Mark Chapter 10
Mark 10:1 MKJV And He arose from there. And He came into the borders of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And again a crowd came together to Him. And as was His custom, He taught them again.
Gill: And he arose from thence,.... From Galilee, and particularly from Capernaum:
the further side of Jordan; which he crossed at the bridge of Chammath: the particular place he came to was Bethabara; see Joh_10:40, where John formerly preached, and baptized:
Robertson: A great deal has intervened between the events at the close of Mark 9 and those in the beginning of Mark 10. For these events See Matthew 18; John 7-11; Luke 9:57-18:14 (one-third of Luke’s Gospel comes in here). It was a little over six months to the end at the close of Mark 9. It is just a few weeks now in Mark 10. Jesus has begun his last journey to Jerusalem going north through Samaria, Galilee, across the Jordan into Perea, and back into Judea near Jericho to go up with the passover pilgrims from Galilee.
Multitudes (ochloi). Caravans and caravans journeying to Jerusalem. Many of them are followers of Jesus from Galilee or at least kindly disposed towards him. They go together (sunporeuontai) with Jesus. Note dramatic historical present.
Mark 10:2 MKJV And tempting Him, the Pharisees came to Him and asked Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?
TPT: The reason this is important to note (vs 1) is that this places Jesus in the jurisdiction of Herod Antips, who had John the Baptizer beheaded at the request of his stepdaughter. Now the Pharisees are coming to test Jesus in hopes of setting him up for likewise being put to death by Herod.
Guzik: Divorce was a controversial topic in Jesus’ day, with two main schools of thought, centered around two of its most famous proponents. The first was the school of Rabbi Hillel (a lenient and popular view) and the school of Rabbi Shammai (a strict and unpopular view).
b. The real point of the Pharisees’ question is made clear by Matthew’s account: Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason? (Mat_19:3) If the question is “is it lawful” then lawful is understood by for just any reason.
i. The debate centers around the Mosaic law which gave permission for divorce in Deu_24:1 : When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house. The debate among the rabbis tried to answer the question “What constitutes uncleanness?”
ii. Rabbi Shammai understood that uncleanness meant sexual immorality, and said that was the only valid reason for divorce. But Rabbi Hillel understood uncleanness to mean any sort of discretion, even to the point of burning the breakfast being valid grounds for divorce.
iii. William Barclay on the teaching of Rabbi Hillel on divorce and the term uncleanness in Deu_24:1 : “They said that it could mean if the wife spoiled a dish of food, if she spun in the streets, if she talked to a strange man, if she spoke disrespectfully of her husband’s relations in his hearing, if she was a brawling woman, (who was defined as a woman whose voice could be heard in the next house). Rabbi Akiba even went the length of saying that it meant if a man found a woman who was fairer in his eyes than his wife was.”
c. The Pharisees are trying to get Jesus to speak against Moses or against popular thought; they hope they have caught Him on the horns of a dilemma.
Gill: And the: Pharisees came unto him,.... As they every where did; not to be instructed by him, but to ensnare him;
and asked him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? that is, as Matthew adds, "for every cause"; see Gill on Mat_19:3, for, a divorce might be lawfully made for a cause, or reason, namely, adultery, but not for any, or every cause; which is the sense of this question of the Pharisees; and, which they put, not for information, but
tempting him; trying to entangle him by opposing the authority of Moses, should he deny the lawfulness of divorces, or by objecting his former doctrine, Mat_5:32, and so expose him as an inconsistent preacher, should he allow them to be lawful for every reason.
Do you favor the teaching of men on this topic or the Lord?
Mark 10:3 MKJV And He answered and said to them, What did Moses command you?
Gill: what did Moses command you? He very pertinently asks them, what Moses had said about divorces, what law he had left; and puts them upon producing and repeating it, that the sense of it might be examined, and it be considered, upon what account it was given.
Mark 10:4 MKJV And they said, Moses allowed a bill of divorce to be written, and to put her away.
Guzik: What did Moses command you? Jesus gets back to the heart of the matter in Deu_24:1 : Moses did not command divorce, Moses permitted it. This went against the teaching of Rabbi Hillel, who taught that it was a righteous duty to divorce your wife if she displeased you in any way.
i. The rabbis of that day had a saying: “If a man has a bad wife, it is a religious duty to divorce her.” Jesus goes against this way of thinking.
Bullinger: a bill. Greek. biblion (Dim), a little book or scroll. Latin. libeilus, whence one "libel" = a written accusation.
Mark 10:5 MKJV And Jesus answered and said to them, He wrote you this precept because of the hardness of your hearts.
Mark 10:5 TPT Jesus said, “Yes, Moses wrote this exception for you because you are hardhearted.
Gill: for the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept; it was, not because it was right in its own nature, or according to the original will of God; but, because the Jews were such cruel, and hard hearted men, that if this had not been permitted, some of them, that had wives not so agreeable to them, would have used them in a very inhuman manner, if not murdered them; and therefore to prevent further, and greater mischief, Moses indulged them with such a precept; See Gill on Mat_19:8.
Popular NT: For your hardness of heart. Their general sinfulness, with special reference to harshness toward their wives, which this regulation was designed to counteract. It was not to encourage divorce.
He wrote. This implies that some of the precepts of the Mosaic law were of temporary validity, designed only to educate the chosen people.
Guzik: The Mosaic law granting divorce was a concession to the hardness of your heart. It was never commanded by God, but permitted because of the hardness of the offending party (in the cruelty of their unfaithfulness to their spouse). It was also permitted because of the hardness of the offended party (being unable to perfectly forgive and restore a damaged relationship).
- The law of Deu_24:1 was really given as a protection to the divorced wife. “Moses permitted divorce providing a certificate of divorce was given to the wife . . . Its primary function was to provide a degree of protection for the woman who had been repudiated by her husband.” (Lane)
Hawker: And first; Our LORD most decidedly proves, that even in the cases where Moses permitted a divorcement, he allowed it not, without compelling the husband to write the bill with his own hand, before be put her away. As if to shew, that it should not be the hasty impulse of the moment, but the solemn and serious result of proper deliberation; thereby allowing an harsh and angry husband the time to relent. And even here, it was to be done with such coolness, turning over all the consequences, that the husband by the same law, however afterwards he might repent, was not by any means allowed to take her again. See Deu_24:1-4. And the LORD JESUS added that this law, which seemed rather to wink at such conduct than justify it, would never have been given by Moses but for the hardness of their hearts. So decidedly against all divorces was the tender and compassionate Jesus.
Can you relate to this verse?
If you were divorced, was it from hardness of heart? Yours or your spouse’s?
Mark 10:6 MKJV But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
Guzik: Jesus now transitions from a talk about divorce to a talk about marriage. The problem was not that they did not understand the law about divorce. The problem was that they did not understand what God said about marriage.
i. This emphasis on marriage, rather than divorce, is a wise approach for anyone interested in keeping a marriage together. Divorce cannot be seen as an option when things are hard. Marriage is like a mirror; it reflects what we put into it. If someone has divorce readily in their mind as a convenient option, divorce will be much more likely.
ii. From the beginning: It’s striking that Jesus takes us back to the beginning to learn about marriage. Today many want to say, “We live in different times” or “The rules are different today” or “We need a modern understanding.” But put all that away and listen to Jesus: go back to the beginning.
d. From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female: God’s real purpose for marriage is not fulfilled in divorce, but only in seeing God’s original plan for marriage. In saying, “God made them,” Jesus asserts God’s “ownership” over marriage; it is God’s institution, not man’s, so His rules apply.
i. “Marriage is a condition of Divine expression and activity, therefore where its fundamental significances are forgotten, and its fundamental laws are disobeyed, it becomes the most tragic of all experiences.” (Morgan)
Bullinger: from the beginning of the creation. Therefore there could have been no creation of "man" before Adam.
Mark 10:7 MKJV For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife.
Mark 10:8 MKJV And the two of them shall be one flesh. So then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Guzik: And the two shall become one flesh: By bringing the issue back to the foundation of marriage, Jesus makes it plain that couples must forsake their singleness (a man shall leave his father and mother), and come together in a one flesh relationship that is both a fact (they are) and a goal (shall become).
i. The term joined to his wife has the idea of gluing two things together. “Be glued to her . . . A husband ought to be as firm to his wife as to himself.” (Trapp)
ii. The term Jesus uses for joined together is literally yoked together. Like two animals yoked together, couples must work together and head the same way to really be joined the way God wants them to be joined.
iii. Here, there is a new and overriding unity. The bond between a husband and wife should be even stronger than the bond between parent and child. The marriage bond should be stronger than the blood-bond. “And the law of God was not, that a man should forsake his wife whenever he had a mind to it, but that he should rather forsake his father and mother than his wife; loving his wife as his own body.” (Poole)
iv. “Not only meaning that they should be considered as one body, but also as two souls in one body, with a complete union of interests, and an indissoluble partnership of life and fortune, comfort and support, desires and inclinations, joys and sorrows.” (Clarke)
Gill: so then they are no more twain; but one flesh; as Adam and Eve were both by creation and marriage: and so two persons, a man and woman, being lawfully married together, become one flesh, or "one body", as the Arabic and Persic versions render the phrase; and therefore the wife is to be loved by the husband as his own body, and from whom there should be no separation, until death, but in case of adultery;
Would you forsake your parents before your spouse?
Do you take seriously your wedding vows “Till death do us part”?
Mark 10:9 MKJV Therefore what God has joined together, let not man put apart.
Russell: Hath joined together -- The marriage contract is similar to that between the Lord and the Church--perpetual.
MHCC: Let those who are for putting away their wives consider what would become of themselves, if God should deal with them in like manner.
Guzik: What God has joined together: Next, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that marriage is spiritually binding before God. Marriage is not merely a social contract, and as God has joined, He will keep together.
In using the terms joined together and separate, Jesus reminds us that divorce is really like an amputation. Sometimes, in the most extreme circumstances, amputation may be the right thing to do. But the “patient” must first fit the criteria before God will recognize the “amputation.”
Are you seeking to be loosed from your spouse?
Mark 10:10 MKJV And in the house His disciples asked Him again about the same.
Gill: his disciples asked him again of the same matter; concerning the affair of divorces, be bad been discoursing with the Pharisees about; some things being said, they had not been used to, and which they did not thoroughly understand; and therefore chose privately to converse with him on this subject, for their further information.
Guzik: This is not a one-verse teaching of all there is to know about divorce and remarriage. Jesus is clearly following up His remarks earlier in the chapter, where He indicated that God did permit (not command) divorce in the case of sexual immorality. Here, Jesus answers the question, “Then what about a divorce gained on other grounds?”
When you don’t understand something that has been taught to you—do you ask for clarification?
If you don’t understand something in the scriptures, do you ask the Lord to show you the truth of the matter?
Mark 10:11 MKJV And He said to them, Whoever shall put away his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.
Russell: Put away his wife -- May not marry unless a divorce be granted, on the ground of adulterous unfaithfulness. (Mat_19:9)
Guzik: We can only understand this passage by taking into account the whole counsel of God (Act_20:27). In Matthew’s more complete recording of this teaching, he notes how Jesus said And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery (Mat_19:9). With this answer, Jesus interpreted the meaning of the word uncleanness in Deu_24:1, showing that divorce (and the freedom to remarry) was only permitted in the case of sexual immorality.
i. The ancient Greek word for sexual immorality is porneia; it is a broad word, covering a wide span of sexual impropriety. One may be guilty of porneia without actually having consummated an act of adultery.
ii. To this permission for divorce, Paul adds the case of abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1Co_7:15).
iii. Note that incompatibility, not loving each other anymore, brutality, and misery are not grounds for divorce, though they may be proper grounds for a separation and consequent “celibacy within marriage.”
c. Commits adultery against her: The reason why a person who does not have a legitimate divorce commits adultery upon remarrying (as well as their new spouse) is because they are not divorced in the eyes of God. Since their old marriage is still valid, they are actually guilty of bigamy and adultery.
i. We must come to grips with the fact that marriage, as a promise made to God, our spouse and the world, is a binding promise, and cannot be broken at our own discretion. There are certain cases where God allows the promise to be dissolved, but it is up to God and not us.
If you divorced after you became a Christian—was it on scriptural grounds?
If after you became a Christian, you divorced on unscriptural grounds (i.e. you were not a victim of your spouse committing adultery), and you remarried—What does God think of your current situation?
Mark 10:12 MKJV And if a woman shall put away her husband and marries to another, she commits adultery.
Benson: And if a woman shall put away her husband, &c. — “This practice of divorcing the husband, unwarranted by the law, had been (as Josephus informs us) introduced by Salome, sister of Herod the Great, who sent a bill of divorce to her husband Costobarus; which bad example was afterward followed by Herodias and others. By law, it was the husband’s prerogative to dissolve the marriage. The wife could do nothing by herself. When he thought fit to dissolve it, her consent was not necessary. The bill of divorce which she received was to serve as evidence for her, that she had not deserted her husband, but was dismissed by him, and consequently free.” — Campbell.
Guzik: If a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery: This statement of Jesus shows why it is important to take the whole counsel of God on any given topic. If this were the only passage on divorce and remarriage in the Bible, then we should say that if anyone divorces for any reason, they then commit adultery, therefore God never permits remarriage in the case of divorce. But taking the whole counsel of God into account, it is impossible to say this.
i. There are some that neglect the whole counsel of God and say that God never allows remarriage after divorce. But when we see what the entire Bible says on the subject, we see that if a divorce is made on Biblical grounds (adultery or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse), there is full right to remarry.
ii. If a divorce is not based on Biblical grounds - the kind of divorce Jesus refers to here - then there is no right to remarry. This is because as far as God is concerned, the marriage is still together, and to marry another would be adultery.
iii. This means that as God looks down from heaven, He does not have three categories: single, married, and divorced. He has two categories: single and married. You are either bound under a marriage vow, or you are not. If you are, you can’t marry another. If you are not, you are free to marry in the Lord. Understanding the whole counsel of God on this subject frees people from the stigma of “divorced” in the church.
Mark 10:13 MKJV And they brought children to Him, so that He should touch them. And His disciples rebuked those bringing them.
Mark 10:13 TPT The parents kept bringing their little children to Jesus so that he would lay his hands on them and bless them. But the disciples kept rebuking and scolding the people for doing it.
Guzik: They brought little children to Him: The ancient Greek word used for brought (prosphero) suggests bringing the children to Jesus for dedication. “The word is commonly used of sacrifices, and suggests here the idea of dedication.” (Bruce)
Barnes: Should touch them - That is, should lay his hands on them, and pray for them, and bless them. Compare Mat_19:13. It was common to lay the hands on the head of a person for whom a blessing was asked. See the case of Jacob, Gen_48:14.
Russell: His disciples rebuked -- Feeling that the Lord's time was too valuable to be thus used.
Do we sometimes condemn or discourage others from coming to the Lord because we think its not right?
Do you bring your children to the Lord for a blessing?
Mark 10:14 MKJV But when Jesus saw, He was much displeased and said to them, Allow the little children to come to Me and do not hinder them. For of such is the kingdom of God.
Guzik: Let the little children come to Me: Children love to come to Jesus, and it says something about Him that children loved Him and that He loved children. Children don’t love mean, sour people.
- Jesus’ attitude towards children “can only be properly appreciated within the context of the calloused attitudes toward children that still prevailed within Hellenistic society in the first century. A papyrus dated Alexandria, June 17, 1 B.C., contains a letter of instruction from a husband to his expectant wife, who he supposes may have had her child: ‘if it was a male child, let it live; if it was a female, cast it out.’“ (Lane)
c. The disciples rebuked those who brought them: Because children love to come to Jesus, we should never block the way - or fail to provide them a way. We know more about Jesus than the women of Judea did. Is there any good reason for us not to bring our own children to Jesus?
i. This is a duty especially for parents. The prayers and words of a parent can mean so much in the salvation of a child.
He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them: Jesus simply yet powerfully, blessed them. The ancient Greek verb is emphatic, literally meaning to fervently bless.
i. How could children receive such a blessing from Jesus? Because children can receive the blessing of Jesus without trying to make themselves worthy of it, or pretending they do not need it. We need to receive God’s blessing the same way.
e. For of such is the kingdom of God: Children are not only for blessing; they are also examples of how we must enter the kingdom with a childlike faith, not with a childish faith. We must come to God with a faith that trusts God just like a little child with trust his father - and leave all the problems up to daddy.
i. The emphasis isn’t that children are humble and innocent, because sometimes they aren’t. But the emphasis is on the fact that children will receive, and don’t feel they have to earn everything they get. Children are in a place where often all they can do is receive. They don’t refuse gifts out of self-sufficient pride. So we must receive the kingdom of God as a little child - because we surely will by no means enter it by what we do or earn.
Are you childlike or childish?
Mark 10:15 MKJV Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.
Mar 10:15 TPT Listen to the truth I speak: Whoever does not open their arms to receive God’s kingdom like a teachable child will never enter it.”
Mark 10:16 MKJV And taking them up in His arms, He put His hands on them and blessed them.
Barnes: Blessed them - Prayed for them, sought a blessing on them, or gave them the assurance of his favor as the Messiah. How happy would it be if all parents thus felt it to be their privilege to present their children to Christ!
Mark 10:17 MKJV And when He had gone out into the way, one came running up and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Barnes: Running - Thus showing the intensity with which he desired to know the way of life.
Russell: There came one -- A Jew of a prominent family, a ruler. A young ruler of the synagogue. Notwithstanding the persecuting spirit of the rulers and teachers in Israel against the Lord and all who believed in the validity of his claims, he came to him openly.
Kneeled to him -- Saluting him with that reverence due to so great a teacher.
What shall I do -- He was anxious for a perfect conformity to the will of God; and so anxious that he manifested his willingness to bear reproach for it in coming to Jesus.
If you are sincere, you ought to be ready to accept whatever answer he will give me as divine direction, and should promptly obey.
Guzik: Good Teacher: This title was never applied to other Rabbis in Jesus’ day, because it implied sinlessness, a complete goodness. Jesus and everyone else recognized that He was being called by a unique title.
i. “There is no instance in the whole Talmud of a rabbi being addressed as ‘Good Master’.” (Plummer, cited in Geldenhuys) Only God was called “good” by ancient rabbis.
b. Why do you call Me good?
c. What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? The focus of the man’s question is what shall I do. He thought eternal life was a matter of earning and deserving, not of relationship. As he bowed down on his knees in front of Jesus, the mere closeness of that relationship made him closer to salvation than anything he could do. He didn’t want Jesus to be his savior, he wanted Jesus to show him the way to be his own savior.
i. The man really didn’t know who he was also. He thought that he was righteous, and didn’t really know the kind of person he was. When you don’t know who Jesus really is, you probably won’t know who you are either. And knowing Jesus comes first.
Mark 10:18 MKJV And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except one, God.
Robertson: Why callest thou me good? So Luk_18:19. Mat_19:17 has it: “Why asketh thou concerning that which is good? “The young ruler was probably sincere and not using mere fulsome compliment, but Jesus challenges him to define his attitude towards him as was proper.
Expositor’s: The doctrinal importance of this remarkable utterance is what most affects us, who look back through the dust of a hundred controversies. But it was very secondary at the time, and what the ruler doubtless felt most was a chill sense of repression and perhaps despair. It was indeed the death-knell of his false hopes. For if only God is good, how can any mortal inherit eternal life by a good deed? And Jesus goes on to deepen this conviction by words which find a wonderful commentary in St. Paul’s doctrine of the function of the law. It was to prepare men for the gospel by a challenge, by revealing the standard of true righteousness, by saying to all who seek to earn heaven, "The man that doeth these things shall live by them." The attempt was sure to end in failure, for, "by the law is knowledge of sin." It was exactly upon this principle that Jesus said "Keep the commandments," spiritualizing them, as St. Matthew tells us, by adding to the injunctions of the second table, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." which saying, we know, briefly comprehends them all.
But the ruler knew not how much he loved himself: his easy life had met no searching and stern demand until now, and his answer has a tone of relief, after the ominous words he had first heard. "Master," and he now drops the questionable adjective, "all these have I kept from my youth;" these never were so burdensome that he should despair; not these, he thinks, inspired that unsatisfied longing for some good thing yet undone. We pity and perhaps blame the shallow answer, and the dull perception which it betrayed. But Jesus looked on him and loved him. And well it is for us that no eyes fully discern our weakness but those which were so often filled with sympathetic tears. He sees error more keenly than the sharpest critic, but he sees earnestness too. And the love which desired all souls was attracted especially by one who had felt from his youth up the obligation of the moral law, and had not consciously transgressed it.
What is your attitude when you come to Jesus?
Mark 10:19 MKJV You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and your mother.
Russell: Thou knowest the commandments -- It was necessary that our Lord's answer should be in line with the Law Covenant which was still in force, not yet "nailed to the cross." (Col_2:14)
Guzik: You know the commandments: Being a Jew, this man knew the commandments. Jesus was careful to quote to him only those commandments that have to do what is often called the second table of the law, how we treat one another.
Mark 10:20 MKJV And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.
Guzik: In his reply, this ruler says of himself that he has kept all these commandments, and that he has done so since his youth. Is this possible? Yes and no. “Yes” according to the way these commandments were commonly interpreted but “no” according to the true meaning God had for these commandments.
i. In Php_3:6, Paul says that in the eyes of the religious Jews, he could say that for him, concerning the righteousness which is in the law, [he was] blameless.
ii. But Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, gave us the real meaning of the law - it goes to the heart, not just to your actions. You can have a heart filled with adultery even if you never commit it; a heart filled with murder even if you never do it; a heart that steals even if you never steal. And God looks at the heart as well as the actions.
iii. The man should have responded, “There is no way I have kept or can keep the law of God completely. I need a savior.”
Russell: All these have I observed -- He was trying to do right in every way. He had been living a most exemplary life; but that was merely his duty; no one has a right to live a bad life.
Mark 10:21 MKJV Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said to him, One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me.
Russell: Beholding him -- He was a noble character, even though he was not a disciple.
Loved him -- It would have been impossible for the Lord not to love such a grand character. Loved his endeavors to keep the Law and loved his manifestation of humility and earnestness in coming as he had, in a public manner, to ask the way to life eternal.
One thing thou lackest -- With all his morality there was inconsistency. He possessed wealth, and should use it to the glory of the Lord. There was a lack. His attitude, although he did not realize it, was not that of entire consecration to the will of God. He had failed to keep the Law in those two most important principles--supreme love to God and love to the neighbor as to self.
Sell whatsoever thou hast -- You must do more than merely avoid sin. God is now calling for sacrificers.
If you do not sacrifice yourself, you cannot become my disciple. Possessions, time, reputation, ambition.
Not that the Lord's people should be penniless, dependant upon the charity of others, but their possessions all must be consecrated to the Lord to be used in his service.
If that young man had assented and made further inquiry as to the particulars, it is our opinion that the Lord would have modified his statement--suggesting that the selling and giving to the poor be not done all at once, but gradually, as the necessities might seem to open up.
Give to the poor -- Use that which you consecrated as wisely and as thoroughly as you know how, as God's steward. Not that the riches should be given away recklessly or indiscriminately but, as God's steward, to distribute it according to the wisdom which God would give.
Treasure in heaven -- Additionally, he might become a joint-heir with Jesus in glory, honor and immortality. (Rom_2:7; Rom_8:17)
Take up the cross -- There is no other way to come into Christ but by way of the cross. We must bear it as he bore it.
Guzik: One thing you lack: Instead of challenging the man’s fulfillment of the law (which Jesus had every right to do), Jesus instead took him further down his own path. “So you want to find fulfillment and salvation by doing for God? Then here, do it all.” Jesus wanted the man to see the futility of finding fulfillment or salvation through doing, but the man wouldn’t see it.
i. He also could not love God more than his wealth, even though Jesus specifically promised him treasure in heaven. The man was more interested in man’s earthly treasures than in God’s heavenly treasures. Essentially, this man was an idolater. Wealth was his God, not the true God of the Bible. He put money first.
e. Then how can we be saved? This man, like all men by nature, has an orientation towards a works-righteousness; he asks what shall I do. If we really want to do the works of God, it must begin with believing on Jesus, whom the Father has sent (Joh_6:29).
MacLaren: We may be sure that it was this man’s money which stood between him and eternal life. If something else had been his chief temptation, that something would have been signalised as needful to be given up. There is no general principle of conduct laid down here, but a specific injunction determined by the individual’s character. All diseases are not treated with the same medicines. The command is but Christ’s application of His broad requirement, ‘If thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out.’ The principle involved is, surrender what hinders entire following of Jesus. When that sacrifice is made, we shall be in contact with the fountain of goodness, and have eternal life, not as payment, but as a gift.
Have you given your “all” for Jesus?
Mark 10:22 MKJV And he was sad at that saying and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.
Russell: He was sad -- But he had no complaint to make. He was anxious to do God's will, but not sufficiently anxious to be accounted worthy of membership in the Little Flock. He was willing to do right, to do justly, but unwilling to sacrifice. No doubt the heart of Jesus was sad also when he saw the blight of selfishness and self-will attacking that promising half-blown rose of character.
Went away grieved -- Sorrowful; he did not want to give everything to the Lord, but preferred to hold on to his wealth. With all his morality, there was inconsistency. He possessed wealth, and should use that wealth to the glory of God. He must not be selfish, or he could not be Christ's disciple. Declining to have the eternal life which Jesus was offering on the only terms now attaching to the offer.
Meyer: Youth, with all its fervor and impetuosity, is very beautiful to the Lord Jesus. In this case it was combined with station, high standing, and wealth. It is not necessary that all should sell their goods, and give away the proceeds; indeed, it is often harder to retain and administer them rightly for God. But it was necessary for Christ to prove to this young man that he was not living the life of love, as he seemed to suppose. That alone can fulfill the law, and secure the highest and most perfect blessedness of which we are capable. It was a severe but necessary test for this young man.
MacLaren: ‘His countenance fell,’ or, according to Mark’s picturesque word, ‘became lowering,’ like a summer sky when thunder-clouds gather. The hope went out of his heart, and the light faded from his eager face. The prick of the sharp spear had burst the bubble of his superficial earnestness. He had probably never had anything like so repugnant a duty forced upon him, and he cannot bring himself to yield. Like so many of us, he says, ‘I desire eternal life,’ but when it comes to giving up the dearest thing he recoils. ‘Anything else, Lord, thou shalt have, and welcome, but not that.’ And Christ says, ‘That, and nothing else, I must have, if thou art to have Me.’ So this man ‘went away sorrowful.’ His earnestness evaporated; he kept his possessions, and he lost Christ. A prudent bargain! But we may hope that, since ‘he went away sorrowful,’ he felt the ache of something lacking, that the old longings came back, and that he screwed up his resolution to make ‘the great surrender,’ and counted his wealth ‘but dung, that he might win Christ.’
Guzik: Jesus’ purpose wasn’t to make the man sad; but he could only be happy by doing what Jesus told him to do. So he went away grieved. How many have almost everything, yet are grieved!
There is a thought that this could be Barnabas who traveled with the Apostle Paul. Barnabas did sell all his goods and was totally devoted to the Lord.
Are you willing to let go of what keeps you from following the Lord?
Mark 10:23 MKJV And Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, How hardly those having riches will enter into the kingdom of God!
Guzik: We are like the disciples; it is hard for us to see how riches would hinder us from the kingdom of God. We think that riches can only bring blessing and good.
i. The words of Jesus amaze the disciples because they assume that wealth is always a sign of God’s blessing and favor. After all, if the rich aren’t saved, then who is?
ii. Remember what Paul said to Timothy: But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Ti_6:9-10)
b. We often excuse ourselves from what Jesus says here because we don’t consider ourselves rich. Yet who among us would not be considered richer than this rich young ruler was?
c. Riches are a snare because they tend to make us satisfied with this life, instead of longing for the age to come; as well, often riches must be acquired at the expense of acquiring God.
i. We may contrast the dependence of a child with the independence of a rich man - which does Jesus say is more likely to inherit the kingdom of God?
Russell: How hardly -- The difficulty was that he had set his heart upon his riches, demonstrating that he loved God and the divine will less than he loved his earthly property. The possession of wealth, in combination with selfishness, leads to a measure of satisfaction with present circumstances and conditions unfavorable to faith in God's heavenly promises.
Shall they -- The Doctors of the Law, the prominent Pharisees, the rulers in the synagogues, the members of the Sanhedrin, etc., were the wealthiest of Israel.
That have riches -- Not because God is opposed to riches, for he himself is rich above all others. Though generally applied to money, it may properly be applied to any valuable possession--talents of music, oratory or mental endowment--which carry with it weight of influence among men. We should have no idols--either wealth, fame or selfish ease--which might attract our devotion away from God.
The kingdom of God -- Used interchangeably with "kingdom of heaven." (Mat_19:23) Not the earthly nominal church which rich men find little difficulty in getting into, but the glorified Body of Christ.
Do you trust in riches or God?
Mark 10:24 MKJV And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answering again said to them, Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Gill: And the disciples were astonished at his words,.... For they expected, in a little while, that the kingdom of the Messiah would be set up in great worldly pomp and grandeur; and that all the rich men of the nation would come into it, become his subjects, and join to support the glory and splendour of it:
Barnes: Children - An expression of affection, perhaps also implying a reproof that their slowness of understanding was like that of children. When they should have seen at once the truth of what he said, they were slow to learn it. It became necessary, therefore, to “repeat” what he had said.
MacLaren: How universal the application of His words! Riches may become a hindrance to entering the kingdom. They do so when they take the first place in the affections and in the estimates of good. That danger besets those who have them and those who have them not. Many a poor man is as much caught in the toils of the love of money as the rich are. Jesus modifies the form of His saying when He repeats it in the shape of ‘How hardly shall they that trust in riches,’ etc. It is difficult to have, and not to trust in them. Rich men’s disadvantages as to living a self-sacrificing Christian life are great. To Christ’s eyes, their position was one to be dreaded rather than to be envied.
So opposed to current ideas was such a thought, that the disciples, accustomed to think that wealth meant happiness, were amazed. If the same doctrine were proclaimed in any great commercial centre today, it would excite no less astonishment. At least, many Christians and others live as if the opposite were true.
Are you astonished at this teaching too?
Mark 10:25 MKJV It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich one to enter into the kingdom of God.
Russell: For a rich man -- No rich man can enter. The only way one can enter is by becoming poor, sacrificing everything. A rich man could enter the kingdom of God only be renouncing his burdens, giving up all to the Lord.
The kingdom of God -- Not the earthly nominal church, but the real kingdom, the glorified kingdom which shall be established in the end of this age.
Guzik: 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: With man, salvation is like a camel going through the eye of a needle. With God, it is possible.
i. “The camel was the largest animal found on Palestinian soil. The violent contrast between the largest animal and the smallest opening expresses what, humanly speaking, is impossible or absurd.” (Lane)
ii. “Attempts have been made to explain Jesus’ words about the camel and the eye of a needle in terms of a camel shuffling through a small postern gate, or by reading kamilon ‘cable’ for kamelon ‘camel’. Such ‘explanations’ are misguided. They miss the point that Jesus is using a humourous illustration.” (Morris)
With God all things are possible: However, God’s grace is sufficient to save the rich man; we have the examples of people like Zaccheus, Joseph of Armithea, and Barnabas.
Mark 10:26 MKJV And they were astonished beyond measure, saying to themselves, And who can be saved?
MacLaren: No wonder that the disciples thought that, if the road was so difficult for rich men, it must be hard indeed. Christ goes even farther. He declares that it is not only hard, but ‘impossible,’ for a man by his own power to tread it. That was exactly what the young man had thought that he could do, if only he were directed.
Gill: And they were astonished out of measure,.... They were still more amazed, their surprise increased exceedingly upon our Lord's using the above comparison; which, in their apprehension, showed, that it was utterly impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God; and they expressed their astonishment,
If Jesus was talking about a city gate, would the apostles have been astonished beyond measure over what Jesus said?
What does the word “saved” mean?—Make whole.
How does Jesus make us whole?
Mark 10:27 MKJV And Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
Russell: With men it is impossible -- According to the Law no such thing was possible, but God made possible this plan of salvation through Jesus.
All things are possible -- If the rich man be honest-hearted and humble, and his riches alone stand in the way, the Lord would show him how to use his wealth, or else strip him of it.
Robertson: But not with God --The impossible by the side of men (para anthrōpois) becomes possible by the side of God. That is the whole point and brushes to one side all petty theories of a gate called needle’s eye, etc.
Do you work with God?
Mark 10:28 MKJV Then Peter began to say to Him, Lo, we have left all and have followed You.
Matthew 19:27 TPT Then Peter blurted out, “Here we are. We’ve given up everything to follow you. What reward will there be for us?”
Gill: behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee. Though their worldly substance was not so large as the young man's, they had not such estates to sell, nor that to give to the poor, he had; yet all that they had they left for Christ's sake, their parents, wives, children, houses, and worldly employments, by which they supported themselves and families; and became the disciples and followers of Christ, embraced his doctrines, submitted to his commands, imitated him in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty, denying themselves, and suffering many hardships on his account: wherefore it is asked,
what shall we have therefore? what reward for all this? what part in the Messiah's kingdom? or what treasure in heaven?
Guzik: See, we have left all and followed You: In contrast to the rich young ruler, the disciples have left all to follow Jesus; what will be their reward? Why does this question seem so typical of Peter?
Russell: What shall we have -- If it had been wrong for them to have the promises of Kingdom honors in mind, it would have been wrong for the Lord to have given them these promises.
Have you left all to follow the Lord?
What is your hope?
Mark 10:29 MKJV And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake and the gospel's sake,
Russell: Verily I say unto you -- Jesus did not fully endorse Peter's statement. He knew about Judas and that with Peter some self-will still remained.
Hath left house -- We are not to get the mistaken idea that the Lord wishes us to sacrifice others. It would be wrong to deprive our families of necessary comforts and temporal provisions, but having provided these the surplus is the Lord's.
If a man has made proper provisions for his family, it is for him and not them to decide how his time, energy and further means shall be spent. Sometimes the Lord's people put too much value on money and not enough on service.
Or wife, or children -- Our Lord certainly did not mean that we should sacrifice others in order to be his disciples; it is ourselves that we are to deny, ourselves that we are to sacrifice.
Not that the Lord would have us deprive our families of necessary comforts. He that provides not for his own is worse than an unbeliever. (1Ti_5:8)
And the gospel's -- Whatever is more than our responsible provision of necessities, is held merely as a steward for use in the Master's service.
What have you given up for the Lord?
Mark 10:30 MKJV but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the world to come, eternal life.
Guzik: There is no one who has left house or brothers . . . who shall not receive a hundredfold: There will be universal honor for all who sacrifice for Jesus’ sake. What ever has been given up for Him will be returned to us a many times over, in addition to eternal life.
Barnes: An hundred-fold - One hundred times as much.
In this time - In this life. In the time that he forsakes all.
Houses ... - This cannot be taken literally, as promising a hundred times as many “mothers, sisters,” etc. It means, evidently, that the loss shall be a hundred times “compensated” or made up; or that, in the possession of religion, we have a hundred times the “value” of all we forsake. This consists in the pardon of sin, in the favor of God, in peace of conscience, in support in trials and in death, and in raising up “friends” in the place of those who are left - “spiritual brethren, and sisters, and mothers,” etc. And this corresponds to the experience of all who ever became Christians.
With persecutions - Persecutions, or the contempt of the world, and bodily sufferings on account of their religion, they “must” meet. Jesus did not conceal this; but he consoled them. He assured them that “amid” these, or perhaps it should be rendered “after” these, they should find friends and comfort. It is well to bear trial if “God” be our Friend. With the promises of the Bible in our hand, we may hail persecutions, and thank God that, amid so many sorrows, he has furnished such abundant consolations.
Popular NT: Mothers. ‘Nature gives us only one,—but love, many’(see Rom_16:13). We do not find ‘fathers’ here, or ‘wives’ (‘wife’ being of doubtful authority in Mar_10:29), the new relations being spiritual. The former is omitted, probably for the reason suggested in Mat_23:9 (‘One is your father,’ etc.), and the omission then contains a lesson. Christian love and hospitality literally fulfil this promise. But the hope of such a reward is not the proper motive. The promise is made only to those who do this ‘for my sake and the gospel’s sake.’
With persecutions. According to the gospel the persecutions are a part of our best possessions (Mat_5:12; Rom_5:3, etc.), and really prevent the others from becoming a curse. This phrase not only serves to spiritualize the whole promise, but to guard against its misuse.
How many brothers and sisters do you now have in Christ?
How many mothers do you have in Christ?
Are you not welcome in all their homes?
Do you understand the blessing of being of the body of Christ?
Mark 10:31 MKJV But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Russell: But many that are first -- Position, honor of men, wealth and education were barriers to becoming disciples. Those who were first or most prominent were really less favored; those who had less opportunity were really first or most favored. Many possessing great privilege and opportunity for exaltation to the kingdom will fail to embrace it, while others, naturally less favored, will gain the great prize. Again, those who first had the opportunity of becoming disciples of Jesus at his first advent will not, on that account, have any advantage over others of the Lord's followers in the future.
In point of time God called fleshly Israel first; but in point of favor, and in time of realization, spiritual Israel comes first.
The last first -- The less learned, less noble, less influential, less wealthy were advantaged. It was easier for them to humble themselves, to sacrifice.
Guzik: But many who are first will be last, and the last first: To anyone who looked, the rich young ruler stood first and the disciples stood last. But God didn’t look at it the way man does.
Mark 10:32 MKJV And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem. And Jesus went before them. And they were amazed, and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took the Twelve again and began to tell them what would happen to Him,
Guzik: (Mar_10:32-34) Jesus again announces His coming fate in Jerusalem.
They were amazed . . . they were afraid: As they drew near to Jerusalem, the disciples sensed the danger of their mission. Jesus was a wanted man, and yet Jesus was going before them. Therefore, the disciples were amazed at the courage of Jesus, and they were afraid of the fate awaiting them all in Jerusalem.
i. We sometimes don’t think enough about the courage of Jesus. It took a tremendous amount of plain bravery for him to walk straight towards His fate at Calvary, and to walk in front of the disciples. The courage of Jesus is especially amazing in light of our frequent cowardice as Christians, afraid to “stand out” for Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to “stand out” for us.
ii. As they followed they were afraid: At the same time, the disciples are to be commended for continuing to follow Jesus. It is true they were afraid, but it is also true that they followed.
Gill: And they were in the way,.... Upon the road, having left the coasts of Judea on the further side of Jordan:
going up to Jerusalem; to the passover there, which was to be in a short time, and where Christ was to suffer and die; for this was the last journey he took, and the last passover he was to eat there:
and Jesus went before them; as their forerunner, their guide and leader, with unconcernedness and intrepidity; though he knew what would befall him, and what designs were forming against him: and this he did to inspire his disciples with courage, and to leave them an example that they should tread in his steps:
and they were amazed; at his readiness to go up to Jerusalem, and the cheerful Spirit he discovered, when he had so many, and such powerful enemies at that place, in going to which he exposed himself to the greatest dangers.
And as they followed; for they did not choose to leave him, but were determined to continue with him at all events, though
they were afraid; what would be the consequence of it to themselves, as well as to him; for they being his followers, could not expect any other than ill usage from his enemies.
And he took again the twelve; the disciples, as he had done before, Mar_8:31,
and began to tell them what things should happen unto him; being what were determined by God, agreed unto by himself, and foretold in the Scriptures; for these were not casual and contingent events.
Do you continue to follow Jesus even though you are afraid?
Mark 10:33 MKJV saying, Behold, we go 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 will deliver Him to the nations.
Popular NT: See the parallel passage in Matthew (Mat_20:17-34). These events took place on the final journey to Jerusalem, from Perea through Jericho. The raising of Lazarus is, however, placed by some between the departure from Perea and this final journey.
Guzik: Jesus had already told His disciples that He would be crucified and rise again the third day (Mar_8:31). This is the first time in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus reveals that they will deliver Him to the Gentiles. This was an additional insult and betrayal.
- “Delivery to the Gentiles reveals that Jesus will be held in contempt by his own countrymen, for the Gentiles are the last people to whom the Messiah of the people of God should be handed over.” (Lane)
Gill: and shall deliver him to the Gentiles; the Romans, to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor; either because they had not then power to put him to death themselves, or because they were desirous he should die the death of the cross, a Roman punishment.
Mark 10:34 MKJV And they will mock Him, and will scourge Him, and will spit on Him, and will kill Him. And the third day He shall rise again.
Expositor’s: With a darkening heart Judas heard, and made his choice.
Guzik: Significantly, Jesus mentions the shame of His suffering. In His death, Jesus suffered the most terrible emotional humiliation, and it was done out of love for us.
This sharing in the shame of Jesus marked the early church, and was evidence of their commitment and strength. Act_5:41 says, So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. It’s not that the disciples rejoiced in the shame itself, because Jesus didn’t rejoice in the shame itself (Heb_12:2). Instead, they rejoiced in identifying with Jesus, and gladly suffered shame if they had to.
JFB: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again — Singularly explicit as this announcement was, Luke (Luk_18:34) says “they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” The meaning of the words they could be at no loss to understand, but their import in relation to His Messianic kingdom they could not penetrate; the whole prediction being right in the teeth of their preconceived notions. That they should have clung so tenaciously to the popular notion of an “unsuffering” Messiah, may surprise us; but it gives inexpressible weight to their after-testimony to a suffering and dying Savior.
Do you cling to your own ideas and totally miss what the Lord is saying?
Mark 10:35 MKJV And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Him, saying, Master, we desire that You should do for us whatever we shall ask.
Mark 10:35 TPT Jacob and John, sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, will you do a favor for us?”
Russell: James and John -- They had been permitted to come nearer than the majority of the twelve. They were with him in the holy mount, at the awakening of Jairus' daughter and in Gethsemane's garden.
Come unto him -- Matthew tells us that their mother, Salome, was with them and really made the request for them in their names.
Mark 10:36 MKJV And He said to them, What do you desire that I should do for you?
Expositors: WE learn from St. Matthew that Salome was associated with her sons, and was indeed the chief speaker in the earlier part of this incident.
And her request has commonly been regarded as the mean and shortsighted intrigue of an ambitious woman, recklessly snatching at an advantage for her family, and unconscious of the stern and steep road to honor in the kingdom of Jesus.
Nor can we deny that her prayer was somewhat presumptuous, or that it was especially unbecoming to aim at entangling her Lord in a blindfold promise, desiring Him to do something undefined, "whatsoever we shall ask of Thee." Jesus was too discreet to answer otherwise than, "What would ye that I should do for you?" And when they asked for the chief seats in the glory that was yet to be their Master’s, no wonder that the Ten hearing of it, had indignation. But Christ’s answer, and the gentle manner in which He explains His refusal, when a sharp rebuke is what we would expect to read, alike suggest that there may have been some softening, half-justifying circumstance. And this we find in the period at which the daring request was made.
It was on the road, during the last journey, when a panic had seized the company; and our Lord, apparently out of the strong craving for sympathy which possesses the noblest of souls, had once more told the Twelve what insults and cruel sufferings lay before Him. It was a time for deep searching of hearts, for the craven to go back and walk no more with Him, and for the traitor to think of making his own peace, at any price, with his Master’s foes.
But this dauntless woman could see the clear sky beyond the storm. Her sons shall be loyal, and win the prize, whatever be the hazard, and however long the struggle.
Ignorant and rash she may have been, but it was no base ambition which chose such a moment to declare its unshaken ardor, and claim distinction in the kingdom for which so much must be endured.
And when the stern price was plainly stated, she and her children were not startled, they conceived themselves able for the baptism and the cup; and little as they dreamed of the coldness of the waters, and the bitterness of the draught, yet Jesus did not declare them to be deceived. He said, Ye shall indeed share these.
Mark 10:37 MKJV They said to Him, Grant to us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left hand, in Your glory.
Guzik: Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory: Despite the continual declaration of His coming suffering, the disciples are still thinking that when Jesus gets to Jerusalem, He will establish a political kingdom. Here, James and John are asking for positions of high status in Jesus’ administration - which they are certain, will be installed soon!
i. The place of honor is the seat on the right, and next to it, the seat on the left (1Ki_2:19, Psa_110:1). They were asking for the “number one” and the “number two” places in Jesus’ administration.
b. This is no doubt an outgrowth of the continual topic of conversation among the disciples: which one among them was the greatest (Mar_9:33-34). James and John feel confident they will be the greatest, so they ask Jesus to confirm their opinion by appointing them to high positions now.
Russell: Grant Unto us -- They loved the Lord very dearly, and thought they could appreciate a nearness to him more than some of the others.
That we may sit -- Jesus appreciated their love for him, and their desire to be near him. Others might not care so much where they were placed, but James and John would like to be close to the Master.
In thy glory -- He had not told them his kingdom would be a spiritual one and that they would need the first resurrection change to be sharers of it; nor had he made it clear that a whole age would intervene before they would be made sharers in the kingdom.
Do you want to be close to the Lord?
What are you doing about it?
Mark 10:38 MKJV But Jesus said to them, You do not know what you ask. Can you drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
Guzik: (Mar_10:38-41) Jesus’ reply: think in terms of sacrifice, not self-glory.
You do not know what you ask: Since James and John still worked under carnal ideas regarding the kingdom of God, they really had no idea what it would take to be great in the kingdom - but not because Jesus hadn’t told them!
b. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink: As it would turn out, both James and John took the cup and were baptized in suffering, but they each experienced it in different ways.
i. James was the first apostle to be martyred (Act_12:1-2). According to tradition, John was never martyred, though he survived an attempt to kill him by immersion in a vat of boiling oil (according to reasonably reliable church history).
ii. “In popular Greek usage the vocabulary of baptism was used to speak of being overwhelmed by disaster or danger, and a similar metaphorical use of submersion is present in Scripture.” (Lane) Passages like Psa_42:7, Psa_49:3, and Psa_69:2 reflect this idea.
Russell: But Jesus said -- He did not reprove them for he read in their hearts their love and loyalty toward himself, and that their desire for the position was not merely for the honors and authority implied, but specially because this would bring them closer to himself.
Ye know not -- Do you know what it costs to get on the throne at all? At that time they could form no idea of the blessedness of being joined with Christ in his kingdom.
Can ye drink -- Are you able, are you willing, to pay the cost of getting on the throne? Will you carry out fully the covenant of consecration to death which you made and on account of which you are reckoned as members of my Body? If this is your will, I will test you, to make your calling and election sure.
It meant, Are ye willing? because it would be impossible for the disciples to have known their own ability, except in the sense of having confidence in God that he would give the ability.
All who would sit in the throne must drink of the cup. All who will faithfully drink of the cup shall sit in the throne. The privilege of drinking of "the cup" is offered only during the Gospel age.
Of the cup -- This cup of self-denial and self-sacrifice with Jesus signifies our participation in the blood of the New Covenant--in providing the wherewithal for the sealing of the New Covenant.
Be baptized -- Baptism into death is the real baptism for the Church, as it was the real baptism for our Lord; water baptism is only the symbol. Only by sharing in his baptism into death could they hope to sit with him in his throne.
With the baptism -- The baptism unto death. The baptism of their wills into his will and the Father's will.
That I am baptized with -- Into my death--to self-will, to cutting off from every earthly privilege, if such be God's providence for you. No reference to water baptism, but to his baptism into death, of which he spoke a few days later, saying, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished." (Luk_12:50) Cup of ignominy and suffering.
That I drink of -- Ours must be the same "cup," his cup, else we shall have neither part not lot in his kingdom glory. Jesus' "cup" was the one to which he elsewhere referred, saying, "The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?" (Joh_18:11)
Are you able and willing to pay the cost of getting on the throne?
Mark 10:39 MKJV And they said to Him, We can. And Jesus said to them, You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and with the baptism that I am baptized with you shall be baptized.
Guzik: You will indeed drink the cup that I drink: When Jesus said this, perhaps a big smile came over the face of James and John. They thought they had won something, and so did the other disciples (when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John). However, it is doubtful that Jesus smiled, because He knew what the baptism they asked for was all about.
Russell: We can -- We are willing; we will sacrifice everything to follow in your footsteps. They had no thought that he wished them to be baptized again in water; they understood well that it was the baptism of their wills into his will and the Father's will.
Ye shall indeed -- Whoever of his called ones are willing at heart for these experiences, the Lord will grant them the privilege, and also the assistance. Willingness on the part of all is as much as the Lord could reasonably require of his disciples. We have not the power that he possessed; we are sinners by nature. He assured them and us that he will furnish trials and assistances, and that if faithful to the end, we shall have a crown of life.
Drink of the cup -- The juice of the grape not only speaks of crushing till blood comes forth, but also of an after refreshment.
A wholly different matter from justification by faith. They were already justified by faith, but could not sit on the throne unless they would be sanctified by participation in Christ's death. Whoever will be successful as a disciple of Christ in attaining to joint-heirship with the Master must first of all demonstrate a loyalty and faithfulness in respect to suffering with the Master.
Shall ye be baptized -- The Master's baptism meant the full renunciation of all earthly rights.
Mark 10:40 MKJV But to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but to those for whom it is prepared.
Russell: For whom it is prepared -- It shall be reserved for whom the Father has arranged it; and the Father has arranged it along the lines of justice. Places in the Millennial kingdom are not to be given on the score of mercy or favoritism, but absolutely, on the score of quality.
Wesley: Save to them for whom it is prepared - Them who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality. For these only eternal life is prepared. To these, only he will give it in that day; and to every man his own reward, according to his own labour.
Mark 10:41 MKJV And when the ten heard, they began to be indignant with James and John.
JFB: And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John — or “were moved with indignation,” as the same word is rendered in Mat_20:24. The expression “began to be,” which is of frequent occurrence in the Gospels, means that more passed than is expressed, and that we have but the result. And can we blame the ten for the indignation which they felt? Yet there was probably a spice of the old spirit of rivalry in it, which in spite of our Lord’s recent lengthened, diversified, and most solemn warnings against it, had not ceased to stir in their breasts.
Gill: they began to be much displeased with James and John; Matthew says "they were moved with indignation against them", Mat_20:24; they were filled with, wrath and were very angry with them; which they showed in their countenances and by their behaviour towards them as well as by words: the Syriac and Arabic versions, render it, "they began to murmur against them"; they highly resented it and were ready to break out into an open quarrel upon it; See Gill on Mat_20:24.
How would you have reacted? And Why?
Mark 10:42 MKJV But Jesus called them and said to them, You know that they who are accounted rulers over the nations exercise lordship over them. And their great ones exercise authority on them.
MacLaren: The two had had their lesson, and next the Ten were to have theirs. The conversation with the former had been private, for it was hearing of it that made the others so angry. We can imagine the hot words among them as they marched behind Jesus, and how they felt ashamed already when ‘He called them.’ What they were to be now taught was not so much the qualifications for pre-eminence in the kingdom, whether here or hereafter, as the meaning of preeminence and the service to which it binds. In the world, the higher men are, the more they are served; in Christ’s kingdom, both in its imperfect earthly and in its perfect heavenly form, the higher men are, the more they serve. So-called ‘Christian’ nations are organised on the former un-Christian basis still. But wherever pre-eminence is not used for the general good, there authority rests on slippery foundations, and there will never be social wellbeing or national tranquillity until Christ’s law of dignity for service and dignity by service shapes and sweetens society.
Guzik: (Mar_10:42-45) Jesus describes true greatness.
Those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them: Their desire for position and status showed they didn’t know the nature of Jesus yet, in respect to leadership and power. Those who exercise power or authority in the church today as “lording it over” others still don’t understand the Jesus style of leadership and life.
Mark 10:43 MKJV But it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant.
Guzik: Yet it shall not be so among you is a stinging rebuke to the manner in which the modern church looks to the world for both its substance and style. Plainly, the church isn’t to operate the way the world does.
Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant: In the Kingdom community, status, money, popularity are not the prerequisites for leadership. Humble service is the greatest (and only) prerequisite, as displayed by Jesus’ own ministry.
Russell: Not be among you -- He who serves most and not he who lords it most should have the chief respect of the Lord's people. Esteem and honor one another in proportion as you find in each other unselfish sacrificing love and service.
Whosoever will be great -- Esteemed in proportion to their service, and not in proportion to their titles, their priestly vestments, or their praise among men.
Minister -- Greek: diakonos; deacon, servant. Whichever one will serve the others most will thereby be demonstrating to God a greater fitness for a higher place.
Do you like to serve others or to have others serve you?
Mark 10:44 MKJV And whoever of you desires to become first, he shall be servant of all.
Russell: Servant of all -- Or greatest servant. No other lesson requires to be so carefully learned by the Lord's people as this lesson of humility.
Esteem such very highly for their service' sake. (1Th_5:13) It was not their own greatness that was to be considered but God's favor.
The chief positions in the kingdom would be given along the lines of meritorious service. Each would have the opportunity to strive for the chief position by striving to render service to the others.
The selfishly ambitious who seek honor rather than service will be disappointed. The saying, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; and he that exalteth himself shall be abased" (Luk_14:11), is seen to be the statement of a philosophical principle of divine law. In his kingdom, self-seekers would have the lowest place.
Benson: And servant of all — Let him serve his brethren in all the offices of humility, condescension, and kindness. In other words, If any man desire to be the greatest person in my kingdom, let him endeavour to obtain that dignity by preferring others in honour, and by doing them all the good in his power. This he said, to signify that in his kingdom, they who are most humble and modest, and zealous in doing good, shall be acknowledged as the greatest persons.
Guzik: Of course, Jesus is the greatest in the kingdom. So when He said last and servant, He was really describing Himself - and He accurately expressed His nature. He was truly first, yet made Himself last of all and servant of all for our sake.
Jesus challenges us to be last of all. The desire to be praised and to gain recognition should be foreign to a follower of Jesus. Jesus wants us to embrace last as a choice, allowing others to be preferred before us, and not only because we are forced to be last.
Do you serve the Lord?
Do you serve the brethren?
How do you do it?
Mark 10:45 MKJV 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.
Guzik: Real ministry is done for the benefit of those ministered to, not for the benefit of the minister. Many people are in the ministry for what they can receive (either materially or emotionally) from their people instead of for what they can give.
d. And to give His life a ransom for many: This is one of the great claims Jesus made about Himself and His ministry. He is the one who stands in the place of guilty sinners, and offers Himself as a substitute for them.
i. “The ransom metaphor sums up the purpose for which Jesus gave his life and defines the complete expression of his service. The prevailing notion behind the metaphor is that of deliverance by purchase, whether a prisoner of war, a slave, or a forfeited life is the object to be delivered. Because the idea of equivalence, or substitution, was proper to the concept of a ransom, it became an integral element in the vocabulary of redemption in the OT. It speaks of a liberation which connotes a servitude or an imprisonment from which man cannot free himself.” (Lane)
Russell: For even the Son -- The Lord did not have one standard for his followers and another standard for himself. As therefore my greatest service towards you renders me your chief, so shall it be among you.
Came -- Proof positive that in exchanging the higher nature for the human nature our Lord had not given his life as a ransom, but merely made the preparation for that work.
But to minister -- To serve others. The key to Mark's Gospel where Christ is shown as a worker. In Matthew he is described as a King (Mat_1:1); in Luke as a philanthropist (Luk_19:10); and in John as God manifested (Joh_20:31).
To give -- If we were bought, something was given for us, and to some one.
His life -- Greek: psuche; soul, being. The life Jesus gave was all the life he possessed--it was his life.
"The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (Joh_10:11)
A ransom -- The Greek term rendered ransom is lutron-anti, a price to offset or to correspond. In 1Ti_2:6 it is the same expression reversed. To recover by paying a price. Jesus was the only one who could be the corresponding price for Adam. The death of Jesus was the giving of the price.
Thus bringing life to light. (2Ti_1:10)
As Adam, through disobedience, forfeited his being, so Christ Jesus, as a corresponding price, paid a full and exact offset for Adam's soul or being.
For many – It was not for his own sins that he died, it was for ours. In dying he gave himself a ransom price--a corresponding price--for the sins of the whole world.
Do you appreciate what Jesus did?
Do you follow his manner of laying down your life for your brethren?
Mark 10:46 MKJV And they came to Jericho. And as He with His disciples and a large crowd went out of Jericho, blind Bartimeus, the son of Timeus, was sitting by the side of the highway, begging.
Robertson’s: Bartimaeus (Bartimaios). Aramaic name like Bartholomew, bar meaning son like Hebrew ben. So Mark explains the name meaning “the son of Timaeus” (ho huios Timaiou). Mark alone gives his name while Mat_20:30 mentions two which see for discussion.
Blind beggar (tuphlos prosaitēs), “begging” (epaitōn) Luke has it (Luk_18:35). All three Gospels picture him as sitting by the roadside (ekathēto para tēn hodon). It was a common sight. Bartimaeus had his regular place. Vincent quotes Thomson concerning Ramleh: “I once walked the streets counting all that were either blind or had defective eyes, and it amounted to about one-half the male population. The women I could not count, for they are rigidly veiled” (The Land and the Book). The dust, the glare of the sun, the unsanitary habits of the people spread contagious eye-diseases.
Russell: Went out of Jericho -- Possibly going from the old city to the newer one of the same name.
With -- With the Lord and his apostles were a considerable number of friends, together with numerous Pharisees.
A great number of people -- It was the Passover season, and many were journeying in the same direction with Jesus--toward Jerusalem.
Blind Bartimaeus -- His persistency was the evidence of his faith and that he was of sincere heart.
There were many blind in Palestine, yet only comparatively few received such a blessing, undoubtedly because few had the requisite faith. Mark mentions only one, the chief subject of the lesson, but Matthew mentions a companion.
That physical blindness is a terrible affliction none will question. But how much more serious is the mental and spiritual blindness which prevails. Many are blind as respects the beauties of the Bible. Some are so deeply engrossed in business or pleasure-seeking that they never lift up their eyes to the glorious beauties of nature. Some heathen are pictured as blind, seeking the Lord, "if haply they might feel after him and find him." (Act_17:27)
The world still lies in darkness. Only the few now get their eyes open, as did Bartimaeus. They are people of special character, willing to ignore the general sentiment of those who bid them be quiet and continue in ignorance, blindness.
By the highway side -- Hoping to excite sympathy of the passers-by.
Mark 10:47 MKJV And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!
Mark 10:48 MKJV And many warned him that he should be quiet, but he cried a great deal more, Son of David, have mercy on me!
Guzik: He cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me. The persistent and energetic nature of Bartimaeus’ prayer is a good example of prayer. He wasn’t discouraged because no one led him to Jesus. He wasn’t discouraged by those who told him to stay away.
Have mercy on me! The blind man knew what he needed from Jesus - mercy. He didn’t come thinking that God owed him. All he wanted from Jesus is mercy.
Russell: He began to cry out -- Some heathen, desirous of having the light of truth, are as blind men groping, crying out to the Lord in prayer, "feeling after God, if haply they might find him." (Act_17:27)
Thou Son of David -- Of special significance to the Jews of that day--the great King was prefigured by Solomon, David's son.
Have mercy on me -- Our Lord paid no attention at first, but passed on.
Many charged him -- Those in the forefront of Jesus' company rebuked him, intimating that the great Teacher should not be interrupted by a wayside beggar.
Hold his peace -- When the spiritually blinded cry for help there are sure to be some even amongst the Lord's friends to rebuke them instead of to encourage.
The thought is suggested that many are more worthy to have the Master's attention, that we are too insignificant, too sinful, for him to recognize.
He cried the more -- An evidence of his faith, the persistency which belongs to true faith. He would not listen to those who sought to still his voice and turn aside his faith. He longed for sight, and had faith to believe that the great Messiah might be prevailed upon to rescue him from darkness.
Son of David -- As High Priest, Jesus was prefigured by Aaron; as Law-giver, by Moses; and as King, by Solomon, David's son.
Benson: he began to cry out, Jesus, thou son of David, &c. — Our Lord’s name was no sooner mentioned than this blind man, who was well acquainted with his fame, conceived hopes of obtaining a cure; and being deeply impressed with a sense of his own affliction, he cried out so vehemently that the people rebuked him, as they will not fail to rebuke all who, from a sense of their guilt, depravity, and misery, cry after the Saviour of sinners.
But he cried the more a great deal — An example worthy to be imitated by those who are concerned to obtain the cure of their spiritual diseases.
Hawker: The fourth particular worthy our regard in the case, is the conduct of the people who endeavoured to stop his cry. What a striking representation this is of what is every day going on in the world. No sooner is a child of GOD brought under serious concern for his everlasting welfare, but false friends to poor sinners, and true enemies to the rich Savior, aim to stifle all conviction, and crush the infant desire of salvation at once in the soul. Oh! what sharp exercises have some gracious souls gone through, in their first awakenings from their carnal relations and neighbours, before that CHRIST hath been formed in the heart the hope of glory.
Popular NT: Notice the contrast between the title given by the curious crowd: the Nazarene (the form used by Mark, and with one exception by him alone), and that in the cry of the blind beggar: Son of David (Messiah).
How much do you desire the Lord’s mercy?
What will you do to get it?
Have you ever been guilty of judging who is worthy of the Mercy of the Lord?
Mark 10:49 MKJV And Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. And they called the blind man, saying to him, Be of good comfort; rise up, He is calling you.
Popular NT: Call ye him. Peculiar in this form to Mark, and omitted altogether by Matthew. This was a ‘reproof to the reprovers.’ It seems to have had an effect, for the words now addressed to the blind man are full of sympathy: Be of good cheer, rise, he calleth thee. The order is that of kindness, faith would put: ‘He calleth thee’ first. The forbidding and the cheering address represent the priestly spirit which would keep men from applying directly to Christ, and the true spirit of the Gospel messengers.
Russell: Jesus stood still -- He had already passed Bartimaeus by, not offering to heal him. His eyesight was restored because of his faith, because he cried out.
And commanded him -- He did not shout for him to come, but commanded, "Let him be brought."
To be called -- Giving those about him an opportunity to share in the work of blessing.
They call -- The people first of all bade Bartimaeus keep quiet; but when Jesus called him, they joined in giving words of encouragement and helping the blind man to the Savior. So we should encourage the blind, the superstitious, to come to the Savior. Thus greater attention was brought to the whole miracle and to the divine power which it manifested.
Be of good comfort -- Those who had, a moment before, upbraided the blind man for his temerity in expecting a blessing from the Messiah, now gladly bore the message of hope to him. Generally they are without encouragement until they realize their need and cry to the Lord. These now find assistance from those who delight to assist them.
He calleth thee -- He bade the blind man to come to him, to show his faith, and thus be a more important lesson to the multitude. It is not within our power to give sight to the spiritually blind. All we can do is let the blind ones know that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
Do you let the blind ones know that Jesus passes by?
Mark 10:50 MKJV And casting away his garment, he rose up and came to Jesus.
Vincents: Rose (ἀναστὰς) The best texts read ἀναπήδησας leaped up, or, as Rev., sprang up.
Meyer: With us as with Bartimaeus, obstacles and difficulties should not daunt, but rather incite to more eager prayers. Christ is ever saying to men-Courage! Only faith could make a blind man cast away his garment, but he knew that he would be able to find it again with the sight that Jesus would certainly bestow.
Barnes: Casting away his garment - That is, his outer garment - the one that was thrown loosely over him. See the notes at Mat_5:40. He threw it off, full of joy at the prospect of being healed, and that he might run without impediment to Jesus. This may be used to illustrate - though it had no such original reference - the manner in which a sinner should come to Jesus. He should throw away the garments of his own righteousness - he should rise speedily - should run with joy - should have full faith in the power of Jesus, and cast himself entirely upon his mercy.
MacLaren: Bartimaeus springs to his feet at once with a bound. So we should leap to meet Jesus, our sight-giver. How slothful and languid we often are. We do not put half as much heart into our Christian life as people do into common things. Far more pains are taken by a ballet-dancer to learn her posturing than by most Christians to keep near Christ.
What lessons do you get from this account?
Mark 10:51 MKJV And answering Jesus said to him, What do you desire that I should do to you? The blind man said to Him, My Lord, that I may see again.
Guzik: What do you want Me to do for you? Why did Jesus ask this question? Wasn’t it obvious? Yet, there was real power in both the asking, and in the answer of Jesus. God may ask us the same question, and we should be able to articulate an answer that glorifies Him.
d. Rabboni, that I may receive my sight: The title Rabboni “is a strengthened form of ‘Rabbi,’ and means ‘my lord,’ ‘my master.’“ (Lane) When Bartimaeus said this, he expressed his humble submission towards Jesus.
i. The specific nature of Bartimaeus’ request is a good example for our prayers. “Have mercy on me” is general, but his prayer moved from the general to the specific request, “that I may receive my sight.”
ii. “Rest assured that those are the best prayers in all respects, if they be earnest and sincere, which go most directly to the point. You know there is a way of praying in the closet, and praying in the family, in which you do not ask for anything. You say a great many good things, introduce much of your own experience, review the doctrines of grace very thoughtfully, but you do not ask for anything in particular. Such prayer is always uninteresting to listen to, and I think it must be rather tedious to those who offer it.” (Spurgeon)
Russell: What wilt thou -- Jesus did not inquire respecting his responsibility for his condition. It was sufficient that he realized that he was blind.
Many today when asked this question request riches, honors of men, or temporal blessings, instead of spiritual sight.
Lord -- The word "lord" here is "rabboni," the most reverential term of four titles used amongst the Jews at that time--rab, rabbi, rabban, rabboni. I might receive my sight -- The vast majority are unlike Bartimaeus. They do not realize their condition--"and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." (Rev_3:17)
Those who respond such do receive enlightenment from the Lord, an enlightenment by which they can see him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Have you begged to see?
Mark 10:52 MKJV And Jesus said to him, Go, your faith has healed you. And instantly he saw again, and he followed Jesus in the way.
Benson: and they followed Jesus in the way --Travelled with him, probably all the way to Jerusalem, being deeply affected with a sense of his power and goodness, and earnestly desirous to show their gratitude, by declaring openly, unto all the persons they met, what a great miracle Jesus had performed for them.
Guzik: Go your way; your faith has made you well: How did the faith of the blind man save him? Because it was:
• Faith that was determined to reach Jesus (he cried out all the more)
• Faith that knew who Jesus was (Son of David)
• Faith that came humbly to Jesus (have mercy on me)
• Faith that humbly submitted to Jesus (Rabboni)
• Faith that can tell Jesus what it wants (that I may receive my sight)
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus: Blind Bartimaeus, now healed and saved, then followed Jesus. The way of Jesus became his way. This is especially significant when we consider where Jesus was going at this time - to Jerusalem to die.
i. First Jesus told Bartimaeus, go your way. Then, Bartimaeus followed Jesus. He made Jesus’ way his own way, and was follower of Him. Bartimaeus must have figured, “Now that I have my sight, I always want to look upon Jesus.”
Russell: Thy faith -- Few of the many blind men in Palestine received such a blessing, because few had the requisite faith.
Received his sight -- All the miracles Jesus performed were foreshadows of the greater work which is to be accomplished by the establishment of his Millennial kingdom in due time.
Illustrating some at the present time who are brought to the Lord and graciously receive the opening of the eyes of their understanding. Only the great Physician is able to open the eyes of understanding. Only the few now get their eyes open, as did Bartimaeus, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Followed Jesus -- A sincere heart is demonstrated by the fact that, after he had received his sight, he followed the Lord, glorifying God. We were all more or less blinded by the Adversary; and as we get free from his blinding influence, our hearts rejoice in the favor of him who has brought us out of darkness into marvelous light.
Since Jesus opened your eyes, do you also follow behind him?