About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 10:1-12  ch. 10:13-16  ch 10:17-31

ch. 10:32-34   ch. 10:35-45   ch. 10:46-52


Divorce (ch. 10:1-12)


In chapter 10 verse 1 Jesus comes into the region of Judea, (not quite in Judea) which is south of Galilee and closer to Jerusalem.  Once again a large crowd gathers, and as Mark says, it was “His custom” to teach them.  Jesus took every opportunity to teach those who came to Him.  Part of His job on earth was to teach.


When Mark says that “Jesus” left that place,  that place refers to Capernaum.  It is important to note that Jesus never returned to that city, where He had spent much time, and where His natural family lived.  I’m sure that Jesus knew that He would not be back, and I would think that this would be weighing on His mind along with all the rest that would be soon taking place.


Mark says that He was “beyond the Jordan” meaning that He was on the east side of the Jordan River just across from Judea, but not quite in Judea . 


As usual, among the crowd were some Pharisees with questions that would test Jesus.  The question at hand concerns divorce.  For a more detailed account of this section you should read Matt. 19.


The Pharisees ask, “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife”.   Matthew has a couple extra words to this question. He says,  “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason”.  I mention Matthew’s version of the question because it is important to the context.


With many things in life and religion over time people tend to differ over particulars points.  The Jewish leadership themselves differed over the topic of divorce.  There were many differences but the main difference was over the reason why a man could divorce his wife.  One group said that you could only divorce because of sexual indecency.  The other widely held opinion was that a man could divorce his wife for many reasons, including such a small thing as burning her husband’s food, thus the words “for any and every reason” is important and appropriate.


Duet. 24:1 did permit divorce. So the Pharisees were testing Jesus to see what side of the issue he’d fall on.  It didn’t really matter what side of this issue Jesus was on, because of the discrepancy among the Jews, He’d be criticized no matter what He said.  The Jews would thus interpret His answer to be against the Law, when in fact it would only be against their interpretation of the Law.   So they thought they had Jesus on this point.


Jesus begins His answer which is quite brilliant.  He asks the Pharisees, “what did Moses say” about this.  They answered by saying that Moses permitted  a man to divorce his wife. So by saying this, both Jesus and the Pharisees state what the Law said.  They both agreed on this point.


In verse 5 Jesus states the reason why Moses wrote this Law in the first place, and we need to remember, Moses wrote the Law because God told him to write it.  The reason why this law was instituted according to Jesus was because man’s hearts were hardened.  In fact the divorce law was a concession to man’s wicked heart.


If this law was instituted because of man’s hard heart, other laws were most likely put in effect for the same reason, thus we have one reason for the Law’s existence in the first place.


The brilliant part of Jesus’ answer is that Jesus doesn't stop His argument with the Law.  He goes back to God’s original intention at creation.  He says that God made man and woman to be joined together in marriage, and that it wasn’t God’s intention that they ever separate.  


Jesus says in verse 9 that no man should separate what God has put together. This is God’s original intention for men and women in creation.  The permission of divorce as seen in the Law is a concession on God’s part.  You might say, “God gave into man’s failure to be faithful and permitted divorce under certain conditions”.


If you look at the Pharisees’ argument you’ll see it is all of a matter of the Law to them, something that is quite common to man. The tendency for man is to always lean toward law, that is, just give me a few rules to live by and manipulate for my own purposes and that will make me happy.  But Jesus’ argument has little to do with law but rather more to do with God’s original intention for man’s way of living. God made man and woman to live together for mutual benefit and enjoyment.  It was only man’s departure from God’s glorious intention that rules had to be made up to live by.


In verse 8 Jesus comments on  the Genesis account by saying  that the two shall become one.  Through the sexual union of the husband and  wife the two individuals become one.  I think in God’s mind sexual unity is clearly a means to reproduce, but is also a means to unite the couple in all aspects of their being, including emotional and physiological. 


Many scholars believe that God originally made Adam to be both male and female. (interpretation of Gen. 1:26)  These scholars say that when God  removed Adam’s rib, the female aspect to Adam was removed and became a separate person.  Therefore the sexual union between Adam and Eve is meant to bring a measure of this unity back that was in existence before the rib was removed.  They then conclude that sexual unity is more than a means to reproduce and is more than physical enjoyment.   Sexual union allows both husband and wife to enter each other’s most private personal space resulting in a relational union unique only to them. 


We all have what has become to be known as “personal space”.   There’s actually a physical space around a person that is also known as a “comfort zone”. We feel uncomfortable if someone enters this personal space. For example, if you are talking to someone, you don’t normally get within 2 inches of their face, unless you are an upset baseball coach who wants to show his displeasure towards an umpire.  You’ve often seen a coach and an umpire lock noses as they argue. Part of the reason why they get so close is because they are purposely violating the other’s personal space to make a point.  Well, sexual union is the ultimate in entering someone’s personal space. 


This is one reason why sexual abuse is so devastating.  The abuser  is forcing him or herself into one’s most private personal space without permission.


This is also why many with a history of sexual abuse refuse to let anyone near their personal space, and I’m not just talking about sexual space here.  They build walls around them so high that no one can come near them, both in the physical sense, as well as in the emotional and intellectual sense.  These walls are built for protection but in fact the walls hinders them from being healed from the abuse. 


The important thing for Christians when talking about this is that the Holy Spirit enters an even more deeper inner personal space than sexual union.  Thus the Holy Spirit can bring healing to the sexually abused person because He is inside the walls that have been built.  He works His way out from their most inner space, taking down the walls as He works His way out and brings healing as the walls fall.                       


This ends the discussion with the Pharisees according to Mark. We don’t know how they responded to what Jesus said.  But the discussion wasn’t over with the disciples.  Once going into a house the disciples ask Jesus about this matter.   To get the exact question they asked, you can read Matt. 19.  I won’t discuss that here.  Mark shortens this whole discussion with what Jesus says.


Verse 11 and 12 says, “anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”. 


If you take these words of Jesus alone, you’d think that anyone who divorces his or her spouse and  remarries commits adultery.  But we can’t take these words alone.  There are other points that Jesus makes concerning divorce and remarriage that Mark does not speak to.  This includes the “exception clause” found in Matt. 19.  The clause states, “except for marital unfaithfulness”.  The point is, if a spouse is sexually unfaithful, it is permissible to divorce him or her and remarry without committing adultery, according to Jesus.


Let’s look at this exception clause.  If a woman has sexual relations with another man that’s not her husband, she by her act has disrupted that marriage and has torn apart the union with her husband.  The tearing apart occurs with her adultery.  Therefore when the husband writes out a certificate of divorce, it’s not this certificate that tears the marriage apart.  It only confirms the marriage has been torn apart because of the wife’s unfaithfulness.


This whole subject among Evangelicals has been misunderstood and divisive in the past.  There’s two parts that needs addressing when speaking about these things.  The first is the divorce itself.  The second is the idea of remarriage.  Some Christians in the past have allowed for divorce but not for remarriage.  I do believe in remarriage but this is not a topic related to Mark 10. 


The Little Children And Jesus (ch. 10:13-16)


In verse 13 we see parents bringing little children to Jesus in order for Him to touch them.  Matthew points out that this touching was laying on of hands that suggests a blessing from Jesus upon the child. 


Luke’s account uses a Greek word that can be translated as babies.  So it is quite possible that the parents were bringing babies to Jesus to receive some kind of blessing.


In the same verse we see that the disciples rebuked these parents for bringing their babies to Jesus.  It might well be that the disciples thought Jesus had better things to do than to be interrupted with crying babies.


But Jesus had different thoughts.  Jesus rebuked the disciples for their rebuke of the parents.  He  told everyone that ”the Kingdom of God belonged to such as these”.  Note that Jesus doesn’t say that the Kingdom of God belongs to children. He says that the Kingdom of God belongs to “such as these”, or to those with a child like attitude.


In verse 15 Jesus says that if one doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God .  We see two stages in reference to the Kingdom.  First one has to receive the Kingdom, and then he has to enter the Kingdom.  It’s like receiving a Christmas present.  You need to receive it, that is, take it into your hands before you can open it.


We need to understand that the Kingdom of God comes to a person through the Holy Spirit.  We receive the Holy Spirit into our lives, making it possible for us to live in the  Kingdom of God that is now spiritual in this age.  We need to receive the Holy Spirit as a child, which is in turn receiving the Kingdom.  By this Jesus means simple trust.  A baby or an infant child has complete trust in his or her parents.  So it is with men and women when it comes to Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God.  Once being presented with the gospel message delivered by the Holy Spirit, we need to simply trust, that is, give ourselves to Jesus unconditionally, as a baby does with his or her mother. 


Verse 16 says it clearly.  Jesus laid hands on the children and blessed them. bl,   



The Rich Young Man (ch. 10:17-31)


In verse 17 we see that a young man ran up to Jesus.  Because of his youth and his running, we assume that he was very excited to see Jesus.  He had an important question to ask Jesus.  He asks, “what must I do to inherit eternal life”. 


The young man’s question is important.  Inherent in his question is the idea that man “must do something” to inherit eternal life, and certainly we do have a part to play.  But this man had something different in mind than what the gospel teaches.  People, and especially the Jews felt that the obeying of rules and the doing of good works will win favour with God.  But this isn’t the gospel  As Jesus says in John 8, the work that we need to do is to “believe on Him”.  That means, to give your life to Jesus.  Beyond this, good works need to be done as a result of our trust in Jesus for which we will be rewarded for.


In verse 17 the man calls Jesus “good teacher”.  He recognizes that Jesus is both a teacher and that He is good.  Beyond this, the man most likely does not recognize Jesus for who He really is, and that’s the Son of God.


In verse 18 Jesus asks the man why he called him good when no one is good except God Himself.  Liberal theologians use this verse in their defense to prove that Jesus is not God in the flesh, because they say that He is disassociating Himself  with God by saying only God is good. I can see how someone might say this, but it’s not necessarily that simple. 


The man is looking for some good work to do in order to find favour with God.  He then calls Jesus good. The man has “good” on his mind. Jesus says that only God is good, and why are you calling me good?  In fact the man is right in calling Jesus good because Jesus is God in the flesh.  Did the man know this?  I don’t think so.  Was Jesus hinting at the idea that He is in fact good because He is God?  Maybe so. 


Jesus is addressing a couple of things here.  One is His relation to God, and two is God’s definition of good.  The second is important because this man was probably thinking in human terms.  By this I mean he was thinking, “give me something good to do so I can inherit eternal life”.  In my thinking Jesus’ reply implies that since God is the only good one, only He can really do something good.  This then tells us that God and Jesus views goodness as something that can only come from God and not from man, much like what Paul states in Romans 1 and 2.


In verse 19 Jesus quotes some of the Ten Commandments and tells the man to obey them.   Is Jesus suggesting that if we obey these commands that we are good? I don’t think so.  I believe Jesus is asking these things to make a point to this man.  The point will be seen in the man’s response to Jesus.


In verse 20 the man tells Jesus that he has kept these commands since he was a youth. 


In verse 21 Mark says that Jesus looked at this man “and loved him”.  By this I take that after this man told Jesus that he’d kept all these commands and was serious in his answer, that Jesus had pity on him.  I view Jesus as simply shaking His head and thinking, “you just don’t understand.  I sure wish you could grasp these things”.  He loved this man and His heart went out to the man because the man was trying but failed to understand the gospel of the New Testament.  This man had in his mind that doing good was the important thing.


So Jesus gave him something else to do.  Jesus tells the man to sell everything he has and give the proceeds to the poor and then return and follow Him.  I don’t really think Jesus was looking for a thirteenth apostle.  I think Jesus realized the man could not do what He was asking. 


What was Jesus really asking?  Was He simply giving this man one more rule to obey which would be enough good works to find favour with God?  I don’t think so.  The man said that he obeyed the Ten Commandments.   So Jesus gives him a new command that is not from the Law but was directly from Him.  Jesus is asking this man to obey Him now, and not just the Law.  It might well be that Jesus could have asked this man one of a number of things to  do to see if he would obey him.  Wealth was the closes thing to this man’s heart. The obedience to Jesus was more important than the command itself.   Trust in Jesus and not trust in wealth is also the issue.


This command  seemed to touch an important issue in this man’s heart, which was the love of wealth.  Was this man ready to give up his love for wealth and replace it with a love towards Jesus? 


W hat Jesus says to this man, He says to us all, and that is,  He should be the closest thing to our hearts.  In order for this to happen we need to recognize what is close to our hearts now and lay it to one side.  I don’t say give it up, just let Jesus take its place as number one in our lives.   This becomes the intent of the New Testament.  Jesus speaks to the issues and matters of the heart.  The command in this case was secondary and was only spoken in order to bring this man’s heart to the forefront of the discussion.  Outwardly obeying the Ten Commandments is one thing, but replacing the love of wealth with the love of Jesus is the real issue at hand because it is an issue of the heart. 


In verse 22 we note that if this young man does sell all that he has, he will have gained treasures in Heaven.  In my thinking Jesus promotes the idea here and elsewhere that treasures in Heaven are more important than treasures on earth.  In our western way of thinking, this is really hard for us to understand.  We are born into a society that promotes the idea of accumulation of treasures now that we just find it difficult to switch our thinking to what Jesus says.


In verse 22 Mark tells us that “this man’s face fell”.  He was very sad because he had great wealth.  He had a lot to sell, and that just was not something he could easily do.  He was overly attached to his wealth.


Jesus uses this event to teach and says in verse 23, “how hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God ”.  Once again the Kingdom of God has two different aspects to it, the spiritual Kingdom that is now, and the future material Kingdom that comes at the end of this age.  No matter what way you look at it, riches make it hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  When you look at the present realities of the Kingdom, the rich person is overly occupied with his riches both outwardly and inwardly, making it very hard to really enter into things pertaining to the Kingdom.


Wealth itself is not necessarily the problem.  Wealth is something external to us.  But if we allow this external to control the internal, that is the throne of our hearts, then that is where the problem lies. 


If you think of the future Kingdom, it is hard for a rich man to come to Jesus for salvation because of this pre-occupation with wealth.   To enter this future Kingdom you must have given your life to Jesus in this life time.  Although rich people can get saved, it is often hard for them because of their dedication to their riches.


It is my opinion that one reason why we don’t see the effects of God’s present Kingdom as we should in western society is because of our pre-occupation with wealth.


In verse 24 we see the disciples amazed at Jesus’ words.  Why were they so amazed?  Most of them weren’t wealthy themselves.  That might well be, but my guess is that most of them wanted to be wealthy, and maybe hoped to be wealthy at some point. These words of Jesus might well have put a damper on their thoughts concerning wealth and their hope for the future.  It might well be possible that these men were hoping that Jesus could give them this wealth, and when He spoke these words their hearts were disappointed.   


Concerning the “eye of a needle and a camel” mentioned in verse 24, I will leave that up to the expert commentators.  There seems to be a discrepancy to just what this means. The point is clear though.  It is just very hard for a man who trusts in his riches to give his life to Jesus and enter the Kingdom of God. You cannot serve two masters.  


In verse 26 we see that the disciples are now even more amazed  than they were before. It appears that the disciples view of wealth was different than Jesus’ view of wealth.  They were so amazed that they wondered who in fact could be saved.  It appears to me that even back in those days people’s hearts yearned to be rich. 


In my thinking this whole discussion with the rich man and also with the disciples puts the importance on trust and not obeying rules.  Salvation is all about trusting Jesus for your life and not trusting anything else including wealth.  This also puts the emphasis on trusting Jesus with your whole life and not just your salvation.  


In verse 27 Mark says that Jesus looked at the disciples.  Just by Mark saying this I picture Jesus looking at these men with resignation or possibly despair because they once again missed the point.  Jesus proceeded to tell them that “with man this was impossible, but not for God, because all things are possible with God”.


We need to look at the context here.  First of all you have a rich young man who has obeyed the commandments of God since his youth, but struggles with the one command that Jesus gives him.  This man’s concept of salvation was that of works. He just thought that Jesus could tell him one more thing to do and he’d be saved for sure, but what Jesus tells him to do is too hard for him. 


If you think the Law of Moses was hard to keep, following Jesus is even harder.  It is impossible to obey any command of God or from Jesus in order to be saved.  That is impossible for man, but what is impossible for man is possible for God and what was possible for God came at the cross.  Jesus provided salvation for all mankind, even this rich young man.  The bottom line for this man and for us is to put our full trust in Jesus and nothing else.  


So the context of the “nothing is impossible with God” statement concerns salvation.  The context does not go any farther than that.  You especially cannot read Prosperity Teaching into this statement.    


As usual Peter responds to Jesus in verse 28 by saying that he and the other apostles have left everything they had for Jesus.  And in one sense of the word Peter was right. 


Jesus responds in verse 30.  He says that no one who leaves his family or way of earning a living as these twelve men did  will be disappointed.  They will receive a hundred fold more in this life.  Jesus is saying that if you have to leave brother, sister, father or mother for His sake, you’ll receive other such family members, and so you do.  When coming to Jesus you enter the family of God where you will find many more brothers and sisters.


Jesus also says that if you leave home and job, you’ll receive a hundred fold here too, both in this world and in the next world.  Does this mean if you leave your house for Jesus, you’ll end up with a mansion here on earth?  Did any of these people Jesus spoke these words to get to own a mansion or a castle?  No.  But after forsaking their own home to go out and spread the news of Jesus they always had a place to live. They had lots of homes because of their brothers and sisters in the Lord provided homes for them as they passed from one town to the next. 


Concerning leaving your job to follow Jesus.  Here one will gain a hundred fold too, but it might not be a new well paying job. It might be a brand new job of being an apostles like these men.  And the reward in doing this job is far greater than the monetary reward of being a fisherman.  


You might ask Paul concerning his homes and where he spent his nights.  For Paul many of his nights were spent in a prison cell.  This might not be our idea of a home but for Paul and others it was reality.  We note that Jesus also said His followers would receive a hundred fold of these things “with persecution”.  Jesus could not have been talking about material abundance here.  The context excludes this. The mention of persecution also excludes this. Material abundance will come, but it will come in the next life.


Verse 31 ends this section with Jesus saying that many who are first will be last and they that are last will be first.  This backs up what I’ve just said.  The first will be last means that those who now have will not have in the end, if they don’t trust in Jesus.  But if you trust in Jesus and give yourself to His will, even though it may not produce wealth and being at the top of the list, you’ll end up being first in the long run, in the future Kingdom of God.


Jesus Again Predicts His Death (ch.10:32-34)


In verse 32 we see Jesus, the Twelve and other disciples. They are on their way to Jerusalem where Jesus would come to the end of His earthly life. 


Mark says that the Twelve were astonished.  They were simply dumbfounded that Jesus would actually want to go to Jerusalem knowing that the Jewish leadership was so hostile towards Him.  They just couldn’t figure it out.


Then Mark says that the rest of the people who followed Jesus were “afraid”.  They were afraid for Jesus and probably afraid for their own lives.  Everyone knew the possible problems that waited for them in Jerusalem .


Now in verse 33 Jesus explains it all to them again.  He tells them that they are gong up to Jerusalem – up meaning up in elevation.  Jerusalem was actually down geographically speaking.  Once they were their, He would be betrayed. I’m not sure if the Twelve caught on to this, but the word “betrayed” tells us a bit of how this would happen.  When using this word, we know that one of Jesus’ own would hand Him over to the authorities.


Jesus continued by saying that the Jewish leaders would “condemn Him to death and then hand Him over to the Gentiles”.  The Jews did not have the authority to execute anyone.  Only the Roman government had this authority and this is why the Jewish leaders had to hand Jesus over to the Romans. 


We note that Jesus is saying these things in the third person.  He’s not saying “I will be handed over”.  He is saying, “the Son of Man” will be handed over.  Jesus often speaks this way, maybe because He wants the Twelve to understand that He is indeed the Son of Man and also the Son Of God.   


Jesus then says, once He is handed over to the Gentiles they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him and then kill Him.   Then three days later He will rise from the dead. Now this is not the first time that Jesus has spoken these words to the Twelve.  He has been saying these things for a while now as the hour of His death gets closer.  By now this must be sinking into the Twelve’s understanding.


The Request Of  James And John (ch. 10:35-45)


Just a short while after telling the Twelve again of his death Jesus had to deal with them concerning an argument they had about who was greater among them.  Jesus gave a specific answer and now James and John come up with a request that if they had of thought about, should not have been asked of Jesus.


In verse 35 they preface their question with this statement, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask”.  This statement sounds like something someone would say who believes in what I call “hyper faith”, that is, Jesus should respond when we demand. 


In verse 36 Jesus asks them what they want Him to do.


Their answer is seen in verse 37.  They ask, “let one of us sit on your right and the other on your left in your glory”.  I don’t know if we can say for sure what James and John’s idea of “Jesus’ glory” is.  It is obvious that it is in reference to the Kingdom of God.  But did these men have in mind that future kingdom that would come at the end of this age of grace?  Or, did they think that Jesus was ready to set up His earthly kingdom in a very short time and overthrow the Romans to establish Israel ’s dominance in the world? 


It doesn’t really matter what way they thought.  The request is still the same.  They wanted special recognition.  They wanted the important seats in the throne room of Jesus’ Kingdom. 


In verse 38 Jesus answers by saying, “you don’t know what you are asking”.  I’m sure James and John thought that they knew what they were asking, but Jesus thought differently. 


Jesus then asks them, “can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with”?  Jesus uses two analogies here.  One is the drinking from a cup which He uses elsewhere concerning the things that He is presently beginning to suffer and will suffer intensely in the days to come.  Jesus views these sufferings as one drinks from a cup containing a bitter liquid, perhaps old vinegar wine. 


Jesus adds the thought of baptism. Jesus views His suffering as a baptism.  Whether baptism is viewed as immersion or a pouring upon, the suffering that faced Jesus was like either.  He’d be totally encompassed about with the horrible sufferings that would soon take place.


In verse 39 James and John come back with the quick answer.  “We can”, they said.  They are certain that whatever Jesus is talking  about, they can drink from the same cup and be baptized with the same baptism.  Yet as they did not understand what they were asking Jesus, I’m sure they did not understand what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of this cup and this baptism. 


Even though I believe that James and John did not understand what Jesus was saying,  Jesus agreed with them by saying they would drink of this cup and they would be baptized with this baptism.  Yet what Jesus had in mind was not what they had in mind.  Like Jesus, James and John along with the rest of the Twelve would suffer greatly because of their relationship to Jesus. 


In verse 40 Jesus responds directly to their request.  He tells them that it is not His place to grant these two places in the Kingdom that would come.  These  places would be filled by God the Father and no one else.  Jesus doesn’t say that there won’t be someone sitting in a place of authority with Him.  In fact He eludes that there will be two people sitting in authority with Him by saying that God would appoint  who He wanted to these positions.


Once again we see a dialogue between Jesus and His disciples that appears coherent on the surface but in fact is far from coherent.  What Jesus was talking about was far different than what James and John were talking about.


We learn in verse 41 that when the rest of the Twelve heard about this discussion they became “indignant”. This is only a natural response. They could not believe how and why James and John could even think about asking Jesus such a thing. They probably also thought that they should have just as much of a chance to sit at Jesus side as James and John did.


Jesus responds to all of this in verse 42 and what we learn from this response is very important, especially when thinking of church structure and also about how we should view ourselves as individual Christians.


Jesus says, “… those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord  it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all”.


Jesus is comparing the Gentile authority structure to that which is found in the Kingdom of God.  The Gentile rulers lord it over their people.  This means that they are dictators.  They rule with a heavy hand of abusive authority.  But Jesus clearly says, “not so with you”.  In the Kingdom of God the opposite is true.  The great ones will be servants, and the first in line will be slaves. 


This truth is often lost in the church.  It was surely lost during the dark ages when those in authority in the church were not any different than the Gentile dictators of Jesus’ day.  It’s also been seen in so many cultish type Christian movements where the leader is a dictator.  It’s also seen in Evangelical churches at times when the senior pastor acts as if he is a Gentile dictator over his people. 


This is not the way church leadership should be.   Pastors should pastor as if they were servants or slaves.  Too many times they pastor as if they are a CEO’s of a large corporation. The same with individual Christians.  We should not live our lives in arrogance but as slaves to all.  When I say slaves, I don’t mean “door mats”.  Paul is a good example.  He lived his life as a servant, but he was not a door mat.  The reason why he spent so much time in prison was because he wanted to prove himself innocent in the secular court. A door mat would have simply excepted the false charges and when let go, simply leave.  Paul didn’t simply leave.  He appealed to Rome to defend himself, when he could have been set free.  So his imprisonment at that time was partly based on his own free will.  His appeal to Rome meant that he had to remain a prisoner, instead of being set free.  


When it comes to Jesus’ words concerning being servants or slaves, I think there are very few Christians who really understand this let alone make this part of their lives.  We tend to think that a person is a good Christian because of a number of reasons. But what really makes people good Christians is how they serve Jesus and those He has placed them  with.


Verse 45 ends this section by Jesus telling why His followers should be servants.  It’s pure and simple.  They should be servants because Jesus “didn’t come to be served but to serve”.   While Jesus was on earth He was a servant.  While we are on this earth in this age, we are to be servants as Jesus was.   We will become lords and rule with Jesus in the next life, but till them we serve. 


When Jesus, and others like Paul, speak of being a servant or a slave they are speaking in terms of what is known as a bond servant.  A bond servant is a servant by choice.  This point is derived from the use of the Greek.  The whole point to serving Jesus and others is that it be by choice and not be constraint. If one serves because he is made to, then the service means little. 


James and John wanted to sit beside Jesus in a visible place of authority.  On the surface it seems to me that what they wanted was to be the top guys in charge of things. Jesus’ answer was an important teaching and at the same time a rebuke to James and John. They weren’t going to even come close to what they wanted unless they chose to serve mankind out of their own free will.    


Jesus also says that He will give Himself to be a ransom for many.  The phrase “for many” should be best understood according to the Greek as “in place of many”.  This means that Jesus paid the price for redemption in the place of many.  This is substitutionary.  This means that  Jesus paid the price on behalf of many so the many wouldn’t have to pay the price .  The many are those who have put their trust in Jesus and what He did for them on the cross. 


Concerning this price, it is paid to God.  Some have thought it was paid to the devil, but Jesus pays no price to the devil.  The price is owed to God Himself.  Jesus paid God the price to free us from our guilt and its subsequent penalty.


Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight (ch. 10:46-52)

In verse 46 Mark says that Jesus came to Jericho .  As they were leaving the city they met up with a blind man named Bartimaeus.  Matthew seems to imply that they were actually entering the city of Jericho.  So some point out the problem here to prove fallibility of Scripture. Luke also mentions this event along with Jesus meeting Zachaeus. It thus appears then that Jesus and His followers left the city but while leaving meet up with Zachaeus who invites them back into the city and while re-entering they meet Bartimaeus.


In verse 47 we see that this blind man recognizes that Jesus is coming close to him. We learn from other gospels that he recognized Jesus because of the great crowd that followed. So Bartimaeus yells out “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me”.   This is significant, and maybe that’s why all three synoptic gospels write about this.


The “son of David” phrase is a specific reference to signify the Messiah.  This blind man believed that Jesus was the Messiah and Jesus did not dispute this but accepted this title from Bartimaeus by healing him.


At this point in time Jesus was no longer hiding the fact that He was indeed the Son of David.  The time was now at hand for him to be arrested and put to death.


In verse 48 we see that many people rebuked this man for his shouting. I’m sure the reason was that he was a blind beggar, an insignificant person.  Besides, everyone else was making all sorts of noise, so why couldn’t this man yell out as well.


This didn’t stop the blind man.  He kept crying out, “Son of David, have mercy on me”.  Jesus had some who were around Him tell the blind man to come to Him and so Bartimaeus came to Jesus.


In verse 51 Jesus asks the man what he wanted.  Of course Jesus knew what this man wanted.  On many occasions Jesus asked people what they wanted even though He knew.  He may well have wanted the person to verbally ask the specifics of the request.  We should not be vague in our requests to Jesus.  I believe He wants us to be specific. 


The blind man told Jesus that he wanted to see. Jesus simply said, “go, your faith has healed you”.  Or another way to put it, “go, because you trust in me I have healed you”.  This man trusted that Jesus could heal him and because he did have this trust he was healed.


Is there a general principle to be learned here?  Does someone’s faith always provide the means for healing?  If you are not healed, does it mean you have no faith, or little faith?  Faith, or trust in Jesus is foundational to healing, yet this being said, it’s not the only element involved.  Note that the lame beggar in Acts 3 did not appear to have faith.  Peter and John had faith, but not the beggar who was healed.  He wasn’t even asking to be healed.  He was asking for money.  This proves that one needing healing doesn’t need faith.  Someone else can have faith for him. So if someone suggests to you that you don’t have enough faith, and that’s why you are not healed, ask them to have faith for you as Peter and John did in Acts 3.  If you still don’t get healed, then you can ask them if they have enough faith.  


I also believe that the will of Jesus is also involved in the healing of a person as well, but I won’t get into that discussion at this point.


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