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The Gospel According to Mark: Chapter 10

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1 ON leaving there he came into the regions of Judaea and Transjordan. Once again crowds gathered round him, and he taught them as was his practice. 2He was asked a 10:2 He was asked: some witnesses read Pharisees approached and asked him. : ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ This question was put to test him. 3He responded by asking, ‘What did Moses command you?’ 4They answered, ‘Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife by a certificate of dismissal.’ 5Jesus said to them, ‘It was because of your stubbornness that he made this rule for you. 6But in the beginning, at the creation, “God made them male and female.” 7“That is why a man leaves his father and mother, and is united to his wife, 8and the two become one flesh.” It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.’

10When they were indoors again, the disciples questioned him about this. 11He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and remarries commits adultery against her; 12so too, if she divorces her husband and remarries, she commits adultery.’

13They brought children for him to touch. The disciples rebuked them, 14but when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Truly I tell you: whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ 16And he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

17As he was starting out on a journey, a stranger ran up, and, kneeling before him, asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to win eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19You know the commandments: “Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not give false evidence; do not defraud; honour your father and mother.”’ 20‘But Teacher,’ he replied, ‘I have kept all these since I was a boy.’ 21As Jesus looked at him, his heart warmed to him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me.’ 22At these words his face fell and he went away with a heavy heart; for he was a man of great wealth.

23Jesus looked round at his disciples and said to them, ‘How hard it will be for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24They were amazed that he should say this, but Jesus insisted, ‘Children, how hard it is b 10:24 how hard it is: some witnesses add for those who trust in riches. to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26They were more astonished than ever, and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For men it is impossible, but not for God; everything is possible for God.’

28‘What about us?’ said Peter. ‘We have left everything to follow you.’ 29Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you: there is no one who has given up home, brothers or sisters, mother, father or children, or land, for my sake and for the gospel, 30who will not receive in this age a hundred times as much—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and land—and persecutions besides; and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’

32 THEY were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was leading the way; and the disciples were filled with awe, while those who followed behind were afraid. Once again he took the Twelve aside and began to tell them what was to happen to him. 33‘We are now going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes; they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles. 34He will be mocked and spat upon, and flogged and killed; and three days afterwards, he will rise again.’

35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, ‘Teacher, we should like you to do us a favour.’ 36‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ he asked. 37They answered, ‘Allow us to sit with you in your glory, one at your right hand and the other at your left.’ 38Jesus said to them, ‘You do not understand what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?’ 39‘We can,’ they answered. Jesus said, ‘The cup that I drink you shall drink, and the baptism I am baptized with shall be your baptism; 40but to sit on my right or on my left is not for me to grant; that honour is for those to whom it has already been assigned.’

41When the other ten heard this, they were indignant with James and John. 42Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the Gentiles the recognized rulers lord it over their subjects, and the great make their authority felt. 43It shall not be so with you; among you, whoever wants to be great must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. 45For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

46They came to Jericho; and as he was leaving the town, with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was seated at the roadside. 47Hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me!’ 48Many of the people told him to hold his tongue; but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ 49Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him’; so they called the blind man: ‘Take heart,’ they said. ‘Get up; he is calling you.’ 50At that he threw off his cloak, jumped to his feet, and came to Jesus. 51Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbi,’ the blind man answered, ‘I want my sight back.’ 52Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has healed you.’ And at once he recovered his sight and followed him on the road.

Notes:

a 10:2 He was asked: some witnesses read Pharisees approached and asked him.

b 10:24 how hard it is: some witnesses add for those who trust in riches.

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

18.18–30 : Possessions and the kingdom

(Matt. 19.16–30; Mk. 10.17–31 ).

18–20a :

See Matt. 19.16–17 n.

18 :

Only Lk. makes the questioner a ruler.

20 :

Exod. 20.12–16; Deut. 5.16–20 .

22 :

See Matt. 19.21 n.

25, 27 :

On camel, needle, see Matt. 19.24 n.

28–30 :

See Matt. 19.27, 29 n.

10.1–12 : Marriage and divorce

(Matt. 19.1–12 ; compare Matt. 5.31–32 n.; Lk. 16.18; 1 Cor. 7.10–11 ).

1 :

Judaea and Transjordan anticipates v. 32 .

3 :

The question is only a test, since the Law clearly allows divorce.

4–5 :

The divorce provisions of Deut. 24.1–4 were provided to guide husbands whose stubborness resisted the intention of the Creator.

6 :

Gen. 1.27 .

7–8 :

From Gen. 2 .(21–)24 Jesus argues that in God's purpose marriage establishes an indissoluble unity.

12 :

This verse probably reflects a Gentile environment, since Jewish law provided only for divorce initiated by the husband.

10.13–16 : Children and the kingdom

(Matt. 19.13–15; Lk. 18.15–17 ).

15 :

Like a child: with simple trust; see Matt. 18.3 .

10.17–31 : Possessions and the kingdom

(Matt. 19.16–30; Lk. 18.18–30 ).

17–18 :

No one is good except God: see Matt. 19.16–17 n.

19 :

Exod. 20.12–16; Deut. 5.16–20 .

21 :

See Matt. 19.21 n.

25–27 :

Eye of a needle: see Matt. 19.24 n.

28–30 :

See Matt. 19.27, 29 n.

31 :

Matt. 19.30; 20.16; Lk. 13.30 .

10.32–34 : The third prediction

(see 8.31 n. ) of suffering (Matt. 20.17–19; Lk. 18.31–34 ). The story must end in Jerusalem (v. 32 ) and the author has had the end in mind from the beginning. Yet, the geographical notice takes on increased importance through its connection with the third passion prediction (vv. 33–34 ) and by the subsequent attention to itinerary (v. 46; 11.1 ). The tension and drama mount as the account moves toward its climax.

10.35–45 : Position in the kingdom

(Matt. 20.20–28; Lk. 22.24–27 ).

35 :

James and John, along with Peter, are given unusual prominence in the Gospels (e.g. 1.16–20; 9.2 ).

37 :

Seats on the right and left hands are reserved for persons of great authority.

38 :

The cup immediately suggests 14.36 ; but as a metaphor for experiencing trouble, “drinking of a cup” was a familiar manner of speaking (e.g. Ps. 75.8 ; compare Jn. 18.11 ). Unless the phrase about baptism has been added as a way of referring specifically to Christian martyrdom, the saying alludes to the ancient picture of the sufferer as a victim of overwhelming “waves” of tribulation; compare Lk. 12.50 .

40 :

Compare Matt. 20.23 .

45 :

Lit. ransom is the sum paid to win freedom for slaves or captives; it is one of several metaphors employed to express the idea that Jesus' death effects salvation for humanity. The Heb. term for many is equivalent to “all” in some contexts.

10.46–52 : Blind Bartimaeus healed

(Matt. 20.29–34; Lk. 18.35–43 ).

46 :

Son of Timaeus simply translates the Aram. name, Bartimaeus.

47 :

Son of David: see Matt. 1.1 n.

52 :

Healed: see Lk. 7.50 n. With Jerusalem and the cross so near, followed him on the road implies courageous discipleship.

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