FRIDAY, AUGUST 3RD
SCRIPTURE: Mark 10
By: Jeremy Witt
Today’s chapter has so many topics that could very well be its own devotional, and the start of this chapter deals with divorce. You can find another account of this story in Matthew 19:1-12 and it has some aspects that Mark does not include. The Pharisees are coming at Jesus to trap Him. If Jesus agreed with the Pharisees procedure of the written notice for divorce, which they did not anticipate, it would upset some in the crowd who took advantage of the Pharisee’s exemption. Politically speaking, Jesus’ answer might incur the wrath of Herod, who had beheaded John the Baptist for speaking out against adultery and divorce. The main issue the Pharisees were seeking was to cause division among the people or to get the government involved against Jesus, so that their agenda could move forward. Does that sound familiar today?
The Pharisees saw marriage as a legal issue rather than a spiritual one. People do that today too. If a couple goes into a marriage with this idea, odds are that divorce will result. Why? Marriage is not just meant to be between a man and a woman. It is meant to be made with God in the center. But caught in the midst of this debate, Jesus is looking after women. Because of this exemption by the Pharisees, divorced women would be thrown out of their homes with just a slip of paper. This is yet another example of Jesus looking out for those the world ignored.
Notice in verse 6 how Jesus goes back to the first marriage. God’s intent was and is a lifelong commitment. Jesus clearly gave God’s ideal for marriage over the man-made exception. Notice however, that Jesus did not cancel Moses’ teaching. We see exceptions for divorce in Matthew 5:32, 19:9, and 1 Corinthians 7:15. We see in other places that God hates divorce, but let us remember that divorce is not the unpardonable sin. It should definitely be the last resort. In our sinful world, divorce may be necessary due to physical survival/safety and for the well-being of children, but whenever possible, God’s ideal intent is for permanence.
Verses 13-16 shows us that Jesus cared about kids in a time when they were ignored or overlooked by many. Jesus used this teachable moment to teach about the faith of a child is the way to enter the Kingdom of God. The key is by faith, and adults like us need to be reminded of that.
Verses 17-22 has this great conversation with a wealthy, young man who asks Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This conversation, found in also in Matthew 19:16-30 and Luke 18:18-30, focused on what the man did or would have to do in order to be saved. The world asks this question as well. What must I do? Do you see it? The question is focused upon our actions or our works. Jesus’ response in verse 21 pointed the man to what he trusted in. It was not the Father or Jesus even, but it was his money. Money was his god or idol. So the question for you is the similar, what are you trusting in? Our only hope is Jesus. I think Ephesians 2:8-9 help speak to the answer to the question the rich, young ruler asked.
Imagine turning and seeing the disciples’ jaws on the floor, because their reaction was utter shock. The rich were viewed as blessed by God for being good. The people assumed that they would have eternal life because they were good and blessed by God. Truthfully, wealth or the lack of wealth is not a sign of faith as people then and even now believe. Verse 27 speaks volumes to us, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible (to be saved). But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Our salvation cannot be found in ourselves but only through the LORD God, and that is by grace through faith in the LORD Jesus..
Peter makes a statement in verse 28 and Jesus’ response is in 29-31 points us to a different value system than what the disciples understood. We see sacrifice, blessing that may not be material (verse 30) and persecution as well as serving in verse 31.
Jesus tells the disciples again about his upcoming death in verses 32-34, and then James and John spark a discussion that shows us how even those in Jesus’ inner circle missed it in verses 35-45. The sons of thunder were seeking places of honor in heaven next to Jesus, which only caused the other disciples to be upset when they found out about the discussion. (Verse 41). What stands out to me is quite different than the prosperity gospel that is popular today. I see suffering predicted for followers of Jesus. (verses 38-39) Notice also in verses 43-45 are service, humility, and sacrifice. This was not and is not what people expected. Nor is it what the prosperity gospel promises
Our chapter concludes with Mark sharing another miracle of Jesus and the healing of a blind beggar. Mark continues to show us how Jesus cares for the forgotten (verse 49). The words, “tell him to come here” rang out from Jesus to a man who was told to be quiet and had been pushed aside by the people. But Jesus saw him. Just as he sees you! Call out to Jesus like the blind beggar did. Have mercy on me!
May our faith cause us to call out against the crowds and go to Jesus. May our faith cause us to see Jesus like the once blind man could now see. May we follow after Jesus like the seeing man does in verse 52. Help us Lord and have mercy on us.