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-GOSPEL OF MARK

by Dr. D ~

Lessons:

LESSON 1: Into.                  LESSON 2: Mark 1

LESSON 3: Mark 2             LESSON 4: Mark 3                LESSON 5: Mark 4

LESSON 6: Mark 5             LESSON 7: Mark 6                LESSON 8: Mark 7

LESSON 9: Mark 8           LESSON 10: Mark 9              LESSON 11: Mark 10

LESSON 12: Mark 11         LESSON 13: Mark 12           LESSON 15: Mark 13

LESSON 16: Mark 14a       LESSON 17: Mark 14b         LESSON 18: Mark 15

LESSON 19: Mark 16:1-8                LESSON 20: Mark 16:9-20

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-A Study and Application of Philippians 4: 4-7:

by Dr. D ~

Rejoice and Praise The Lord Regardless

Lessons:

1. -An Application of Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in The Lord (Verse 4)

2. -An Application of Philippians 4:4-7: Be Reasonable and Considerate (Verse 5a)

3. -An Application of Philippians 4:4-7: The Lord is Always with Us (Verse 5b)

4. -An Application of Philippians 4:4-7: Don’t Worry, Be Thankful and Pray (Verse 6)

5. -An Application of Philippians 4:4-7: God Promises Peace of Mind and Joy in Your Life (Verse 7)

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-LESSON 13: Mark 12

by Dr. D ~

Lesson 13: Mark -Chapter 12

 

First read Mark 12 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 12

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verses 6-12:

-Parable of the tenant foretells the death of Jesus.

Verse 15:

– Jesus prophetically knew that they were trying to trap him.

Verses 15-17:

-The Roman coin and Caesar answer is truly inspired.

Verse 25:

-Prophetic info.: The risen dead will not marry.

Verse 40:

-Jesus predicts that the teachers opposing him will be punished.

Verse 44:

-Prophetic/word of knowledge-widow gave all she had.

 

Now read it again in detail along with  the Notes and Commentary below:

Notes and Commentary:

Jesus Teaching in The Temple –Chapter 12

Jesus began teaching in the Temple in the form of parables.  Notice that after a while, the authorities began to perceive that Jesus was talking against them, particularly in the Parable of the Tenants.

 

I.  The Parable of The Tenants –Verses 1-12

The Vineyard in this parable represents Israel. 

     Verses 2-5:  The servants that the master sent represents the prophets. Many were mistreated over the years by the authorities in Israel and even killed. 

     Verses 6-9:  The tenants kill the Master’s Son figuring that they will gain the vineyard in the process.  The Master in the parable kills unfaithful tenants and gives the vineyard to others. Jesus is really the master’s son in this parable.

In 70 AD the temple and Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the leaders at that time were killed fulfilling this parable.  

     Verses 10-11:  Jesus also represents the rejected stone of Psalm 118:22.  The time is coming when he is going to put a cap on history and an end to the present age.

     Verses 12:  The chief priests confirm what Jesus is alluding to in the parable. They are looking for some way to arrest him but are afraid of the crowds that are following him. Later they would not only have him arrested but killed.

 

II.  Give To Caesar and To God –Verses 13-17

Again the Pharisees, along with some Herodians, try to trap Jesus.  They start out pretending to pay Jesus a complement, however Jesus perceives their hypocrisy. 

     Verses 14b-15:  They are presenting Jesus with a clever ‘no win’ scenario.  If Jesus says to go ahead and pay Roman taxes, then many of his supporters, especially Zealots, would probably abandon him, so these ‘smart guys’ reason.  On the other hand, if Jesus tells them not to pay the taxes, then they can charge him with treason before the Roman authorities.  Actually, quite a brilliant plan. 

     Verses 15b-17:  However, Jesus sees the trap and resolved the question in such a way that even the ‘smart guys’ were amazed.  Notice that he ends with: "and to God what is God’s"-after all, God is really the ultimate authority. on that they can all agree.

 

III.  Marriage and The Resurrection –Verses 18-27

     Verses 18-23:  Next, a bunch of Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the Resurrection, try to demonstrate the crazy problems one might experience in the Resurrection if one had been remarried a number of times. After seven marriages, who would one be married to in the after life? 

This was probably one of the favorite unsolvable questions that they usually presented to their ‘smart’ Pharisee adversaries (who believed in the resurrection).  No one had ever been able to solve this problem before so the Sadducees were confident that they had Jesus where they wanted him.

     Verse 24:  But Jesus spoke with unusual authority and proclaimed that there would  be no marriage in the life to come. 

     Verses 25-27:  Then he deals brilliantly with the real question and demonstrates the truth of the resurrection and the after life, by quoting from the Pentateuch (first five books), the only scriptures that the Sadducees fully recognized. 

Jesus, quoted from Exodus 3:1-6,  citing God himself as proof for the continuing existence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in an after life.  The Sadducees had to be surprised and totally defeated by his answer.

 

IV.  The Greatest Commandments –Verses 28-34

The final question of the day posed to Jesus comes from one of the scribes or teachers.  This seems to be a genuine query rather than a trap. 

     Verse 29-31:  This teaching of Jesus is just as valid for Christians today.  We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Secondly, we are called to love others as ourselves. 

     Verse 32-34:  Notice that this teacher agrees with Jesus and states that these two commandments were more important than "all burnt offerings and sacrifices."  Jesus commends this teacher:  "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."  Later, hundreds of scribes, teachers, and Pharisees joined the early Christian church.  Perhaps this teacher was one of them. 

I love the last line of verse 34: 

"And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions." 

Obviously, Jesus had demonstrated his superiority that day over the smartest and the best educated men in Judea.

 

V.  The Messiah is Son of David and More? –Verses 35-37

Now it is Jesus’ turn to ask a question and there were no takers. But the regular folks are hanging on his every word.

Jesus points out that according to the scriptures, the Christ (the Messiah or the ‘anointed one’) was supposed to be a descendant (a son) of King David, and yet in Psalm 110:1, David refers to his descendant as ‘Lord’:

David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

Jesus does not answer his own question here, but leaves it hanging. In reality, only Jesus could fulfill this scripture as a descendant of David but also the Son of God. But none of the authorities recognized who Jesus really was or even wanted to know.

The answer:  If the Messiah was merely David’s descendant (son), than David would naturally hold the primary position of authority.  However, Jesus was not only the Messiah and a descendant of David, but he was also the Son of God.  Therefore, David recognized his own descendant as his Lord and his superior.

    

VI.  Who Has Real Authority -the Teachers or Jesus? – Verses 38-40

Now Jesus teaches in the temple to a large crowd, and they listened to him with wonder and delight.  All the ‘smart guys’ were gone, they had enough, but the regular folk received it all with pleasure.

     Verse 38:  Jesus than warns the people that the teachers of the law they respect and who are suppose to represent God and his teaching are really hypocrites that will be judged severely by God.

Jesus points out that those teachers of the Law, who demand respect and positions of authority, who seek honor and commendation, but actually rob widows are not following God’s Word at all.

 

VII.  The Poor Widow’s Offering vs. The Rich –Verses 41-44

Jesus and his disciples watched as people filed in to give money to the temple treasury.  A whole lot of rich folks came in with all sort of ‘pomp and circumstance’ and gave huge amounts of money to the temple.  I am sure that the disciples were appropriately impressed.

     Verses 42-44:  Among the crowd was a poor humble widow who dropped in two small copper coins.  She contribution would have probably gone unnoticed except for maybe a sneer by the priest overseeing the collection.  The disciples may have missed it or may have dismissed it along with the temple priest. But they would have been shocked when Jesus said:

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.

It was a popular teaching in Israel at the time, and especially among the priests and temple teachers, that the poor were sinners that deserved their poverty while the rich were righteous folks blessed by God. It was a false doctrine but the temple priests would have looked down on the poor widow assuming that she was a ‘sinner.’

But Jesus knew something that they did not know.  The widow gave all she had and was giving it to God fulfilling the First Commandment.  Now that is really righteous and impressive!

 

-Read: Mark 13 for the next lesson.

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-LESSON 12: Mark 11

by Dr. D ~

Lesson 12: Mark -Chapter 11

 

First read Mark 11 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 11

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verses 2-3: 

-Jesus prophetically knows about the colt and predicts the response.

Verses 13, 20:

-Jesus curses a fig tree.  It is withered the next time they see it.

 

Now read it again in detail along with  the Notes and Commentary below:

Notes and Commentary:

I.  Jesus and The Colt –Verses 1-7

Jesus tells his disciples about a colt in the next village that he needs and predicts the response.  Can you imagine what an uproar there would be today if some strangers came into your neighborhood and tried to take a car?  Then said that some visiting preacher needed it? The event turned out just as Jesus predicted, and the faith of the disciples would have been increased in the process.  Which was important, considering the events ahead.

 

II.  The Triumphal Entry of Jesus Into Jerusalem –Verses 8-11

Jesus rides the colt into Jerusalem as branches are spread before him and with disciples going before and after him shouting:

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!   Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

What an incredible scene that must have been.  It was a direct fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

With people obviously treating Jesus like the conquering Messiah coming in to rule in Jerusalem, one could say that this was the ‘high point’ of his ministry. In the midst of it all, the disciples were probably saying to themselves- ‘it is about time.’ After all, Jesus had told them it was time for him to go to Jerusalem. But they were not listening to him when he told them that he was going to be killed, they believed that it was time for him to take over and rule and their actions coming into Jerusalem revealed what they were thinking:

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! 

Finally Jesus was going to fulfill all of the prophecies about taking over the nation and kicking out the oppressors. They continued to completely ignore what Jesus had told them about his impending death and Resurrection. Jesus goes straight to the temple and looks around at everything, then leaves and spends the night at Bethany.

You can almost hear the air going out of the expectation of the disciples as Jesus just looks around, does nothing and says nothing, and them leaves. In my mind’s eye I can see the twelve trying to catch up with Jesus as he turns around and leaves looking at each other with a surprised ‘what now?’ expression. 

You can bet that the loud prophetic entrance was not lost upon the religious leaders who would have viewed the event as a direct challenge to their authority. After all, Jesus and his entourage went straight to the temple and it looked like there was going to be some kind of confrontation since they had a huge crowd with them.

You could probably hear a pin drop among the priests and scribes as they held their breaths wondering what Jesus was going to do next along with the huge crowd following him. You can almost still hear their sigh of relief when he turned around and left without saying or doing a thing. But the event would have left them with a new conviction that something needed to be done about this Jesus and soon.

Meanwhile, Jesus hurriedly leaves the temple and Jerusalem behind and as he does the huge crowd following him dissipates in disappointment leaving only his regular followers with him as he spends the night at Bethany.  Maybe at Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ place.

The disciples probably spent the evening talking among themselves wondering what had just happened. They had rallied a huge crowd in Jerusalem and could have taken over the temple but Jesus just turned around and left.

 

III.  Jesus Curses a Fig Tree -Verses 12-14

The next day while leaving Bethany, the passage tells us that Jesus was hungry and seeing a fig tree in the distance went to it to get some fruit, but it was barren with nothing but leaves.

The text tells us it was not really the season for fig trees to bear fruit.  Nevertheless, Jesus cursed the fig tree and proclaimed that no one would ever eat from it again.  The disciples witnessed this and probably wondered along with us why Jesus would curse an ‘out of season’ tree. It makes no sense. So what is this really all about?  Why did Jesus curse the tree, and what is the significance of this event?

First of all, the ’fig tree’ was one of the symbols for the nation of Israel.  As the fig tree in this passage had an abundance of leaves but no fruit; so also Israel with its huge temple appeared to be serving God but had no real Godly fruit in season or out.

The religious leaders were more concerned about their own positions, authority, and riches and had very little care for the people or God they were supposed to be serving.  As Jesus had cursed the tree, so also would he curse Israel and its fine temple–the day would come that “not one stone would be left upon another…” (Mark 13:2).

 

IV.  Jesus Spends the Day in Jerusalem and Clears the Temple –Verses 15-19

     Verses 15-16:   Jesus overturns the tables and the booths of business in the temples.  There were actual businesses selling animals and products for temple sacrifice.  There was even a money changing booth, because the Roman money with the image of Caesar on it was considered a sacrilege.  That money had to be exchanged for ‘temple’ coins.  Apparently, these businesses were not entirely honest, and actually cheated the people who came to worship in God’s temple.

When I view this scene in my mind, I see Judas right behind Jesus picking up some of the coins that were spilled on the ground until Jesus stared directly at him. Judas was the ‘treasurer’ for the small Jesus group but probably looked forward to supervising the Temple treasury one day and the wealth that came along with that position. Part of that was earned by these very tables which had become a tradition in the courtyard of the House of God.

     Verse 17:  Jesus was full of righteous indignation and quoted from the prophets. “Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.”:

7… for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. –Is. 56:7

11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord. -Jer.7:11

Jesus stayed all day in the temple teaching.  The Greek word here denotes a regular extended systematic teaching, rather than just this is proclamation.

     Verse 18:  The chief priests observed the actions of Jesus and heard his teaching and were particularly concerned about the large crowd that were following him.  They were trying to figure out a way to stop him and even kill him but they were afraid of all the people who seemed to be hanging on every word he was teaching. 

Jesus was challenging their authority and the people seemed to be going along with it. He had obviously put a dent in their income that day, but worse, there was an obvious threat that he and his group might replace them as the major religious leaders in Israel and the temple. Then they would lose their positions of power along with their income. 

They were using their positions to gain vast amounts of wealth through cheating temple worshippers and this Jesus unveiled their fraudulent and unscriptural practices to the people.  They were now ready to do anything to get rid of Jesus, even kill him. But to do that they would have to come up with some reason to go to the Romans since they did not have the legal authority to administer capitol punishment

     Verse 19:  When evening came, Jesus and his disciples left the city once more.  Probably back to Bethany where they had lots of friends and some degree of protection.

 

V.  Lessons from the Withered Fig Tree –Verses 20-26

The next morning, Jesus and his disciples pass by the fig tree that Jesus had cursed the day before and it was withered.  Jesus uses this example as an object for teaching ‘faith’ to his group.  The disciples were amazed that the word of Jesus against the tree had been fulfilled so quickly.

     Verses 22-24:  Have faith and you can remove mountains, believe and what you pray for will be given to you?   This really isn’t a matter of ‘claiming’ what you want and if you have enough faith you will receive it.  One could never ‘work’ hard enough to get this kind of effective faith–that is, the kind that literally moves mountains.

That kind of faith comes only through the Holy Spirit.  It is God given faith in order to achieve God given tasks and goals which he inspires. Actually this scripture supports that it is only God’s faith that can really move mountains. Although most of the versions of the Bible translate the Greek at the beginning of verse 22:

Ekete pistin theou

to read- “Have faith in God.”

The literal Greek is far different and probably does not make sense to most scholars:  

“Have faith of God.”  or  “Have (the) faith of God.”

Theou (God) in the Greek is ‘possessive’ here- Therefore it is God’s faith that you must have if you are going to move mountains. The only way you can get the God type of faith is directly from God.

One of the lessons here is that you can ask God and specifically the Holy Spirit for greater faith when needed. Remember the father in Mark 9 who wanted Jesus to cast a demon out of his son:

…But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him,

“‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out[a] and said,

I believe; help my unbelief!” –Mark 9:22-25

When we need greater faith, we can always ask God for more- to give us what we need from his unlimited supply.

There are many stories in the scriptures that demonstrates that God gives people the privilege to play a major part in the process by stepping out in faith.  e.g.:  Elijah calls down fire from heaven; Jonathan attacks a whole army of Philistines with just his armor bearer; David battles Goliath, etc.  The Father honors those who seek a greater faith and relationship with him.

     Verse 25:  Jesus teaches another important lesson in this verse.  If you do want your prayers to be answered, make sure you have forgiven everyone and have no grudges against anyone.  Then the Heavenly Father will be able to forgive you also; and you will be in a better relationship with God, having nothing to obstruct and to get in the way of your prayers being fulfilled. With a greater relationship with God, you can seek and ask for greater God given faith and results.

 

VI.  The Authority of Jesus is challenged Once More –Verses 27-33

Jesus and his disciples enter the temple once more and are confronted by a group of ‘chief priests’, teachers, and elders. They ask Jesus:

“By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?”

Jesus answers them by asking them a question on the origin of John the Baptist’s ministry:

  “…was it from God or men? Tell me.”

Notice that the priests are only concerned about their own positions and the opinion of the people.  They really don’t seem to care whether the ministry of John, or Jesus for that matter, was ordained by God. So they claim not to know. Therefore Jesus refused to answer their question since they were really not looking for an answer.  They had already made up their minds about Jesus and wouldn’t have believed what he said if he told them anyway.

Over and over again for three years Jesus had demonstrated his Godly authority to many of those same leaders through healings and miracles that only true prophets and servants of God had done in the past. Yet they continued to question him about authority? Some of them had even suggested that he had done everything by the power of Satan instead of God.

In claiming not to know they actually condemned themselves and the conversation  was over.  They were trying to trip up and judge Jesus, but in the process, they themselves were tested and found wanting in God’s own temple.

 

-Read: Mark 12 for the next lesson.

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-LESSON 11: Mark 10

by Dr. D ~

Lesson 11: Mark -Chapter 10

 

First read Mark 10 all the way through.

The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 10

Things you don’t see everyday:

Verses 33-34:

-Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection

Verse 52:

-Jesus heals a blind man

Notes and Commentary:

I.  Jesus Teaches about Marriage and Divorce –Verses 1-12

     Verse 1: Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and traveled south into Judea and then east of the Jordan river. Huge crowds came to him there and he ministered to them. In Mark it tells us that he taught them as usual while Matthew 19 adds that he also healed some folks.

     Verse 2:  Again, religious leaders seek out Jesus looking for a way to trip him up. This time on the volatile subject of divorce.

They probably believe that they will get him one way or another. If Jesus comes out in support of the prevailing cultural tradition then he will be exposed as a ‘sinner’ opposing the Mosaic Law. On the other hand, if he supports the stricter ruling of Moses on divorce then he will upset many in the crowd and probably lose some of his  followers.

To fully appreciate the response of Jesus it helps to understand the cultural context.  It had become a practice in Judah for divorce to be in the hands of the husband only.  Notice that the Pharisees are not asking if it is lawful for a woman to divorce her husband.

It had become culturally acceptable for a husband to divorce his wife for any reason at all and he could do it by simply stating- "I divorce you" -three times and it was done and over with and he could kick her out of the house. Most no longer bothered with writing a certificate as Moses had required nor did they go before a judge or Rabbi. 

     Verses 3-5:  Jesus asked the Pharisees what the Mosaic commandment was on  Divorce. They respond by saying that he demanded that a certificate of divorce be written before a man could get rid of his wife. Jesus points out their hypocrisy in the manner and even that of Moses.

     Verses 6-9:  Jesus gives them a scriptural lesson here and concludes that divorce was not part of God’s original plan for marriage.  After all, it is God who joined the two together and no one really had the authority to end it.

     Verses 10-12:  The Pharisees were right to conclude that the teaching of Jesus on divorce might disturb his followers. It still disturbs many of us today.

His own close disciples ask him about it again privately. He then expands on his teaching and tells them that a man or woman who divorces their spouse and marries again are guilty of adultery (a very serious crime worthy of stoning in their culture). This would have been shocking to anyone in that nation and generation and obviously his own disciples had a hard time with this teaching. Matthew 19:10 tells us that they concluded that maybe it would be better not to marry at all.

Note here that Jesus mentions the possibility that a woman might divorce her husband which was against the prevailing cultural practice.  Also, it would seem from the language that a charge of adultery followed the man or woman who was responsible for the divorce and then remarries.

In that generation and culture it normally was the man who divorced the wife, usually against her will since it left the woman with no support. Today in our culture most of the divorces are mutual and supposedly ‘no-fault’ which in reality is a misnomer. Nevertheless, Christians today in the West aren’t anymore comfortable with the teaching of Jesus than his disciples were in the first century. Particularly since the divorce rate among those in the church is nearly the same as in the general culture.

The Gospel of Matthew (19: 3) records that the Pharisees added ‘cause’ to their question on divorce:

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

After all, men were divorcing their wives for any old reason in those days- for burning the dinner, for not cleaning the house, or most of the time for not being as pretty as they once were. In answering the causal question in Matt. 19:9 Jesus teaches that it is unlawful- "…except for sexual immorality" (unfaithfulness).

II.  Jesus and The Little Children –Verses 13-16

The disciples try to keep the children away from Jesus.  After all, there is a whole lot of important stuff to do, and the children will just get in the way.  Jesus wants to see the children and uses this occasion as a lesson for the adults:

1.  The children are important. 

2.  The Kingdom is to be freely received like a child receives. 

3.  Children are closer to the Kingdom than the adults. 

4.  Jesus gives the children his blessing.

This scripture is commonly used in many Churches today who practice some kind of blessing or dedication of babies or young children in church services. However there is a real lesson here for adults.

III.  The Rich Young Man –Verses 17-22

The young man wants to know what he still needs to ‘DO’ in order to inherit Eternal Life.  The Mosaic Law listed all sorts of things to do and apparently he had followed through on those provisions. However, in the Older Covenant, one could never be sure of salvation.

     Verse 18:  It is interesting that the young man refers to Jesus as "good teacher",  But Jesus replies that:

“Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone." 

Some have cited this passage as a proof text where Jesus actually denied his divinity.  This is not the case, Jesus merely asked why he had called him ‘good’ not that he wasn’t. Then states that ‘only God is good’, without qualifying whether the designation applied to himself or not. 

One thing for sure, according to Jesus it did not apply to this young man though the man probably considered himself to be ‘good’ which was probably why Jesus set him straight. Gaining heaven and eternal wasn’t just about being good.

This passage brings to memory the occasion (Mark 8:27) when Jesus asked his disciples:

“Who do people say I am?” 

The young man could have replied: "You are the Christ, the Son of God", like Peter once did when Jesus had asked-"but who do you say I am?"  In that case (if the young man had faith in Jesus), Jesus could have confirmed that he would indeed inherit Eternal Life. However, the man did not know who Jesus really was else he would have probably left his wealth behind and followed him. 

     Verses 21-22:  Notice that it says here that Jesus loved him but unfortunately it was not mutual. The man was wealthy and in final analysis he loved his riches more than he actually loved God and in the process demonstrated a violation of the most important commandment of all- to love God more than anything else.

Jesus told him that if he really wanted eternal life all he had to do is give all of his money away and :

“Then come, follow me.”

The young man said he was concerned about eternal life and yet he left Jesus behind and went his own way. Sadly he left behind the very one who could have secured it for him- The King of the Kingdom of God. Sadly today many walk away from Jesus to do their own thing and in the process also leave behind the opportunity to receive the real abundant life and life everlasting.     

IV.  Can The Rich Be Saved? –Verses 23-27

     Verses 23-26:   It was a popular understanding in first century Judea that the rich had gained it all because God had blessed them for being ‘good,’ righteous, and for following the commandments of the Law.  It was assumed that the wealthy would be probably saved in the life to come since they had the time to study the Law and follow it more so than the poor. 

So when Jesus seemed to teach that it was impossible for the rich to be saved, the disciples are upset:

"who then can be saved?". 

     Verse 27:  Jesus was trying to show them that no one could be saved merely by their own efforts-  through things that they do or don’t do.  Salvation comes only as a gift from God after all we can do. So it is only with God that:

"all things are possible". 

Even a rich person can be saved. Without God, no one can enter into the Kingdom, even the rich, the good, and the self righteous. It is really all about having a relationship with God- loving him with all of your heart, mind, and strength.

If only the young rich man knew who Jesus really was he could have obtained his goal of eternal life by following Jesus and by having a relationship with the Son of God who actually holds the keys to the Kingdom and eternal life. Not only that, he would have received the joy of the Lord, peace and assurance of eternal life, and a far more abundant life than his riches could have ever given him.

One wonders what happened to the young man? The fact that he was unnamed may be ominous. He made an unfortunate choice here and he may have never gotten another opportunity to secure the very eternal life he was seeking.

People also have a choice today to accept a relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord of the Kingdom of Heaven or go their own way and do their own thing and miss out on not only receiving blessings in this life but the gift of eternal life to come. What is your choice?

V.  The Disciples are Upset and Concerned –Verses 28-31

     Verse 28:  Peter and the disciples are now concerned about their own positions in the life to come.  After all, if a rich and supposedly righteous man was not necessarily destined for the Kingdom of God, then what about poor fishermen from Galilee, who gave up everything to follow Jesus?

     Verses 29-31:  Jesus reassures his disciples that those who gave up all for him and the Gospel will be rewarded, even if they may face persecutions.  However, he also says, that many who are first will end up being last.

The implication here is that these poor fishermen and tax collecting disciples who were looked down on by the religious leaders of Judea would be among the first in the Kingdom while those who were now among the ruling class would not fare as well as they thought they would in the life to come. This could apply to the rich young man who did not give up everything to follow Jesus but went his own way instead. An unfortunate decision that people are still making today

VI.  Again, Jesus Predicts His Own Death and Resurrection –Verses 32-34

     Verse 32:  Jesus heads for Jerusalem and the disciples are surprised and afraid since they know that the religious leaders in the capitol are against them and waiting.

     Verses 33-34:  Once more he informs them of the events to come.  This is the third time (See also: Mark 8:31 & 9:30-31) that Jesus has predicted his own death and Resurrection. In spite all of the warnings the disciples aren’t really prepared for what is to come.

Notice, that Jesus says that the Jewish religious leaders will ‘betray’ him, but that it will be the gentiles (the Romans) who actually beat and kill him.  Somehow, the entire Jewish race gets unfairly blamed for death of Jesus while the Italians get a traditional pass as Christians. The Jewish religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus but they didn’t  have the legal authority to carry out capitol punishment so had to depend upon the Romans to get the job done. Despite the weak protests of Pontius Pilate, it was Roman soldiers, following the official orders of the Roman state and their commanders, who beat Jesus mercilessly, nailed him to a cross, and carried out and supervised his horrible and excruciating death.

VII.  The Boldness of James and John –Verses 35-40

James and John, the Zebedee bothers are hoping to be number 2 & 3 in authority, after Jesus rules the Kingdom.  There guys were pretty bold and Jesus called them the ‘Sons of Thunder’ (Mark 3:17). On one occasion recorded in Luke 9:54, the two brothers wanted Jesus to call down fire from heaven (like Elijah) upon a Samaritan village which refused to accommodate their traveling group.

James and John obviously did not understand or believe what Jesus had just told them about his coming death and Resurrection. After all Jesus had said they still believed in their cultural traditions about the Messiah taking over and ruling the entire nation eventually the whole world. When he did, James and John wanted to be sitting next to the Messiah in the throne room helping him rule.

     Verses 38-39:  Jesus asks them if they are ready to accept the same treatment that he was soon going to face.  Of coarse they say yes, without really knowing what they are saying yes to.

Jesus then confirms that they most certainly will face the ‘cup’ of persecution in the future. Nevertheless he didn’t have the authority to assign the seating in the throne room- that right belong to his Father.

In the future, James was among the first of the disciples and the twelve to be martyred.  John was later boiled in a vat of oil, and exiled to the isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.  John was the last of the twelve to survive living into the turn of the next century, his death was unrecorded.

VIII.  True Leadership According to Jesus –Verses 41-45

The other 10 Apostles were upset with the Zebedee boys.  The whole group was jockeying for high positions within the Kingdom. Again this demonstrates that none of the disciples truly understood what Jesus had said at least three times about his coming death and Resurrection.

Jesus uses this as an opportunity to teach them about true leadership.

He uses the gentile rulers as an example of how not to lead–as ‘lords’ over the people.  Those who would be leaders in the Kingdom are called to be the servants of all.  Churches, denominations, and Christian organizations today should pay closer attention to the leadership guidelines taught by Jesus here.

IX.  Bartimaeus Receives His Sight –Verses 46-52

     Verses 46-48:  Jesus and the disciples are leaving Jericho with a large crowd following.  A blind man named Bar-timaeus was sitting along the side of the road begging when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  He started crying out and then shouted even louder as folks around him tried to shut him up.  Notice that he  knows who Jesus really is:

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

This proclamation of Bartimaeus is one of the scriptural sources for the ‘Jesus Prayer’ (along with Luke 18:13) which is preeminent and popular among the Eastern Orthodox churches.

     Verses 49-51:  Finally, he is called by Jesus to come and is asked what he wanted Jesus to do for him. He wanted to be healed and receive his sight.

Today, anyone who recognizes who Jesus really is and asks for mercy, like Bartimaeus did, can still receive blessings and healing from the resurrected and living Jesus Christ. Many folks have found that the ancient Christian ‘Jesus Prayer’ still works and changes lives:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

  Verse 52:  Notice three things at the end of this story:

1.  He had faith. 

2. He was healed. 

3. He followed Jesus. 

Since his name is remembered here in Mark, Bartimaeus may have become a regular follower of Jesus and among the early members of the Christian community.

 

-Read: Mark 11 for the next lesson.

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