“So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” Mark 10:18 NKJV
Today is Thursday of Passion Week. There are quite a few significate events attributed to today, leading to the Lord Jesus’s resurrection. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, and example of humility and service. Thursday was also the last supper. Where they all ate together, and Jesus foretold of one of them betraying him, and they had the bread and wine, which we now call communion. They left worshiping God and singing hymns. They went to the garden to pray, Jesus was betrayed and taken and Peter denied Jesus.
But we aren’t yet to this time period in our daily reading. But in today’s reading are some significant events in the actions of Jesus and the disciples are still struggling to catch up with understanding.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 10 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Marriage and Divorce
10 Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again.
2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this [a]precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11 So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” 16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
With God All Things Are Possible
23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is [b]for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
28 Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother [c]or wife or children or [d]lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection
32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and [e]scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
Greatness Is Serving
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
39 They said to Him, “We are able.”
So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called.
Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, [f]“Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has [g]made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
- Mark 10:5 command
- Mark 10:24 NU omits for those who trust in riches
- Mark 10:29 NU omits or wife
- Mark 10:29 Lit. fields
- Mark 10:34 flog Him with a Roman scourge
- Mark 10:51 Lit. My Great One
- Mark 10:52 Lit. saved you
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Today we are discussing a few social problems – and a big old trap! Oh yes, the Pharisees have set another trap for Jesus! Now you all were good, studious, readers and have already read the passage and you may be thinking – it starts with divorce which really isn’t a first world problem. Ah! But it is in this case! It is ALL about the historical context – especially if you want understanding and not condemnation!
Picture this scene, it is the year 31 (give or take), Herod, the big old meany that he was, Takes his brothers wife as his own. This was the divorce of the century – it was a political move that started a war! It was so big we spoke about it when John the Baptist was killed by Herod to please his new bride. Who, it would seem, seduced Him! This is a huge scandal for its day and actually would be a huge scandal in our day and age. (Not to mention the other corruptions and immoral actions happening in all of this!) This lovers’ triangle was big news (literally news media worthy) for most of Jesus’s ministry. It wasn’t the typical divorce. Is there a typical. Yes there is. I used to work as a paralegal (for 10 years) and I worked on thousands of divorce cases in that time. And you know what I can tell you? NOT ONE caused a war or lingered in the tabloids for years. And all of them were caused, NOT by cheating, but by stubborn hardened hearts (which in some cases lead to cheating).
Upon the backdrop of these famous people behaving unbecomingly. The Pharisees asked about divorce. But what they were really asking is – what are your thoughts on the scandal? They were trying to draw Jesus into the gossip. Jesus answers with the Torah. Which has not changed. Jesus was not drawn into the gossip.
Because in truth, divorce is permitted because we have hardened hearts and God releases us – in a strange form of mercy. It isn’t therefore a matter of right and wrong. His perfect will is that we get it right the first time. But I will never judge one who was divorced, if it was their heart or the other which was hardened. Because God has provided forgiveness, and freedom, and release once it has happened. Not a happy form of freedom, but not in bondage to the past either. Jesus heals the emotional wounds and everyone can move forward. In all of our sins, very few of us have made it to adulthood inside of God’s perfect will, anyway. We are sinners who muck things up regularly, even with our best intentions. This is why we need that experience with grace. It still remains that it is not good for man or woman to be alone. We were made for companionship. This is such a fine line, requiring so much more grace on everyone’s part. But not without repentance and humility first. And then, do not be enslaved by condemnation – from verses like this meant to condemn the Pharisees for trying to entrap Jesus.
The disciples must have understood this to some degree, so in private they ask again. I am sure they were not meaning to try to trap Jesus like the Pharisees. But the answer remains the same. Get married and not divorced. But if you are divorced – Jesus is not putting you in bondage. If you are being beaten and abused, God does not wish for you to remain abused. I know a lady who left her husband for abusing her, but did not divorce him and she was happy and blessed. I know other who did divorce, and remarried a Godly man and I saw restoration of the blessings God intended. Either case, I saw grace poured out in all the right ways and saw God’s hand in correcting the path. And about the cheating spouse? God did not intend for you to share – and you can be free from that bondage as well, remarry and be restored to your blessings of companionship.
I did not intend to go on that much about it. Maybe another time I will pull out all the divorce verses IN CONTEXT and show you how AMAZING GRACE IS! and how our God is a God of restoration! (And how restoration doesn’t always look like how we thought it would look.)
The point here is to stay out of the tabloid scandals!! Both by not being a scandal AND by NOT getting caught up in the gossip.
Next up in our reading is Jesus blessing the children.
“But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Verse 14.
First of all – lead the children to God! Second – watch their faith and how easily they receive, then be like them. Third – “Such is the kingdom of God”: remember we are supposed to seek ye first the kingdom of God? And this is seemingly such an abstract concept – All the parables about what the kingdom of God is like a garden, a seed, a multiplication, so on and so forth and now it is like a child. Ah, seek it! Seek the children like belief. Also as we read earlier this week, it is greater to teach and lead the children to the Lord than anything else. These children are the future on earth and in heaven!! So, help out with the children’s ministries at your church! See how much you are blessed by helping! I used to do the preschool to kindergarten Sunday school years ago, and about 6 months ago I was asked to begin praying about helping with the children’s ministry – no prayer needed, I will help wherever God opens a door. But then I was sick and out of it for 2 or so months. Now that I am getting back my strength, they have asked again and of course I said yes. I won’t be leading it or making the course materials. Just teaching it and being blessed by a bunch of little ones and encountering the Kingdom of God!! AND finally – Bless the children! Yes, bless them. Bless them. Bless them. When you encounter a little one – speak life and blessings into their life! Jesus wanted the children to come to him so He could bless them – so bless them!!
More social issues arise when a wealthy young man comes to Jesus, full of belief, faith, obedience to the Torah and a willingness to serve as a disciple. He comes asking for eternal life. He even came humbly! He is the recipe for a great member of the church! You and I would gladly accept his membership card.
But Jesus looks into his heart and see an obstacle. Not a demonic bondage – but a fleshly bondage to greed.
He calls Jesus “Good Teacher” – showing his lack of understanding of God and spiritual things and only obedience because he was told to – not because he wanted to out of a heart with understanding. Yes – once you have understanding, you are much more careful with the word ‘Good’. Every time someone says I am a ‘good woman’ – I stop them and quote this. If Jesus could not accept ‘good’ as his title, then all the more I cannot. But even more importantly, I have met the Good Father and I have understanding of why He is good and Jesus is the son. That first-hand knowledge and understanding and an eagerness to get to know God is what Jesus was looking for and could perceive this rich young man lacked – because this possessions filled that place in his heart.
I cried out to God – I surrender all. And He has taken, and permitted to be taken, everything from me. My job, and for a while, my car (until I learned to rely on God for transportation), my house (until I gave it to God and I still have it and when it breaks or is vandalized and attacked, It is God’s to manage), my fish died, my washing machine broke, etc and so on… even my son, tried to kill himself and I cried out to God: “Please! Not my son! None the less, thy will be done!” My son was spared. I have and continue to surrender all. I wish I could learn this faster and let this Job season leave my life. But apparently I am a little think headed.
Now, to address the poverty spirit – This is NOT Jesus saying we must give away everything. Peter left his wife and what wealth he had – he did not give it all away. The point is – we all must ‘take up our cross’ meaning give our lives for this – and it means different things to different people. But we all must pour all of our selves out and what we keep it up to Him – not us. We must be like the widow and give all our mites. God may take them – but whatever is planted (since the kingdom of God is like a garden and multiplication) will grow and multiply.
The rich young ruler could not give up his all – can you? What if God takes it as He has taken mine? Can you sit here half way through the month with no income and trust He will suddenly create sales in your business, or He will suddenly drop off a contract job for the amount you need for the end of month bills, or if God wishes you to go back into the workforce and leave the business he gave you – are you willing to apply when he reveals the plan? Yes Lord – you can have my all and what ever you will, help me to obey! Help me not be like the rich young ruler.
“And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” Verse 24
Take a close look at the operative work in this sentence: “Trust”. See, this is what it boils down to. Our memory verses this year have been built around this concept: trust. Our themes are salvation and wisdom – but both require the root of “trust” in the Lord. Trust is so much more than belief. I believe God provides for all my needs. I can show you proof – but do I trust Him to? Let’s talk about my local food pantry – where I go to get my food until God directs sales to the company he has given me to steward. I like to eat fresh meat and produce and I do not eat many processed or boxed foods – I grew up on a farm and it was more affordable to grow our own food. I am in the city now and I am reliant on a food pantry which stocks nonperishables (aka processed foods). If I was to buy breakfast cereal (I am not a good American and usually do not eat it) but if I did I would buy a certain cinnamon cereal and eat it as a snack. And I received this cereal in my food box this week. Praise the Lord! And since I started asking God for more foods I like and eat, I was blessed with steak and chicken (fresh meat is almost unheard of in our food pantry), carrots and other frozen produce. God is so good!! I needed more cough drops because it is allergy season – they were in there! I wanted a sweet treat – a brownie was in there! I wanted to get some candy to give to my son for Easter (he is an adult and doesn’t need a full basket, but something small that says I love you) and his favorite candy was in there! Do not just believe – take it to the next level. I trust God with my needs and suddenly I am getting my hearts desires as well!
When you and I begin to understand all these things and we begin to surrender – our fragility and how easily we fall become so apparent – and we enter the outer presence of the Lord and completely unravel and become undone. Our sin must be shed from us and we cannot seem to stop sinning (in one way or another). We get to the point where the disciples are here:
“And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Verses 26-27.
How does this even work?! It only works with God, bathed in grace – we cannot be saved any other way but through the Son. If grace was a tangible thing – it would be the Blood of Christ, washing us clean and saving us from the enemy and from our selves.
And when you hear this verse in the future – please let the context rise back in your mind – that all things are possible mean it is possible that a wretch like me and you can be saved. Meaning that stubborn son of mine can be saved. Meaning the people on my prayer list who stubbornly refuse to accept Jesus into their lives can be saved, along with those on your prayer lists and your spouses, and children and mothers and fathers and siblings!!! We all CAN be saved!
Our salvation can sometimes puff us up – make us proud! Proud to be saved – proud to inherit the kingdom of God and if you are getting excited by it – quick check your spirit! Because you are not saved by any measure of your own. If you fully surrender – it is nothing to be proud of, it can only be done through a difficult work where God is pressing it through you and you could not surrender on your own. Fall on your face in gratitude then thank the Lord that he saved you, humbly – without pride. It is nothing to be proud of – You did none of it. Peter started to raise some pride and Jesus cut it off and reminded him:
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Verse 31.
Jesus literally goes to his grave teaching humility and repentance. Serving and giving over hording. Not poverty, not always giving everything – some must be Josephs and store up for the famines. But the stores are just future sacrifices to God. But obedience in that area.
Mark is cramming so much into these chapters, that these studies are long!! But they are good gifts from the Father. Nice meat. Beautiful grace, mercy and forgiveness.
So one more time Jesus tells the disciples of His death and resurrection. Some will say there is significance as this is the third time – other say He was repeating because he knew they still did not understand (He knew the last time they feared asking for an explanation).
And our reading ends with more humility – Greatness Is Serving.
My favorite Sons of Thunder, James and John, ask to be by Jesus’s side in heaven.
These two make me laugh, but are so relatable. They are zealous to be close to Him, protect Him, love Him, and honor Him – but miss the mark continually. They often acted first without thought. James was the first disciple martyred – and the Bible doesn’t record how it happened, but I will bet you anything James plowed into a situation like a bull, and that made people mad.
They say they are able to drink from the cup, to go through the bad times, to even die for Jesus. And Jesus looked into their futures and knew they would. But to sit next to Jesus in heaven was not Jesus’s to give. More importantly, there was a larger lesson that still needed to be learned. And the other disciples were mad that James and John dared to ask – not because it was wrong to ask – but because THEY ALL want to be the ones to sit at Jesus’s side forever! By the way, me too. Let’s be honest. Wouldn’t it be great?! We will be quite content in his presence for all eternity, but don’t we want to be by His side? Obviously, it is for someone else. And since the 12 tribe fathers and the 12 disciples all have assigned seats up there described by prophets and apostles – many assume that those seats, next to Jesus are assigned to Moses and Elijah. But what about David? And Elisha? And Samuel? And Jeremiah? And Paul? We will learn where we all sit sooner or later – keeping our eyes on the kingdom does not mean on the seating chart. It means on getting the work done that needs to be done to accomplish the Kingdom. And doing that work is serving. It’s humility. It is getting low and getting whatever needs to be done, done.
I rather use myself as an example (and do quite often, because I have made all the mistakes and have lots of examples of what NOT to do as well as a few things that you should do) but sometimes I have examples of other and here is one such case. Two sisters, growing up in church (and I grew up with, although they did not attend my church – I knew them from youth rallies), but they were close in age and often competed (so did my sister and I – so this seems normal). Both felt a calling on their lives. The younger felt called to be a preacher. The other felt but unsure her calling, she loved to sing and had a passion for it – she wasn’t the best, but she fantasized about being a music leader. When they were old enough they became junior members and were then able to help out in ministries. Everyone started as a Children’s Church assistant. Their job was one a month (or so) they would help guide the children to children’s church, bring the children to the bathroom as needed, hand out snacks, and stay after to help clean up. It was NOT a glamorous job, but needed and a great place to start. The sisters became junior members at the same time and were asked together to be assistance – well, the older sister was jealous that the younger sister was able to a year earlier than she was. The older accepted the job – but never took it serious and did it 2 times before she just stopped. The younger did it as unto God. The older instead spent time in the teen group singing and telling them she would be a fantastic singer. The younger got promoted to being an assistant teacher. The older finally manipulated herself onto the youth group worship team. The younger was promoted to teaching the toddler class. The older only hung around the youth leaders, even after leaving for college and was by default thought of as a youth leader, although it was never an official title. The younger left for college soon as well, and because she was unable to seriously manage the responsibility of running a class, she formally stepped down from her position and formally passed the mantle to the new class teacher. They are now adults and I ran into the older sister. She is a recovering addict, who doesn’t believe in God and cannot believe I still do! She started having sex in college hoping for a husband and child and she never received either and now she is too old – and she hates God for her poor decisions. She is unemployed. I told her there was a crossing guard position just posted in town, and she said she is too intelligent to waste her time leading children to school. She obviously never learned the basic, beginning of serving. I asked about her sister – Her sister is married to a pastor, is also a pastor and preaches to women all over the state she lives in. Has a few children and leads worship at her church. She started off serving a few children with bathroom runs and help picking up their messes – now she serves women with the intimate problems and helps them pick up their messes.
“Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.” Verse 43.
It is not about our plans, hopes or dreams. It is about humble service. This is why when I am asked to help at my church, no matter what I do it. I would be embarrassed to be served at church and not be the one serving. But I am blessed to go to a church that even the pastors and leaders, are diligently working and serving and helping at all times and never idle. Even when we try to do an appreciation thing for them, they step in and help.
Blind Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus for help and Jesus heal him because of his faith – and that is how the chapter ends. I could say more about it – but today’s discussion is long. And I would rather leave you thinking about humility, service and doing all things through Christ. Especially since this is passion week and Jesus’s last lesson to the disciples was when He washed their feet – or maybe it was when he gave his life in service to them – to save them from themselves and their sins.
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!