v1-12 - Once again, Jesus and the disciples are on the move. Once again, Jesus' custom is to teach the crowds that come to Him, and once again the establishment shows up to 'test' Jesus.
This time they bait Jesus into talking about divorce, a topic as sticky and complicated then as it is now.
Jesus explains to them that
even though divorce was legally permitted in Jewish law,
parts of God's law were given to accommodate the results of sin, not necessarily to reflect God's holy intentions.
You have to keep in mind the context of this conversation:
Jesus was responding to a rigged question from the establishment;
His answer certainly helps us understand God's intention for marriage, but...
Interestingly, Jesus appeals to God's will as He expressed it in creation, not in the law.
Jesus' answer is meant to shift our understanding of what the law is.
The establishment thought keeping the law was their ticket to holiness,
But Jesus teaches here that even if people could perfectly keep the law, they would still fall short of God's holiness.
v13-16 - Jesus famously instructs His followers to receive the Kingdom of God with childlike faith and trust.
v17-31 - Notice how the man approaches Jesus: he runs up to Jesus, and falls on his knees before him. Nobody can doubt the sincerity of this man's desire to inherit eternal life.
He calls Jesus "good teacher," to which Jesus replies that "No one is good except God alone (v18)."
Jesus then rattles off the bare minimum standard of goodness: the second table of the law (how we are to treat others).
The man claims he's kept these commands, thereby claiming to be good...
His reply ignores what Jesus just said - that only God is good! Basically he just broke the command not to give false testimony.
He also eviscerates the first table of the law by claiming to be something that only God is. He's made himself into a false god.
Do you see how impossibly hard it is to keep God's law?
Jesus' reaction to this man's brazenness is amazing: "Jesus looked at him and loved him (v21)."
Jesus has warrant here to open up a can of wrath on this guy,
but instead Jesus shows him love.
Unfortunately, the man will not give up the trinkets of this world in trade for the riches of the Kingdom of God.
After breathlessly running up to Jesus to prove his goodness,
the man sulks away sad, unwilling to truly love Jesus back.
Not to be outdone, Peter chimes up:
The disciples may not have followed the law as well as they should have prior to meeting Jesus,
but Peter reminds Jesus that they have left everything to follow Him, which the rich law follower couldn't do.
But poor Peter falls into the same exact trap the rich man did.
Peter claimed to be good, even after hearing Jesus say that only God is good.
Jesus closes this whole sad passage by reminding the disciples they are saved by God's grace.
v32-34 - The group is heading to Jerusalem now, and there Jesus will face arrest and execution. But even so, note how Mark indicates that "Jesus is leading the way (v32)."
Once again, Jesus plainly tells the disciples what will happen there, including the fact that He will rise from the dead after three days.
Once again, this sails right over the heads of the disciples.
v35-45 - Brothers James & John, whom Jesus earlier nicknamed Boanerges (Sons of Thunder) boldly ask to sit at Jesus' side in glory.
They double down on their foolishness by agreeing to meet the same fate as Jesus (they should have listened to what Jesus had just told them in v32-34).
Jesus turns this unfortunate request into a teachable moment, instructing that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
v46-52 - In the last healing miracle recorded in Mark, Jesus gives sight to a blind man.
What a metaphor: Jesus came to give sight to the blind!
All the key themes of Mark's gospel come together here:
Bartimaeus recognizes Jesus as the messianic son of David
Jesus shows compassion and mercy towards him.
Bartimaeus wants to see, and Jesus gives him what he asked for because of his faith.
Immediately (one of Mark's favorite words) after being healed, Bartimaeus followed Jesus.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Read about God's perfect, complementary design for marriage in Genesis 2:15-25.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In this chapter, a man called Jesus “Good Teacher,” and then asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Before he asked this question, the man did something else. What was it? (See verse 17.)
Once more, if you were asked to summarize the most important “marks of Christian maturity” as taught in this chapter, which ones would you mention first?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God is the only one who is good - He's the overflowing fountain of all goodness (v18)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be able to let go of the things of this world and fully trust in a follow Jesus
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: