Mark 14 Faithfulness

YouTuber John Stapleton continues with the Gospel of Mark 10- What Do You Want?

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What do you want from Jesus?

In Mark 10, we see various individuals coming to Jesus with requests and questions. The gospel writer has shifted his focus from the large crowds to individuals who have different reasons for coming to Jesus. Let’s see how this unfolds.

The Pharisees came to Jesus to test him (verse 2). Parents bring their children to Jesus to bless them (verse 13). A rich man wants to inherit eternal life from Jesus (10:17). James and John (the two brats from earlier) want the seats of honor next to Jesus in glory (10:37). Last of all, there is Bartimaeus who is blind and wants Jesus to restore his sight.

What’s interesting is that Jesus responds to everyone (except the disciples who rebuked the parents) with a question. These questions guide the conversation to where Jesus wants it to go and it reveals more about the person asking it then how Jesus is going to answer them.

The Pharisees

The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus and they wanted him to agree with their harsh treatment of their wives, so they asked him if its legal to divorce their wife for any reason. Jesus asked them to recall the law of Moses and then he explains that yes, it is legal, but this was not God’s intention when he instituted the marriage union.

The Children

The parents wanted Jesus to bless their children (who wouldn’t?). But the disciples rebuke them and Jesus, in turn, rebukes the disciples. We learn here that Jesus values children because of their faith (and really, that’s been predictable throughout this gospel). “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (verse 15). This is not childish faith, exhibited in James and John, but childlike faith that believes God without restriction.

The Rich Young Man

The rich young man comes to Jesus because there is a hole in his soul. He has a lot of possessions but is in spiritual poverty.

(This is a good place to be, by the way, because Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 5:3].)

I believe this is why “Jesus, looking at him, loved him” (verse 20). He first asks the man why he calls him a “good teacher.”

People that have called Jesus a teacher (though he is) don’t believe anything Jesus says; they have covert motives. But this man is interesting because he is the only person that puts “good” in front of that title. Whether this man was insincere or misguided, Jesus rejects this greeting for a few reasons.

  • First, this man shouldn’t call Jesus good without calling him God.
  • Second, Jesus’ reply is going to come straight from God because “no one is good except God alone” (verse 18).
  • Thirdly, Jesus is about to guide the man’s attention away from his works to his heart by giving him something to do that will reveal to the man the condition of his heart; and the man can’t walk away from his wealth because he’s attached to it. He doesn’t have wealth; wealth has him. What’s Jesus’ conclusion? “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (verse 23).

But then Peter reminds Jesus that “we have left everything and followed you” (verse 28). This is no small thing. Peter left a wife and possibly kids (1:30). He left a business (1:16). He left his house (2:1-4). Peter (in Matthew’s gospel) asks the question we all would ask: “What then will we have?” (Matthew 19:27).  Jesus’ reply gives them hope for the future. Essentially, whatever we gave up for God is small compared to what we will gain in the next life (verses 29-31).

Next up we have James and John.

Do you remember why Jesus called them the “Sons of Thunder” (3:17)? It’s because they wanted to torch the towns that rejected Jesus (Luke 9:51-56). Shortly before this, John tried to stop someone who was casting out a demon because “he was not following us” (Mark 9:38). Does he need an exclusive membership to exorcise demons? John and James were not always the mature older men we are used to when reading their epistles. They started out as hotheaded young men who benefit from the gentle correction of Jesus.

“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you’” (Mark 10:35). Couple things: They call him teacher, not Lord; this reveals their motive which is more fully expressed in their question. This is clearly a trap, the kind of trap that little kids use to ensnare their parents. Jesus is patient and asks them, “What do you want me to do for you?” (verse 36). They want the best seats in glory next to Jesus and Jesus tells them, “You don’t know what you are asking” (verse 38). They aren’t ready to suffer and greatness looks to them a lot different than Jesus’ vision of greatness.

The last example in this chapter is Bartimaeus.

He is blind and he cries out to Jesus as the Son of David. There’s a lot to unpack in this story and we might need to revisit this at a later time, but the thing that is impressive about him is that he is persistent even though people are against him (verse 48). Then the funny part is that people actually change their mind about him when Jesus expresses interest in the man (verse 49). The man expresses pure faith and Jesus asks him the same question he asked James and John.

“What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:50-52). Bartimaeus is named because he is more than likely an eyewitness. In stark contrast to the rich young man, Bartimaeus follows Jesus “on the way” (verse 52) which is significant because this is the first way of describing the Christian faith. Jesus not only described himself as “the way” (John 14:6), but in context, this is also the way up to Jerusalem where he is about “to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many” (10:45).

What are you coming to Jesus for?

Q&A

1). In Romans 9:24-25, Paul totally rapes Hosea 2:25 in applying it to Gentiles and lying about the meaning and context of Hosea all the way back to Hosea 1:1. Why should we believe anything that Paul claims about Jewish scripture?

I believe you have more work than I do in supporting your brazen assumptions about Paul’s interpretation. It’s not a far reach at all what he’s doing. He makes the connection by showing us how God treats people who reject him. Israel rejected God and so does everyone else because “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). It would also benefit you to keep reading Romans 9.

Paul anticipates your question when he says, “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works” (Romans 9:30–31).

You have to keep the overall storyline of the Bible in view. God always intended on saving Jew and Gentile alike!

2). Why did Matthew write about Jesus?

Matthew was hated by his fellow Jews (understandably so) because he was a tax collector. But Jesus invited him to follow him and he did! Jesus totally changed his life and now he wants his fellow Jews to see that Jesus is really the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. That’s why his gospel is laced with quotes, references, and allusions to the Old Testament. His goal is evident in the opening line of his gospel, that Jesus really is the descendant of David and Abraham (Matthew 1:1).

3). My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19) Was John the Apostle and brother Peter slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger? Why?

You are thinking of James, not Peter; they both have a similar story, however. Peter, James, and John were impulsive young men with serious anger issues. James and John thought that they were better than everyone else (Mark 10:35–37). Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder” because they wanted to blow up a town that rejected him (Mark 3:17; Luke 9:54).

You’ve probably heard of Peter as well – bold and stupid a lot of the times. By default, he would speak before he thought (Luke 9:33). He was violent and impulsive (John 18:10).

After being with Jesus, they matured. You’re right to observe that the way they sound in their letters is not how they sound in the gospels.

4). Is it possible that the Qumran and the Bible were once the same or part of the same book?

Not a chance. Humanly speaking, the Bible was written by at least 40 different people and the Qumran was only written by Muhammad. The Qumran was written 500 years after the completion of the New Testament. They also cannot be the same book because they teach opposite things in many places such as the character of God, the identity of Jesus, the status of Abraham’s sons, the way biblical events take place are different, and biggest disagreement is whether or not Jesus died on the cross. No, not the same book at all.

5). How many years ago was the Bible written?

My answer is going to be layered. The New Testament was written over 2,000 years ago; the rest of the Bible is over three to four thousand roughly (about 3400 years), and the Bible itself records 1,500 years of history.

6). Why does the gospel tell us that we must endure trials with joy in James 1:2?

Because life is a trial. What I mean is that good and bad things happen simultaneously and continually. I always go back to what Jesus said about worry in Matthew 6. Why worry about the things you can’t control? It’s only going to ruin your health, your quality of life.

James here is explaining what Jesus taught. If we aren’t going to worry, our other option is to have joy. If you don’t, you’ll never enjoy the good things in your life. Wedding and funerals happen all the time, but are we going to avoid the joy of weddings because people are always dying? Of course not!

Pain in life is very real and the Bible isn’t minimizing that. But as Solomon said, there’s “a time to weep, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). It’s healthy to allow yourself time to process grief, but its not healthy to stay there. We are always toggling back and forth between the spectrum of our emotions and this is how we can be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). We can grieve, but not as people that have lost everything, because our hope is ultimately in God and not in our situation.

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