The Gospel of Mark Chapter 10:1-52 Marriage and Divorce 1 - 12 10.1. Then Jesus left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan River. Again crowds gathered to him, and again, as was his custom, he taught them. The Lord has now completed His ministry in Galilee and moves into Judea in preparation for His entry into Jerusalem and His eventual death. As His manner was in Galilee when the people began to gather Jesus began to teach them. 10.2. Then Jesus left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan River. Again crowds gathered to him, and again, as was his custom, he taught them. A group of Pharisees approaches Him to ask a question on the law concerning divorce. Not that they needed to know the answer for they were experts in matters regarding the law of Moses (Phil 3: 5) but they were out to trap Him hoping that He would show a lack in moral standards or compromise. We will find that there are some clever people who will seek to do the same thing to us in order to trip us up or undermine our faith. Our answers to them should always be from the word of God and if we are not sure or do not know then it is best left alone rather than guess at it. 10.3 - 4. He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her." Jesus throws the ball right back into their court by asking them what did Moses have to say concerning divorce. Note the wording "Moses permitted or allowed" which suggests that it was a concession that was made that a man could make out a certificate of divorce and send his wife away but only if there was a good reason (Deut. 24: 1). 10.5. But Jesus said to them, "He wrote this commandment for you because of your hard hearts. Jesus says that the reason for this concession was because of their perverseness and hardness of heart concerning the things of God.
10.6 - 7. But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, Before the law was given according to the plan and purpose of God He made male and female (Gen. 1: 27, 5: 2) and had ordained that a man should leave his parents and take a wife and should be united to her in marriage (Gen. 2: 24) for the rest of their lives (Rom. 7: 2). The marriage ends at death for there is no marriage in heaven (Math. 22: 30), except the marriage of the Lamb, that is the uniting of Jesus Christ to His Church (Rev. 19: 7). 10.8. and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. In this coming together the husband and wife cease to be two separate people in the eyes of God as far as the physical is concerned, they become one flesh. This does not mean that they are no longer individual souls or that one or other's personality disappears it means that they become one body with the husband as the head (1 Cor. 11: 3). 10.9. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." Marriage is sacred and ordained by God therefore the solemn charge that Jesus gives is also the answer to the Pharisees question in verse 2. Whom God has united together let no one separate or divide. The seriousness of the wording would suggest that if anyone should be the cause of a husband and wife separating then they will fall into the hands of the living God who will judge and punish according to His justice. 10.10. In the house once again, the disciples asked him about this. This teaching of the Lord's disturbed the disciples. It was quite possible that most of them were married, we know that Peter was (Mark 1: 30). They had been brought up to believe that if they wanted to they could dispose of their wives. Perhaps they felt that the word of Jesus was a threat to a privilege they thought they had and was entitled to. Like the Pharisees they could not see beyond the letter of the law written on tables (paper) to the Spirit of the law. So when they are alone they asked Jesus to go into more details, which He does. 10.11 - 12. So he told them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." The Law said "you shall not commit adultery" (Ex. 20: 14). Jesus added to this "who so much as looks at another woman with evil desires for her has already committed adultery" (Math. 5: 28). He says here that if a man divorces his wife and marries someone else then he commits adultery against his first wife. The same applies if the wife divorces her husband. In Matthew's account of this it records that Jesus said that the only grounds for divorce was fornication (Math. 19:9). Note: Adultery is unfaithfulness in marriage while fornication is having a physical relationship outside of marriage. In scripture the word fornication is sometimes used to mean adultery. To sum up: To see how sacred and important God considers marriage in Ephesians 5: 24 - 33 Paul uses it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and likens it to the relationship between Christ and His church.
Children Important to Jesus 13 - 16 We turn from marriage and divorce to one of the purposes of marriage to bring forth children (Gen. 1: 28). The other purpose was so that a man could have a companion (Gen. 2: 18). 10.13. Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. Why did the disciples become so angry at the people bringing their children to Jesus? They would have been well acquainted with Old Testament scriptures on how God saw children. They are a heritage of the Lord the Psalmist says (Ps. 127: 3). God has set angels to watch over them (Math. 18: 10). They were allowed to be present at religious gatherings (2 Chr. 20: 13). They gave praise to the Lord and it was received from them (Math.21: 15). Whatever reasons the disciples had for sending them away their parents knew why they had brought them to Jesus â€œthat he might touch themâ€?, that the hand of God may be on their lives. 10.14. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. When Jesus saw the attitude of His disciples He became angry with them and pained in His spirit that they should treat the children in such a way and tells them not to prevent them from coming but allow them to come. For the kingdom of God belong to those who have become like children in their simplicity of faith and trust. 10.15. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." It is only those who receive accept and welcome the kingdom of God in a childlike manner will be able to enter in. This means a humbling of self a realising that before God we are but as little children dependent upon Him for all that we need that without Him we are nothing and can do nothing. He has provided the only way whereby we might be saved and enter heaven through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. 10.16. After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them. The Lord opens His arms, embraces and blesses the children. They receive from Him what their parents had brought them for in spite of the obstacles put in the way by others.
Seeking Finding, Losing 17 - 22 10.17. Now as Jesus was starting out on his way, someone ran up to him, fell on his knees, and said, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" This verse along with the verses in Matthew 19: 16 - 21 and Luke 18: 18 - 26 tells us a lot about this person who came to Jesus. The fact that he came running to Jesus speaks of his eagerness in wanting to find an answer to what he was seeking for and his earnest desire to obtain it. He came and knelt before the Lord that shows that he was prepared to humble himself before the one who he thought had the answer for him. He calls Jesus "Good Master," both words begin with a capital letter which suggests that this was a special title that he was giving to Jesus. He considered him to be more than
a "good teacher." In what he had heard or seen of Jesus he had realized that He was more than an ordinary man. As he came to Jesus he had an open heart and a ready mind to receive whatever teaching the Lord would give to him. The end part of the verse however shows where his weakness lay. We are told in the other gospels that this man was young, rich and a ruler. The fact that he uses the word "inherit" tells us that he thought he could obtain eternal life by the same way that he had obtained his riches by inheritance from his parents or by good works, he was going to be disappointed. There are many in the world today although not rich in this world's goods believe they can find favour with God and gain entrance into heaven the same way as this young man did but it is not so (Eph. 2: 8 - 9). 10.18. Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. In answer to him Jesus questions why he calls Him good and directs his thoughts to the only one who is good which is God. If indeed he is really aware of the full significance of what he is saying when he calls Jesus "Good" then he is addressing Him as God. 10.19 - 20. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' The man said to him, "Teacher, I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth." The Lord was fully aware that this young man knew all about the demands of the law and that he had endeavoured to abide by them and found that they did not give him the assurance that he wanted of receiving eternal life (Rom. 3: 20, 8: 3). Otherwise why did he come to Jesus seeking for it. 10.21. As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him and said, "You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Jesus looking upon this man saw something in him that caused His heart to reach out in love towards him. Was it his eagerness, earnestness or his openness for the things of God? Whatever it was he also saw what was lacking in his eagerness and earnestness and his life. He knew that in this young man's heart his wealth was the most important thing to him, more than receiving eternal life and so He challenges him. If he really wants what he has come seeking for then to receive it he must be willing to have the god of riches taken from his heart. This he could do and show his willingness by giving away all that he had to the poor. In exchange for this he will have an eternal treasure in heaven (Math. 6: 19 -21). This of course does not apply only to being rich but to anything that we put before or in place of God in our hearts. Having disposed of his riches then the young man would be free to walk in the path that Jesus would take and to be His companion. 10.22. But at this statement, the man looked sad and went away sorrowful, for he was very rich. This young man came seeking and he found the answer to what he desired yet when he was told the way to receive it he choose to keep his worldly goods that would perish and thus lost the opportunity of receiving eternal life. This is the only man who is recorded as going away from Jesus sad. The Amplified N.T. says â€™"his countenance fell and was gloomy, and he went away grieved and sorrowing, for he was holding great possessions.â€? That is he was not willing to let go. Although we may have received eternal life the Lord will still come to us showing things in our life that we put before or in place of Him that He wants us to be willing to let go of that He might give us something better in return. What will we say to Him?
God of the Impossible 23 - 27 10.23. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" Although Jesus knew what the final outcome of this meeting with the young man would be He would have still felt a sorrow in His heart because of what the young man would lose. Thus He turns to his disciples and expresses this when He told them how “difficult (hardly)“ it is for someone who has riches to enter the kingdom of God. 10.24. The disciples were astonished at these words. But again Jesus said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! The disciples are astounded at this remark because in those days a person who was rich was considered to be blessed and was in favour with God. To their way of thinking it was easier for a rich man to enter than it was for a poor man. Jesus knew their way of thinking and that what He had just said had not sunk in so He repeats it but changes the word difficult (hardly), for “trust in“. The difference is not because they are rich but because they put their trust in riches that it hard for them to enter the kingdom. 10.25. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." So hard in fact that Jesus says it would be “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”. Whether in fact He meant an actual needle's eye or was referring to the little gate set in the larger gate into a city is not really important. The point He was making was the impossibility of it. 10.26. They were even more astonished and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" This astounded the disciples even more for if this was so then who could be saved? 10.27. Jesus looked at them and replied, "This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God." Jesus had the answer. It was an impossible task for men but with God all things are possible; there is nothing that He cannot do. He has the power, strength and might, the ability to save to the uttermost (Heb. 7: 25), to make grace abound (2 Cor. 9: 8), to fulfil promises (Rom. 4: 21), to subdue all things (Phil 3: 21), to guard the soul's treasure (2 Tim. 1: 12), to keep from falling (Jude 24) and to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3: 20).
Gain through Loss 28 - 31 10.28. Peter began to speak to him, "Look, we have left everything to follow you!" Peter as spokesman for the disciples, for I am sure they must have all been thinking along the same lines, having heard what the Lord said tries to put two and two together but comes up with the wrong answer. They may have not been rich but such as they had they left it all to follow after the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 5: 11) what were they to get out of it?
10.29 - 30. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive in this age a hundred times as much — homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fields, all with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life. Jesus gives them the right answer to the sum for God is a debtor to no man. No one gives up anyone, anything or makes any sacrifice for the Lord's sake or the Gospel's without receiving in return not just the same measure but with an 100% interest. When we become His follower we become part of the household, the family of God, therefore we have countless brothers and sisters, mothers and children spiritually speaking (Eph. 2: 19). All this persecutions (Luke 21: 12) in this life but most importantly of all “in the time to come, Eternal Life.” 10.31. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." The Lord does not do His sums like we do, His ways are not our ways and so the order is reversed, the last first and the first last. The disciples had indeed been the first called and had left all to follow Jesus as they claimed but there would be many other disciples called after them who would be preferred before them. © Derek Williams 2013 Bible Studies Online UK www.biblestudiesonline.org.uk You may copy, print or distribute our studies freely in any form, just so long as you make no charges. Sign up today for our FREE monthly Bible study magazine “Living Word” Scriptures taken from the NET Bible www.bible.org