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Lesson 7: Glory, Honesty, And Serious Pride Issues (Mark 9:2-10:52)

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In Mark 9 and 10, Jesus addresses a bunch of heart attitude adjustments His followers need to make based on what He told them in Mark 8:34. Deny yourself and listen to Him (God confirms this one!).

Day One Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 9:1-13.

1. Discover the Facts: What Jesus promised in 9:1 comes true for three of the Twelve.

  • Who did Jesus take with Him to the mountain (v. 2)?
  • What happened there (vv. 2-3)? See also Matthew 17:2.
  • Who showed up (v. 4)?
  • What were they doing? See also Luke 9:31.
  • What is Peter’s response to what he saw (vv. 5-6)?
  • What is God’s response to Peter and the others (v. 7)?
  • As they were coming down the mountain, what happened (vv. 9-10)?
  • What question did they ask (v. 11)?
  • What is Jesus’s response (vv. 12-13)?

Scriptural Insight: An angel told John the Baptist’s parents that their son would go before the Lord and minister in the spirit and power of Elijah, to…make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17). Jesus explains in Matthew 11:14 that John the Baptist would have been the Elijah who was to come had the Israelites believed Christ was the Messiah. The religious leaders, however, would not accept God’s way that was being proclaimed by Jesus and John. So, in essence, the prophecy was only partially fulfilled. John the Baptist did fulfill the part about being the Messiah’s forerunner (Malachi 3:1; 4:5). But the people’s hearts were hard, and they did not turn their hearts toward God.

2. What is being revealed through the transfiguration? See also Philippians 2:6-7 and 2 Corinthians 4:6.

3. Heartbreak to Hope: What confirmation does the presence of Moses and Elijah give to us as believers? Are you confident that there is life with God beyond the grave for you? If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you are guaranteed eternal life with God after you die. Read John 5:24 for that confirmation.

Read Mark 9:14-32.

Scriptural Insight: At this point in Mark’s gospel, Jesus had foretold His arrest, death, and resurrection to His disciples four times. The women who followed Him also heard Him speak of this upcoming event (Luke 24:8).

4. Discover the Facts: Off the mountain and back to real life, Jesus responds to a father’s need and the disciples’ lack.

  • What did Jesus notice about the disciples who remained behind (vv. 14-15)?
  • What does He ask (v. 16)?
  • What is the situation (vv. 17-18)?
  • What does Jesus say (v. 19)?
  • How long has the boy been like this?
  • What does the father say to Jesus after telling about his boy (v. 22)?
  • What does Jesus declare?
  • For what does the father now ask (v. 24)?
  • After healing the boy, Jesus is indoor with the disciples. What do they ask Him (v. 28)?
  • What needed to be done (v. 29)?
  • What was Jesus’s main mission at this point (v. 30)?

Scriptural Insight: We have seen Jesus drive out demons from many people in His ministry. But, not all troubles He encountered were caused by demons. Having an unhealthy focus on demons can be dangerous and distracting for believers. Instead, choose to be Jesus-conscious rather than demon-conscious. Jesus is greater than all angels, including Satan and his demons. Jesus lives in you through His Holy Spirit — God is in you. Demons have no authority over you. You should be aware that they exist and beware of their deceptive nature. Bad things can happen because we live in a broken world or because people make bad choices. Demons are not behind everything bad that happens. For example, the Bible does not say that the storms in Mark 4 and 6 were demonic.

The disciples had driven out evil spirits when Jesus sent them on mission (Mark 6:12-13). Jesus’s answer in Mark 9:29 implies that they didn’t pray before trying to drive out the demon. Perhaps their success in the past led them to think they could handle this themselves. But, they could not. That is the danger of success.

Think About It: Here is a key truth. Human parents raise their children to become more independent and less dependent on them. God raises His children to become more dependent on Him and less independent of Him.

5. Heartbreak to Hope: Experiencing success makes us most vulnerable to becoming self-sufficient, unguarded against temptation, uncorrectable or unteachable, and complacent. Have you experienced this in your life? You can overcome that by recognizing your vulnerability, confessing your need for God, and renewing your dependence on God.

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Two Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 9:33-37.

1. Discover the Facts: Another teachable moment lies ahead for the disciples.

  • What did Jesus notice (v. 33)?
  • What is the disciples’ response (v. 34)?
  • Taking advantage of this teachable moment, what does Jesus do and say (vv. 35-37)?

2. What is Jesus trying to communicate to the Twelve about their role as servant leaders?

Think About It: To achieve His purposes, God chooses to use nobodies (like the disciples) to display His power and grace as they rely on Him. He chooses to use somebodies (like Paul) when they give up dependence on their natural abilities and resources to rely on Him. Either way, the key is dependence on Him.

Read Mark 9:38-41.

3. Summarize what you just read.

Think About It: Someone described this example as being on the same team but in different positions. Could this apply to denominational divisions in our modern world? As long as all believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, they are on the same team. What do you think?

Read Mark 9:42-50.

4. Jesus uses a lot of exaggeration in this passage to make a point for His disciples. Relate what He teaches here to the dissension and competition expressed in vv. 33-41.

5. What truth is expressed in v. 48?

6. Heartbreak to Hope: What in today’s lesson speaks to your heart?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Three Study

Scriptural Insight: Between 9:50 and 10:1, Mark left out a lot of Jesus’s ministry activities. You can read Luke 10-18 and John 7-10 to fill in the gap.

Read Mark 10:1-12.

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

1. Discover the Facts: Jesus is leaving Galilee for the last time, heading to the south.

  • What is the test question from the Pharisees this time (v. 2)?
  • How does Jesus respond (v. 3)?
  • After hearing their answer, what does Jesus teach them about God’s intention (vv. 5-9)?
  • What additional explanation does Jesus give to His disciples (vv. 11-12)?

Scriptural Insight: The certificates of divorce referenced in Deuteronomy 24 were given to protect the rights of women. Women abandoned by their husbands would be left destitute in that culture. The certificate of divorce allowed them to remarry. Jesus stressed that God created man and woman at the beginning of creation (Genesis 1) and instituted marriage between a man and a woman at that time as a covenant (Genesis 2). Divorce was permitted after the act of adultery by one spouse because that violates the covenant and breaks the marriage bond (Matthew 19:9). Is divorce lawful? Yes. Is it God’s will? No. Is adultery covered by the cross? Yes. Is remarriage honored by God? Yes, it is a covenant recognized by God.

Read Mark 10:13-16.

2. Discover the Facts: Jesus loves the little children.

  • Why were people bringing their children?
  • How did the disciples react (v. 13)?
  • What is Jesus’s emotional response to His disciples (v. 14)?
  • What does He say to them?
  • What does He then do to demonstrate what He just said?

Think About It: Jesus not only blessed the children (what the parents wanted), but He also took them in His arms and put His hands on them while blessing them. Our God always does more than we ask.

3. How does anyone receive the kingdom of God like a little child?

Focus on the Meaning: Do little children go to heaven when they die? Mark 10:14 is a verse that gives us confidence that they do. We can conclude this not because they have been baptized or because the parents are believers. It is not because children are innocent of sin or that they are not morally accountable. The kingdom of heaven belongs to little children. It is their property. Since Scripture only addresses the issue of adults as believers or unbelievers, it can be surmised that the salvation of babies and small children is God’s concern, not ours. We can be confident that children go to heaven when they die because the blood of Jesus Christ was provided for their account. Young children have not rejected the blood of Jesus. It is there to cover their sins, washing them clean, And, it is the character of God to apply that blood even though they cannot believe for themselves because they are too young. For more information, go to backtothebible.org/is-my-child-in-heaven.

4. Heartbreak to Hope: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

  • How do we help children come to Him?
  • How do we hinder children from coming to Him?

Read Mark 10:17-31.

5. Discover the Facts: Jesus issues a tough challenge to a young man.

  • What happens in v. 17?
  • What is Jesus’s response (vv. 18-19)?
  • How does the man confidently answer (v. 20)?
  • How does Jesus feel about this man?
  • What challenge does He give him (v. 21)?
  • What is revealed about the man’s real need (vv. 22-23)?

Scriptural Insight: Jesus asked the rich young ruler to surrender his fortune in order to know true riches (Mark 10:21). He asked the young boy to surrender his meager lunch so that thousands could feast (John 6:5-13). He asked the disciples to surrender their plans, their dreams, their very lives, to follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-22). And He asks us to surrender our rights, our reputation, our possessions, and our security. He wants our dreams and desires, our losses and our loves. Why? Because He knows that what He offers is better by far than anything we are holding onto. He knows that surrendering everything we have and everything we are to Him yields joy, purpose and peace that we cannot possess any other way. He knows that when we put our pain, loss and regret into His loving hands we will finally begin to experience the healing and the hope we long for. (Woven, The Truth about Redemption Next Step, “Redeeming Hope: Your journey Toward Surrender”)

6. Summarize Jesus’s explanation to His disciples (vv. 23-27)? See also Mark 9:23.

Focus on the Meaning: In their mind, money equals blessings from God. If the rich man who has supposedly been blessed by God can’t be saved by doing good works, how can any of the rest of us poor folks ever be saved? We know the answer is by faith alone, not works.

7. What is the reward for transferring your allegiance from people and material comforts to Jesus and the gospel He preaches (vv. 29-31)?

8. Heartbreak to Hope: What in today’s lesson speaks to your heart?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

Day Four Study

Ask the Lord Jesus to speak to you through His Word. Tell Him that you are listening.

Read Mark 10:32-45.

1. Discover the Facts: After spending quite a bit of time avoiding Jerusalem, Jesus is now leading the way to that city, astonishing the Twelve with another prediction of what would happen to Him there. Then comes another teachable moment for them. If you remember the “Who is the greatest?” conversation (Mark 9:34), it picks up again here.

  • Who comes to Jesus and with what request (vv. 35-37)? See also Matthew 20:20.
  • What is Jesus’s reply (v. 38)?
  • What do James and John boldly declare (v. 39)?
  • What does Jesus declare (vv. 39-40)?
  • When the other ten heard about this, what happened?
  • Jesus calls them together for some teaching. How does the world structure authority (v. 42)?
  • But, how will it be for the servants of Jesus (vv. 43-44)?
  • Write v. 45 in the space below. This is considered the key verse for Mark.

Scriptural Insight: Matthew wrote that their mother, Salome, the sister of Jesus’s mother, voiced their request for them (Matthew 20:20). Mark put the words in their own mouths, because the request came from their hearts, even though Salome may have spoken them. Perhaps they thought their family connection with Jesus justified their request. James and John were Jesus’s cousins (cf. Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25). Frequently rulers appointed close family members to important government positions. (Dr. Constables Notes on Mark 2017 Edition, p. 158)

2. How did Jesus serve while He was on earth?

3. What does He mean when He says that He gives His life as a ransom for many?

Focus on the Meaning: What Jesus did for us is called “redemption.” Redemption means to set something or someone free from bondage by paying a ransom. Jesus’s blood was the purchase price that redeemed us from our bondage to sin. We can now choose to obey our new master who has greater power living inside of us—the Spirit of God Himself—who can give us freedom from any entrapping sin. We have also been released into freedom to serve God in obedience, as He leads us to do what is good out of hearts of love and gratitude.

4. Heartbreak to Hope: Servant leadership is powerful in God’s business. Jesus described a servant leader as one who served those within her influence to lead them more than lording over them with her power. How can you be a servant leader in your sphere of influence—at work, at home, at church, and in the community? What would that look like?

Read Mark 10:46-52.

5. What grabbed your attention in this passage?

6. Look at Mark 10:36 and 10:51 where Jesus asked the same question of different people. Contrast the motives of the individuals involved.

7. Heartbreak to Hope: Reflect back on this whole lesson, how did someone experiencing heartbreak, pain, or uncertainty find hope, healing and love?

Write a prayer to God in response to what He has shown you in this lesson.

For additional application to this lesson, read the following essay, “Principles of Marriage and Divorce.”]

— — — — —

Principles On Marriage And Divorce

Principle #1: God Created Male And Female In The Beginning. Genesis 1:26-28

Men and women were created individually in the image of God. Both together were given the first command to mankind in the Bible—to flourish, to fill the earth with their kind, and to exercise dominion and stewardship over the earth including the other earthly creatures.

Principle #2: Marriage Is One Man And One Woman United For Life. Genesis 2:18, 24-25; Matthew 19:4-6

In the beginning, God chose to create and bring together the first man and woman in marriage. The man and woman were from then on to leave their parents, form a covenant with one another, and unite into a new family unit, no longer under the protective custody of their parents. God gives men and women the freedom to choose their own marriage partners following the pattern and instructions He gave for the next generations.

Being “united” refers to an inseparable union of which sexual intercourse is a picture. They are no longer two, but one. Since this is by God’s design, when a man and woman marry, forming that fleshly union, they are under God’s authority (“God has joined together”). According to Jesus, neither the man nor the woman nor any other human is to separate (Greek chorizeto = “divorce”) them.

Principle #3: Divorce Is Opposite God’s Covenantal Nature. Malachi 2:13-16

As sin affected the God/man relationship, it also infiltrated and infected human-to-human relationships, including marriage. Divorce breaks a covenant of which God is the witness so is opposite God’s faithful nature. As God stayed faithful to His covenant partner, Israel, so should a husband/wife stay faithful to his/her marriage partner.

One of the purposes of marriage is to provide an environment to produce godly offspring. Separating a married couple through divorce may reduce this opportunity as it brings “violence” to the family. God hates divorce the same as He hates other sin such as haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19, same Hebrew word)

Principle #4: Before Christ, Divorce Was Permitted To Control The Consequences Of Man’s Sin. Matthew 19:8; Deuteronomy 22:23, 24

God divinely provided a way to deal with situations brought about by men’s hard hearts toward their wives and to protect from its worst effects those who would suffer as a result of it. Throughout the Old Testament are such provisions made to limit and control the consequences of man’s sinfulness (the cities of refuge, for example). Legal divorce is better than desertion. It appears that the divorced spouse is not condemned in this case.

Principle #5: Since Marriage Is A Physical Union, Only A Physical Cause Can Break It Such As Death Or Fornication. Romans 7:1-3; Matthew 5:32; 19:9

Marital unfaithfulness could include adultery committed during the marriage or betrothal period, illegitimate marriages (incestuous ones), or a relentless persistent lifestyle of unfaithfulness (prostitution, pornography). Although adultery was punishable by death, occupation by the Romans prevented this from being carried out in Jesus’s day. Since the marriage covenant is already broken by one spouse, the faithful spouse has permission to seek a divorce and is free to marry again without it being considered adultery. It appears that divorce in this case is not considered sin for the violated spouse. Under Roman law, a wife could divorce her husband. Under traditional Jewish law, she could not.

Principle #6: Two Christians Who Are Married To One Another Are To Remain Married. If They Divorce, They Are To Remain Unmarried Or Be Reconciled. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

The controlling principle throughout this chapter (1 Corinthians 7) in Paul’s letter is to “Stay as you are” when you become a Christian. Paul confirms what Jesus already stated in Matthew 19. Those believers who are already married to one another must recognize the permanence of their commitment, as was taught by the Lord Jesus, and not seek divorce. If they do divorce, each is to remain unmarried or be reconciled. Does the exception of marital unfaithfulness apply to believers? Yes, because the covenant is broken in a physical way. However, reconciliation and forgiveness is the better way.

Adultery does not mandate divorce, but God does allow divorce as a consequence of adultery. It’s even better for the unfaithful spouse to repent, for the violated spouse to forgive and for them to forge a new, stronger relationship. This isn’t always possible due to the hardness of some people’s hearts, and God understands and allows for it. (Sue Bohlin, Probe Answers Questions about Specifics, “Am I Committing Adultery?”)

Principle #7: A Christian With A Non-Christian Spouse Is To Remain Married Unless The Unbeliever Is Unwilling To Live With His/Her Christian Spouse. Then, The Believer Should Release Him/Her In Peace And Is Free To Remain Single Or To Remarry Another Christian Only. 1 Corinthians 7:12-15, 39

Once again, the controlling principle throughout this chapter in Paul’s letter is to “Stay as you are” when you become a Christian if possible. Jesus did not specifically address this situation in His teachings, but Paul based his response on Jesus’s teaching on marriage and human relationships in general. If the unbelieving spouse does not object to the husband/wife becoming a Christian and is willing to remain married, they are to do so.

The unbeliever may be saved through the witness of the believing spouse. (1 Corinthians 7:14; 1 Peter 3:1-2) God will be actively working in that house because His child is in that house. The goal is for the Christian spouse to preserve the marriage union and live “in peace” with the non-Christian, but with the understanding that marriage is a mutual not a unilateral relationship.

However, the unbeliever may also continue to reject Christ. In the case of an unbelieving spouse not willing to live with a husband/wife who has become a Christian, the Christian is to let the unbeliever free. Don’t live in turmoil because of it. Divorce initiated by the unbeliever on these grounds is not condemned.

Principle #8: A Christian Whose Spouse Has Died Is Free To Remain Single Or To Remarry Another Christian Only. 1 Corinthians 7:39

Since death breaks the covenant, the widow or widower is completely free to remarry, provided that the new spouse is a believer.

Principle #9: Singleness Is A Gift From God And Demands Sexual Purity. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9

In Jewish law, marriage was obligatory for all men except the sexually impotent. Being enabled to be married or to stay single is considered a gift of God. “Satisfied singleness” is good. The one who is unsatisfied to refrain from sexual experience as a single should recognize that God has gifted them for marriage. Neither being a chaste single nor being a faithful married partner is a higher calling. Neither staying single nor getting married is sin.

Sources:

1. Dr. Tom Constable’s Notes on Mark

2. Walvoord and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament

3. Walvoord and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament

4. Tim Stevenson, First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, pages 7.1-7.4

5. Sue Bohlin, Probe Answers Questions about Specifics, “Am I Committing Adultery?”

Related Topics: Gospels, Women's Articles

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