The Revolutionary Values of the Kingdom
1Then Jesus left the region # 10:1 Or “left that place” (Capernaum, on the shore of Lake Galilee). and went into the district of Judea, # 10:1 Judea was a Roman province that included central Israel, with Jerusalem as its center. Jesus, leaving to go into Judea, began the journey he made to his destiny, to be crucified in Jerusalem. across from the Jordan River, # 10:1 The reason this is important to note is that this places Jesus in the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, who had John the Baptizer beheaded at the request of his stepdaughter. Now the Pharisees are coming to test Jesus in hopes of setting him up for likewise being put to death by Herod. The Aramaic notes the location as “the crossing place.” This could have been the place where Joshua and the Hebrews crossed the Jordan to enter into the promised land. and again, massive crowds flocked to him, and Jesus, as was his custom, began to teach the people. 2At one point, some of the Pharisees came, seeking to entrap him with a question. “Tell us,” they asked, “is it lawful for a man to divorce # 10:2 The Greek word for divorce (apolyo) used also in vv. 2, 4, 11, and 12 can also be translated “to dismiss,” “to send away,” “to loose.” his wife?”
3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?”
4They replied, “Moses permitted us to write a certificate of separation that would be valid to complete a divorce.”
5Jesus said, “Yes, Moses wrote this exception # 10:5 Or “commandment.” for you because you are hardhearted. 6But from the beginning God created male and female. # 10:6 See Gen. 1:27; 5:2. 7For this reason a man will leave his parents and be wedded to his wife. # 10:7 As translated from the Aramaic and the majority of Greek manuscripts. See Gen. 2:24 (LXX). 8And the husband and wife # 10:8 Or “the two” (i.e., husband and wife). will be joined as one flesh, and after that they no longer exist as two, but one flesh. 9So there you have it. What God has joined together, no one has the right to split apart.” # 10:9 See Deut. 24:1; Matt. 19:3–12. This question in v. 2 was asked in the context of an ongoing debate between two schools of rabbinical thought. The liberal view (Rabbi Hillel’s) said that divorce could be made on any grounds, called “Any Matter” divorce, while the conservative viewpoint (Rabbi Shammai’s) believed that divorce was only legal on the grounds of adultery. Jesus gave them God’s view and used the creation of man and woman in the garden as the standard.
10Once indoors, his disciples asked him to explain it to them again. 11So he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12And if the wife divorces her husband and marries another, she also commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13The parents kept bringing their little children to Jesus so that he would lay his hands on them and bless them. # 10:13 Or “touch them.” The laying on of Jesus’ hands was an obvious impartation of a blessing. The words “and bless them,” though implied, are made explicit in v. 16. Parents should always bring their children to be blessed by Jesus. The apparent reason for Mark including this episode is to express not only Jesus’ desire to bless children, but also the disciple’s inability to see people the way Jesus sees them. But the disciples kept rebuking and scolding the people for doing it. 14When Jesus saw what was happening, he became indignant with his disciples and said to them, “Let all the little children come to me and never hinder them! Don’t you know that God’s kingdom exists for such as these? 15Listen to the truth I speak: Whoever does not open their arms to receive God’s kingdom like a teachable child will never enter it.” # 10:15 Jesus uses an emphatic negative, something similar to “never, no never enter it.” 16Then he embraced each child, and laying his hands on them, he lovingly blessed each one.
A Rich Man Meets Jesus
17As Jesus started on his way, a man came running up to him. Kneeling down in front of him, he cried out, “Good Teacher, what one thing am I required to do to gain eternal life?”
18Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good. 19You already know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give a false testimony, do not cheat, and honor your father and mother.’ ” # 10:19 See Ex. 20:12–16.
20The man said to Jesus, “Teacher, I have carefully obeyed these laws since my youth.”
21Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him, “Yet there is still one thing in you lacking. # 10:21 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “You lack one thing.” The Greek wording used here is the same as found in Rom. 3:23, “we all have sinned and are in need of [lack] the glory of God.” Go, sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. Then all of your treasure will be in heaven. After you’ve done this, come back and walk with me.” # 10:21 There are a few Greek and Aramaic manuscripts that read “pick up your cross.”
22Completely shocked by Jesus’ answer, he turned and walked away very sad, for he was extremely rich. # 10:22 Or “he had much property.” The Greek word used here implies that he was a wealthy landowner.
23Jesus looked at the faces of his disciples and said, “How hard it is for the wealthy to enter into God’s kingdom realm.”
24The disciples were startled when they heard this. But Jesus again said to them, “Children, it is next to impossible for those who trust in their riches to find their way into God’s kingdom. # 10:24 Some reliable Greek manuscripts leave out the words “who trust in their riches.” However, the majority of the Greek manuscripts and the Aramaic include it. The difficulty Jesus speaks of is not because it is evil to be rich, but because the wealthy are quick to put their confidence in riches and not in God. See 1 Tim. 6:9, 17. 25It is easier to stuff a rope through the eye of a needle # 10:25 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “to stuff a camel through the eye of a needle.” The Aramaic word for “rope” and for “camel” is the homonym gamla. This could be an instance of the Aramaic text being misread by the Greek translators as “camel” instead of “rope.” Regardless, this becomes a metaphor for something impossible. It would be like saying, “It’s as hard as making pigs fly!” than for a wealthy person to enter into God’s kingdom.” # 10:25 To enter into God’s kingdom realm means more than salvation. It implies a participation in its principles and an experience of its power to change our hearts. The principles of God’s kingdom are not the principles of the world. Greed is conquered by generosity. Promotion is given to the humble. The power of God’s kingdom is found in the Holy Spirit. See Rom. 14:17.
26But this left them all the more astonished, and they whispered to one another, “Then who could ever be saved?”
27Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God—God makes all things possible!” # 10:27 See Gen. 18:14; Luke 1:37.
28Then Peter spoke up and said, “Can’t you see that we’ve left everything we had to cling to you?”
29“Listen to my words,” Jesus said. “Anyone who leaves his home behind and chooses me over children, parents, family, and possessions, all for the sake of the gospel, 30it will come back to him a hundred times as much in this lifetime—homes, family, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, possessions—along with persecutions. And in the age to come, he will inherit eternal life. 31But many who are considered to be the most important now will be the least important then. And many who are viewed as the least important now will be considered the most important then.”
Jesus Again Prophesies His Death and Resurrection
32Jesus and his disciples were on the road that went up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was leading them forward. The disciples were filled with wonder and amazement at his bravery, but those following along with them were very afraid. As they approached the city, he took the Twelve aside privately and told them what was going to happen. 33“I want you to know that we are going to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the ruling priests and religious scholars and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Romans. 34And they will mock him, spit in his face, torture him, and kill him, but three days later he will rise again.”
Jacob (James) and John Ask a Favor of Jesus
35Jacob and John, sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, will you do us a favor?” # 10:35 A better question that followers of Jesus should ask is, “What can we do to bring you glory? Anything you ask of us we will do for you if you will help us.”
36“What is it?” he asked.
37“We want to sit next to you when you come into your glory,” they said, “one at your right hand and the other at your left.”
38Jesus replied, “You don’t have a clue what you’re asking for! Are you prepared to drink from the cup of suffering # 10:38 The cup is mentioned many times in the Old Testament as a metaphor of a cup of suffering. See Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17–22; Jer. 25:15; Ezek. 23:31–34. that I am about to drink? And are you able to endure the baptism into death # 10:38 Baptism is a metaphor for immersion into death. See Rom. 6:3–7; 1 Cor. 10:2; Col. 2:11–13. that I am about to experience?”
39They replied, “Yes, we are able.” # 10:39 How naive was this for them to say! So many times we exaggerate our spirituality and believe we are more mature than we actually are. Yet in spite of their ambition and self-confidence, Jesus affirms that they will indeed taste of the sufferings of Christ.
Jesus said to them, “You will certainly drink from the cup of my sufferings and be immersed into my death, 40but to have you sit in the position of highest honor is not mine to decide. It is reserved for those especially prepared to have it.” # 10:40 Mark’s Gospel records three times that Jesus prophesied of his death and resurrection. After each time he had to rebuke his disciples. The first time (Mark 8:31) he rebuked Peter for being used by Satan to try to hinder Jesus. The second time (Mark 9:31) the disciples argued over who would be the greatest. After the third time (Mark 10:33), Jesus corrected Jacob (James) and John about their ambition to be in the place of highest honor. This shows us that not only is the sacrifice of the cross difficult to understand, it also brings out the ambition that hides in our hearts. Jesus’ submission to the Father to choose who sits in glory next to him becomes a rebuke to the ambition of James and John.
41Now the other ten disciples overheard this, and they became angry and began to criticize Jacob and John. 42Jesus gathered them all together and said to them, “Those recognized as rulers of the people and those who are in top leadership positions rule oppressively over their subjects, but this is not the example you are to follow. 43You are to lead by a different model. If you want to be the greatest, then live as one called to serve others. 44The path to promotion comes by having the heart of a bond-slave # 10:44 Jesus uses two Greek words for servant: diakonos (“minister,” “servant,” “deacon”) in v. 43, and doulos (“bondslave,” “bond servant”) in v. 44. who serves everyone. 45For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone, and to give his life as the ransom price for the salvation of many.”
Jesus Heals Blind Bar-Timai
46When Jesus and his disciples had passed through Jericho, a large crowd joined them. Upon leaving the village, they met a blind beggar sitting on the side of the road named Timai, the son of Timai. # 10:46 The name Timai is Aramaic and means “highly prized” (or “esteemed”). Though unable to see, he was highly prized in the eyes of Jesus, who stopped to heal him. The Greek transliteration is “Bar-Timaeus, son of Timaeus,” which is somewhat confusing, since the name Bar-Timaeus means “son of Timaeus.” The Aramaic is to be preferred, for Timai spoke Aramaic when he cried out to Jesus (v. 51), for “Rabbi” (“master-teacher”) is an Aramaic title of respect. 47When he heard that Jesus from Nazareth was passing by, he began to shout “Jesus, son of David, # 10:47 The term “son of David” was used for the Messiah. The blind man believed Jesus was the one who was fulfilling the messianic claims of restoring sight to the blind. have mercy on me now in my affliction. Heal me!” # 10:47 Implied in the Hebraic saying “Have mercy on me.” The mark of mercy would be his healing.
48Those in the crowd were indignant and scolded him for making so much of a disturbance, but he kept shouting with all his might, “Son of David, have mercy on me now and heal me!”
49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they went to the blind man and said, “Have courage! Get up! Jesus is calling for you!” 50So he threw off his beggars’ cloak, jumped up, and made his way to Jesus.
51Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The man replied, “My Master, # 10:51 This is the Aramaic emphatic form of Rabbi: Rabbouni. “My Master” is the best way to express this in English. please, let me see again!”
52Jesus responded, “Your faith heals you. Go in peace, with your sight restored.” # 10:52 This is the Greek word sozo and is best defined with multiple terms: “delivered, saved, restored, healed, rescued, preserved, made whole.” There is at least an implication that the man was saved, healed, and delivered, with sight restored, all at the same time. All at once, the man’s eyes opened and he could see again, and he began at once to follow Jesus, walking down the road with him.