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Mark-Lesson 14

  • Thomas Klock Harvest Ministries
  • 2007 21 Sep
Mark-Lesson 14

Lesson 14

Jesus Teaches about…

Mark 10:1-31


Knowing the Scriptures:

Studies in Mark’s Gospel



In Lesson 13 we discussed the amazing transfiguration of Jesus, appearing in His glory with Moses and Elijah.  This blew the minds of Peter, James and John who witnessed this sight, and of course Peter couldn’t keep from saying something about it.  We can’t blame him though, for this transfiguration prefigured the coming Kingdom in which the glory of Christ will be revealed to all.  When they returned from this mountaintop experience, they found opposition awaited them in the form of a demon-possessed boy.  The nine failed disciples had cast some doubts in the heart of a desperate father.  When Jesus came on the scene, He was able to meet the needs of both this severely tormented boy and his father, who admitted that he needed help with his unbelief, but trusted Jesus none the less.  As a result the boy was set free, possibly raised from the dead, and the disciples had been taught a lesson.  But then unbelievably the disciples argued among themselves which would be the greatest in God’s kingdom!  Jesus used a little child as an example of the way they should seek to follow Him, not walking in pride or excluding others that may not have been of their own little group but still were being used by God.  At the close of Mark 9 Jesus gave some extreme exhortations about the things that could keep people from the kingdom, and about being “salty” with one another, not losing our savor and not being able to be salty again.  Rather we are to have the impact of salt in others’ lives, walking in peace and unity, and saving many from the horrors of hell that await all who reject Him. 


Over the next two lessons we wrap up the brief middle section of Mark.  We can see a definite difference in the way Jesus ministered after the events at Caesarea Philippi.  He has now set his face like flint toward Jerusalem and the fulfillment of the reason He came:  His horrible hour of suffering but through it accomplishing our salvation.[i]  The first half of Mark 10 addresses five teachings of Jesus that are important for us to know and to practice in our lives.  Let’s hear what Jesus said about these topics.


DAY ONE:  Marriage

Please carefully read Mark 10:1-12 and answer the following questions.


1.  As we can see, the crowds were still surrounding Jesus at this point, and He continued to teach and minister to them.  What question did the Pharisees interrupt this ministry with, and what did they respond to Him in turn (v. 2-4)?

It is important to understand the background of these questions about marriage and divorce and how Mark recorded Jesus’ response to them.  Among the Jews there were different schools of thought regarding divorce, but not of remarriage; in fact among the Jews the question was not, “May a divorced person marry again?” because remarriage was permitted and even expected. Their biggest concern was, “What are the legal grounds for a man to divorce his wife?” Rabbi Hillel was very liberal in his interpretation, allowing a man to divorce his wife for any reason, even burning his dinner! Rabbi Shimmai was stricter, teaching that the critical words some uncleanness (Deuteronomy 24) referred only to premarital sin. If a newly married husband discovered that his wife was not a virgin, then he could put her away.  The Jewish religious leaders tried to use this questioning of Jesus to put him in the difficult position of siding with one of these sides against another, or worse yet turning from the Law of Moses.   Also remember that this district was ruled by Herod Antipas, which may explain their actions because John the Baptist had been slain for preaching against Herod’s adulterous marriage (Mark 6:14–29). Further, it appears from this that God does not accept divorce as valid; any man who divorces his wife is not really divorced, and if he marries someone else, he commits adultery. No one else in antiquity spoke of divorce in such strong terms. Most Jewish teachers allowed polygamy, and would not have seen marrying a second wife as adultery, even if they had agreed that the man was still married to the first wife. But Jesus eliminates the double standard; a man consorting with two women is as adulterous as a woman consorting with two men. Jesus’ point is to advocate faithfulness to one’s first wife, not to break up existing polygamous unions. Unlike Roman law, Palestinian Jewish law did not allow a woman to divorce her husband (although under extreme circumstances she could request that the court force him to divorce her). The only Jewish women who flouted this law were aristocrats like Herodias (6:17) who paid more attention to Greek custom than to Jewish custom. Mark, who writes for readers living where wives could divorce their husbands, brings out the implications of Jesus’ teaching for them too. Craig Keener well said, “Like modern preachers, ancient writers had the liberty to paraphrase sayings to bring out their meanings.”[ii]  Matthew’s version of this will be discussed below.


2.  How did Jesus respond to these leaders, and point them back farther even than the Law of Moses (v. 5-9)?


3.  Later when the crowds had left and Jesus was alone with His disciples, how did He further explain what He was trying to teach about this (v. 10-12)?


4.  Matthew recorded Jesus’ exception to this rule, which Mark omitted, as his point was addressing the free practices of Greco-Roman culture with the teaching of Jesus about this.  What exception did Jesus mention in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:31-32) and Matthew’s version of this same incident (Matthew 19:7-9)?  Also, what did Paul also say about this in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16?


NOTES: The word fornication in Greek is porneía, meaning fornication, lewdness, or any type of sexual sin.[iii]  In general it refers to every kind of illegal sexual intercourse outside the bond of marriage; it also has a more limited sense of immoral sexual activity between unmarried people.[iv] To commit adultery in Greek in Matthew 19:9 is moichátai, a verb literally meaning to commit adultery against one’s self.  Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines it as “conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit intercourse with a married or a betrothed woman, and such a woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and an unmarried woman was fornication. Adultery was regarded as a great social wrong, as well as a great sin.”[v]

Scripture Memory:  This week we will be memorizing Mark 10:27.  Review the passage several times throughout the day each day this week, and by the end of the week, you should have it memorized completely.


But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27, nkjv).


DAY TWO:  Children

Please carefully read Mark 10:13-16 and answer the following questions.


Remember the old saying “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage?”  Maybe our culture needs to remember that!  Of course it is natural to follow up Jesus’ teachings on marriage with that of children.  John Phillips well said about this, “The family must be protected at all costs.  Divorce is a terrible destroyer of children;”[vi] as is the attitude that we see here projected by the disciples.


1.  No doubt at the end of that exhausting day, what happened, and what did the disciples do (v. 13)?


2.  The Greek tense of they brought children to Him is imperfect, meaning “they kept on bringing them.”  Maybe the disciples were bothered by this seemingly endless parade of those wanting their children blessed by Jesus.  Also, the Greek word for children can refer to children between any from an infant to a mature child, so there may have seemed to the tired disciples that a mob of them was coming in.  What was Jesus’ reaction to their actions (v. 14)?


3.  The word for greatly displeased (indignation in the kjv) is used by Mark alone, in Greek meaning Jesus became indignant, and is a strong word of deep emotion coming from a root word meaning to feel pain.  How did Jesus further rebuke the disciples and act as He intended to (v. 15, 16)?


4.  The life of a child was tough enough without the disciples’ selfish interference.  Craig Keener tells us about the lot of a child in those days:


Children were loved but were socially powerless; the high infant mortality rate meant that they were physically powerless as well, many dying before attaining maturity. (In the poorest places, like Egypt, perhaps half of those born died by the age of twelve. Poorer Gentile families often discarded babies if they thought they could not support them.) Eager to get on with the business of setting up the kingdom, the disciples have little time for people who do not wield political power.[vii]


By their actions then show “they did not consider the children to be important! Their attitude was strange, because Jesus had already taught them to receive the children in His name and to be careful not to cause any of them to stumble...Once again, they forgot what He had taught them.”[viii]  Instead of this attitude, what should one’s attitude toward children be (Psalm 127:3-5)?  How should we be treating them instead of the gruff way these “men of God” did (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21)?

Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.


But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is___________________________, but not ______________ God; for with God ____________ things are possible"                                (Mark 10:27, nkjv).


DAY THREE:  Religion

Please carefully read Mark 10:17-22 and answer the following questions.


1.  As Jesus journeyed forth, who met Him, what did He ask of Jesus, and how did Jesus interestingly respond to him (v. 17, 18)?

NOTES: This young man is described as a ruler in Luke 18:18.  This Greek word is archon.  Matthew described him as a neaniskos. The word archon means “a first one,” someone of preeminence. This word is used by Matthew (9:18) for the chief of a synagogue, and Luke uses it for a chief Pharisee (14:1). Josephus apparently understood it as referring to any member of the Sanhedrin. It eventually became a general term for a great man or prince. Neaniskos is a term which describes any age between boyhood and middle life.[ix]



Jesus challenged this man’s faulty perception of good as something measured by human achievement. “No one is good, absolutely perfect, except God alone, the true Source and Standard of goodness. The man needed to see himself in the context of God’s perfect character. Jesus’ response did not deny His own deity but was a veiled claim to it. The man, unwittingly calling Him ‘good,’ needed to perceive Jesus’ true identity (Later, however, he dropped the word ‘good,’ v. 20).”[x] When Jesus responded to his question with “Why do you call Me good?” He didn’t mean, ‘this is not applicable to Me, but to God only.’ The case is parallel to the unwillingness of Jesus to be called Christ indiscriminately. He wants no one to give Him any title of honor till he knows what he is doing. Jesus wanted this man in particular to think carefully on what is good, and who, all the more that there were competing types of goodness to choose from, that of the Pharisees, and that exhibited in His own teaching.[xi]  This young man proceeded along the idea that his religion was the answer, but there was no goodness in him, nor can religion accomplish this; He needed to look to God who alone is and is the source of righteousness and goodness.


2.  What did Jesus ask the young man next, and what was his reaction to this (v. 19, 20)?


3.  We shouldn’t doubt that this young man had made every effort to obey God’s Law since his youth.  But it was obviously mere religious ritual and practice to him.  Jesus looked at this young man, the Greek word meaning to fix one’s eyes on an object, a searching glaze. Mark alone tells us after this intent gaze that Jesus loved him, agapao, which means a selfless love, and speaks of entering into the new condition of loving him.  Yet Jesus knew what it was that was still lacking, as Matthew 19:20 put it.  What did Jesus ask of him, and how does his reaction to this reflect the decision he made (v. 21, 22)?


4.  This young man went away sorrowful, which means “became gloomy,” like a storm clouding his face, because “wanted to get salvation on his own terms, and he was disappointed.”[xii] Mere religious actions and works can never produce salvation, and in the end religiosity apart from a relationship with God through Christ leaves us gloomy and disappointed.  We also saw this young man’s true “god,” his great amount of possessions.  How do the following passages demonstrate how we cannot be saved by merely following the Law, even if we did it as well as this young man?


Galatians 2:16-21; 3:10-11, 19, 22

Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8


Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.


But Jesus ___________________ at them and said, "With men it is___________________________, but not ______________ God; for with God ____________ things are _______________________"                                (Mark 10:27, nkjv).


DAY FOUR:  Salvation

Please carefully read Mark 10:23-27 and answer the following questions.


1.  After the young man left, discouraged by the emptiness of mere religiosity, what shocking thing (at least to the disciples) did Jesus have to say about salvation (v. 23-25)?


NOTE: This is the only time in the Synoptic gospels that Jesus referred to the disciples as children, referring to their immaturity, although John used the term on occasion.[xiii]


The Eye of the Needle
This phrase Jesus used reflected a Jewish figure of speech, hyperbole, for doing something impossible, here a large animal going through the eye of a needle. The saying refers to a literal needle. Thinking Jesus referred to a gate in Jerusalem called the “eye of a needle” is incorrect, because that gate was built around the Ninth Century A.D.  Considering the prevailing Jewish attitude toward riches, the disciples’ amazement is not surprising. Verse 23 describes not only the difficulty of the rich in entering the kingdom, but the best attested Greek text affirms the difficulty of everyone in so do.  The contrast between the largest Palestinian animal and one of the smallest openings is clearly intended to indicate the impossibility of a rich person—or anyone else (v. 24)—entering the kingdom by doing something for one’s self.[xiv]


2.  The problem is not in having riches or possessions.  The issue involved that keeps people from entering God’s kingdom is not wanting to let go of what controls their life.  The incorrect view of the day and perhaps of today was that having riches was viewed by the Jews as a reward, symbolic of divine blessing.  What was the disciples’ shocked response to this therefore (v. 26)?

3.  How did Jesus respond to this (v. 27)?


4.  Jesus’ answer couldn’t be clearer:  Salvation is impossible for man to achieve; it is only by the grace and miraculous intervention of God that salvation is made possible, as we read yesterday.  Yet what an encouragement this brings to us as well.  What is impossible for us to achieve was accomplished by Jesus for us, making the way to salvation available to all who believe.  As we close out our study today, read the following passages and record how they speak of God accomplishing that which is impossible in human terms.


Genesis 18:14a

Job 42:2

Jeremiah 32:17

Hebrews 7:25 


Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.


But Jesus ___________________ at them and said, "With _____________ it is___________________________, but not ______________ God; for ______________ God ____________ things are _______________________"   (Mark 10:27, nkjv).


DAY FIVE:  Commitment

Please carefully read Mark 10:28-31 and answer the following questions.


1.  After the teaching of Jesus, Peter wanted to make sure they were on the right track.  What did he say (v. 28)?


2.  What was Jesus’ long response to this, and to what unusual thing did He add to list of rewards for self-sacrifice (v. 29, 30)?


NOTE: The medieval text adds the word “wife” after “mother” (KJV, NKJV), doubtless in an attempt to apply Peter’s example to celibate priests and monks; this is one of the few corruptions that crept into the KJV tradition of manuscripts when compared to older ones that have been found.[xv]  Christians aren’t promised 100 fold spouses in the life to come, similar to Islamic teaching, and this was an unfortunate insertion. 


3.  What important reminder did Jesus give to His followers, including us today (v. 31)?


4.  You’ll remember in previous studies that Mark wrote these things to Gentile believers who were suffering the beginning of a tremendous wave of persecution in Rome, and the insertion of “persecutions” here would certainly speak to them.[xvi]  But the greatest reward to come is that of eternal life!  The Greek word for eternal is aionios, meaning constant, abiding, eternal; it is life which is God’s, not affected by the limitations of time, which He imparts to us.  What are some things you learn about how the New Testament writers used this word through the following passages?


John 3:15-16, 36; 5:24; 10:28

Romans 5:21, 6:22-23

2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 5:1

1 Timothy 1:16; 6:12

Hebrews 5:9; 9:15

1 John 5:11-13


Scripture Memory:  Can you write out this week’s passage by memory here below?  Give it a try, and keep reviewing the passage several times throughout the day.


Mark 10:27:



Following Christ


We have seen this week five areas of teaching of Jesus at this time that Mark thought important, and indeed they are for us all.  They show us the distinction between mere religion and Christianity, and in these occasions Jesus pointed those hearing Him to the Word of God, not man’s opinion or philosophy.  Those that choose to follow Jesus must remember that we are called to be different.  Consider what Paul wrote to the Corinthians as to this in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18, pointing back to the Old Testament:


And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people."  Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate , says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty" (nkjv).


Today think through the five teachings Jesus gave and record your thoughts about them or how you need to make improvement in them, bettering reflect Jesus to others:


1.  Your marriage is based on the Word of God and you are taking it seriously in view of God’s purposes for it:


2.  You are not a stumbling block to others in coming to Christ, and are yourself walking in a childlike trust and faith in Him:


3.  You are demonstrating that your life is not mere religion, but demonstrates a true seeking of God from the heart, being willing to let go of that which keeps you from being all you can in Him:


4.  Realizing that our salvation is impossible apart from the grace of God, but also that with God all things are possible, and He will see you through your current and future circumstances:


5.  That sacrifice and commitment are required of the believer, but that sacrifice is not forgotten before God, who can give us much more than what we think we’re losing for His Kingdom and glory:


Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for the Man of sorrows tried the load. Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble. The Lord help you to bow your spirit in submission to the divine will ere you fall asleep this night, that waking with to-morrow’s sun, you may go forth to the day’s cross with the holy and submissive spirit which becomes a follower of the Crucified.[xvii]


Scripture Memory:  Hopefully you now can write out this week’s passage completely by memory.  Do so now, and keep on reviewing it do you will be ready to share it with others in your group time.


Mark 10:27:

[i] Homer A. Kent, Jr., The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Winona Lakes:  BMH Books, 2005), p. 141.

[ii]  This information is based on James A. Brooks, Mark.  In David S. Dockery ed., The New American Commentary, Vol. 23 (Nashville:  Broadman Press, 1991), pp. 156-157; John D. Grassmick, Mark.  In John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications, 1983), p. 148-149; Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downer’s Grove:  InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 161; A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  In Oak Harbor:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1932, 1933, 1997); Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1 (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc., 1989), pp. 140, 144; and Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Studies in the New Testament:  For the English Reader (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co; in Bellingham:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1984, 1997).

[iii] Unless elsewhere noted, all Greek word/phrase translations are based on the following:  A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  In Oak Harbor:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1932, 1933, 1997);  James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible:  Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order, Electronic Edition (Ontario:  Woodside Bible Fellowship; in Bellingham:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996); M.R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament (Bellingham:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002); Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Studies in the New Testament:  For the English Reader (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co; in Bellingham:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1984, 1997); and Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary:  New Testament, Electronic Edition (Chattanooga:  AMG Publishers, in Bellingham:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1992, 1993, 2000).

[iv] W. A. Elwell and P.W. Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary (Tyndale Reference Library. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001.  In Logos Research Systems, Inc., Bellingham).

[v] M. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Electronic Edition (Oak Harbor:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1897, 1996.

[vi] John Phillips, Exploring the Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids:  Kregel Publications, 2004), p. 216.

[vii] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, pp. 161-162.

[viii] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1, p. 145.

[ix] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Studies in the New Testament:  For the English Reader.

[x]John D. Grassmick, Mark.  In John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications, 1983), p. 150.

[xi] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Studies in the New Testament:  For the English Reader.

[xii] Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 146.

[xiii] John D. Grassmick, Mark, p. 151.

[xiv] See John D. Grassmick, p. 151; Craig S. Keener, p. 162; and James A. Brooks, p. 164.

[xv] James A. Brooks, p. 165.

[xvi] Brooks, p. 165.

[xvii] C.H. Spurgeon,  Morning and evening : Daily readings . Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, 1995


© 2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2005-2006.