Mark 9:33-10:16 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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True Greatness
Comments for Study 17

Mark 9:33-10:16
Memory Verse: 10:15


I. A Truly Great Man is One Who Serves (9:33-37)

Jesus' Mid-Ministry Travels

>1. Where were they going from and to? (30,33a)

* Mark 9:30-31a "They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples."

* "that place" -Mt. Hermon, north of Galilee. Jesus was transfigured on this mountain.

* Mark 9:33a "They came to Capernaum."

* Mark 9:30-31 records that he was teaching his disciples as they went south to Jerusalem. Luke and Matthew records many more of these teachings than Mark.

* Luke 9:51-56 records Jesus sending seventy-two (excluding the twelve) ahead of him and into Samaria. I show this on my map, though I believe that Jesus himself either did not or very little went into Samaria at this time. Luke records that the Samaritans did not like the fact that Jesus was going to Jerusalem. This may have been the reason that after he leaves Capernaum for the last time Jesus went east, crossing the Jordan, thus avoiding Samaria per Matthew 19:1.

>What did Jesus teach them on the way? (31,32)

* Mark 9:31-32 "because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it."

* This is the second time Jesus teaches about what awaits him in Jerusalem. The first time, according to Mark was just before the transfiguration. Perhaps two weeks were between the two declarations.

* "But they did not understand" -When Jesus was coming down Mt. Hermon after this transfiguration, the disciples with him (John, James, and Peter) did not understand what Jesus meant by "resurrection of the dead". So we know that Jesus' resurrection was a mystery to them at this time. Since didn't know that and they knew he was the Messiah then his suffering and death must have been just as strange to them.

* "and were afraid to ask him about it" -Peter had been rebuked when Jesus talked about this the first time. Of course the other's did not know what Peter had said to Jesus because Peter had pulled Jesus aside. (8:31-33)

>Then what did they argue about? (33b-34)

* Mark 9:33b-34 "When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest."

* They were arguing this because they could sense Jesus' rush to get to Jerusalem. Their belief, as was most at the time was that the Messiah would become the king of Israel. It seems that the disciples arguing was a jostling of authority and stamina. They wanted to be high in his cabinet.

>When asked, why did they keep quiet?

* They knew that they were wrong.

* They were expecting a rebuke.

* Perhaps they didn't want to show their weakness and lack of understanding.

* Perhaps, but I doubt it, they accepted that what they were talking about was wrong. In other words, Jesus' question humbled them.

>Why do men desire to be great? (Ge. 1:27)

* Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

* Men were created in the image of God, of which part is greatness. Also man was ruler of the earth at creation, which is a great seat to have. But because of sin man's greatness is distorted and changed.

* It is not wrong to be great or to want to be great. It is wrong to achieve greatness in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.

>2. Sitting down, what did Jesus teach the twelve about true greatness? (35)

* Mark 9:35 "Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.""

* A true servant works for the well being of others, especially all of God's people. He does not work for himself.

>What kind of person is willing to be very last? (1 Cor. 15:9a, Nu. 12:3)

* 1 Corinthians 15:9 "For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

* Numbers 12:3 "(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)"

* A humble man.

* A humble man knows his sins and faults. He also knows God's grace.

* This is an attitude, a goal.

* The servant's heart needs to be warm to God's people. This is not always easy do to familiarity of each other's faults and weaknesses.

>3. How did Jesus illustrate a servant? (36,37)

* Mark 9:36-37 "He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.""

* "a little child" -2 to 7 years old. Such a child is simple and needs much help and guidance.

* Little children and young believers in Jesus need a lot of care and don't give things in return or appreciation.

* Serving children and young believers in Jesus affect all aspects of one's life. It takes a lot of work.

* There is little benefit in helping children and young believers in Jesus. They take it for granted. They are emotionally, physically, and spiritual incomplete.

>From this, what can we learn about serving in Jesus' name?

* To be humble ans serve others.

* To have a shepherd's heart.

II. A Truly Great Man Must Be Broad-Minded (38-41)

>4. Why was John indignant? (38)

* Mark 9:38 ""Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.""

* The disciples of Jesus were narrow minded and proud of their privileged. They thought that their teaching made them uniquely qualified. Often today we see this with people who have seminary degrees verses lay persons.

* A lot of different Christian denominations think that they teach the Bible the best, do God's work the best, and serve others the best. They also think that other churches and/or denominations should desolve or join them.

>In response, what did Jesus teach? (39-41)

* Mark 9:39-41 ""Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward."

>How was Jesus' view of the man different from John's?

* The man is for God and thus on their side.

* Matt 12:30. Being broad minded doesn't mean to accept everyone.

* John records Jesus' teaching during the last supper of the great need to obey Jesus' teachings. There are groups and churches today who claim to be Christian, but they do not obey Jesus' teaching.

>How does Jesus deal with exclusivity in the Christian fellowship?

* To recognize people if they do things in the name of Jesus.

* To not recognize people as Christians who are against us.

* Discernment and wisdom is needed from good Bible study and prayer.

* If we do not serve and encourage others we are losing out on our reward.

>How and why should we encourage anyone who belongs to Christ?

* We should encourage them to do God's work, forgive them for errors, and to serve them.

* By doing things for their good and praying for them.

* We should encourage them because they are not against God and us. They too need help and encouragement in God's work.

>From verses 39-41, what do we learn about true greatness?

* To accept others who do God's work in the name of Jesus.

* Practically serve others who do Jesus' work, even though they may not be in our church.

* Peter learned this later. (1 Peter 3:15-17)

III. A Great Man Knows the Seriousness of Sinning (42-50)

>5. How did Jesus emphasize the seriousness of causing someone to sin? (42)

* Mark 9:42 ""And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck."

* Jesus still had the little child in his arms. The small, the weak, and the helpless are ignored in ministries and governments that contain people self absorbed and seeking political and social gain.

* This is for leaders.

* We need to watch our words and actions.

* God deals severely with a leader that is a bad influence. For example Moses, when he cursed and beat the rock in the desert, thus disobeying God and losing control of his temper was dealt harshly with. He was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

>Of sinning ourselves? (43-49)

* Mark 9:43-49 "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where "'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire."

* Cut out, remove and stop, what ever causes us to sin.

* This involves self denial.

* In a way this teaching is humorous.

* "hell" -Jesus taught that this is a real place, an unpleasant place. Holman Bible Dictionary states, "The abode of the dead especially as a place of eternal punishment for unbelievers. Hell is an Anglo-Saxon word used to translate one Hebrew word and three Greek words in the King James Version of the Old and New Testaments. The Hebrew word that hell translated was Sheol. (Compare NAS). The word Sheol occurs sixty-five times in the Hebrew Bible. The King James Version translates thirty-one of the occurrences as hell; another thirty-one occurrences as grave; and three occurrences as “pit” (Num. 16:30,33; Job 17:16). The Revised Standard Version never uses hell to translate Sheol. It does use grave one time as a translation of Sheol (Song of Sol. 8:6). Sixty-four times it simply transliterates the word as Sheol. NAS always uses Sheol, while NIV intentionally avoids Sheol, using grave."

* "salted with fire" -This is a negative term/use for salt.

>What is a "salty Christian"? (50)

* Mark 9:50 ""Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.""

* "Salt is good" -Jesus changes to a positive use for salt.

* Be a good influence and be at peace with others.

* "salt" -preserved, influence taste for better, distinctive taste.

>What are the characteristics of one who has lost his saltiness?

* Can't be made salty again.

* He isn't at peace with his brothers.

* Doesn't change the environment around him.

* Argumentative and a cold indignant heart toward another, especially a brother or sister in Christ.

>What can we learn from verses 42-50 about greatness?

* Salt influences food to make it taste better. It is also used to preserve food. In the same way a Christian is to bring out the best in people and to help them have faith so they may be preserved at judgement.

IV. A Great Man Must Not Make Use of the Law (10:1-12)

Jesus' Late-Ministry Travels

>6. Where did Jesus go and what did he do? (1)

* Mark 10:1 "Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them."

* "as was his customer, he taught them" -Jesus is described as a great teacher. Human nature does not understand unless God teaches us. The sinful nature has us all confused. People may be educated and hold degrees from the greatest universities and colleges, but if they don't learn from God they haven't learned anything of importance.

>Why did the Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce? (2)

* Mark 10:2 "Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?""

* The Pharisees had been testing Jesus for some time now.

* Their question was a cleaver trap. John the Baptist had been put in prison because he condemned Herod's marriage to his brother's wife. If Jesus answered, "Yes" then they could bring it to Herod to have him arrested. If Jesus answered, "No," then they could say that he was against the Mosaic law.

>What did Moses teach about this? (3-4)

* Mark 10:3-4 ""What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.""

* Jesus did not ignore them. Nor did he tell them to go away. Jesus was very popular at this time. He could have started a riot to chase the Pharisees away. Instead, he patiently interacted with them.

* Jesus did not answer yes or no. He replied with a question. They already knew what the Bible said concerning divorce. They were not looking to understand or learn. That is how they were different than the crowds that came to him.

* 'Moses" -Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. God gave it to him as he entered the tabernacle in the desert. It has been called the Pentateuch and the Law (Torah in Hebrew).

* "What did Moses command you?" -Jesus did not ask, "What did God command you?" He makes a distinction. God's original plan was greater than the Mosaic law.

* The quoted Duet. 24:1-4.

* Duet. 24:1-4 made the slaves who just left Egypt to think twice before he marries and then divorces. Marriage and divorce were treated very casually by the slave Israelites and their Egyptian masters. People today also treate it casually.

* The slaves would not have accepted, "No divorce allowed." However they would accept this and consider marriage as a very important institution of God. Divorce was permitted because of their hard hearts.

>Why was it given? (5)

* Mark 10:5 ""It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied."

* To protect the wife and children.

>7. What does Jesus teach about marriage? (6-9, Gen. 2)

* Mark 10:6-9 ""But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.""

* Jesus shifted the conversation and focus from divorce to marriage.

* Jesus approached the issue of divorce from God's point of view of marriage, the way God originally established marriage.

>How is God's view of marriage different from that of man's?

* God joins so only he can separate.

* It's a beautiful life commitment of love and blessing if God is kept the focus (as it is with all things).

* Male and female indicates there is a difference between each, and yet similarities.

* The couple compliments each other. They are equals in the aspect of spirituality.

* "leave his father and mother" -The new couple would form something unique and new. A mutual private building of a house independent and before God. This does not mean that we are to seek their help and guidance. It does mean that the couple has to decide and act together as a separate co-working unit.

* "united" -In all aspects; body, mind, soul, emotionally, direction, support, and most importantly love.

* The process of being united is a life long event.

* Through marriage we can learn of Jesus binding with his believer. (Eph. 5:22-33)

>What can we learn about how to please God?

* Marry only one wife at a time until death.

* Marry according to God's design and plan.

* Don't compromise God's law.

* Marry as a commitment before God not man.

* Marry for the right reason.

>8. When the disciples asked, what did Jesus teach about marriage and divorce? (10-12)

* Mark 10:10-12 "When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

>Why do most divorce?

* Selfish reasons.

V. A Truly Great man is Like a Little Child (13-16)

>9. Why did people bring children to Jesus? (13a)

* Mark 10:13 "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them..."

* to bless them.

>What did they disciples do? (13b)

* Mark 10:13 "..but the disciples rebuked them."

* They thought that Jesus was to busy getting ready for the kingdom (their ideal of) to deal with children. This is the thinking of the world today; forget the children, build a kingdom for myself.

>What did Jesus teach them? (14-16)

* Mark 10:14-16 "When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."

* "indignant" -upset, unhappy, personally offended.

>What can we learn about truly great men?

* Have a high view of God and others and a low (humble) view of myself.

* Pure heart, open mind, simple faith, dependant on God and others, innocent, desire God's love, respond to God's love, and trust.