
camel through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the
You can make a camel pass through the eye of a needle, but you have to grind him up really, really fine.
26And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
Notice Jesus never said it was impossible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom — He said it was hard.
And what made it hard was the rich man’s trust in riches.
Look at what Jesus said in v. 24 again — ‘Children, how hard it is for those
who trust in riches to enter the
Riches do not bar a man or woman from heaven.
The crucial issue is trust faith, dependence, what one in the final analysis is counting on.
The reason the rich can have a harder time with trusting God is because they’ve developed a habit of trusting in their wealth.
It secures pleasure, power, & influence. It attracts friends, admiration, & envy.
No matter what difficulties arise, they’ve always got a nice cash reserve to fall back on.
For many such people, the idea of placing their complete dependence on God is neither safe nor practical.
The test for all who are rich in the things of this world is the same Jesus gave this young man.
What would we do if the Lord made it clear to us we were to divest ourselves of earthly wealth and to place our lives completely in Jesus’ hands.
That’s what He called this young man to do.
Right now — let me ask you — If God were to make it manifestly clear to you that HE was calling you to sell all your possessions & invest yourself in some new work He called you to, what would you do?
Any hesitation in answering that puts us right in touch with what Jesus is saying here — how dangerous wealth can be!
When the Disciples asked who could be saved, Jesus made a very interesting remark — ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
This is the fundamental difference between Biblical Christianity and all other religions.
Salvation is not a thing of human endeavor. Man simply cannot save Himself.
What man CANNOT do, what’s IMPOSSIBLE for him, is not only possible — it’s already accomplished in Christ.
And because the bridge between God and man has now been remade by Jesus, there is nothing that God intends for man that cannot be done. NOTHING!
28Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
The challenge Jesus gave this wealthy man, the disciples had afready complied with. At Jesus’ call, they dropped everything and followed Him.
And Peter wanted to make sure Jesus recognized it.
29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
God will be a debtor to no man — and no one will give up the things of this earth in order to follow Jesus who won’t be blessed abundantly.
The rewards Jesus spoke of here lie in two realms, this life & heaven.
In heaven we have the reward of eternal life.
BTW, you realize that by “Eternal life” — the Bible means much more than just never-ending life — Right?
In the Bible, the word “life” means far more than “existence.”
It means all the good stuff those who are living can enjoy.
Eternal life speaks of quality as well as quantity.
There’s no boredom in heaven.
No pain, no sorrow, no suffering, no trials, no waste, no fear.
But there is all good, every moment, forever!
That’s what we get when we finally arrive on heaven’s nightiess shore.
But Jesus said that even now, in this life, while we’ll face opposition because we live in a fallen world that hates God, we’ll be given a hundred-fold reward in terms of the vast family we’ve been drawn into as the Body of Christ.
Your earthly family may reject or even renounce you for receiving Christ, but God will bring you into a new family.
This may not seem like such a great promise to us who face such light opposition, but for those Jews who were banished from their families & excommunicated from the synagogue, this was a huge promise.
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
This is Jesus’ summary about this whole issue of who gets into the Kingdom.
What constitutes greatness in the world doesn’t translate into greatness in the Kingdom.
Rather, those things the world tends to despise are the very things that make for virtue in God’s eyes.
Many will get to heaven & ask, “Hey, who switched the price tags?” all because their minds weren’t renewed by the Word of Christ in this life.
32 they were on the road, going up to
As we’ll see, they were amazed & afraid because of what Jesus revealed to them as they went.
Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33”Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
This is now the third time Jesus had warned them of what was coming.
You would think that by now they would be getting it — but the next verses reveal the disciples were not letting go of their own ideas about what Jesus would do when they got to Jerusalem.
35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
This literal translation sounds a bit harsh. The brothers weren’t making a demand so much as simply asking Jesus for a favor.
36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
The other gospels tell us that while this request originated with the brothers, they got their mother to front for them, thinking that Jesus wouldn’t refuse her.
You can just picture her coming to Jesus; “Master, my boys, these two fine, upstanding disciples of yours who have left so much to follow you — they’d like to ask you a special favor. Would You please hear them and grant them their request?”
Then they made their request.
They asked for the 2 preferred positions — sitting on each side of His throne in the Kingdom.
You see, they thought when Jesus got to Jerusalem He would finally declare Himself as Israel’s Messiah, would rally the armies of Israel & together with the angelic host, defeat the Romans, ridding the holy land of their evil presence.
Then He would re-establish the
throne of David & make
They were asking to be His Chief of Staff & Prime Minister.
38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
It was a cup of suffering, not a throne that awaited Jesus
39They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
As Jesus’ James & John would indeed experience suffering for His name’s sake. But the assignment of who gets to sit as His throne in the coming Kingdom is not a task Jesus has.
The Father makes the seating arrangements for the thrones of heaven.
41And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John.
This is classic. When the other disciples heard Zebedee’s boys had made a power-grab they got bent.
Why would they be so upset unless they were every bit as power-hungry as James & John?
If they’d understood what was really happening & what constitutes real greatness they either would have laughed at the brother’s silliness or they would have just ignored the whole thing.
The other disciples were probably kicking themselves that they hadn’t thought of asking their Moms to go to bat for them.
42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
Worldly greatness is all about domination & control.
43Yet it shall not be so among you.
Christian- TAKE HEED OF WHAT JESUS SAYS HERE!!!!!!!!!!
Domination & control are not the way it’s to be among us as we follow Jesus! Ever — in any relationship or setting.
but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.” 44And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
This is my text for Sunday so we’ll leave further comment till then.
46Now they came to
People like Bartimaeus, those who were blind, lame, or in some way infirm depended on the charity of others to survive.
They would sit along side the main thoroughfares and hold out a dish or cup into which they hoped people would drop a few coins.
Since it was part of the law of God to show mercy and such practical kindness to the needy, beggars were usually able to make a basic living off the alms people would give them.
But Bartimaeus would rather have his vision than to make a living off his blindness and when he heard Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he cried out for help.
Word had reached him of the miracle worker from the North who healed the blind.
Many other things Jesus had done and said had been carried to Bartimaeus and though his physical eyes were blind, the eyes of his heart could see what most others were blind to — Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
That’s why he called Him “Son of David.” This was a clear Messianic title.
48Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Those standing round were shocked to hear Bartimaeus making such a bold declaration of his faith in Jesus as the Messiah!
John tells us in his gospel that by this time, the priests had made it clear that anyone who followed Jesus would be kicked out of the synagogue.
So the people tried to hush Bartimaeus up lest he attract the attention of the officials and cause trouble for all of them.
But Bart had only one concern — getting his sight back!
He knew Jesus was the answer and would let nothing stand in the way.
49So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
This seems an interesting question — after all, blindness was his obvious need.
But in all Bart’s pleading so far, He’s only asked for mercy — not vision.
So Jesus tells him to be specific — what exactly does he want; how does he want
God’s mercy to be manifested to him?
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
“Rabboni” is a heightened & more respectful form of the word “rabbi.”
Originally, the word “rabbi” had been a title of great respect reserved only for the most elite teachers.
Its root ‘rab’ means ‘great.’ A ‘rabbi’ was a great one.
But by Jesus’ day, the title “rabbi” had become so common it had lost it’s reverence.
The title “rabboni” was an attempt to restore the special dignity of the original word “rabbi.”
Bartimaeus told Jesus he wanted his sight.
It’s a good idea when praying to make our requests as specific as we can.
It may sound spiritual to pray broad, general prayers — but when God answers, the answer is not so easy to discern.
“God, bless everyone, everywhere. Amen”
“Jesus, my friend Mark has been having a lot of car problems lately. Please provide him with reliable transportation so he can get to work & to fellowship.”
52Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
We know that it was the grace & power of God that healed Bartimaeus, but Jesus said it was His faith that made him well.
It was Bart’s understanding that Jesus was the solution to his problem, the answer to his question, the vision of his eyes, that enabled the power of God to flow into Him & restore his sight.
In the same way, it’s faith in Jesus that makes the connection between us & God.
As soon as Bartimaeus could see, he began to follow Jesus.
And that’s what happens to all who are truly enlightened, they walk in the Light of the World.
Anyone who claims spiritual enlightenment but rejects Jesus is as blind as the fish that live on the bottom of the ocean.
 The Gospel of Mark. 2000, ci
975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the