Mark 9:30-50 focus on 9:33-41 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Who Is the Greatest?
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
Temptations to Sin
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
What does it mean to welcome a child? One thing is for sure: Children are disruptive. Jesus’s birth disrupted the world and turned the old order upside down. The disciples just don’t get it, do they? Here they are jockeying for position as the greatest, and Jesus must remind them that he is God incarnate. In this new world order, hierarchies no longer matter, but faithfulness and serving others does.
Jesus has given each of us authority to serve in his name. Notice the ways you are equipped and gifted to serve. Pray for an opportunity to serve another person in Jesus’s name today.
Mark 10:1-16 focus on 10:1-12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Teaching about Divorce
He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
“Missing the Mark”
Divorce is a topic that is never a joy to talk about. In fact, most people would say they actively avoid the subject, which can be especially true in the Church. So, when Mark 10 features a “teaching about divorce”, people often bristle. But Mark 10:1-12 has less to do about the law, and more to do with the heart. While the debate on how divorce should be handled can go on and on, let us choose to instead view this passage through the lens of Jesus. The passage tells us that the Pharisees arrived to test him. There were, even two-thousand years ago, polarized views on divorce. Then Jesus answers by both upholding the authority of the Law to which the Pharisees were devoted, but also clarifying why the Law through Moses said what it does about divorce. He says, “because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment” (v.5). Perhaps we should find ways of reconciling relationships, healing brokenness, and softening our hearts instead of desiring to be “right”. In doing so, we allow the grace and love that Jesus shows to be at the very center of who we are.
Mark 10:17-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Rich Man
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
We shouldn’t be too hard on the rich man. After all, he came running up to Jesus, seeking him out to ask an important theological question. Like many of us, the rich man was leading a “good” life. He hadn’t broken any of the commandments. But he didn’t feel satisfied; he felt there was still something missing in his relationship with God. He asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” In response Jesus challenges him – and us – to live a life that goes beyond passively obeying rules. Following Jesus means doing things, being active, being intentional, being willing to use what we have for the good of others, getting rid of excess stuff in our lives so that we make room for Him. The rich man ultimately wasn’t willing to do that. Are we?
Mark 10:32-45 focus on 10:35-45 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
A Third Time Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”
The Request of James and John
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then 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; 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.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Sometimes questions that can be viewed as offensive, can be an avenue to learn extraordinary values. Jesus can handle our tough questions! James and John’s inquiry of greatness created a pathway for Jesus to instruct to all of us the significance of servant leadership. In the kingdom of God, true greatness is only exhibited through service to others.
~Rev. Rick Jones
Mark 10:46-52 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Mark 10:46-52 New International Version (NIV)
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
There are numerous phrases that are extraordinary in these verses. First, since the man was blind and couldn’t see, he listened for Jesus. When he heard that it was Jesus, he didn’t whisper or ask someone else to help him. Instead, he shouted and called Jesus by name, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” When people rebuked him and told him to be quiet, did he get discouraged, give up and listen to the crowd? No! He shouted even more!!
Next, when Jesus stopped and asked His disciples to call him, they said to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” That expression is something we ought to say to each other every single day! The Lord called each of us by name. We are His chosen ones and He set us apart before we were born. Every day we should remember to cheer up and jump to our feet, as He has called us by name.
*The Scriptural passages are selected from the Lectionary on Mark, Year B. As a result some of the passages will be out of the normal order they are usually read.
Promiseland Toy Box
Serving During Lent
UP Orlando Family Night
Friday, Apr. 12, 5:30-8:00pm, United Against Poverty
Families can join in for pizza dinner & a short orientation before going in to the UP Orlando Cost-Share Grocery Store to serve for the night. Jobs include straightening & organizing shelves, clean up, stocking shelves, etc.