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And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.
2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is 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 person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will 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.”
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. What does verse 1 say it was Jesus’ “custom” (notice also the words “and again”) to do? Considering this verse and all we’ve studied in the previous nine chapters, which aspect of His ministry do you think Jesus considered spiritually weightier, His teaching or His miracles? Which was more temporal and which was more eternal? What are the implications of this for the church today? Should our focus be on the teaching of Scripture, which has an eternal impact, or on miracles, signs, and wonders, which (if they’re even real and biblical) only have a temporal impact?
2. What was the purpose of the Pharisees’ questions? (2) Where does Jesus point them for the answer? (3) Think back over what we’ve learned about Jesus’ authority. He not only had the authority, as God, to definitively answer the Pharisees’ questions, but He was regarded by many of the people as a rabbi (or teacher), and rabbis’ teachings were authoritative. Why do you think Jesus – who had the authority (“you have heard it said…but I say to you…”) to answer the Pharisees’ questions directly – pointed them to Scripture instead? Can you think of more situations in which Jesus pointed others to Scripture to answer them? If Jesus – God Himself – pointed people back to Scripture what does this tell us about the place and authority Scripture should hold in our own lives?
3. Examine Deuteronomy 24:1-4, what “Moses commanded” (3), and compare it with verses 4-12. Does the content and tone of the Deuteronomy passage agree with what Jesus says in these verses? How would you summarize God’s view of marriage? (5-9) What does Jesus teach about divorce in verse 11? Who is guilty of adultery in a divorce and subsequent remarriage- the spouse initiating the divorce, or the spouse who didn’t initiate the divorce? Compare Mark 10:1-11 to these passages. What are the two biblically allowable circumstances for divorce and remarriage? Is divorce required by Scripture in these situations?
4. Why do you think the disciples rebuked people for bringing their children to Jesus to bless them? (13) Which attribute(s) of God does Jesus showcase in verses 13-16? Take a look at these Greek, Roman, and other Gentile attitudes and practices toward children circa the time of Jesus. As a first century Gentile, what would this passage have said to you about God’s love and care for children? How should this passage inform us today about abortion as well as the need to nurture our children and raise them in a godly way?
5. Examine Jesus’ teaching about marriage in 5-9 and His words and actions about children in 13-16. If you were to formulate a theology of family from these verses, what would it say?
6. Compare verses 14-15 with Mark 9:35-37. How can one “receive the kingdom of God like a child”? (15) What does it mean to have a “childlike faith”? Is there a difference between having a childlike faith and having a childish faith?
7. Fill in the blanks from verse 17: “…what must __ ___ to inherit eternal life?”. Does the gospel require us to do (perform, behave) something in order to be saved? In verse 18, is Jesus denying His deity? When Jesus says, “No one is good except God alone,” (18) He is implying to the rich young ruler that by calling Him good, he is also calling Him _____. Considering the remainder of his interaction with Jesus (19-25), was the rich young ruler ready to concede that Jesus was God?
8. Take a look back at the Ten Commandments. The first table of the Law (Commandments 1-4) deals with the (vertical) relationship between people and Whom? The second table of the Law (Commandments 5-10) deals with the (horizontal) relationship between people and whom? Examine verse 19. Which table of the Law do all of these commands come from? So if what the rich young ruler says in verse 20 is true, with whom is he in a right relationship by keeping all these commands? Examine verses 21-25 and compare the man’s love of his riches (and refusal to give them up to follow Jesus) to the first table of the Law. Which Commandment(s) is he breaking? This demonstrates he is not in right relationship with Whom? What do verses 23-25 teach about the idolatry of wealth versus following Jesus?
9. Some people use verse 21 to teach that anyone who ministers to the poor is in right standing with God (i.e. saved, going to Heaven), regardless of whether or not they’ve repented and placed their faith in Christ. Examining this verse in the context of this passage and in the context of the biblical gospel, is that truly what this verse is teaching? Is verse 21 a command for all Christians to follow (a prescriptive verse) or is it simply a description of something Jesus said to this particular person to elicit a particular response (a descriptive verse)?
10. Consider verses 26-27 in their immediate context – the power of idolatry to keep people from Christ. Have you ever prayed for the salvation of someone you felt was a hopeless case, that it would be pretty much impossible for her to get saved? How does this passage offer hope about those “hard cases”? Compare with John 6:44.
11. Examine verses 28-31. Sometimes people take verses 29-30 to mean that if you follow Jesus you’ll get more houses, lands, loved ones, and wealth. Think about Peter (28), the rest of the disciples, and Paul- what they left behind to follow Jesus and to be founders of the New Testament church. Think about the hardships and martyrdom they faced. What does this passage mean in light of their suffering? Could this passage be pointing to God providing for our needs and the love and comfort of church family rather than the promise of temporal wealth?
Mark 10:1,17 again mention Jesus’ travels. Find a good Bible map of Israel during Jesus’ lifetime (there’s probably one in the back of your Bible or Google “Bible maps”), go back over Mark 1-10, and trace Jesus’ travels on the map. You might even want to print out a map you can write on and mark the various places He visited and routes He took.
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.”