Click here to join the effort!
MARK Chapter 10
Mark 10:1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
Observation one, is that they were tempting him, thus they knew the answer to their question and that answer was “no” otherwise it would not be a temptation. They knew the Law that required one man and one woman, leaving and cleaving to one another for life. Yes, there is a reference in Deuteronomy that speaks to a letter of divorcement but it must be taken in the context of the whole Bible which also says that God hates divorce. It is also in the context of the Lord saying divorce was not the plan in the beginning.
To allow for divorce today you must find a passage and turn it to make your interpretation. There is a more complete work on divorce and remarriage in my notes online if you want further information.
Let it suffice to say that the Bible seems to give one exception and that in the Gospels which mentions divorce in the context of marital unfaithfulness; however that thought needs to be understood in the context of Christ, living the Law and Christ fulfilling the law so this breaking of the marital bond is over adultery. Adultery, by the way, was punishable by death so the bond is broken by death as it is to be - a lifelong commitment to one another.
I have seen so much twisting and turning of the Word on this subject. Years ago I had a teacher that I really appreciated. His dealings with Scripture were very detailed and accurate. His position on divorce was the same as mine, that there is no basis for divorce for the New Testament believer. That is until he found a girl friend and his hermeneutics underwent a drastic transformation. His church had been nearly divorce free until he remarried and then his church’s divorce rate shot through the roof.
I always try to tell anyone going through marital issues to look at each and every text on the subject in Scripture and then come to conclusions under the all-important umbrella of the fact that God hates divorce. That is the context, not our culture of over 50% divorce rate.
Now let us look at their location. They have come to Judea via the far side of Jordan. Lightfoot mentions "it seems to be intimated by our evangelist, and likewise by Matthew, that when he had finished those words[the final words of chapter nine], forthwith he entered upon his journey: when, in truth, he went before to Jerusalem, through the midst of Samaria, to the feast of Tabernacles, Luke 9:51; etc. John 7:1-53."
There probably is about a year of time in between chapter nine and chapter ten. This is not uncommon in Scripture so one must be careful to look at all the information given to find out what really is. For example in the book of Daniel there are large gaps of time between chapters and they are not always chronological. Lightfoot goes on to delineate the Lords travels during this period if you are interested in further information.
Some points of further application:
1. Just imagine the disciples waiting for a physical kingdom and waiting and waiting and listening to what they were being taught, none of which is really related to the kingdom they were looking for. They were waiting for that day when the Lord would start putting down the kingdom of Rome and setting up His own kingdom. Waiting and waiting and then be told He must die and be raised again. There must have been some confusion in their minds all along the way. They must have had a confusing three years with the Lord and His teaching that countered most of what they believed to be coming.
2. Gill suggests that as Christ asked if they were ready to follow in His suffering, that He was already in that suffering. The fact that He was already rejected of His own people, that He was basically rejected by his disciples that had completely misunderstood His mission and that He was rejected by the system that He was there to replace. Add the burden of knowing that He is about to go into a time of physical suffering and death must have been heavy on His mind.
No, the physical suffering to come was not upon Him as yet, though the mental was certainly there. You might add to the total of His suffering the long days of physical teaching, healing and prayer to the long walking and the poor sleeping in the open and you might see that the suffering truly was upon Him in a real way.
3. How disappointed the Lord must have been with His two that requested to sit on His right and left. He had been training these men for three years and all they are interested in was prominence, prestige and power.
They have not grasped the humility that He was trying to teach them, they had not grasped the kingdom that He was offering, and they had not grasped the concept of the first shall be last of servant hood. They had basically rejected much of His teaching in this brief encounter of desire.
Not much different from modern day Christians that hear the word expounded in church and Sunday school yet walk with the world the rest of the week as if they were following their Lord explicitly.
4. The People’s New Testament note observes correctly, "Ye know not what you ask. Prayer is often unwise in its requests from ignorance. Before many days they saw places on his right and left occupied by two robbers on the cross." I must admit that this was a totally new thought to me, I had not thought this thought and I had never heard this taught before, but oh how valid it is! Can you imagine what the two must have felt when they saw the Lord hanging on the cross between the two thieves? I think reality may have struck them between the eyes in a mighty way.
And as to how we pray, we are making requests of the same Lord, are we certain in our hearts that what we speak is what we know to be truth in our hearts. Are we really up to the requests that we make? Are we really ready to walk the walk that may be related? Consider well those requests thrown before the throne of God so easily, you may find yourself called upon to be involved with the consequences of your request being answered.
5. It has come to my attention this week that some believe that the Old Testament saints looked forward to the work of Christ. I have heard this for years from different ones that fail to see the Scriptures of the Old Testament clearly. They expound upon this "truth" but fail to present evidence of such doctrine.
IF the Old Testament Jews, which the apostles were part of were watching for a Messiah that would bleed, die and be raised again why would the Jews not have seen Jesus for who and what He was? Why did the disciples not understand when the Lord told them of His coming suffering, death and resurrection? They did not know of a suffering bleeding sacrifice for their sins as these "theologians" would present to us.
The Old Testament person was doing what they were told with the sacrificial system and assumed they were right with God. They were right with God due to the blood of the animals they offered, but this was a temporary COVERING for their sins, not the washing away of sin by Christ.
Did they understand the coming perfect sacrifice of the Messiah. I do not think that they did otherwise the apostles and others would have seen that He was the fulfillment of that which they awaited. The Jews of Christ’s time had no idea what they were looking for otherwise they would not have rejected Christ.
The Old Testament saint did not look forward to the cross as many would have us think, they looked to the blood of animals because that was their responsibility in their own time - the Law was their guide, not some special deal coming down the pike in the future.
We however have the knowledge of Christ and His work on the cross, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, and thus we have a much larger responsibility to sound Christian living than did the Old Testament saint. They had no Spirit of God within, thus they had neither teacher nor guide. It is no wonder that David was involved in adultery and murder, he had no guide within. The Old Testament saint’s sins always bothered me until I understood their limitations as far as the indwelling Spirit is concerned. How could David be the apple of God’s eye when he was such a great sinner? He was as clean a living man as was possible in the condition that he was in. His salvation was not yet complete; he had not received all the blessings of the salvation that the Lord provided for us on the cross. Only after the cross could David and the others know the completion of their salvation begun so long ago.
We on the other hand have God within us to convict us when we are tempted, and we have within us the power to say no to temptation. Yet, many of us live no better lives than did the Old Testament saints.
We have a better situation yet we fail, as did the Old Testament saint. We will be held to the higher standard however so we will be without excuse when we stand before the Lord that died for our sin. We will be without excuse when we give account for our lifestyle and our failures in this life.
All this to say, that we know of the Lord’s provisions in salvation we know the indwelling Spirit and the power that He gives to us and we know our responsibility to live a good Christian life - do we?
Mark 10:3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Matthew 19:1 ff is the parallel passage for this text. The two are similar except for the exception clause in the case of fornication. This has already been covered - they would be dead under the law so there is no exception.
It is evident to me that Mark’s not recording this "exception" clause is due to the fact that he understood it to mean there is no divorce except in the case of adultery and in that case death of the guilty would free the spouse from their bond of marriage. This was his understanding so he did not mention it - no exception. Since Mark was writing to instruct others in their Christian life, it would seem to me that if divorce were an option under any condition he would have been very remiss to leave out an exception if there indeed was one.
Many see an exception here since we are not under the law. The text is clear on the exception, there is none in the historical context and it is error to make it one for this age. Christ was crystal clear on the fact that anyone that divorces and remarries commits adultery against their first spouse - continuing outward sin - that is grounds for church discipline though few practice such archaic things today.
The disciples understood that marriage was for life - they suggested it would be better not to marry in the Matthew text. Matthew 19:10 "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to marry."
I think we see in this case that the disciples understand the teaching and knew that to be married is to be totally committed to the spouse for all of this life.
One other point relating to historical context is that Mark does not mention the exception clause. Now he is writing to a different audience than Matthew yet he leaves this fact out. Might it be because he understood the matter as I have set it forth and clearly set forth the Lord’s feelings on the subject? It would seem so to this writer. If this is not true one might wander if he were not remiss to tell the reader the rest of the story.
Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, would have wanted to make things clear to those that knew of the Old Testament comment on divorce and to give them understanding that divorce was not an option unless you wanted to be dead.
"And he answered and said unto them," indicates a forthright response to their known trickery. "What did Moses command you?" He knew they knew the answer to their question and turned it back to them.
"And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away." Now you might want to look at the text that is under discussion (Deuteronomy 24:1 ff) to see just how truthful the leaders were being. The context of the divorcement is quite clear and precise, not a general blanket policy on divorce as the leaders practiced it. They found grounds for divorce in just about anything - rather like it is in our country today. Try it and if you don’t like it try it with someone else.
Now there is much discussion as to what the Deuteronomy passage means, but it seems that most see it as a man and woman agree to marry and in the period of the engagement the man finds uncleanness and puts her away. This is before they are actually married, thus she is free to marry another.
At any rate the Lord calls them up short when he says, "For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept." In short, if you want to practice and understand divorce as you do then your heart is hardened. Hardness of heart is not a solid basis for your faith and practice.
The Lord continues to state God’s original plan for marriage. "6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
This is God’s plan and nothing in the Bible contradicts this plan. Add to this the thought that God hates divorce and you need to understand all passages relating to marriage in this context. Exceptions, reasons, philosophizing and pet theories are not basis for breaking a couple that God has brought together.
To build a doctrine for this dispensation based on the hard-hearted acts of those under the law is poor hermeneutics. If you understand the Old Testament saint’s position before God and then understand ours in the church age you would not want to pattern your life on their principles. They were not complete in Christ, their sins were only covered until the cross. The New Testament saint is held to the higher standard. We have the Holy Spirit within to guide and direct us and to bring us into a godly lifestyle. The Old Testament folks had no such advantage and this is why for hardness of heart Moses allowed divorce in a specific case. This is why there are many sinful areas in people’s lives that were part of God’s people, but now with the Spirit we ought to live godly lives.
Just because some in the Old Testament had multiple wives does not give us basis for a similar lifestyle. They also lived in tents but we do not need to follow in their footsteps.
Mark 10:10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Is this not clear that the one leaving a spouse and remarrying is living in adultery with another? How much clearer could it be made? And do not make the mistake of believing this is a one-time adultery relating to the divorce, it is an ongoing life of adultery until one original spouse is dead. This fact is presented by the Lord in the present, on going action tense, not a one time act.
Some Greek students tell us that this is not really a present tense but some "present" that actually indicates a one-time act. I have spoken to many Greek scholars and asked about this particular verse and whether there is anything in the Greek that indicates such a "one time present tense" ever existed and they all have told me no there is not.
If you want to find understanding in the Word that divorce is O.K. then so be it, commit a one time sin and seek forgiveness, though this does not seem to be the proper way to handle sin and forgiveness, but do remember remarriage means you will be living in ongoing sin for the remainder of that marriage or until your original spouse dies.
Let me see, Lord, I am going to sin, I am going to get divorced so after it is done I will see you about forgiveness. And oh by the way, I will be marrying my girl friend and we will be living in ongoing open sin so I will be seeking your forgiveness from time to time on that.
Does that really seem like a basis for a proper relationship with God? How do you think God will react to such a situation? I would not speak for Him, but terrible sorrow comes to mind, lack of forgiveness comes to mind.
What have preachers/teachers of our day brought upon the Lord’s church?
"6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." is God’s way. What part of "one flesh" do we not understand when it comes to marriage? Are we really that slow to understand God’s standard?
Now, even IF there were an exception, even if there were and even a dozen and a half exceptions, Christ makes it quite clear that it was not that way in God’s mind in the beginning. It was one MAN and one WOMAN for life - one flesh - not two separable fleshes but becoming one.
Even one "MAN and one WOMAN" has been totally polluted today. If we don’t stop we are going to be accepting of one "MAN and one HORSE." Marriage was defined in the beginning; marriage has remained the same for centuries until convenience makes a total mockery of that which God set into motion.
From the beginning of creation, not in the middle, not toward the end, not even a surprise afterthought - from the beginning of creation God had it in mind. It was not a consensus of those present, it was not a vote of the angels, it was God’s choice and plan.
The word cleave cannot be divorced from this context, it is an integrated part of the discussion. Cleave means to be glued together, thus those liking the possibility of divorce can just suggest that when married you are super glued together but that sometimes we just fall in a vat of finger nail polish remover and we become unglued. Cleave, glue, and become attached is in the idea of becoming one flesh.
The mood of cleave is passive indicating that this gluing is an automatic operation, something that happens from without the man and the woman. In my mind I would suggest that the act of marriage should be an automatic bonding of the couple. Almost as if the act supplies the bond, which in truth is just right. When a couple marries they become one.
Gill points out something that has always been totally obvious but seldom noticed. Christ, when he stated "in the beginning" was speaking of Adam and Eve. The ideas of divorce and/or polygamy were impossibilities for Adam. Eve was it she was his choice, his option and only resort. There were two to become one, not three not two women, not two men and no other combination was present. It was Adam and Eve or nothing.
One might also conclude that within the concept of marriage, the choice of mate did not depend on looks, character or personality; it was that which was at hand. Since in the New Testament the older women are to teach the younger women how to love their husbands, we might conclude that all the flirting, the chasing, the evaluation of our day is not all that necessary, though quite enjoyable, in the selection of a mate.
Mark 10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
There is a brief study on "blessings" at the end of this file if you would like to consider something we seldom hear about in our churches today.
There is much discussion as to when a child can understand the Gospel. In the area of not wanting a child to "accept" the Lord in early childhood and then later trust in that "acceptance" for a salvation that they do not have, yes we need to be careful of how we deal with children. However this text is clear that we are not to restrict their coming to Him.
To not allow or to discourage a child from a decision is not proper; we should encourage them in the Lord. As the child grows we can then nurture and encourage and educate the child on the finer points of salvation. Assist them in later life, but do not discourage them in coming to the Lord. God is able to assure that childhood decision via the Holy Spirit working in the child’s life.
The disciple’s intervention was taken by the Lord with some displeasure. The word used can be translated "taken with indignation." Christ takes this incident to not only bless the children, but to teach the apostles about coming to Him. Coming to the Lord must be with the humbleness and simplicity of a child.
We are not told if any of the children were in need of healing but one would think that if they had, Mark would have noted the fact. It seems some of the mothers or caretakers of the children wanted the Lord to bless the children and He was most pleasured to do so. After all who doesn’t want to hold and encourage a child? So often while having coffee young parents bring their children in and the older folks smile and watch, most likely yearning to be a part of the child’s activities.
To come to Christ as a child is a concept that we need to take to heart. When we offer the Gospel to an adult we need to keep it as simple as possible so that they understand clearly what they are doing. The slick invitation that draws many may not really communicate the Word in a proper way. Be sure your gospel message is clear enough for a child to understand lest you mislead others.
The Gospel is not an intellectual puzzle to be solved, and it is not a theory that takes an advanced degree to understand, it is a simple statement of facts that a child can understand and embrace. Any more and you are clouding the Word of God.
When I was around ten years old I had been in Sunday school and church for several years. I had been taught all of the accounts of the Bible, but this simple proclamation of the Gospel was missing from my spiritual education.
One Sunday morning the pastor evidently had given an invitation, not that I would have known, I never listened in church, but when he spoke of coming forward my mother physically pushed me out into the aisle. I quickly stepped back into the pew area knowing she wanted me to do something about my spiritual life, but I had no idea what.
As time went by I seemed to be drawn to church activities and liked Sunday school but still did not know what church was all about. One day my friend told the pastor he wanted to be baptized. Knowing mom wanted this for me I quickly chimed in that I also wanted to be baptized (feeling doing this with a friend would be more tolerable.).
The time came for the service and guess who was absent - yep that friend of mine that did not seem to be as good a friend at that moment. I was baptized but had no idea why. God took that step, even if wrongly taken, to assure that my spiritual future would be with Him. A few years later I was attending a little Bible church where the pastor shared the Gospel with me.
I had come to Christ with all the ignorance I had, but He brought that simple faith to fruition in His good time.
One might wonder if some uppity rich person can ever come to Christ. Share the Gospel with them and allow God to do the work in their life that is needed. The text is clear that all must come as a child in simplicity so do your end of the job, giving the Gospel, and allow God the Holy Spirit to care for His end of the task. Uppity or not, God can save anyone that comes to Him as a child.
I often wonder in old age if that picture that was on the wall in Sunday school class of Christ surrounded by children did not have some effect on my desire to be closer to Him. I do not remember much of those days, but I do remember being drawn to things of the Lord even though I understood them not.
Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D.
We see in the anguish of Esau over the stealing of his blessing by Jacob the importance of a father’s blessing upon his child. The blessing that was given to Jacob was “28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed [be] every one that curseth thee, and blessed [be] he that blesseth thee.”
True this was the blessing of a patriarch and there was an element of prophecy involved, but it was the blessing of a son from his father. There is another blessing that is of note. This blessing was related to the children of Israel, but it gives the concepts involved in a blessing. Numbers 6:23 ff “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
Let us list the elements of these two blessings.
a. Asking that God would bless the person with rain and great gain from the land with corn and wine.
b. Asking for preeminence of the son over siblings and nations.
c. Cursed be anyone that curse thee.
d. Blessed be anyone that bless thee.
e. Assurance that God will bless the person.
f. Assurance that God will keep the person.
g. Seeking God’s smiling face and grace upon the person.
h. Seeking peace for the person.
i. Assurance of God’s blessing upon the person.
In general is seems to be seeking God’s blessing upon the person in every way that would be of benefit for the person.
What or why were blessings important to the people? When the people brought children to the Lord Jesus, why did they want Him to bless them? What benefit is there to the blessing of the Father, or of an important person?
The term bless in the Old Testament relates to simply bless, but has the thought of adoration as well. A Biblical blessing might imply adoration or love for the one blessed. It might indicate that the blessing comes from a heart that loves and adores the one being blessed. When a father blesses his child there is a calling of God’s blessing upon one that is loved. It also indicates a desire to care for the child by seeking God’s blessing.
We should not miss the relationship between a father blessing his child and God – the Father – blessing His children. Oft times we miss the obvious, but the blessings of the Old Testament are often related to God blessing His people.
Prayer seems to be a part of the blessing, in that there is a call for God’s participation on the life.
In Genesis 32:1-32 we see Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord (Christ preincarnate) and Jacob sought the blessing of the angel. He sought something that must have been tangible to him. It was something he would seek before letting go. Again this is more than a simple blessing of a father but it pictures the importance of the blessing in the Old Testament.
Read through Genesis 48:1-22 and note the closeness of those involved in the blessing. The love and respect is quite clear in the passage.
So to the list we have set forth relating to a blessing we should add. Love, honor and respect.
On the part of the blesser:
a. Seeking God’s best upon the person.
b. Seeking blessing/cursing for those that bless/curse the person.
c. Show love for the person.
On the part of the blessed:
a. Showing of respect to the one blessing.
b. Showing honor to the one blessing.
c. Being receptive to being blessed.
Many other texts of the Old Testament relating to blessing list the Lord watching over food and water as well as sending fear into the enemy. It seems to be a general seeking of good of any kind for the one being blessed by God.
The following is of note: Numbers 6:22 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
Nehemiah nine is a lengthy passage relating to the blessing of God by man. We as believers ought to be giving God blessing. One might wonder just how the created can bless the creator but this passage is clear that it is possible if not needed. As you read the passage it is of note that it is very similar to the prayers of the older saints in our churches. When they go to prayer in public they often begin by giving praise to the victories of God and the victories that they have had with God’s help. It is a time of recounting what God has done.
The Old Testament is full of times of looking back to what God has done in the past and the natural effect is that the person is encouraged to look forward to the victories that God will give in coming trials.
Acts 3:26 mentions “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” This is probably the basis for any blessings in the New Testament. Christ in his work on the cross blessed all believers when He turned us from our sins.
The New Testament also calls upon the believer to bless those that are against us. We cannot bless our enemies if we do not have a good attitude toward them. We must in some manner have a positive relationship to the enemy to bless them.
I recently heard the account of a woman that was a bar tender in a classy bar. The employer had told her she needed to lose weight (She had gained five pounds since being hired). They gave her a lesser job until the weight was lost. They further told her that she had a bad attitude. Ummm, tell a young woman that she needs to lose weight – she has a bad attitude – well DUUUUUUH!
When we are wronged it is not natural to have a good attitude nor to feel like blessing the jerks.
The idea of blessing our enemies should take a lot of contemplation for us to come to grips with. How can we look at someone that hates us and ask God to bless his or her lives. A lot to wrap our mind around, though that is exactly what the Lord would have us do.
Mark 10:16 is the text that brought my mind to think of this study. “And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them” Christ took time out of His busy schedule to take note of the children that were around Him. He not only took them into His arms, but laid hands upon them and blessed them. Indeed, when the disciples tried to keep the children back the Lord was displeased with them.
We are not told what the Lord said, but it would have been of great interest to know. He may have not recorded it via the Holy Spirit because He knew many would memorize it and make it into a rut.
The Irish have many blessings that they quote to one another. They are noted for their blessings. On the other hand we Americans fail to practice such things. My Grandmother made no attempt to bless me, my father blessed me not, and I as a father blessed not my children, nor my grandchildren. What is going on? (See the end of the study for some examples of Irish blessings.)
The reason for this study was a question in my mind relating to why we in our own day do not bless our children, or bless a congregation or others. Is our failure due to it not being proper for our day, is it due to it not being practiced today due to ignorance, or is it just that we have somewhere in our past dropped the concept and are untaught in the custom? Would it be something that we should begin teaching? Is it something that God would have us take back into our customs and practice? Is it something that we are failing to do that we should be doing?
The Irish are oft thought to have the gift of eloquence and many of their blessings and prayers reflect their love of their church and land bathed in that eloquence. Their love of blessings may well come from the Roman Catholic Church in which most are members. The church has many blessings relating to their services and practices. In fact it might well be that the Roman church fascination with blessings is just the reason that the Protestant churches have not been teaching such things. The Protestants have rejected much of what the Roman church does based on the argument that it is “Roman” and not based on “it is not Biblical.
There is a real thought that rolled up in our society is a possible answer as to why “blessings” are not a staple in our customs and actions. We as a people are quite family oriented, and by our nature we are also a very giving people. Any read about the giving of Americans will show their generosity to their own as well as to strangers and even enemies.
Place that generosity and compassion into the family and you will note that these family centered, compassionate, generous and caring people are practicing what they do not preach; they bless not verbally but they bless to abundance in their actions. This does not get the American Christian off the hook for not giving verbal blessings if they are found to be required by our faith, but it certainly gives basis for not being strong in the verbal when we are so strong in the non-verbal.
Further most fathers and mothers are daily in prayer for their children, asking the Lord to watch over and keep the kids. They often seek God’s guidance upon them and all sorts of other prayers. In essence it is suspected that most parents in America’s church are blessing their children, just not verbally in the presence of the child.
The importance of blessing a child/person in the person’s presence is the question that remains since it is obvious that most Christian’s already bless their children and often their friends and fellow church members. Should we be verbalizing these blessings for the benefit for the ones we would bless?
It has been observed by this writer that some of the older pastors have taken the practice of blessing the congregation at the end of the service. It is wondered if in the past generation there was more blessing going on, though it was not observed in my own family nor the church family in which I was raised. Older pastors often when out visiting ask at the end of their visit to have a word of prayer and often it is a blessing upon the home and family. These same pastors often end hospital/visits in the same manner.
In summation might we consider the idea of verbalizing our blessings to our children, grand children and friends. We do bless the Lord in our prayer lives, and rightly so, but we so often allow our personal relationships to go with little verbalized praise and blessing.
Imagine how a child would feel if they heard the parent thanking the Lord for the child and asking God to bless them, to guide them, to protect them, and lead them. This might well cure some of our family ills in our country.
Imagine how a fellow believer in the congregation would feel if they heard another believer asking the Lord to guide and direct them in their lives. One old member of one church we attended used to pray for each one at prayer meeting asking that the Lord would bless, lead and care for them. Rather hard to cause trouble in such a situation and it lays it right out there that the man had nothing against those that he was praying for. Openness in our congregations would not be a bad thing.
Imagine a spouse hearing you asking the Lord to give strength at work, to give protection and to give boldness of witness. Really we ought to be blessing more outwardly and verbally so that others can know how we really feel about them.
To show love, care and concern for your family and your church family are rather normal, but to let them know of it is not the normal in our society. Might we consider how we might find ways to show our true feelings to those around us in an attempt to change our society into what it should be.
When we want to encourage those we love might we consider a verbal prayer with them now and then as we live our lives before our Lord. To just bless them might well work out well also. Just take them by the arm and do it, it will hurt but a moment.
Yes, the blessing thing seems to be a cultural thing, especially in the Old Testament, but the Lord was man enough to do it so then we ought to be able to dig down deep and do the same even though our society is not much on the idea.
Irish Marriage Blessing
May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.
An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
Christ states "there is none good but one, that is, God." What does that say to the doctrine of Christ. Was He not God? Was there imperfection in Him? Was there something lacking in His character?
Quite a simple answer, He was God. There is none good but God - in three persons, all are good. It would seem that Christ was pointing out His deity to the man. Whether the man grasped this or not is another question.
This is rather a strange interjection into the conversation by the Lord. The purpose of this insertion is not clear. Was he trying to find out whether the man realized this? Was he trying to show to the man that He was God? Was he clarifying something to someone in the gathering?
It would be rather doubtful that the children in the context would have grasped such an idea and the apostles had already been confronted with His claims. Possibly it was reinforcement for their benefit.
It is of note that the Lord quoted only part of the commandments and seemingly purposefully left out the ones relating to God. This might give indication to our questions. To leave out the laws relating to God may well indicate that Christ’s question to the man was to clarify just what the man believed in, God or works - it might seem that Christ knew it was the later and that this was the need of his life at the moment.
Indeed the Lord’s remedy is for the man to sell all and give it to the poor and FOLLOW CHRIST, the one that he had called "GOOD."
19 "Thou knowest the commandments,"
1. Do not commit adultery is number seven.
2. Do not kill is number six.
3. Do not steal is number eight.
4. Do not bear false witness is number nine.
5. Defraud not
6. Honor thy father and mother is number five.
What are the four missing commandments?
Why did the Lord only mention these six? Number 10 thou shalt not covert, number 1 thou shalt have no other gods before me, number 2 thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, number 3 thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them, and nummber 4 thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. It would seem that Christ left these out because this man was already doing all that he could to serve God to the best of his ability.
Exodus 20:3 ff is one of the listings of the commandments.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
4. Keep the Sabbath
5. Honour thy father and thy mother
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.
The Deuteronomy 5:7 ff listing is as follows:
1. Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make thee [any] graven image
Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
4. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it
5. Honour thy father and thy mother
6. Thou shalt not kill
7. Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
8. Neither shalt thou steal.
9. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any [thing] that [is] thy neighbour’s.
Note that in the Old Testament passages there is no "thou shalt not defraud." One is left to assume that this relates to the not coveting since coveting often leads to defrauding the person. Gill and Barnes agree with this but the Net Bible notes that it refers to Deuteronomy 24:14. This is possible but this is not a part of the original commandments and Christ seemed to be listing from the ten.
Matthew mentions "love thy neighbor as thyself" while Luke leaves this one out. This would seem to be equivalent to Marks "do not defraud" that would relate to the not coveting of the Old Testament listing.
There are several listings of the Ten Commandments.
1 I am the Lord thy God who have brought thee out of the house of bondage.
2 Thou shalt have no other gods besides me.
3 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4 Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.
5 Honor thy Father and Mother.
6 Thou shalt not murder.
7 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8 Thou shalt not steal.
9 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10 Thou shalt not covet.
Catholics and Lutherans
I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have any strange gods before me.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Honor thy Father and Mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
Orthodox and Other Protestants
I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have other gods besides me.
Thou shalt not make for thyself any graven image.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember the Lord’s Day to keep it holy.
Honor thy Father and Mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet.
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him," The Lord loved him. This man who had just come to him for knowledge of salvation and Christ immediately loved him. This may have been his deity loving, or it might well have been his humanness loving. Either way it is of interest that Mark made note of the fact. Christ must have made His love for the man known in some outward manner else Mark would not have known about it.
Christ loved and spoke of the man’s short comings. "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions."
Christ called him to sell all, give to the poor, and that he would have treasure in heaven. Then He says take up the cross and follow.
The man went away sad but we are not told whether he gave up his riches, or probably from the context, his love of his money and returned to Christ or not.
The question is this, are all people required to sell all and give to the poor before they can follow Christ? It could be inferred from this passage however riches are not wrong it is the love of riches that is the problem. Rich folks can enjoy their life as a believer without giving up everything; however most rich people I know do much good with their money and often times are some great people to know. They are Christians just like we are, and desire Christian fellowship just as us poor folk.
It seems to me that this man was doing all he could (following the commandments) to seek righteousness, but the Lord knew that there was one stumbling block - the love of money which in reality is breaking of the first commandments that the Lord did not mention to him. He was putting Gods (money) before God. The man was doing well on the other things but was putting God second in the scheme of things.
Not unlike many today that attend church, maybe even have devotions and might even be involved in the church but are putting their thing “getting” above their love for the Lord.
This does not relate only to the rich, but even the poor can put the Lord after their getting of stuff. Their focus can become fixed on getting things that they cannot afford yet, but being focused on the getting one day in the future.
Our focus needs to be on God and His kingdom, not ourselves and our little kingdom of stuff. We might rule our stuff well, though the more stuff I get the more the stuff rules me, but our Lord should rule us in all situations and He must come first in all our considerations.
Relating to the study of stuffology one must be very careful to gain enough to be satisfied, but not enough that your satisfaction turns to frustration when the stuff decides not to function properly. Stuff may be number one in your life but it must be number two - actually number four or five would be the best. Your Lord, then your wife, then your children and then if there is time and money your stuff. God has no place for something that comes between His children and Himself.
Stuff tends to be a trinity in and of itself. There is the gaining, there is the putting together and using and then there is the keeping our gains in useable condition.
There are times when I think the great demon of stuff visits our house. Everything in sight starts failing. A computer, a camera, a flat tire and usually a few light bulbs go out - all within a few hours as though some foul wind blew through the neighborhood looking for vulnerable stuff.
Our society has changed so much in the last fifty years. At one time I longed for a certain .99 cent Hotwheel car (Hotwheel type, not sure they were around back then) and now it is for a 20,000 dollar car. Just an illustration, I am quite happy with the six year old Hyundai that we paid too much for - 7,000. The point is what was comfortable fifty years ago was a drop in the bucket to what is desired today. My folks drove a 1939 Chevy up into the 50’s and were quite satisfied with it.
Back then a church group was satisfied to have a large home to meet in for services, but today congregations build million dollar buildings so that they don’t have to carry hymnals in and out of their rented building. It may not be the times that have changed but the priorities of Christians.
Mark 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
The shock of the disciples seems to indicate that this was some serious new teaching from the Lord. In light of the Jewish leadership and their fine robes and probably riches it would give bad light upon those that would lead the populous.
Not unlike our own day and one must wonder just how many of the rich preachers of our own day are actually saved. If they are saved it might indicate that they are a bit far from their supposed to be spiritual roots.
Internet boards for pastors are full of discussions about pay packages, housing allowances, parsonages and the like. There is more concern about what the other guy is making than how the Lord is blessing Him. Many are near vain and greedy in their discussion of financial things.
Sure finances are a consideration but when someone mentions Matthew 6:33 and the fact that if God takes care of the bird of the air will he not take care of you they are met with the disgust usually accorded only a pervert. God watches the birds, so He most certainly watches over us and will take care of us in His own time and His own will.
Matthew 6:33-34 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof." Yes, of course this is a kingdom context but if He is caring for the birds in this context He most likely is taking care of them in all contexts be it kingdom or church age.
Soap box now empty.
Now moving on to the text, of course this is in the context of the rich man who just went away sad and this man was fresh upon their minds. Christ just expands upon what He has already made clear. It is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom. Not that the way is blocked by security guards that inspect bank accounts, purses and billfolds but rather that the bank accounts, purses and billfolds keep the person’s interest away from the kingdom and focused upon the riches.
"How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
The sentence "But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!" is interesting. What has this to do with children? Does He turn to the children mentioned in the previous context to ask them the question?
Wesley takes this to be Christ using a mild term in addressing the disciples instead of a more formal term that might have indicated dissatisfaction. Gill points out that disciples were often called children, and also wisely suggests that the disciples were looking for a literal kingdom to be set up soon. They would have assumed that the rich Jews of their day would be ushered in with the rest of the nation.
It was the disciples that were being addressed as children and not as a looking down upon them but it would seem just an endearing term of a teacher for his students.
In relation to the rich entering the kingdom it is very obvious to one that has been poor just what the Lord was getting at. If you have nothing, if you are under trials and if you are sick of this life then the next life is something to behold and desire thus much more acceptable. However for the rich - think about it. They have need of nothing; they can buy their wants, desires, and have all that they could want. To be confronted by another life far-off in the future why would they consider it? They have everything they could desire "here and now," so why bother with the "there and after?"
As to the eye of the needle, most often it is related to a small gate into Jerusalem that a camel had to kneel on its knees to crawl through. I have heard many pastors present this as fact. However the Net Bible note mentions that this gate did not exist in the time of the Lord, that it was added in the middle ages.
Gill points out that this was a common phrase to describe anything that was absurd. He quotes one phrase that used an elephant rather than a camel. I’m sure that many in my high school days would have said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for Stan Derickson to become anything in later life. Nothing meant in a derogatory way, just an observing of facts and probabilities.
The term translated "eye" in Mark is meant of a hole made by wearing away. While living in Hawaii we saw what was called a blowhole. It was a hole in the rock on the coast. As the waves would roll in under the rocks the pressure would force water through the hole forming a geyser of water. The hole was present due to the wearing away of the waves upon the bottom of the rock. This is the idea of the term which Mark used. Other gospel writers used a term more consistent with the eye of a needle.
Just why Mark chose this word is not known. I must wonder if it wasn’t his attempt to illustrate just how hard it was for a rich man to enter into the kingdom. It would take the wearing away of many attempts for the rich man to enter in, picturing the terrible difficulty.
Let’s take a quick look at verse 26. "And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?"
The disciples wondered if a rich person has difficulty then who can be saved. Consider the basis for their astonishment for a moment. Why would they think that? Why would it be difficult for others if it was difficult for the rich?
Might their thinking be running along the lines of riches can buy their way into the kingdom? Might their thinking be running along the lines of the rich can buy their power and their prestige and that is getting them into the kingdom? Seems to me the only reason that they would have been astonished is that they had some concept of works or purchasing their way into the kingdom.
Not only were they astonished they were astonished out of measure. They were REALLY astonished. There must have been something very strong in all their minds that would have brought this shock upon them. Some idea of Judaism that they had been taught that was totally counter to what the Lord had told them.
Matthew Henry supposes that the disciples were thinking that the rich have more opportunity to do good with their possessions, thus would have an easier time entering the kingdom. This relates well with what has already been mentioned as to works. He continues to observe that the kingdom was coming and they supposed it to be a physical kingdom that would have rich people coming into it since kingdoms were usually full of the rich and powerful.
The Net Bible note mentions that they may have been assuming that the rich were BLESSED with their riches, thus if they have difficulty how can an unblessed poor person hope to be saved.
The word translated "astonished" relates to being struck or hit with a blow and the shock/surprise of such a thing. This really was a shock to the disciples, more than just a new teaching but something that shook them to their core.
I suspect that they were shocked to the extent that they wondered at their own ability to be saved if the rich have a hard time, then so much the worse for them. It might also be the fact that the disciples knew they could not make it through the eye of a needle either, so how could anyone be saved.
We now launch into the Lord’s response to their astonishment. Indeed, Peter gets right down to the basics and tells the Lord that they had left all to follow Him. In short he seems to be saying; Lord we left all so we can never be rich, what about us? How can we be saved is the implication.
The Lord reassures the disciples that they are in line for future blessing as well as eternal life. He does however predicate all on the fact that it is not them that is going to accomplish this but God.
Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Ah, the catchall phrase of most Christians that want something from God. Well actually it is the truth and we need to understand it within its context. The context is all things, possibilities and God. It is rather easy to understand - God can do whatever He wants to do and often He is apt to do it for His children.
We often seem to use this phrase as a catchall for what we want that we cannot do for ourselves and that is what God is about - some times. However we need to understand that He is not our resident genie that is in the jug 24/7 waiting for our wishes and commands.
Often when I pray I think of the possibilities of what God can do. He can do all that we ask, He can do all that we imagine, but it is all within His will, timing, and purpose. That is the context within which we ought to pray. Request away but know that His will, timing and purpose are much more important than yours.
28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
Peter seems to protest against the thought of rich folk having a hard time entering into the kingdom - if they have a hard time then how much harder will it be for the disciples that have left all that they had to follow the Lord. We gave up being rich to follow and you are now telling us that it will be even harder for us to enter the kingdom than a rich person?
Very perceptive had he perceived the intent of the Lord’s comments which he did not. Peter thought he had the Lord’s meaning but not just quite. He assumed incorrectly and Christ moves on to correct his thinking.
29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
I must admit when we were in Bible College and ministry, days that were full of want and need, that I pondered this passage often. We had walked away from family and job to follow the Lord’s leading in our lives. We found ourselves alone and often in great need, yet the passage promises houses and family. What gives?
I will admit also that patience was definitely not my forte and when I saw that passage I wanted it NOW, however God in his slightly better wisdom knew that I needed some learning that only He could give. Ultimately, as I review our lives I can see that the family members were there, not blood family but God’s family members and we were always taken care of house wise, though the patience building required us to wait at times until the Lord would show us His pleasure for us.
I have seen my entire blood family pass on to whatever reward they might have had, and sadly I have seen my Godly family become users and totally lacking in support. We have found that the Lord is the only family that we have that we can count on and He has been our total support for many years, indeed all our lives.
I fear that the church in recent years has become so "ME" centered that there is little idea of the "family" of God left. Yes, a very sweeping and general statement but many churches are in this position today. There are certainly rarities around the country, and praise God for them.
Heavy notice should be made of the persecution that the Lord mentioned. Life is not meant to be a bowl of cherries for the believer, we ARE to be persecuted. The United States has been quite fortunate over the years to have extended great freedom from persecution, but this is on the decline in recent years.
More and more news reports are to be had of cities, towns and schools that are attempting to curtail the Christian’s rights. Many are the radical people in our society that will overexert their power and try to force their belief system upon the Christian. In other countries Christians are being beaten and killed for just sharing the Gospel with the Lost.
Much of what the Christian is reaping in this country is in my mind the believers retreat from the world. We have isolated our children in private schools and allowed the liberal side of our country to dictate the direction and purpose of the schools. They are nothing shy of indoctrination organizations to mold the minds of our young into evolutionary environmentalists that follow the line and dictates of the masters of the movement.
Our environmental laws are being driven by this new generation that was quite adequately trained within the public school system where there is little if any Christian influence.
Soap box again vacated.
Mark 10:32 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 again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 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.
We are not told why the apostles were amazed, nor why they were afraid. Some conclude that they were afraid of what was going to happen in Jerusalem and that they were amazed at His bravery and were afraid for themselves as well as the Lord. Luke however adds a comment that foils these assumptions. "And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, and they perceived not the things that were said."
There is a possibility that they knew of the Pharisees plotting to kill Him, and knew that this would be a possibility. It might be possible that the things that they did not understand were related to the purpose of His death and coming resurrection. They probably knew the leadership was out to get Him and they did not understand that the leadership’s hate for Messiah was just the vehicle that God was going to use to provide salvation for mankind.
Since they were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover feast that all males were to attend, there would have been multitudes on the road. Their amazement may have been at the forthrightness with which He was moving toward sure trouble. The text mentions that He went before them which would indicate that He was in the lead to lead his little band to Jerusalem for the required Passover feast, and their fear related to His "all of a sudden" forthrightness in light of the crowds which He had usually avoided.
It is of note that Mark is the only writer that mentions their amazement and fear. Matthew and Luke just record the situation. Mark seems to be more of the "sensitive guy" type rather than the stalwartness of a tax gatherer or the standoffishness of a physician. Nothing against tax gatherers and doctors, but they both by way of occupation detach themselves somewhat from their work.
Christ sets forth a list of things that will soon occur to Him.
The Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes: and they shall condemn him to death: shall deliver him to the Gentiles: they shall mock him: shall scourge him: shall spit upon him: shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again:
There is little doubt in what the Lord meant by these statements. The disciples had no way of comprehending it in that they were still looking for the Messiah to set up his kingdom on earth.
This is the first indication that the Gentiles would be involved in His death. Indeed, this prophecy was very accurate and when the events took place they must have thought back on these words and wondered why they missed His message.
Was this information given to Him via the Holy Spirit, or was He cognitive of the decrees from before the foundation of the world? I would assume that He was quite cognizant of the decree and all about how these next few days were going to go down. This was most likely part of His struggle in the garden just before his arrest - knowing in His divinity yet hesitant in his humanity.
We know of His human/divine character, but we know little of how much interaction there might/must have been. Both were an integrated part of His character, but the divine is so much different from the human that there must have been much conflict at times - or was there?
To assume there was contradiction or interaction may detract from the Lord’s true character. He was both, He was not two thus interaction and contradiction cannot be a part of His being. He was both most completely thus only one, not two which were melded in some manner.
When He acted He acted as one, when He spoke He spoke as one and when He thought He thought as one thus in the garden it was not the humanness against the divine, it was just the thinking/praying of one that was totally human and totally divine. He knew that He was about to suffer great indignity and pain, yet He was not looking forward to this torment.
His coming death was in the context of His coming resurrection. It must have been a great consolation to the Lord to know after the hard times coming that there were far better times coming soon after. When we are in trials or hardship we can know that good times are coming. They may be far off in the future, but one day all will be well and the hardness will be past. Be encouraged with this fact of the Christian life - one day it will be all better.
Now some might wonder if the disciples grasped the resurrection. We cannot tell it from Mark’s record but they had just recently witnessed the raising of Lazarus from the dead. They should have gotten a handle on this concept since they had seen it happen in the recent past - within days most likely so they should have understood the principle even though they did not grasp the Messiah suffering and being taken by death.
Mark 10:35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.
Sounds like a bunch of kids that approach their parents to ask for something that they know they will not get or know that they should not have. The twosome asked to sit on His right and left in His glory. Now we don’t know what was in their minds when they said "thy glory" but they knew they wanted to be prominent.
This could mean in eternity, or in the kingdom they thought was coming and I would opt for the latter since all that they had been hearing was kingdom and all that they were expecting was kingdom.
We do not know what they thought they had done to have such prominence among the twelve but they must have had a rather high opinion of themselves to make such a request.
To sit on the right or left would normally picture some amount of power and prestige if not something more in their minds.
He asks them if they can suffer as He was about to suffer and they say they can, not knowing what He was speaking of. They had not understood the business about the suffering, death and resurrection so it is hard to tell what they might have thought He was talking about.
Now for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey was fond of saying. Matthew 20:20 mentions a little further information. "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping [him], and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."
Now aside from the fact that this clarifies that they were speaking of the kingdom and not heaven we see that mom was with them and that it was actually mom that did the asking. It would seem Mark was either being kind to the two or he could not believe that mom did the asking and that the sons allowed her to do so. Bad enough that there was such a desire, but to verbalize it was another thing and to allow mom to do the asking is yet another.
Now let us be honest would you not like to sit beside the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom? Now let us continue in our honesty and consider whether you would have the internal fortitude to ask such a thing? Not me! AND I CERTAINLY WOULD NOT WANT MY MOTHER ASKING FOR ME!
Barnes states that it was the boys who put mom up to the asking, while the fact that Mark pictures the boys asking, might indicate that Barnes is correct. From the surface it might seem that mom was stirring the pot but we are not specifically told. Barnes may well be correct in his thinking.
In light of this I must wonder if there was something that the two had done that made them think that they were special enough for such an honor. I wonder if their service to the Lord might have been above and beyond that of the others. Or there might be the thought that this was mom’s idea and mom had not consulted the boys.
The fact that they came worshiping makes one wonder if their bravery to make the request was not wavering and they came with the best of intentions to gain favor. Yep, lots of speculation here - just have to do some wondering at these events.
Christ asks them if they can drink of the hard times coming upon Him in the near future and they say yes. I doubt that the two knew what they were agreeing to in that we just read the twelve did not understand the Lord’s comments about his coming troubles.
One might wonder if the two ever contemplated what the Lord asked them after the crucifixion and resurrection. They must have known that they were going to face a harsh death at sometime future and may well have thought about their coming demise in that quiet time when we are alone with ourselves with noone to interrupt us.
It is not uncommon for man to consider how he will die, or think of the when and where. The key is not for us to not think about these things, but to not let these things rule our thinking. These things are going to happen, they are in the overall plan of God and we can be strong in knowing that He will get us through those times. Yes, consider your demise, yes consider how you will react and then just ask the Lord to make your exit from this life an honor to His safekeeping and strength.
The important thing to remember is that death is not the terrible thing that we often think of when we are young, but it is simply a transition from this life to the life that the Lord has prepared for us.
The first Sunday I returned to church after a heart attack we stood to sing the first hymn. "When we’ve been there ten thousand years, we will only have begun to sing..." I was staggered and overwhelmed with the realization that the doctors had kept me from that - they did not allow me to enter into the Lord’s presence and all His glory.
I then of course realized that God had set certain things into action - I was laying on the emergency room table when the attack struck and I was only a few feet and a floor or two away from the operating room. He had no intention of my exit of this life at that point in time. He had something more for me to do in this life so I continue on boring you with this story.
Moving on now, the two approaching the Lord for their own gain ticked of the rest of the boys, but before we look into that one final thought on this section.
Christ mentions that He has not the power to give the seat on the right and left, but that they have been prepared. The verb used in this preparation is a perfect tense that means it is done - completed and the action carries through to the culmination sometime future. It is a done deal and cannot be changed. Now we do not know whether the two that will occupy these seats were from the past or Christ’s present or from the future. It could well mean that these seats had occupants appointed in eternity past.
As to the occupants one might surmise the two that meet Him on the mount of transfiguration, but that would be nothing more than an assumption. We are not told. One might wonder at their great works for the Lord, their feats of faith and their mighty messages delivered. No, most likely we should wonder at the Grace of God in their lives not the deeds of their bodies and minds.
It would seem to me there are too many to choose from that have done great works for God and that the two given these positions of prominence will be two that have done what they have done, knowing the grace of God in their lives and that they will know that their position will be because of His grace not their works.
By all the mentioning of grace do not take me for a grace nut. I know there is grace and that God gives it to whom He will, but I also reject the teaching that all is of grace, that anything you do is of grace and that nothing can be done aside from grace. Some feel blowing your nose is due to grace. The ability to blow your nose is a product of design, a design that God set into motion. The breath that you have that allows you to blow your nose is due to His timing and plan. Grace is involved but to blow is a decision of the mind, not some magical "grace" that intervenes when you have an excess of mucus.
I do not make light of grace for it is a wonderful attribute of God. Spurgeon in his devotional this morning said "Only on the footing of free grace can the most experienced and most honoured of the saints approach their God. The best of men are conscious above all others that they are men at the best. Empty boats float high, but heavily laden vessels are low in the water; mere professors can boast, but true children of God cry for mercy upon their unprofitableness. We have need that the Lord should have mercy upon our good works, our prayers, our preachings, our alms-givings, and our holiest things."
Either the work of Christ took care of this stuff - made me a new creature - made me a citizen of heaven - washed away my sin or it did not. Which is it? God leads me to my activities, to my ministries and to my prayers so why would I be burdened with their lackings. Am I unprofitable? How would I know, God is my judge, He will make that determination. Grace has little to do with it - Grace allows me to live a life free from the guilt of my unsaved condition, it does not leave me to wallow in it.
We approach God based on the work of Christ not grace. Grace is an attribute of God that allowed Christ to do that work and the work was done so that we could live, not so that we could wallow in the self guilt, the self examination and the smug declarations that we are not worthy. Christ made us worthy and to suggest we are not is an argument against grace. To wallow as Spurgeon suggests makes the work of the Lord to be small potatoes that cannot bring us up to the level God had intended.
Yes, grace is free and we received it and we do not need to stand in it wringing our hands worrying about whether we are worthy or not - we are - done deal.
Mark 10:41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
In recent days on an Internet forum a couple of topics have left me appalled with pastors that frequent the board. There have been discussions relating to pastoral/congregation relations as well as money issues.
The crux is that the pastors are very dissatisfied with their pay, their status and their relationship with their church. Much of the frustration is in my mind due to the above passage. The men are not satisfied to be a minister or a servant, but wish to be seen as above such positions.
The attitude with the congregations seems to be one of "you owe me" or "you do not treat me right" or "I am so abused." There seems little content that relates to "I want to minister to these sheep Lord." Little that relates to "You have called me to be among these folks."
To serve, you cannot be approaching the ministry in this fashion and be successful. To serve is to put one’s own into subjection to the many. To serve you cannot be top dog, you need to be one of the group. Yes, the pastor should be a leader of the group, but it must be done as a servant, not as a ruling class.
Christ gave His life that we might live and serve and minister, not so that we could find a position of authority and power. If we serve and minister we will be what He wants us to be, indeed we will be what these men seek but will not find in this life.
The ten were being encouraged to find that humble position of servant-hood, not to be upset with James and John for having aspired higher than they ought to have aspired. No, pastors are not aspiring to sit beside the Lord in particular, but they are desiring to be more than they are or should be. All should be servants and as Christ told James and John, let God seat those that have been chosen to sit in the places of prominence.
I do not mean to pick on pastors, but desire to point out that they of all people ought to be the example to those to which they would minister. The men on the forum often bristle at the encouragement to be the example to their "erring" flock. The reaction to this encouragement usually runs along the line that the people are wrong and ought to know better. Well, yes, they ought to know better, but if they do not, then it is the pastor’s place to teach them and to be their example, but this would leave them with nothing to complain about.
I would also be quick to agree that the people ought to know better. Common sense would cure many of the problems, but our social/educational system has not equipped our current society with common sense, much less a dose of logic which they also need. However, with the given situation, a pastor needs to take the bull by the horns and be an example before his congregation and patiently teach them of their responsibilities to one another. If they know these principles, then It would seem they would know how to relate properly to the one leading them by example.
Now to the text that the above hopefully has been based.
The term "displeased" is a little mild in light of the Greek which has the thought of "indignant" or "be greatly afflicted" or "much displeased." To be called "not to bright" would displease a person, to be called a stupid blithering idiot without a brain" would make one indignant.
Vine mentions of the word, ""to grieve," primarily meant "to feel a violent irritation, physically;" it was used, too, of the fermenting of wine; hence, metaphorically, "to show signs of grief, to be displeased, to be grieved, vexed;" it is translated "sore displeased" in Matthew 21:15, AV; "much displeased," in Mark 10:14; the RV always renders it "to be moved with, or to have indignation," as the AV elsewhere, Matthew 20:24; Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:4; Luke 13:14."
James and John really ticked the ten off and they wanted to let the Lord know of their displeasure.
Now what Christ did not do and what He did not say is of prime importance here for own lives.
The ten were ticked off with James, John and Christ did not agree with their displeasure, nor did He come down on the two. He merely explained how they should live their lives as to this topic of discussion. If you would be first, then be last.
Christ also did not discuss the rightness nor the correctness of James and John’s request. By explaining the principle in, essence, He told them the two were not going to get their request, but told them of how they could gain prominence in the kingdom - would that imply that he knew that the ten or at least some of them had the same dreams of grandeur that James and John had but just had not verbalized them?
Now as you come to that situation where someone in the congregation has made an absurd request and others come to you as their pastor and are upset, how are you going to handle it? Are you going to tell the others of the incorrectness of the other person’s request? Applying the Lord’s approach you would not. How would you handle the upset folks? Explain the proper procedures or whatever is the correct method of handling things and neither comment on the one nor the others wrongs for indeed the others are wrong to be upset most likely.
Many problems within churches or groups run along the line of the pastor agreeing with one party or the other instead of attempting to remain neutral and teaching the acceptable answer to problems. Not to say you need to be a middle of the roader, but you need to ignore the sides and declare the truth - yes, when possible.
It is also of note that Christ took the initiative in solving the problem. He took care of those in the wrong, and then took care of the other group as soon as possible. Letting things fester is never a good principle of problem solving. Nor is secrecy a good problem solving principle. The text also mentions that the ten "began" to be displeased, thus the implication that the Lord intervened before the problem was out of hand.
Years ago three people fell into some spiritual problems in a church. The leadership took steps to correct the problem which was to ask the folks to leave the church quietly which they did. The leaders made none of this known to the congregation. As time went on the congregation heard that the problem folks had left the church. The congregation then wanted to know if that was true, and the leaders kept their mouths closed on the situation which caused festering and ultimately many left the church due to the leader’s secrecy and disciplining of church members without input from the congregation.
Right or wrong the leaders acted, which is always good, but their secret activity was not a wise choice of action. The church organization of your particular church may dictate how problems are approached, but quickness, openness and Biblical should be the hallmarks.
The term translated "minister" in verse forty-three is the Greek word from which we bet our idea of deacon - one that ministers to the people, a rather clear indication that those wanting to be first will be the ministers, not the power brokers in the church.
Now, apply that one to your own congregation. We all know who the power club has as its members and they will not be the power-houses of the Lord’s kingdom. Imagine those that think they are something when they find their way into the Lord’s presence and what He is going to tell them as to position.
Personally I have never sought power, figured if the Lord wanted me powerful that He would prepare me for it and invest me with it. He hasn’t and I’m not. We should not look for power, or look for ways to gain power or position, we should simply look to the Lord for His guidance in the ministry that He has called us too and do the very best job that we can for Him as we walk through this life with Him.
In verse forty-four we find the word "servant" which is the word for slave or one that has placed themselves under another’s command for life. This backs up what has already been mentioned - live your life in submission to Him and He will make of you what He will rather than what you might will.
Now, isn’t the Christian life an easy life. Place yourself in His control, and follow His directions, and reap the benefits that are yours through His grace to you personally. This eliminates all the struggling, the clawing and the trying of becoming something that you cannot due to the way HE HAS SET IT UP.
Verse forty-five is the crux of our study together. It is about HIM not you, it is about His work, not yours and it is about His outcome not yours. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
He came to minister to many. This is not a discussion about who He gave Himself for, it is about the fact that He came to redeem many. Whether a few elect or all the world, the point is that EVEN HE WAS TO MINISTER - if Almighty God came among men to minister, why would any man/woman be so arrogant as to think that he/she should be any better than Jesus Christ our Lord and His ministry to us? Heaven forbid any Christian think themselves at the forefront of any congregation! How audacious of one that would assume they are the power of a congregation or the chiefest among men!
NOW, the next time you have someone in your congregation that seems to want to become boss or the power of the group, please show them this text and share my thoughts with them for they are in for a little training from the Lord I would guess and personally, I would not want to be walking in their flip-flops for one moment!
I have thought through some of the power brokers that we have run across in our lives and wonder at how they have walked through their lives so incorrectly and think themselves so great. Those that have judged us as unspiritual, those that have counted us as the lesser of all and those that have found us lacking in so many areas, yet they themselves were totally lacking in their own limited lives.
Honestly, I sit here typing this and must laugh at the audacity of this type of person in light of this passage. As you deal with this sort of person do your laughing on the QT and then try to share truth with them in a way that they can grow to know Christ’s best for them as a bond-servant, not as a power broker.
We could take many pages to discuss the term ransomed, but The Net Bible covers it well when the note mentions "refers to the payment of a price in order to purchase the freedom of a slave. The idea of Jesus as the "ransom" is that he paid the price with his own life by standing in humanity’s place as a substitute, enduring the judgment that was deserved for sin."
We are not our own folks, we have been purchased, we are not free to do as we please we are His and we need to realize this position and live as if we understand it. This is why the power brokers above are so off base in their lives - they think they belong to themselves to build and carry on in a life of their design and choosing when in fact, they are walking in a way that is foreign to the Lord’s will and design.
Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
So much detail to this account must have some reason, though it is not clear. Possibly to illustrate the realness of the account, that this really happened, it was not a made-up story of some later century writer trying to fool the Christian public.
The impression I have of this situation is that Bartimaeus may have been waiting or wishing that the Lord would come along. He was on the roadway area, he had someone telling him who was coming by and the word cry is a word that relates to screaming or the shriek of the raven. When he was encouraged to back off, he cried even more even a lot more according to the passage. This man was on a mission and was going to do what he had to do to complete that mission.
This was a man known to the folks in the crowd; he was named by name, and by his malady as well as by his father’s name. The naming of Bartimaeus and his father would indicate that there was some significance to the crowd of this occasion. Possibly that the towns-folks knew of Bartimaeus and his blindness to be fact of life and that the healing would be so totally validating of the Lord’s ability.
Lightfoot suggests of Bartimawus "Some suspect the evangelist here guilty of a solecism, by making a tautology; for it was neither necessary, as they think, so to render the Syriac word in Greek; nor is it done so elsewhere in proper names of that nature." A solecism is a totally unnecessary use of a phrase or word while tautoalogy is using two different words of the same meaning. He further suggests that the phrase "blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus," might only mean "a blind son of a blind man." This might lead to the fact that Matthew stated that there were two blind men - thus maybe a father and a son, both being blind.
We should note that Matthew states that there were two blind men while Mark only mentions Bartimaeus. This might indicate that Mark knew Bartimaeus or knew of him and that he wanted to focus on him alone rather than the two as he was writing to his readers. It is also just possible since the two followed Christ that they became known to the early church and the recipients of Mark’s letter would have known him.
The two blind men of Matthew might have been a father and son, both blind. (Luke records this happening, but mentions only one blind man as does Mark, yet does not name him.)
Enough speculation, but it is evident that Mark had a purpose for naming the man and identifying him so clearly. It might be noted also that this is the only reference to the man in the Bible.
The man called the Lord the Son of David. The Net Bible mentions the possible link to Solomon the son of David that some thought had healing powers according to Josephus. "Jesus was more than a Nazarene to this blind person, who saw quite well that Jesus was Son of David. There was a tradition in Judaism that the Son of David (Solomon) had great powers of healing (Josephus, Ant. 8.2.5 [8.42-49])." At the very least the man recognized the Lord’s ties to the Davidic kingdom in some manner and may even have understood that the kingdom Christ had offered was this same Davidic Kingdom or Millennium.
It certainly is of interest to someone that has compassion for those with physical problems. This man was not only blind, but to stay alive he was forced to beg for what he could gain from the compassion of others. Today we have people feeding on the compassion of others, we call them homeless - they beg at street corners, fast food entrances and freeway approaches. They are multitudes and most are doing it because they are too lazy to work and many make more money panhandling than many at their daily job.
Compassion is a good thing when it is directed toward one that cannot care for themselves, but it is a very bad thing when directed at those that could help themselves if they just would.
When I was a child there was a little office with two or three people in it way down in the basement of our county courthouse in Nebraska. That office was a place of derision; it was a place no one wanted to go. If you were there it was because you were in dire trouble financially and nowhere else could you gain assistance.
Today that office is not an office but rather a whole building, and it is not a place to avoid but a place to seek. To be there is to have arrived. You are on the public dime and probably will never get off, because misplaced compassion tells us to take care of all less fortunate whether they are unfortunate by their own choice or not.
In my childhood, welfare was the abnormal and for those that had real need, and it was a meager assist at that. Today the system tells us that the assist must be adequate to their need no matter what they think their need be. Some make more money on the welfare system than the average working person. Need has certainly been redefined in our society. Indeed, so has democracy. Today we are straining toward communism while most of the world is fleeing its failed principles.
The public wanted this man to be quiet, but he was quite insistent upon the Lord helping him in his need. Christ hearing his plea stopped and asked that he be brought to Him.
A simple request and a simple solution to that request - go because thy faith has made you whole. Christ went on His way and the man followed.
I’m sure that you could get into symbolism and allegorical interpretation with this passage and make some beautiful pictures but the simple fact is that this is an account of one more of the miraculous things that Christ did while He was here on earth. He was a compassionate man who cared for people and their needs. It would seem from our text that He is on His way to His crucifixion yet He took a moment to assist one in need.
There was no need of proving who He was to the crowd, many of them if not most had rejected Him and His teaching so another miracle could not have made much difference in the lives of those around Him. He simply responded to the physical need of one that was showing faith in Him.
The continued focus of the Lord on those with physical and spiritual needs ought to be a part of our own lives as well. We ought not focus on the physical and leave out the spiritual, but we ought to deal with the physical if we can as we deal with the spiritual.
This is a difficult task in our society due to the many that purport to have physical needs but have them due to their own laziness. Churches are inundated with requests for assistance today but often are taken by lazy folks that turn their buck by preying on honest compassionate folks.
With all the social agencies available to care for needs it is wise in my mind to just refer people to these agencies that are much more capable of assuring the "need" that is presented to them.
This allows the congregation to concentrate on their membership’s needs in a more profound and pointed manner.
Many years ago we were struggling to make ends meet when I had a physical problem that removed me from my job for several weeks. Our little church where we attended gathered around us and held us above water until the problem was over. They offered food, cash and other gifts of talent and caring.
What a blessing to be on the receiving end of such an outpouring of Christian love. This sort of assist can be much more useful in the life of the church than giving an assist to some lazy person seeking an easy buck.
Some might suggest that helping with all comers physical need can be an opportunity to helping with spiritual needs. Well, yes that is a distinct possibility, but more to the point it sounds more like casting pearls before swine in our society. Yes, God can use the gospel anytime that He wishes and we should be sensitive to His leading when someone requests assistance but be careful to seek that leading before doing your giving.
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 10". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany