And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
35 And 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.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 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 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 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.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider
1. In verse 32, why would the disciples and others following Jesus have been “amazed” and “afraid” that He was heading to Jerusalem? (Hint- Examine verse 32 in light of Mark 8:31. Where was the “headquarters” of the elders, chief priests, and scribes located?) Why do you think he took the Twelve aside to explain things instead of telling the whole crowd? (32)
2. Re-read verses 32-34 as though you were one of the disciples, then as though you’re a first century Gentile. How would you understand and respond to what Jesus is saying here? How might a disciple’s understanding and response have differed from a Gentile’s? How many times is this now, in Mark, that Jesus has predicted His death and resurrection?
3. Examine verses 35-45. What did James and John have to already believe about who Jesus was, His authority, position, etc., in order to make the request they made in verse 37? How was this request a demonstration of their knowledge of and faith in Christ and their ignorance (38-40) at the same time? What might have motivated them to make this request?
4. In verse 38, is Jesus talking about a literal drink and cup and a literal water baptism, or is this a metaphor for what He has just explained to the disciples in verses 33-34? When James and John replied, “We are able,” (39) do you think they were speaking more out of haughtiness, loyalty to Christ, or ignorance of what the “cup” and “baptism” would entail? How might the other 10 disciples have answered that question? (41) Considering some of the things that happened to both James and John during the church era, what did Jesus’ statement to them in verse 39 mean?
5. Summarize in your own words the main point Jesus was trying to get across to the disciples in verses 42-45. What would it have meant to first century Jews and Gentiles – for whom servants and slavery was a normal part of daily life – to hear that humility, self-abasement, and serving others is what God considers great? In what ways – then and now – is this the complete opposite of the world’s mindset? In what ways has the worldly mindset (of being “great” or “first”) crept into the church? How does 1 John 2:15 fit in this situation? In what practical ways, in your church or individually, could you follow Jesus’ example that He “came not to be served but to serve”? In addition to giving His life for our sins, what are some ways Jesus served others during His earthly ministry?
6. Study verses 46-52. Consider Bartimaeus’ social status as a blind beggar. (46,48) What did Bartimaeus have to offer Jesus for his healing? How do Jesus’ words and actions toward lowly Bartimaeus demonstrate what He taught the disciples in verses 42-45? In Lesson 14 (link above) we saw another group of people rebuked and sent away from seeing Jesus as Bartimaeus was. Who were those people? How does Jesus usually respond in the gospels when the disciples try to send away those they think aren’t important enough to see Jesus or would bother Him? What does Jesus’ compassion and willingness to be associated with the lowly tell us about the nature and character of God?
7. What were some things Bartimaeus already knew about Jesus that caused him to call out to Jesus? What else (51) might Bartimaeus have heard about Jesus that motivated him to approach Him? What are some adverbs (timidly, loudly, tentatively, persistently, etc.) you could use to describe the way Bartimaeus cried out and came to Jesus? (47-48,50-51) Why did Bartimaeus call Jesus “Son of David” (47-48)? How did this indicate Bartimaeus’ faith (52) that Jesus was the Messiah? Did Bartimaeus do any of the work of his healing, or did Jesus do all the work? How did Bartimaeus’ response to his healing (52) serve as proof of his faith?
8. What are some of the aspects of Bartimaeus’ story in 46-52 that serve as a reflection of the way Christ saves sinners? Think about Who initiates salvation (46, 49), how the sinner comes to Christ as a blind beggar with nothing to offer Him (46), hearing the gospel, understanding who Jesus is and what He can do for sinners (47-48), Christ’s call (49) and the sinner’s response (50), our confession of faith in Christ to save us (51), the fact that salvation is totally dependent on, and performed by, Christ- we contribute nothing (52), and our response to God graciously saving us (52).
9. Compare and contrast the way Bartimaeus came to Christ with the way the rich young ruler came to Christ in Lesson 14 (link above). How were their social statuses different? How were their needs similar? In what attitude of heart did each approach Christ? How did each respond to Christ? Do you know anyone who has responded to the gospel like the rich young ruler did? Like Bartimaeus did? What about your own response to Christ’s call to salvation- was it more like the rich young ruler or Bartimaeus?
Go to the website of one of the larger U.S. Christian retailers (LifeWay, Mardel, Parable, etc.) and examine their book selection in light of verses 42-45. Are there more books on leadership, success, growing a large ministry, etc., or more books that would seem to match what Jesus is teaching in this passage: servanthood, anonymity, humility, thankless work? Think of one anonymous way you could serve your church, a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member, or a friend this week, and follow in Christ’s footsteps of serving rather than being served.
Suggested Memory Verse
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”