Mark 10:17-40

The impossibility of attaining the Kingdom while loving possessions, v17-31

Jesus does not deny great rewards to those who follow him, both in the present age and in the age to come, but it must be thoroughly understood that suffering will be a real part in the life of the church, for in the very next passage (10:32-24) Jesus reaffirmed the truth prophetically of his rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection, and that is who we are following! Today nobody talks about “INHERITING” eternal life, but we do talk about deserving salvation, like as if we have been good enough, and if someone who is relatively “good” ends up in hell, then how can God be “love”? Love surely couldn’t do that! Why? Because deep down, most people really believe the Kingdom of Heaven is reserved for people who sin less, instead of people who have all their sin forgiven by Christ’s blood. Perhaps the rich young ruler believed that if he obeyed enough rules, then he could have the least amount of sins which could qualify himself to inherit eternal life, simply because he was a “good enough” Jew. Sadly, his sin was his heart-felt idolatry in his possessions. Any kind of idolatry will prohibit our own forgiveness because idolatry itself is sin. Our God in Jesus Christ will not tolerate ANY OTHER god put before Him in our life. Matthew 4:10 & 6:24, “You Cannot Serve God & Money”. Our God is a jealous God and a consuming fire, Exodus 34:14 & Heb. 12:29.

The persecutions mentioned in v30, are a very real reminder of how our Christ-like example is a target for worldly people’s hate, even while we are blessed by the Lord, it is mingled with trials. Paul reminds us of how he was content in whatever state his physical lifestyle was in, and yet pain was a very real price he paid for the faith we have in Christ, Philippians 4:11-13. 

The phrase, v31, “First will be last and the last, first” is a principle of the Kingdom’s nature, and perhaps the best example can be seen in Mat. 11:11, where Jesus points out that the greatest is John the immersionist. Can you imagine being on an equal footing with John, the cousin of Jesus?

Christ’s third prediction of His own passion, death & resurrection, v32-34

Mark records all three occasions of Jesus wanting his disciples to know about the suffering, death & resurrection of the Son of Man. The word “Teach” is used in Mk. 8:31 & 9:31, but here in Mk 10:32, Mark records more details of his foreknowledge. The mocking was prophesied, Psa. 22:6-13, the spitting was prophesied, Isa. 50:6, the stripes were prophesied in Isa. 53:5. Even the means by which they would kill him was prophesied in Zech. 12:10, especially when you put this prophecy next to the words of Jesus concerning the “Lifting Up” of the Son of Man as the bronze snake Moses had lifted up. We can tell Jesus knew exactly what was about to happen, John 3:14. The charge of condemning the Son of Man is laid upon the “Chief Priests & Experts in the Law”, and this is what happens when he tells Pilate who washes his hands of the death sentence, Jn. 19:11. Yet he shows determination to meet his enemies in Jerusalem. What kind of determination do we have in following him?

The inadequacies of the disciples, v35-40After the first passion prediction Jesus rebuked Peter as having been used by Satan. After the second passion prediction the disciples were concerned about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. After the third passion prediction James and John asked for positions of honor and rulership in the kingdom, revealing their complete misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom and exposing their inadequacy as true disciples of Jesus. Their words “We are able” must be the epitome of naivety, for they had no idea what costly peril and pain lay before them. Jesus replied that such positions were for those for whom it has been prepared. This appointment of glory was exclusively in the Father’s hand & knowledge.

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