PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS
|Teaching About Divorce||Marriage and Divorce||On Marriage and Divorce||Jesus Teaches About Divorce||The Question About Divorce|
|Little Children Blessed||Jesus Blesses Little Children||Blessing the Children||Jesus Blesses Little Children||Jesus and the Children|
|The Rich Man||Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler||The Rich Man||The Rich Man||The Rich Young Man|
|With God All Things Are Possible||10:21-22||The Danger of Riches|
|10:27||The Reward of Renunciation|
|A Third Time Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection||Jesus A Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection||The Passion Foretold a Third Time||Jesus Speaks a Third Time About His Death||Third Prophecy of the Passion|
|The Request of James and John||Greatest is Serving||James and John Seek Honor||The Request of James and John||The Sons of Zebedee Make Their Request|
|10:39-40||Leadership with Service|
|The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus||Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus||Blind Bartimaeus||Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus||The Blind Man of Jericho|
READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")
FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL
This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.
1. First paragraph
2. Second paragraph
3. Third paragraph
SYNOPTIC GOSPEL PARALLELS
A. Divorce, Mark 10:2-12 (parallel in Matthew 19:1-12)
B. Blessing of Children, Mark 10:13-16 (parallel in Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17)
C. Rich Young Ruler, Mark 10:17-31 (parallel in Matthew 19:16-20:16; Luke 18:18-30)
D. Prediction of Crucifixion, Mark 10:32-34 (parallel in Matthew 20:17-20; Luke 18:31-34)
E. Sons of Zebedee, Mark 10:35-45 (parallel in Matthew 20:21-28)
F. Blind Bartimaeus, Mark 10:46-52 (parallel in Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43)
WORD AND PHRASE STUDY
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:1
1Getting up, He went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan; crowds gathered around Him again, and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them.
10:1 "went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan" The RSV and the ASV have "came into territories of Judea and trans-Jordan." The context implies that Jesus was on His final journey to Jerusalem. Apparently He went north through Samaria, crossed over into Galilee, and joined the crowds of pilgrims heading for Jerusalem. Most Jews refused to pass through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem, so they crossed to the eastern side of the Jordan (i.e., through Perea) and then crossed back to the western side at Jericho. If this is what happened then it explains this confusing verse (cf. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 348, asserts that over one-third of Luke's Gospel occurs between Mark 9 and 10 [i.e., 9:57-18:14]; as well as Matt. 18 and John 7-11).
▣ "crowds gathered around Him again" This may refer to (1) pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem for the feast or (2) the sick, the curious, the Jewish leaders, and disciples. Jesus always drew a crowd.
▣ "according to His custom" Whenever Jesus had opportunity to teach, He did (cf. Mark 1:21; 2:13; 4:2; 6:2,6,34; 12:35; 14:49). The content of His message was
1. repent and believe (like John the Baptist's message)
2. the Kingdom of God is entered by faith in Him
3. the Kingdom of God radically changes the way one thinks and lives.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:2-9
2Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command you?" 4They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." 5But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, 8and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
10:2 "Pharisees" See Special Topic: Pharisees at Mark 2:16.
▣ "testing" This word periazō has the connotation of testing with a view toward destruction (cf. Mark 8:11; 10:2; 12:15; Special Topic on terms for "testing" at Mark 1:13). This question was meant to (1) polarize both the people and rabbis over the opinions of the two rabbinical schools of Shammai (conservative) and Hillel (liberal) or (2) arouse Herod Antipas' anger.
▣ "whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife" Notice that the Pharisees' question is about divorce, not remarriage. Also, notice that Jesus is responding to a specific question. Jesus is not discussing this subject in a neutral setting. These Pharisees are trying to trap Him into alienating Himself from (1) the followers of Hillel, who had a liberal attitude toward divorce. Matthew 19:3 expands the question to include the "Why" of divorce or (2) Herod Antipas because he was divorced (cf. Mark 6:17-20).
The term "lawful" could refer to the Mosaic Law or the rabbinical traditions (i.e., the Talmud). In response Jesus quotes a passage from Deuteronomy.
10:4 "to write a certificate of divorce" The quote is from Deut. 24:1-4. Moses enacted a legal procedure to protect the wife (cf. Exod. 21:1-11). This legal procedure would have several requirements.
1. it took some amount of time
2. it took a priest or Levite to write it
3. it probably required the return of the dowry
Hopefully, these procedures would give the couple a chance to reconcile.
It must also be stated that Deut. 24 assumed the right of remarriage for both the man and woman. However, the Deuteronomy passage in context was not addressing the cultural issue of divorce as much as (1) assuring the virginity and faithfulness of the bride and (2) outlining the specific procedures and limits on the remarriage.
The real problem occurred in the liberal interpretation of this passage by the rabbinical school of Hillel (cf. The Christ of the Gospels by J. W. Shepherd, pp. 451-457). This school picked up on the term "indecency" and extended its original time frame and meaning. The Pharisees were only quoting Moses to trick Jesus. They were not seeking information.
Jesus confirmed the intent of God for marriage as one man, one woman for life. Anything else is not the ideal. The problem comes in how to balance Jesus' words in this context with His words of forgiveness in other contexts. The standard for Kingdom followers is high, but so, too, is the grace of God! In this area a case-by-case approach is better than rigid legal rules.
In the OT YHWH used divorce to describe His actions toward Israel because of their idolatry (cf. Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:1-8; Hos. 2:2). There are examples in the OT where divorce is required (cf. Gen. 21:8-14; Exod. 21:10-11; Deut. 21:10-14; Ezra 9-10). There is an excellent thought-provoking article in the "Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society" vol. 40 # 4, entitled "Old Testament Perspectives on Divorce and Remarriage" by Joe M. Sprinkle.
10:5 "'Because of your hardness of heart'" Jesus describes the Israelites as "hard hearted" (cf. Ezek. 2:4; 3:7). The term "stiff-necked" is a synonymous metaphor (cf. Exod. 32:9; 33:3,5,9; Deut. 9:6,13). They always wanted to do things their way. This is always fallen mankind's propensity! This attitude was even present in His disciples (cf. Mark 3:5 and 6:52).
The subject of divorce is a good example of the problem of proof-texting. We must allow all of the Bible to speak on every subject. This is not the only biblical passage on divorce and remarriage.
This statement of Jesus is distressing to me. How would I know that Deut. 24:1-4 was not YHWH's final word on this subject? It is in the Bible. If Jesus had not been confronted with this issue, I probably would never have known its limited relevance. The problem is how many other OT texts are involved in "the hardness of heart" and how many are God's will for mankind? The only comfort comes in a truly systematic approach to theological subjects, taking into account both Testaments and historical situations (e.g., Mark 7:14-16,17-23). Modern evangelical Christians are too quick to proof-text absolute truth from isolated, atomized texts.
Theologically, Jesus' rejection of Moses is startling. It was a powerful way of asserting His authority. These Jewish disciples would have been so surprised that Jesus knew why Moses did something and that he had the power and authority from YHWH to overturn it. This section in Mark is theologically parallel to Matt. 5:17-48.
10:6 "from the beginning of creation" See SPECIAL TOPIC: KTISIS following.
▣ "'God made them male and female'" Marriage was in God's original plan of creation (cf. Gen. 1:27). Sex was/is a gift from God to accomplish His purpose of a filled earth (cf. Gen. 1:28).
10:7 "'a man shall leave his father and mother'" This is another quote from Genesis (cf. Mark 2:24). It shows the high status of marriage, even over parental authority. There was a necessary mental separation from parents even if not a physical separation (i.e., several generations lived together).
10:8 "'and the two shall become one'" This quote is also from Gen. 2:24. In marriage, two become one—physically, emotionally, and in every way. This shows the permanency of marriage in God's plan.
Moses lived many years away from the events recorded in Genesis. In the creation section of Genesis he reads the later issue of the priority of marriage back into a setting of the first couple.
10:9 "'God has joined together'" This is literally "yoked together." Divorce is one of fallen humanity's ways of breaking apart what God has established as a societal norm (i.e., marriage is a pillar for stable society, cf. Deut. 5:16,33; 4:40; 32:47, "that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you"). This is a good example of a covenant believer preferring his/her will to God's will.
▣ "'let no man separate'" This is a present active imperative with the negative particle, which usually meant to stop an act already in process. For a good discussion on marriage, family, and divorce see Frank Staff's New Testament Theology, pp. 296-302.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:10-12
10In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11And He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."
10:10 "the disciples began questioning Him about this" Matthew 19:10 records the disciples' astonishment. They were curious about what they had always been taught concerning divorce and remarriage. This phrase shows the pattern of Jesus' public teaching and private interpretation. This pattern shows how easily Jesus' words could be misunderstood. These private sessions were the opportunity to train the Twelve in the proper understanding and new radical perspective of the Kingdom of God. Jesus focused ultimate authority in Himself, not the OT (cf. Matt. 5:17-19), though He honored and usually affirmed the OT.
10:11-12 "commits adultery. . .committing adultery" These are both present indicative verbs. The form (morphology) of the word "adultery" in Koine Greek could be either middle or passive voice. Matthew 5:32, which deals with the same subject, has an aorist passive infinitive. This implies that all the forms are passive. If this is true, then it is not the divorce and remarriage that was adultery, but the legal act of putting the woman away, which culturally stigmatized her as an adulteress. Literally "she is caused to commit adultery." This is not a total scriptural ban on remarriage. It relates to a theological aspect of Jewish interpretation (i.e., Hillel vs. Shammai).
However, the dissolution of the marriage covenant between believers (i.e., who swear in Christ's name to remain married) was, and is, never God's ideal. Believers are held to a higher "kingdom standard." Divorce is often the lesser of two evils; it is not the unpardonable sin! See full note at Mark 10:4.
10:12 "if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery" This translation follows the Alexandrian Greek texts. The Western texts read "that she leaves husband, but is not divorced and marries someone else, therefore, commits adultery." The parallel passage in Matt. 19: 1-12 leaves this verse out, probably because Matthew, writing to Jews, had no need to include this. In Judaism women did not have the right to divorce their husbands. Mark, writing to Gentiles, records this to show the universal aspect of Jesus's teaching. This focuses on the legal equality of husband and wife, reflected in Roman law. This is another evidence that Mark was written to Romans. Jesus is pro family (cf. Mark 10:13-16)!
▣ "if" This is a third class conditional sentence which means potential action.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:13-16
13And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." 16And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
10:13 "were bringing" This is an imperfect tense. The parents continually brought their children to Him for the traditional rabbinical blessing. This has nothing to do with the salvation of these children. They were already considered a part of Israel by means of circumcision and were waiting for their transition to full covenant adulthood at twelve years of age for girls and thirteen years of age for boys.
▣ "children" Luke 18:15 has "infants." In Jewish circles girls under 12 and boys under 13 were considered children.
▣ "touch them" Matthew 19:13 has "lay His hands on them" (cf. Mark 10:16). It was very common in Jesus' day for parents to ask rabbis to bless their children. The same act is seen in Gen. 48:8ff. This was usually done on the child's birthday. This blessing was more for the parents' peace of mind than the "saved vs. lost" status of the children!
▣ "the disciples rebuked them" The "them" is ambiguous so early scribes added "those who brought them" (cf. NKJV). However, this is not in the ancient Greek manuscripts א, B, or C, but it is included in A, D, and W. The shorter reading is also found in Matt. 19:13 and Luke 18:15. Children in the Near East do not have the privileged status position they do in the West. The disciples would have thought they were protecting Jesus from disruptive, perfunctory activity. However, for Jesus people were always priority
NJB"He was indignant"
NKJV"He was greatly displeased"
TEV"he was angry"
This is a strong word used in Mark 10:41 for the disciples' anger against James and John for asking for the leadership positions and in Mark 14:4 for Judas' resentment of Jesus being anointed. Matthew also uses this term several times (cf. Mark 20:24; 21:15; 26:8).
The Gospel of Mark reveals Jesus' humanity by recording His emotions (cf. Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity by Paul Barnett, p. 156).
1. compassion for a leper (Mark 1:40-42)
2. anger at the Pharisees' hardness of heart (Mark 3:1-5)
3. indignation to the disciples (Mark 10:13-16)
4. love for the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22)
5. deep distress in Gethsemane (Mark 14:33-34)
6. abandonment on the cross (Mark 15:34)
Jesus often showed frustration with the disciples (cf. Mark 6:52; 8:17; 9:19). He saw children as significant creations of God and He loved them. He often used children as object lessons for true faith and discipleship.
▣ "'Permit the children to come to Me'" This is an aorist active imperative, which expresses urgency or intensity.
▣ "'do not hinder them'" This is a present imperative with the negative particle which usually meant to stop an act already in process.
▣ "'the kingdom of God'" This common gospel phrase referred to the reign of God in human hearts now which will one day be consummated over all the earth as it is in heaven. See Special Topic at Mark 1:15.
10:15 "'Truly'" See Special Topic: Amen at Mark 3:28.
▣ "'whoever does not receive'" This referred to adults. Jesus often used children as spiritual examples (cf. Matt. 18). The NT is a revelation for adults. It does not discuss the spiritual status of children!
This Greek term dechomai originally meant "to take hold of something." In that sense it is parallel to lambanō. It came to be used in the sense of "receiving" or "believing" or "welcoming." There may be a subtle distinction in the sense that dechomai emphasizes the giver, while lambanō reflects an active participation by the receiver (cf. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains by Louw and Nida, vol. 1, p. 572, footnote 31).
The theological thrust is that humans must "receive," "believe," "welcome" Jesus. Salvation involves welcoming a person, believing truths about that person (i.e., the gospel), and living a life emulating that person. There is an initial and ongoing volitional aspect to salvation.
▣ "'will not enter it at all'" This is a strong double negative construction which means "never, no never."
In a sense Jesus is identifying the Kingdom of God as childlike trust and faith in Himself and His teachings. This sounds intolerant in our day, but it is the clear teaching of the NT. It is often called "the scandal of the exclusivism of the gospel." Yet it is true. Faith in Jesus is the only way to the Father (cf. John 14:6)! This should engender prayer, witness, and humility, not arrogance, judgmentalism, and pride!
10:16 "And He took them in His arms" Here is another eyewitness detail of Peter, like 9:36.
▣ "began blessing them, laying His hands on them" Jesus took time for each one. We can trust our children to God's love so clearly revealed in Jesus. As Jesus raised the social standing and worth of women, so too, children. See SPECIAL TOPIC: LAYING ON OF HANDS at Mark 7:32.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:17-22
17As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 18And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" 20And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up." 21Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 22But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
10:17 "As He was setting out on a journey" Mark's Gospel is characterized by Jesus' travel. This was Mark's literary technique of structuring his presentation of Peter's memories (or sermons).
▣ "a man" Matthew 19:20 adds the adjective "young"; Matt. 19:22 adds "He was one who owned much property (i.e., rich)"; while Luke 18:18 calls him a "ruler." This man was apparently a wealthy, moral, significant civic and religious leader. The term "ruler" implies that he was a leader in the local synagogue. See SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS at 1 Peter 3:14.
▣ "ran. . .and knelt" This was very unusual action for a wealthy Oriental man in public. This man seems to be sincere in his question and desire to know. This is not an attempt to test or trick Jesus.
▣ "'Good Teacher'" This phrase opened the opportunity for Jesus to probe this man's spiritual worldview (cf. Mark 10:18). The term "good" (i.e., agathos) can be understood in several ways (good, profitable, generous, beneficial, upright, or virtuous). The man meant it one way, but Jesus used it in an ultimate sense.
▣ "'what shall I do'" His understanding of spiritual matters focused on his actions. This man had been steeped in rabbinical performance tradition (cf. Matt. 19:16).
▣ "'to inherit'" This familial word implies a personal relationship with God. In the OT the priests were said to be God's inheritance and He was theirs because they received no land allocations as did the other tribes. This very question implies the man believed he was fully accepted by God, but just wanted to make sure.
▣ "'eternal life'" The concept of an afterlife (or eschatological kingdom) came from passages such as Dan. 12:2 or Job 14:14; 19:25-27. The Pharisees affirmed an afterlife in physical terms. They were confident that YHWH would grant them eternal life because of (1) their racial identity (i.e., children of Abraham) and (2) their performance of the Orad Traditions (i.e., Talmud).
10:18 "good" This is used to show that the only true standard of comparison is God's righteousness. The term "righteous" comes from an OT construction term (i.e., river reed), used as a standard or ruler.
▣ "'No one is good except God alone'" Jesus is not making a statement about His own goodness, but He wanted to jolt this man's shallow thinking about God and true goodness (cf. Matt. 5:48). This may be an OT allusion to 1 Chr. 16:34; 2 Chr. 5:13; 7:3; Ps. 25:8; 86:5; 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; Ezra 3:11.
The Matthew parallel changes the ruler's question to "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" (Matt. 19:16). This change gives a clue to this man's concept of goodness and his attainment of that goodness (cf. Mark 19:20).
10:19 "'You know the commandments'" This is a summary of the second half of the Ten Commandments, which dealt with how covenant partners are to treat one another.
▣ "'Do not defraud'" This may refer to coveting. This commandment, as it is stated, was not part of the Ten Commandments, nor is it found in this form elsewhere in the OT. Also the parallels in Matt. 19:18-19 and Luke 18:20 do not have this phrase. However, to be fair, the Synoptics all disagree on Jesus' quote of the Commandments. This again is a common problem with eyewitness testimony. It surely does not affect the inspiration or trustworthiness of the Gospel accounts!
10:20 "'I have kept these things'" This man had performed all of the religious requirements of his culture. The Apostle Paul also felt he had also fulfilled the religious requirements (cf. Acts 23:1-2; Phil. 3:6). This man was not lying. He believed he was blameless before God.
▣ "from my youth up" This referred to the Bar Mitzvah ceremony at age 13 by which a boy became a man and responsible for keeping the Law.
10:21 "Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him" This is unique to Mark. Jesus' love, however, did not lower the standards of the Kingdom of God. Here is the paradox of unconditional love requiring an appropriate faith response.
▣ "'One thing you lack'" This comment is similar to Mark 12:34. Jesus recognized that humans were degrees closer or farther from the true Kingdom, which was not conditioned on Mosaic performance or racial identity (cf. John 8:33), but personal faith in Him. This religious leader came in the right spirit, to the right person, asked the right question, but was apparently unable to make a decisive choice! Jesus did not lower the standard! The man went away sad! So close and yet so far!
▣ "'sell all you possess and give to the poor. . .and come, follow Me'" This shows the radical nature of NT faith (cf. Luke 14:33). Jesus knew where this man's priorities were. To be a Christian one must lay down all other priorities. In one sense this makes Christianity very difficult indeed! In this statement Jesus was focusing on the first half of the Ten Commandments relating to one's priority commitment to God and God alone (cf. Matt. 5:20).
This text cannot be turned into a law for all believers (i.e., poverty is God's best). It must be seen in its context. Spiritual relationship between God and mankind must be priority over physical relationship (i.e., wealth, fame, work, family, possessions, even life itself). If possessions are evil in and of themselves, why would they be given to the poor?
One more point. We always focus on Jesus' demand, but did you realize that Jesus gave this man an unprecedented motivation also. He invited him to join His group of disciples! His opportunity was far greater than its cost!
▣ "'you will have treasure in heaven'" Because of humanity's rebellion, God's blessings are reserved for the afterlife (cf. Mark 10:30; Matt. 5-7). Humans must be willing to renounce earthly riches as evidence of spiritual conversion, not as a basis.
10:22 "he was saddened" This term can be understood in two senses: (1) shock or surprise or (2) sadness expressed by a downcast or gloomy face. Both of these make sense in this context.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:23-27
23And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!" 24The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26They were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?" 27Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
10:23 "And Jesus, looking around" This expression is used several times to denote that Jesus took notice of how His teachings affected others (cf. Mark 3:5,34; 5:32; 10:23; 11:11). Only Luke 6:10 is a parallel. This is uniquely a memory of Peter.
▣ "'How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God'" This would have been so surprising to the disciples (cf. Mark 10:24). The OT traditional view, based on Deut. 27-28, was that wealth and health were related to one's covenant performance and God's blessing. This is the very issue addressed by Job and Psalm 73. Wealthy humans tend to trust in their own resources instead of God.
10:24 "'Children'" Jesus called the disciples by the term used in His previous teaching session (cf. Mark 10:13-16). This reenforces that "children" refers to adult believers.
▣ "'how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God'" This is a shocking statement. Salvation is a free gift in the finished work of Christ for anyone/everyone who responds by repentance and faith. The problem comes when we somehow think we deserve it or merit it! Faith is hard for prideful, self-sufficient, fallen humanity. We would like it better if our relationship with God was difficult and hard so that we could take pride in our achieving it, but as it is, God's way of repentance and faith is humiliating to fallen mankind, especially wealthy, educated, privileged mankind.
Because this verse is so terse several ancient scribes tried to limit its scope by inserting a qualifying phrase (cf. Bruce M. Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:
1. "for those who trust in riches" found in MSS A, C, D, and the Textus Receptus
2. "a rich man" in MS W
3. "those who have possessions" in minuscule 1241
10:25 "'camel to go through the eye of a needle'" Like Matt. 23:24, this phrase is an Oriental overstatement. Several scribes and many commentators have tried to explain this statement as (1) a word play between "camel" (kamēlos) and "rope" (kamilus), which comes from the fifth century or (2) using "needle's eye" to refer to a small gate in one of the large gates of Jerusalem, but neither of these have historical evidence (cf. Fee and Stuart's How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth, p.21). These attempts miss the point of the hyperbole (cf. Matt. 19:24; Luke 18:25).
10:26 "astonished" Mark often uses this term (ekplēssomai) to describe how the people reacted to Jesus' teachings and actions (cf. Mark 1:22; 6:2; 7:37; 10:26; 11:18; and a synonym thambeō in Mark 10:24). Jesus' message was so different from the rabbis, both in form (i.e., His authority) and message (i.e., the nature of the Kingdom).
NASB"saying to Him"
NKJV"saying among themselves"
NRSV"said to one another"
TEV"asked one another"
NJB"saying to one another"
These differing translations relate to various Greek manuscript variants.
1. NKJV, MSS A, D, W, and Textus Receptus
2. NRSV, TEV, NJB, MS M* and the Peshitta translation
3. NASB, MSS א, B, and C
4. one minuscule manuscript (i.e., 569) and some Coptic translations omit the phrase, as do Matt. 19:25 and Luke 18:26
10:27 This verse's emphasis on the grace of God is such a welcome balance to the radical nature of NT discipleship. Humans are unable to approach a holy God, but the wonderful, amazing truth is that He approaches us!
This saying may be an OT allusion to Gen. 18:14 or Jer. 32:17,24. Mankind's only hope is in the character, promises, and actions of the one true God!
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10: 28-31
28Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You." 29Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, 30but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last, first."
10:28 "'we have left. . .and followed You'" This is an aorist active indicative (i.e., left once for all), followed by a perfect active indicative (i.e., continue in a state of discipleship). In one sense Peter is recounting the disciples' decision to become Jesus' followers. Peter may have been trying to compare their commitments with Jesus' demand to the rich, young ruler.
10:29 This verse lists some of the normal aspects of Jewish society in which His followers were involved. It also clearly links their commitment to Him personally (i.e., "for My sake") and His truths (i.e., "the gospels' sake").
The early church was affected by Greek asceticism, particularly celibacy. It is interesting that wives are not specifically mentioned in the lists. This may imply marriage was not something they were expected to give up. However, the inclusion of "children" may indicate that wives were included in the phrase "left house." One's priority commitment to Jesus must supersede even family (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8). This does not imply celibacy, but where one's ultimate allegiance must lie.
10:30 Jesus describes the kingdom of God in (1) very earthly ways which parallel what the disciples "missed" in this life and (2) relation to this present world-order. Some of the hundred-fold blessings are enjoyed now by being a part of the People of God.
These normal familial terms basically assure that the family life affected by discipleship is restored through the larger family—the family of God. I do not believe that this phrase is meant to promise abundance of material goods in this life, as did Deut. 27-28. If you place blessings in a reward-for-service structure, then why grace? Material blessings are not the experience of all godly believers, but the joy and abundance of the larger Christian family experiences are!
▣ "along with persecutions" This is a shocking inclusion, unique to Mark. Christians will be persecuted in this fallen age (cf. Matt. 5:10-12; Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 1:5,7; Phil. 3:10; 2 Tim. 2:9-12; 1 Pet. 4:12-16). This persecution serves several godly purposes: (1) evidence that we are saved; (2) God's means of molding us into Christlikeness; and (3) proof that the world will be judged.
▣ "in the age to come" Interbiblical Judaism (rabbis and Dead Sea Scroll writers) saw history in two ages. The current evil age dominated by angelic and human rebellion and the age where God is going to break into history through the Messiah and set up a new age, an age of righteousness and peace. This is sometimes described in earthly abundance following Deut. 27-28 (cf. Amos 9:13-15) and sometimes in a "new heaven and a new earth" (cf. Isaiah 56-66). From the NT it is obvious that the new age (i.e., the Kingdom of God) was established at the incarnation of Christ at Bethlehem, but it has not yet been fully consummated. The NT clearly reveals the two comings of the Messiah, the first as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 and a second as King of Kings. Christians live in the "already, but not yet" of the overlapping of these two Jewish ages. As followers of Christ we are spiritually blessed in both ages (cf. Eph. 2:5-6). See Special Topic: This Age and the Age to Come at Mark 13:8.
▣ "eternal life" This is what the rich young ruler asked about—life with God, God's kind of life. Mark uses the adjective (aiōnios) for an eternal sin in Mark 3:29 and eternal life here. This applies to the life (i.e., zōa) of the new age, the life of the Kingdom of God. It is present in Christ, but will be fully consummated at His return (i.e., parousia = presence).
This descriptive phrase is rather rare in the Synoptic Gospels, but so common in John. This is a key phrase throughout John's writings (cf. John 3:15; 4:36; 5:39; 6:54,68; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11,13,20). See SPECIAL TOPIC: ETERNAL at Mark 3:29.
10:31 "first will be last" This was a startling spiritual truth (cf. Matt. 19:30; 20:16). True wealth and position have nothing to do with earthly standards (cf. Isa. 55:8-9). This reversal of roles was contrary to the disciples' OT works-righteousness mindset (cf. Matt. 19:30; Luke 13:30). See Gordon Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospel.
This may have been directed to Peter's outburst of their self-sacrifices to become disciples (cf. Mark 10:28). This passage set the theological stage for 10:41-45. Jesus, the eschatological King of Kings, becomes the Suffering Servant of Isa. 52:13-53:12! Believers must emulate His life/death/service (cf. 1 John 3:16). The gospel is service, not power; love, not force!
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:32-34
32They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again."
10:32 "on the road" In the OT the metaphor of a way or path was used to describe the godly life (cf. Ps. 23:3; 32:8; 50:23; 119:1; 139:3; Prov. 2:12-15; 4:18; 12:28; 15:24). It also describes John the Baptist's ministry of preparing "the way of the Lord" (cf. Isaiah 40). In Acts the earliest title for the church was "the Way" (cf. Mark 9:2; 19:9,23; 22:4,14,22).
Mark seems to structure his Gospel around this biblical metaphor of lifestyle faith (cf. Mark 1:2,3; 8:27; 9:33,34; 10:32,52). Jesus was on a pilgrimage to the cross (cf. Mark 10:45).
▣ "Jesus was walking on ahead of them" This could refer to the Apostolic group or a band of pilgrims heading for the feast in Jerusalem.
▣ "they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful" This phrase must be related to Jesus' three previous prophecies about His suffering and death in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jewish and Roman leaders. Jesus knew what faced Him there and yet He moved toward it with speed and confidence. They may have been worried about how His suffering and death would affect them!
▣ "He took the twelve aside" This is the fourth prediction of Jesus' suffering and death (cf. Mark 8:31; 9:12;31). This is the most detailed of Jesus' predictions. He knew exactly what lay before Him (cf. Mark 10:45). The disciples still could not comprehend its purpose and necessity (cf. Mark 9:32; Luke 9:45; 18:34).
▣ "began to tell them what was going to happen to Him" Most of the verbs in Mark 10:32 are imperfects, which refer to repeated action. I think this also refers to Jesus' repeated prophecy about His suffering; therefore, "began" is the wrong translation of this imperfect (cf. TEV).
In one sense Jesus was revealing His power and authority by knowing the future and having control over His own death and resurrection (cf. John 10:17-18).
10:33 "'Son of Man'" See note at Mark 8:38c.
▣ "will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes" This was a descriptive phrase for the Sanhedrin (cf. Mark 14:43ff) which was the supreme court for the Jews, although in the first century it had only limited authority. See Special Topic at Mark 12:13.
Jesus predicted the reaction of the Sanhedrin. Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His cleansing of the Temple sealed His fate. The first act infuriated the Pharisees and the second act infuriated the Sadducees.
▣ "will hand Him over to the Gentiles" This referred to the Roman army of occupation (cf. Mark 15:1). The Sanhedrin did not have the power of capital punishment; only the Roman government did.
10:34 "They will mock Him" This was fulfilled by the Roman soldiers in Mark 15:16-20. Mark does not record Jesus' trial before Herod Antipas (cf. Luke 23).
▣ "spit on Him" This was an OT sign of contempt (cf. Num. 12:14; Deut. 25:9; Job 17:6; 30:10; Isa. 50:6). Roman soldiers took out their hatred of all Jews and their exclusivistic ways on Jesus (cf. Mark 14:65).
▣ "scourge" Scourging was a common practice before crucifixion (cf. Mark 15:15). A person's hands were tied to a low stake. A soldier used a whip made with pieces of rock, metal, or bone tied to the ends of leather strips about two feet long to beat the prisoner across the back. The action of the whip tore open the body cavity and knocked out the teeth and even the eyes. Many prisoners died from this beating alone. It was a brutal beating (cf. Isa. 52:14).
▣ "and three days later" This is literally "after three days." This time period probably relates to Jonah's experience (cf. Matt. 12:39-41; 16:4,21; Luke 11:39,32). It is even mentioned by Paul in his summary of the gospel in 1 Cor. 15:4.
Jesus used this "third day" prophecy in connection with two events: (1) His resurrection from Hades (cf. Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34), but also (2) His building of a new temple (cf. Mark 14:58; 15:29; John 2:19; Acts 6:14).
There is a Greek manuscript variant connected to this phrase. In the parallels (Matt. 20:19 and Luke 18:33) there is the phrase "on the third day." This is found here in Mark in MSS A and W. However, Mark's characteristic phrasing found in Mark 8:31 and 9:31 is "after three days," which occurs in MSS א, B, C, D, and L.
▣ "He will rise again" This is a future middle indicative. It focuses on Jesus raising Himself (cf. John 10:17-18). Most of the passages on the resurrection of Christ are passive voice, focusing on God the Father as the agent of the resurrection showing His acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice. In one sense all of the Trinity is involved in Jesus' resurrection (i.e., the Spirit in Rom. 8:11). See Special Topic: Resurrection at Mark 8:31
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:35-40
35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You." 36And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" 37They said to Him, "Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory." 38But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 39They said to Him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
10:35 "the two sons of Zebedee" Matthew 20:20 says it was their mother who asked the question.
▣ "'we want You do to for us whatever we ask of You'" Every time Jesus predicted His suffering and death, His disciples began planning who would take His place as leader! Their mental perspective was still on an earthly kingdom and their being its leadership. The disciples did not understand until Pentecost!
In one sense this incident is recorded to show how much the disciples did not understand (cf. Luke 18:34). This is cutting irony!
10:37 "'right. . .left'" They wanted the places of honor and authority. This incident shows that Peter was not accepted as the obvious leader of the apostolic group. His personality caused him to always speak out first, but they did not sense him as their leader.
▣ "'in Your glory'" Matthew 20:21 has "in your kingdom." In Mark it refers to the visible manifestation of the eschatological kingdom of God (Mark 8:38; 10:37; 13:36).
10:38 "'You do not know what you are asking'" "Asking" is middle voice, which focuses on the subject, "you yourselves." The next phrase "are you able" is also middle voice.
▣ "the cup" This was used in the OT of a person's destiny, usually in a negative sense (cf. Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17-23; Jer. 25:15-28; 49:12; 51:7; Lam. 4:21-22; Ezek. 32:34; Hab. 2:16; Zech. 12:2). This is the very metaphor used by Jesus in Gethsemane (cf. Mark 14:36) for His crucifixion.
▣ "'the baptism with which I am baptized'" This was a metaphor of suffering, even death (cf. Luke 12:50). His glory involved pain (cf. Heb. 2:18; 5:8).
10:39 These leaders would be involved in the same persecution and misunderstandings that Jesus experienced (i.e., James in Acts 12:2 and John in Rev. 1:9).
10:40 "'is for those for whom it has been prepared'" This is another example of Jesus' subordination to the Father's plan and purpose. There is a divine plan (cf. Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:28; 13:29). The ancient Alexandrian text (MS A*) adds "by my Father," which is also found in Matt. 20:23.
The ancient uncial Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters with no space between words, no punctuation or paragraphing. Sometimes deciding how to divide the sentence into words is confusing. This sentence can be divided in two ways (cf. Interpreting the New Testament by Hans Conzelmann and Andreas Lindemann translated by Siegfried S. Schotzmann, p. 22)
1. "for whom it is meant"
2. "it is meant for others" (cf. the Syriac translations).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:41-45
41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
10:41 "Hearing this" This showed James and John waited until they were alone with Jesus. It also shows the humanness of the Apostles. These were not "super saints," just men called, equipped, and used by God. The others became indignant, not because of the inappropriateness of James' and John's request, but the fact they got to ask first. These chosen Apostles still exhibited selfishness and sin.
10:42 Jesus again addresses their ambition and misunderstanding of the Kingdom.
NASB"But it is not this way among you"
NKJV"Yet it shall not be so among you"
NRSV"But it is not so among you"
TEV"This, however, is not the way it is among you"
NJB"Among you this is not to happen"
These translations reflect a Greek manuscript variant. In some manuscripts (א, B, C*, D, L, W) the Present tense is used (cf. NASB, NRSV, TEV), which is also found in the parallel in Matt. 20:26. However, in other manuscripts (A and C3) the future tense is found (cf. NKJV and implied in NJB).
▣ "'whoever wishes to be great'" Jesus does not discourage greatness or ambition, but defines true greatness as service and humility (cf. Matt. 20:26; Mark 9:35).
▣ "servant" This is the term diakonos, which later becomes the office/function of deacon. All believers are called to serve (cf. Eph. 4:11-12).
10:44 This helps explain Mark 10:31.
▣ "slave" This is the term doulos, which referred to a domestic servant.
10:45 "'the Son of Man'" See note at Mark 8:38c.
▣ "'did not come to be served, but to serve'" This is the true definition of greatness. Jesus models the life of the Kingdom for us to emulate (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21). This truth was taught symbolically in Jesus' washing the disciples' feet in the Upper Room the night He was betrayed (cf. John 13:14-15).
This truth is always difficult for church leadership. But without it there is no servant church.
▣ "'to give His life'" This is the summary verse of Mark's Gospel. Jesus always refers to His death as His gift or His glory. It denotes the vicarious, substitutionary atonement (i.e., sin offering, cf. 2 Cor. 5:21) of Christ (cf. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 52:13-53:12).
▣ "'ransom'" This is literally "to buy back" or "to pay a price" (cf. Matt. 20:28; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18). It reflects the OT term used of slaves and prisoners of war being bought back, often by a near kin (go'el). Jesus unites in Himself the love and justice of God the Father. Sin costs a life—God provided one!
▣ "for" This is the Greek preposition anti. Sometimes it is joined to the noun "ransom" (lutron = antilutron, cf. 1 Tim. 2:6). It can mean "instead of," "on behalf of," or "in the place of." The relationship between the prepositions anti and huper must be determined by the context (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14; Heb. 10:12; 1 Pet. 2:21; 3:18; 1 John 3:16). All of these have the connotation of Jesus' vicarious, substitutionary atonement. He died in our place, bore our sin (cf. Isa. 53:4-6).
▣ "many" The term many has been used by some commentators to limit Christ's atonement to "the elect." The terms "many" and "all" are synonymous in two key passages that deal with redemption. Compare Isa. 53:11-12, "many" with Isa. 53:6, "all." This parallelism is clearly seen in Rom. 5:18, "all" and Rom. 5: 19, "many." Jesus paid the price for all, but only those who respond by repentance and faith to the wooing of the Spirit are redeemed.
Mark 10:45 is the theological heart of the Gospel. It came in response to personal ambition. Human ambition must be given back to God as a gift (cf. Rom. 12:1-2). Christians must emulate Christ's self-giving (cf. 1 John 3:16).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MARK 10:46-52
46Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you." 50Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51And answering him, Jesus said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!" 52And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
10:46 "Jericho" It is one of the oldest cities in the world and was often called the "City of Palms." The name means "the perfumed." It was a very fertile and beautiful area. In Jesus' day there were two Jericho's, the old city and a new Roman one about a mile away. It was about 18 miles northeast of Jerusalem at a ford of the Jordan River.
▣ "as He was leaving" Matthew 20:29 has "going out"; Luke18:35 has "approaching." This confusion is a sign of eyewitness accounts. Remember there were two Jerichos in Jesus' day. He could have been leaving one and approaching the other.
▣ "a large crowd" These were pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem for the Passover, along with interested townspeople. Many of the priests of the Temple lived at Jericho. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem was very dangerous because of robbers (i.e., the parable of the Good Samaritan); therefore, people traveled in large groups.
▣ "a blind beggar. . .was sitting by the road" There is a Greek manuscript variant in this phrase. The noun for "beggar" is a rare term (cf. John 9:8). Usually the concept is expressed by a participle (i.e., MSS A, K, W, א and Textus Receptus, cf. NKJV). However, the noun (i.e., prosaiteō) is in MSS א, B, L (cf. NASB, NRSV, TEV, and NJB). Manuscript D has a synonym (i.e., epaiteō, both formed from the root "to ask"), which is found in the parallel of Luke 18:35. These variants have no affect on the interpretation of the passage.
▣ "Bartimaeus" This word means "son of Timaeus." It is very unusual for Mark to record the names of people whom Jesus healed or exorcized. Interestingly, Matthew has two blind men (cf. Matt. 20:30). Exactly why this occurs is uncertain, but it is a regular difference between Matthew and Mark/Luke.
▣ "son of Timaeus" This word in Aramaic meant "unclean." This was an attempt to explain the name Bartimaeus to a Gentile readership.
▣ "was sitting by the road" This was probably where the blind beggar sat every day hoping for alms (i.e., required Jewish offerings to the poor).
10:47 "Jesus the Nazarene" Mark uniquely spells out the title as Nazarēnos (cf. Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67; 16:6). Matthew's Gospel says "He shall be called a Nazarene" (cf. Matt. 2:23).
The village where Jesus grew up was called Nazareth. It is not mentioned in the OT, the Talmud, or in Josephus. It apparently was not settled until the time of John Hyrcanus (i.e., a Hasmonaen), who ruled from 134-104 b.c. The presence of Joseph and Mary from this village implies that a clan of David's line settled here.
There may be an etymological connection between the name Nazareth and the Messianic title Branch, which is netser in Hebrew (cf. Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Rev. 5:5; 22:16).
It was apparently a term of reproach because of its location far from Jerusalem in a Gentile area (cf. John 1:46 and Acts 24:5; even though this, too, was a prophecy, Isa. 9:1). This may be why it was included in the charge placed over Jesus' head on the cross.
▣ "'Son of David'" This was a Messianic title (cf. 2 Sam. 7), which had nationalistic implications. This title is very rare in Mark (cf. Mark 10:47,48; 12:35).
▣ "'have mercy on me'" This is an aorist active imperative, which denotes intensity. It was a common prayer in the Psalms (cf. Mark 51:1).
10:48 "Many were sternly telling him" This is imperfect tense. He was crying again and again and some in the crowd were scolding him again and again (cf. Luke 18:39).
10:49 "Jesus stopped" Even on His way to die, Jesus had time for a blind beggar! This is yet another prophetic sign from Isaiah for those who would spiritually see!
▣ "'Take courage, stand up. He is calling for you'" Usually in Koine Greek every phrase is connected with the previous phrase by a conjunction or a pronoun that refers to something in the previous context. When these connectors are absent (as they are here) they draw attention to the statements. These are emphatic, staccato statements. The first and second are present active imperatives and the last a present active indicative.
10:50 "Throwing aside his cloak" This cloak was used for (1) sleeping in and (2) collecting food and alms. In a sense this was a symbol of his faith that he would be healed.
▣ "he jumped up" These are graphic eye-witness details remembered by Peter.
10:51 "'What do you want Me to do for you'" Jesus was forcing him to state his faith request.
▣ "'I want to regain my sight'" Healing the blind had Messianic significance (cf. Isa. 35:4-5; 42:7,16; 61:1). This was one of the proof-signs the Pharisees had been asking for.
10:52 "'your faith has made you well'" This is literally "saved" (i.e., sōzō) in a perfect active indicative form. This term is used in its OT connotation of physical deliverance (cf. James 5:15).
▣ "began following Him" Luke 18:45 adds, "glorifying God."
This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.
1. Why did the parents want Jesus to lay hands on their children?
2. Why did the disciples try to stop them?
3. Why was Jesus so indignant towards them?
4. How are children related to the Kingdom of God?
5. What qualities of a child does Jesus seek in disciples?
6. Why did Jesus tell His disciples so often about His approaching death?
7. Define true greatness.
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