(Mt 19.1–15; Lk 18.15–17
Jesus moves into Israelite territory beyond Galilee, now concentrating on teaching.
The first step in a series of covenantal instructions and exhortations focuses on (the commandment against) adultery, i.e.,
on marriage and divorce.
See Deut 24.1–4; Jer 3.8
To the Pharisees' focus on divorce as a male prerogative, Jesus insists upon the equality of marriage intended in the creation
stories, Gen 1.27; 2.24
Cf. Mt 5.31–32
. The juxtaposition of vv. 2–9 and vv. 11–12
indicates that Jesus' restrictive interpretation of the commandment against adultery, allowing divorce but prohibiting remarriage,
was grounded in creation.
Not an idealization of childhood. Against the disciples' restriction of access to Jesus and his movement, Jesus uses children,
who occupied the lowest status in society, as a symbol for how one should receive the kingdom.
(Mt 19.16–30; Lk 18.18–30
). An exhortation for egalitarian covenantal economic relations.
The man's address is flattering and his question unusual for Mark, in which the common people have more concrete concerns.
Recitation of covenantal commandments, Ex 20.12–16
, adding defraud.
Jesus' test exposes him as adamantly attached to his wealth, which (from the covenantal viewpoint) he might have gained by
defrauding peasants by charging interest on loans, etc., thus also violating the commandment against stealing.
Jesus consolidates the point just illustrated with a little proverbial peasant humor: It is impossible for a rich person to
enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus' reply to the disciples' incomprehension, although precisely how it connects with the previous discussion is unclear.
To Peter's anxious plea, Jesus' reply is serious about the concrete restoration (houses, fields, families) but teasingly facetious
as well. The obvious exaggeration about the degree is canceled out by the persecutions, and the promise of eternal life in the age to come is a throwaway line mocking the rich man's concern (v. 17
(Mt 20.17–28; Lk 18.31–34, 22.24–27
). Mark uses Jesus' third explanation to the disciples that the Son of Man will be condemned, killed, and rise again, combined
with the disciples' stubborn misunderstanding, as a foil for exhortation on egalitarian socialpolitical relations in the movement
and its communities.
The tone becomes ominous as they head toward Jerusalem and the climax of Jesus' escalating conflict with the rulers there,
as explicitly dramatized in the details added to this third announcement of his destiny there.
James and John's request indicates that they have completely misunderstood Jesus' mission and movement as well as refused
to hear what Jesus has repeatedly told them.
They claim they are prepared to follow the path of Jesus into martyrdom for the cause, which he promises will happen. But
he rejects their request as presumptuous. On the metaphor of cup,
see 14.24,36; Isa 51.17; Lam 4.21
The request for positions of power and privilege results in conflict among the disciples. But in contrast to the imperial
practices of the nations, there will be no rulers in Jesus' movement or communities! Rather, would‐be leaders must take the
role of servants, following the paradigm of the Son of Man, Jesus, whose martyrdom will be a ransom (paid for redemption from
slavery or indebtedness) of many.
(Mt 20.29–34; Lk 18.35–43
). The second healing of a blind man that frames and completes this section focuses partly on the blindness of the disciples.
Jericho is in the Jordan Valley ca. 21 km (13 mi) eastnortheast of Jerusalem; a secondary road connected the two cities (see 11.1; Lk 10.30
). Bartimaeus means son of Timaeus in Aramaic.
Though blind, Bartimaeus nevertheless sees or knows that Jesus is the Son of David. In some circles a “son of David” was expected to restore the fortunes of Israel as king (2 Sam 5.1–5
). In Mk 12.35–37
Jesus himself explains that the messiah is not the “son of David.”
After his sight is restored, he pointedly followed Jesus on the way, in striking contrast to the disciples.
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