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THE GOSPEL OF MARK
DIVORCE, CHILDREN, MATERIALISM, BAPTISM,
AND A RANSOM
Matthew 19:1-9: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now Jesus left from there and arrived along the border of Judaea on the other side of the Jordan. And the crowds gathered again, and as was his custom he began to teach them.
Pharisees were also there and trying to test Jesus they asked him: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
So Jesus began to answer them, asking:
“What did Moses command you?”MK10:4
So they answered: “Moses permitted
a divorce certificate so a man could dismiss his wife” [Deuteronomy 24:1]
Now Jesus responded and said:
“Because of the hard-heartedness238 of you [men] Moses wrote such
Hard-heartedness: Or, perversity. Jesus means the hearts of Jewish husbands. Matthew states that this was a concession by Moses, and not something that came from God. Tradition had evolved the original divorce statement into virtually anything in the wife that displeased her husband. This was true of many cultures where a man only had to raise two fingers to dismiss a wife he was displeased with. Jewish law did not permit a woman to divorce her husband.
MK10:6 However, from the beginning of [human] creation‘the God made [humankind] male and female. …MK10:7For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and [[and stick to his wife]].239
Bracketed words are recognized as not adequately supported.
MK10:8And the two will be one flesh, and so they are not longer two, but one flesh.’240
[Genesis 1:27; 2:24]
One flesh: Jesus creates a conflate, that is, a combination of two verses into a single paraphrase or quote. He combines Genesis 1:27 with Genesis 2:24.
MK10:9 Therefore, whatever the God yoked together, let no one separate.”MK10:10
Now later in the house the disciples asked him the same question again.
So Jesus told them:
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.241
Commits adultery against her: It is the innocent victim who is ‘adulterated.’ On the occasion of this discussion Jesus
does not state the only grounds for divorce as he does elsewhere.
MK10:12 Also, if a woman ever divorces her husband242 and marries another – she commits adultery.”
A woman ever divorces her husband: This had to shock all those listening as under Jewish law a woman could not divorce her husband. Roman law did permit this and it is to Romans he writes. The saying in the ancient world
was ‘the further one goes west the more liberated the woman becomes.’
Matthew 19:13-15: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Then they brought little children to Jesus so that he might touch them. But his disciples rebuked the parents244
who brought them.
Disciples rebuked the parents: Our patient grows thin for these men. If these represent the best of the Jews at the time, we begin
to understand why Jesus calls the whole generation adulterous and wicked.
Now when he was aware of this he was very upset,245
and so he told the disciples:
“Allow the little children to approach me and do not try to stop them! Because those [who are ‘little children’] belong to the Kingdom of the God.
He was very upset: Or, displeased, angry, indignant.
MK10:15 I tell you this truth: Whoever does not accept God’s Realm like a ‘little child’246 will never gain entrance.”247
Little child: These self-righteous, arrogant and jealousy ambitious men needed to make a great change. This they finally do after
Gain entrance: Not only is it hard for the arrogant and ambitious to even become members of the
Church – the Realm of Profession – it is virtually impossible for such to ever gain the celestial Kingdom of the Father. [Matthew 13:40-43]
Then Jesus took the children in his arms248
and laid his hands upon them, blessing them.
Jesus took the children in his arms: This is surely an endearing sight, as we watch the
faces of the apostles who had opposed the children. They must surely feel ashamed.
Matthew 19:16-22: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now after Jesus had continued on his travels, a man came running up to him and fell on his knees. He pleaded: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?”
Then Jesus said to him:
“Why do you call me ‘good’?250 No one is ‘good’
but One – the God!251
Why do you call me ‘good’: Had Jesus been God himself he could not have even posed the question, for the answer would
be obvious. While Messiah is called the “Righteous One” he is never called “Good.”
one is ‘good’ but One – the God: Jesus is in no way “God.” Whatever goodness Jesus possessed he received from the Absolute Source of all Goodness – the God [HO THEOS]. Only “the God” is perfect and absolute
goodness. All others must receive from His goodness.
MK10:19You know the commandments?‘Do not murder! Do not commit adultery! Do not steal! Do not testify falsely! Honor your father and mother!’”
Exodus 20:12-16: Jesus quotes from the Ten Commandments. We note he omits two commands that many would consider premier – God’s
Name and the Sabbath.
Now the man answered Jesus: “Teacher, I have kept all of these253
[commandments] since I was a child!”
I have kept all of these: He had never murdered, never committed adultery, never stolen anything, never lied as a witness, and always
cared respectfully for his parents. By any basis of judgment among civilized nations, this Jews was an outstanding human being.
Jesus studied him with loving concern254
and then said:
“You lack one thing. Leave now and go sell every thing you possess and give the money to the poor255 – then you will have treasure in heaven. [Afterward] return, [[shoulder your own stake,]]256 and then follow me.”257
Jesus studied him with loving concern: Or, KJV: beholding him loved him; BER: looking at him, prized him dearly; PME: looked steadily
at him, and his heart warmed toward him. The Greek is EGAPESEN and may be without emotion or sentiment. Jesus is interest and concerned about the man and now takes positive action to seek his highest good – even though this may not be received well.
Go sell every thing you possess and give the money to the poor: Jesus has said the same to his “little flock” of personal disciples.
See notes on Luke 12:32, 33. This rich man must do this BEFORE he even becomes an intimate follower of Jesus. It is a challenge for all Christians do research the words riches, money, and possessions. See notes on Acts 4:32-37 and 1 Timothy
Bracketed words are recognized as not adequately supported.
And then follow me: The man must first do all that Jesus asked, and only after that, even begin to follow him.
Now this statement made the man very sad258
and so he left grieving, for he had many possessions.
Made the man very sad: Or, countenance fell, brow darkened, face clouded, somber
Mark 10:23-31 – The Difficulty of Money
|| Matthew 19:27-30; Luke 18:26-30
Jesus studied the faces of his disciples and then said to them:
“How difficult it will be for those with money259 to gain entrance
into God’s Realm!”
Those with money: Jesus parallels those with money as the rich. In the Scriptures the rich are defined as those with a surplus, while
the poor are those who must depend on others for existence. Compare Luke 21:1-4.
Now this statement astounded the disciples, but Jesus responded, saying again:
“Children, how difficult will it be [[for those who trust in riches]]260
to gain entrance into God’s Realm?
Bracketed words are recognized as not adequately supported.
MK10:25 It would be easier for a camel to thread the eye of a needle261 than for a rich person to gain entrance into God’s Realm!”
Camel to thread the eye of a needle: Or, cable, rope. Some manuscripts use “rope.” Others see this “eye” as a very narrow and low entrance where a camel had to get on its knees to pass through.
But the disciples were even more astonished and said among themselves: “Who can be saved, then?”
Jesus looked intently at their faces and said:
“With humans it is impossible! But, not for God! Because everything is possible with the God!”262
Everything is possible with the God: The phrase has been much abused outside of its context. Jesus is describing the difficulty of
a rich person entering the Kingdom. It would take a miracle for God for such to happen. For details on riches see this and related words in Luke.
Then Peter said to Jesus: “Look, we have left everything to follow you!”263
We have left everything to follow you: Peter says “left” and not “we have sold everything.” He is not actually
being honest, for after the dead of Jesus he and others are seen still possessing a fishing boats. Jesus asks Peter about this. Surely by Pentecost they had done exactly what the Nazarene had directed at Luke 12:32, 33.
So Jesus answered and said:
“I tell you this truth: No one who has left behind264 house, brothers,
sisters, mother, father, children, or fields – in behalf of my name and the Good News –
Left behind: Or, given up, sacrificed. Jesus has in mind putting discipleship before all other things. Elsewhere the Nazarene uses
“hate” though he means to “love less.”
MK10:30will receive a hundred times more now in this present season – houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, [[wife]]265 and fields, together with persecutions. And in the coming [New] Age266 life everlasting.
Bracketed words are recognized as not adequately supported. Though Luke uses it.
The coming [New] Age: Or, ABU: in the age to come; PME: in the next world.
However, many of those who are ‘first’ will be last, and the ‘last’ first.”267
Those who are ‘first’ will be last, and the ‘last’ first: Here those ‘first’ are the rich with money, while the ‘last’ are the poor. Compare notes on 1 Corinthians 1:26.
Matthew 20:17-19: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now as they were ascending to Jerusalem, Jesus went on ahead and this amazed them. As they followed they became frightened, but Jesus again took the Twelve aside privately and began to tell them what was destined to happen to him.
MK10:33 He said:
“Look, we are ascending to Jerusalem, and there theSon of Humankind
[Daniel 7:13] will be handed over to the chief priests and Bible Copyists. They will condemn him to death and turned over to the non-Jews.MK10:34 They will mock him, scourge him, spit at him, and then kill him, but on the third day he will be resurrected.”
Matthew 20:20-23: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now later James and John,270
the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus, asking: “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we wish to ask you.”
James and John: Two of the three Jesus took into the mountain of transfiguration. In other accounts it is the mother of these two
brothers who makes this request, though likely prompted by them.
So Jesus said to them:
“What do you want me to do for you?”MK10:37
Then they said to Jesus: “Give us permission to sit, one on your right hand and one on your left hand, during your glory.”271
During your glory: Though likely not understanding the full meaning of these words, they probably refer to his Return or Parousia
and the subsequent rule and judgment. Compare notes on Matthew 25:31-46.
However, Jesus responded:
“You have no idea what you ask! Are you willing to drink the cup272
I will drink? Are you willing to be baptized in my baptism?”273
Cup: Compare notes on Matthew 20:22; Luke 12:50; John 18:11; Romans 6:3.
Baptism: Both the cup and baptism are symbols for a life of self-sacrifice with the possibility of martyrdom.
Then [James and John] said: “We can!” But, Jesus told them:
“You shall for a certainty drink from my cup,274 and you will be baptized in my own baptism.
You shall for a certainty drink from my cup: James was martyred as the record in Acts shows. John lived a long life of self-sacrifice
dying at about the age of 100.
MK10:40 However, this sitting on my right or left hand is not mine to grant, but will be granted to those to whom it has been prepared.”275
Those to whom it has been prepared: It would appear that such places will be assigned. It is possible these would turn out to be Peter and John.
Matthew 20:24-28: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now when the other ten [apostles] heard of this they were very indignant.277
They were very indignant: We can see the ongoing problem with jealous ambition among the apostles.
Then Jesus asked them all to approach and told them:
“You are quite aware that those who seem to rule the non-Jews lord it over them, and their ‘great ones’ exercise authority over them.MK10:43 But, it should not be the same among you.278 Instead, whoever will actually be ‘great’ among you shall be your servant.
It should not be the same among you: Jesus is speaking to his twelve apostles. They are not to have one of their members lording it over the others. Such heavy authority did finally arise in the Church as foretold. [Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:4] This did not mean there was no legitimate “authority” within the Church. Compare notes on Titus 2:15 and Hebrews 13:7, 17.
MK10:44 Also, whoever will be ‘first’ among you must be the servant of everyone.MK10:45 For even theSon of Humankind
[Daniel 7:13] came not to be served, but rather to serve, and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.”279
Give his soul a ransom in exchange for many: Or, WEY: as the redemption-price; GDS: to free many others. The Greek uses POLLON [much] and
not PANTA [all]. Though the ransom of Christ is available to ALL it will actually only cover MANY. [Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:4-6]
Matthew 20:29-34: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now they approached Jericho, and as Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd of people, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus,281
was sitting by the road.
Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus: This blind beggar is named as he likely became a well-known Christian later. There was another beggar
present who is not mentioned by Mark.
And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to shout and say: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
But, many [in the crowd] rebuked him282
and told him to keep quiet. However, he just shouted even more: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Rebuked him: Possibly including some of the apostles.
Now Jesus stopped and said:
“All of you bring him here!”MK10:50
Then [Bartimaeus] threw off his garment, and rising he approached Jesus.
So Jesus responded and said to him:
“What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man answered: “Rabboni,283
I wish to see again!”
Rabboni: A more intimate and respectful designation than “Rabbi.”
Then Jesus said to him:
“Go now, your faith has healed you.”
Instantly, he regained his sight and began to follow Jesus on the road.
Review Questions on Chapter Ten
What question do some ask?
To whom does the Kingdom belong?
Who will have difficulty getting into the Kingdom?
What request do John and James make, with what reaction?