MARK 10 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

So what does the Holy Spirit want us to see in this chapter? The effects of blindness.

Verses 1-12 — Jesus is teaching. He does not only heal and deliver, but He teaches. Take heed of His words, and you will be blessed, indeed!

Of course, the blind Pharisees do not receive the truth that Jesus is teaching. The effects of blindness! They are only present because they very much want to make Him stumble in His words. So they ask about divorce. I am sure they were being convicted of their sin, as He spoke.

At that time, Jewish men with roving eyes divorced their wives for the slightest thing — maybe the food was not hot when she served it. That way, they could marry the one that caught their eye. So they used the law Moses wrote (not God) regarding divorce, for their own selfish interests. Moses wrote that law because Israel’s hearts were hardened, even then.

Jesus says that law was written because their hearts were hardened. What does it mean to have a hardened heart? It means you follow the letter of the law, but you use it for self-interest.

A person (I’ll use the pronoun “he,” just to make it easier) goes to church and does good works like feeding and clothing the poor, singing in the choir and going to the church every time the door is open. Others admire him and say, “What a great guy!”  Yet he is secretly disobedient to God, sinning against Him in private.

And if a friend comes and speaks to him about the state of his soul, the friend is rejected and rebuffed. The great guy doesn’t want anyone to make him feel bad about what he is doing. He just wants to keep doing what he’s doing. It was the same with the Jews and divorce for selfish purposes, and Jesus was the Friend they rejected and rebuffed.

After Jesus reminds the Pharisees of why Moses made a divorce law, He uses the Word of God to remind them of the heart of God. Male and female, a man leaving his father and mother, the two (male and female) becoming one flesh. Then Jesus says, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” That is God’s heart and that is a command.

The disciples privately question Jesus about what He means. If you are a man and divorce your wife so you can marry another woman, you commit adultery, He says. If a woman divorces her husband so she can marry another man, she commits adultery, He says.

Notice the reason Jesus calls divorce adultery, in this case. Lust. You have your eye on someone else. You lust after that one. So you divorce your husband or wife. That is adultery. That is exactly what the Jews (including some of the Pharisees) were doing at the time Jesus walked the earth.

Jesus says,”Let no man separate.” Let no man or woman separate. Husband, do not lust after another woman who will separate you from your wife, and wife, do not lust after another man who will separate you from your husband.

Instead, ask God, by His Holy Spirit, to fill and thereby purify your heart so you have no desire for anyone but your own spouse. Amen!

I do not believe that a man or woman whose husband is incurably unfaithful (after counseling is attempted), or abusive, is held to this commandment of Jesus Christ. Such situations have nothing to do with roving, lustful, adulterous eyes.

I support that belief with scripture, and Jeff’s and my case —

1Corinthians 7:15 and 7:24 speak of what happens when you are married and you become a believer. Your husband or wife does not believe, and they leave you. It is not a sin to let them go and to divorce them to avoid legal issues later. You are not bound to them, in the eyes of God. And when you come to the Lord, you remain in whatever condition you were in when you believed. If you are a divorced unbeliever who married another divorced unbeliever, you don’t leave them when you come to faith in Jesus Christ. He forgives those sins.

Jeff and I were both divorcees. We did not know the Lord. We got married. Then we became believers. All of our past sins were forgiven, praise God!

Jeff did not divorce his first wife because he liked me better. He didn’t even know me. Jeff’s first wife abandoned him. I did not divorce my first husband because I liked Jeff better. I didn’t even know Jeff. I divorced my first husband because he beat me until I bled internally. I didn’t have a roving eye, but I had a black and blue body! If we were adulterers in God’s eyes, Jesus never would have healed me, and He never would have filled Jeff and me with His Spirit.

Verses 13-16 — The Pharisees were so blind they couldn’t receive the truth Jesus was teaching.  Now the blindness continues, this time with the disciples. They do not see the kingdom of God that Jesus had told them about previously. They do not understand that little children are as welcome as any others. Everyone is welcome! They see the children as a bother, and rebuke those who bring their children so Jesus can touch them. Do you know what “touch” means? To put a light in them, to set them on fire (with His presence)! The disciples rebuke people for bringing their children so Jesus can put a light in them! Now that’s blindness, a blindness Jesus heals when He fills us with His Spirit. Then we understand, then we see.

So Jesus tells them they have it all wrong. Do not hinder them, let them come! The kingdom of God belongs to those who are like little children before Me! As a matter of fact, if you don’t receive My kingdom like a child, you won’t enter it at all.

What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God as a child? Complete trust in God. If a family functions as God designed it, a child trusts his father and mother completely. That requires a humble heart. The child knows he can’t fix what’s wrong, but if he brings it to his father or mother, it will be fixed. And the child seeks an innocent intimacy with his parents — appropriate hugs and kisses.

Jesus is saying you cannot be a child of God unless you trust God the Father, even to the point where you tell Him your greatest perplexities and problems, trusting that He will take care of them, and you, knowing that He is a perfect Father. That requires a humble heart. You know you can’t fix what’s wrong, but you know He can. A child of God seeks holy intimacy with God, a holy embrace between Him and His child.

The disciples can’t see that yet, because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God hasn’t come to them with power, yet. But it will.

Verse 17-27 — Now we see another kind of blindness. A rich young man comes up to Jesus, calling Him “Good Teacher.” Jesus immediately says only God is good. His implicit question is this — do you call me good because you know I am God the Son?

Jesus speaks the last six commandments. So do you do good things, rich young man? And the young man proudly says, I keep all six of them. I do good things. But notice that Jesus doesn’t ask him if he does the first four commandments, which relate to love for God.

Jesus feels love for ones who are physically blind, and He feels love for ones who are spiritually blind and don’t know it. This young man doesn’t see that God must be in you, working through you, in order for you to do the kind of good that God does.

Jesus knows what issue God has with the young man. He is rich. That is his idol. That is his god. So sell everything and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then you can come and follow Me! Jesus knows what the response will be — sadness and retreat, because the young man knows he can’t let go of all of his property. The young man’s riches are his god, but he is blind and can’t see it. The effect of his blindness is that he cannot enter the kingdom.

So he does not follow Jesus, and Jesus does not go after him, either. Instead, Jesus exclaims that it is hard to enter the kingdom of God. Even harder than a camel going through the eye of a needle. He means this literally. It looks impossible.

The entrance to the kingdom of God is not large and grandiose, with a wide path. It has just a small gate, and the way is narrow, and few find it (Matthew 7:14). Few! It is hard to enter. You must be humble.

The disciples are not humble, so they do not understand. Then no one can be saved, they imply, when they say, “Then who can be saved?”

Then Jesus tells us that what looks impossible to man is possible for God. All things are possible with God!

IMPORTANT POINT:  Jesus means this in every way — All things are possible with God. With God, it is possible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, for the proud to be made humble, for the spiritually blind to see, for the incurably sick to be healed and for the demon-possessed to be delivered. With God, it is even possible for a human heart to be filled with God’s actual love!

Verses 28-31 — As usual, Peter (and the rest of the disciples) try to figure out what Jesus means, and Peter takes a stab at it. We’ve left everything! That’s not what Jesus is talking about. The requirement for a humble heart, in order to enter the kingdom of God, is the point He’s making. It isn’t about giving up things. It’s about giving up YOURSELF!

But He tells them (and you) that if, for His sake and the gospel’s sake, you leave your house and your family (He doesn’t mean permanent separation from family) and your work, you will receive 100 times as much now — houses, family, houses, and jobs. All of the coming church will share what they have, every church member will be your brother or sister or mother, every child of a child of God will be like your own, everyone’s home will be your home! That was true of the early church, but as you may have noticed, that is not true in today’s church, because there are proud and spiritually blind ones among us.

And you will also endure persecution, but ultimately, eternal life! It’s a narrow way. Unless you love the world system, it will not love you and it will come against you, even violently (John 15:18-20). They can kill your body, dear one, but you’ll simply go on to be in heaven forever.

But many who are first will be last. The first to have the offer was the Jews. The Pharisees are blind. The young man is blind. The effect of their blindness is that they will not be the first to enter. But the humble ones are able to see, so they will be the first to enter.  And the last to see will be the last to enter.

Verses 32-45 — Now Jesus walks ahead of His disciples, not with them. He is on a mission to get to Jerusalem. They follow, astonished at His behavior and His words. And they are both alarmed and in awe. And with greater detail than ever, Jesus once again tells them that He will be killed and rise three days later.

The blindness of the disciples is once again obvious. James and John want preferential treatment, when Jesus reigns on the earthly throne they are expecting. He will come into Jerusalem on a white horse, and the Romans will be defeated. Their behavior is not humble. They think they deserve to have their request honored by Jesus. Their self interest is clearly in view. It will be to their advantage to have the King’s ear.

He tells them they don’t know what they’re asking. Can they take His cup — a baptism of death? Blindly they say, “We are able.” They don’t know what He’s talking about.

But He tells them they will experience a baptism of death. It will happen at Pentecost, when they die to all of their pride and self-interest. That’s the baptism they will undergo. That’s the cup they will drink. For James, his physical body will die when he is martyred for his faith, with a sword. John will live on, to receive the Revelation before his physical body dies a natural death.

Again, He admonishes them that none is better than any other of them. They must be humble, serving one another, not trying to “best” one another, not trying to jockey for position.

Do you want to be first, He says? Then be a slave to everyone, just as I am!

I did not come for you to serve Me, but to serve you by dying for you, in your place, taking your punishment upon Me; rising again, that you may have eternal life; and pouring out the Holy Spirit, so your spiritual blindness may be healed!

Verses 46-52 — Bartimaeus (whose name means “son of one who is highly prized”) is blind, but he can see before he sees! He knows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. How do I know that? The crowd says, “It’s Jesus the Nazarene,” but he calls Him by a Messianic title: Jesus, Son of David. Have mercy on me!

Everyone wanted him to be quiet, to leave the Master alone. They spoke sternly and harshly to Bartimaeus. But he kept shouting!

Keep shouting! Pay no attention to persecution from those who are yet blind.

He will have mercy on you, when you see Him for who He really is, and cry out for mercy and refuse to stop crying out!

Jesus heard him calling, and said to the crowd, “Call him here.” And the crowd said, “Take courage (comfort, be of good cheer), stand up! He is calling for you!”

When you refuse to stop calling out to Him, He will call for you and you will be of good cheer. Bartimaeus’ continuous calling out was an indication of his faith. He knew he was coming to his Healer!

He threw aside his cloak, which was probably everything he owned. He was a blind beggar. The alms he received were likely stored there. But he didn’t care! He jumped up! He didn’t just slowly rise. He jumped! And he came to Jesus, feeling his way through the crowd. Can you see it! He was desperate!

Jesus asks a seemingly foolish question. The man is obviously blind, yet Jesus asks him what he wants Jesus to do for him!

What do you want Jesus to do for you? He wants you to tell Him, just like when I had MS and I had to tell Him what was wrong in my brain and spinal cord, what needed to be healed and recreated. It was an act of faith to tell Him. And so it was for Bartimaeus, the blind man who could see, even before he was healed!

And the man said, “Rabboni (Teacher, a title of respect), I want to regain my sight!”

And Jesus says, “Go! Your faith has made you well.” Does that mean the faith Bartimaeus exhibited had some kind of healing power? No! It means that his faith brought him to the One who heals. So, in that sense, his faith made him well. When?

Immediately! Immediately! No waiting! When you have faith, when you know Who you are coming to, the Christ, the Son of God, when you know He is able to heal you and you are so desperate that you’ll throw away everything when He calls your name —

immediately! At that moment, not when he had faith, but when he stood before Jesus and healing power went forth from Jesus. Immediately!
I challenge you, because I love you with God’s own love — if you say, “I can’t wait until Jesus heals me,” you are not yet desperate, and I will tell you that He is waiting for you to come to Him.

Immediately he regains his sight. His response? Does he just walk away? Does he just say, “Thanks, Jesus, now I have my life back.” No! He immediately began following Jesus on the road. Will you?

 

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LORD, MAKE ME RIGHT!

[SW184] 05/02/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015

“Lord, Make Me Right!”

Texts:

2Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now, when you say, “Lord, make me right,” you’re not asking Him to help you win an argument, religious or otherwise.

You’re asking Him to make you what you cannot possibly be without Jesus Christ. The “might” in 2Corinthians 5:21 means “would.” There’s no question that He will!

You’re asking Him to make you right with HIM.

That’s righteousness — being right with God. It’s a heart thing, a change in you that cost the Cross for His Son.

And I see that He took that cross so we would no longer live for ourselves. We would no longer be selfish and self-centered. We would live for Christ who died and rose again to make us able to live for Him.

Being right with God isn’t about doing good things. No one do enough good things to make yourself right in God’s eyes.

There’s only one Way. His Son.

Why is there only one Way to be right in God’s eyes?

Because we begin life as sinners; we all do. No one is exempt. We’re all rebels without a cause. That’s because of Adam’s rebellion against God’s single command, in the Garden of Eden.

God knew he would, and already had prepared a lamb for sacrifice, even before the world was formed (Revelation 13:8). That’s why there’s only one Way. It cost Him greatly — the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf — even from before time began.

Why would He do that? Because sin separates you from God. He gave — that’s a gift — His one and only Son, so sins you committed before you knew Him would be forgiven by Him, and slavery to sin could be done away with.

Then you can come near to Him. Then you can become His child (Romans 8:15)! Then you can live for His Son and not yourself any longer! Then others are drawn and saved and transformed so they, too, live for His Son!

Lord, make me right! Not like the Pharisees who dotted i’s and crossed t’s to try to show God how good they were, who studied the Word of God backwards and forwards.

He knew the hearts of the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests and Sanhedrin. He knew they would be His Son’s persecutors and executioners. Crucify Him! That’s what they cried to the Romans who ruled over them.

Dotting i’s and crossing t’s is an outward action. Good deeds are outward actions. You can do all the right things, yet have a heart dark enough to crucify the Son of God.

Luke 18:9-14

Look at Jesus’ judgment of the publican and the tax collector in this parable.

The publican wasn’t really praying. He was in a prayerful position and in the temple, a place of prayer, but all he did was boast about how well he did, following all the rules and regulations of the law given to God by Moses. He was proud of himself.

In Verse 9, the publican’s own words reveal his heart even further. He is beyond boastful. He tells God, “I’m not like OTHER people.” You know the ones, Lord — those who are swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector who is here in the temple with me. See me? I do everything right. They don’t.

In the heart of that man, who did all the right things, was contempt for others (v. 1). He trusted in himself and how many right things he did, how well he dotted i’s and crossed t’s, how many good deeds he did. He was so good in his own eyes that he considered that he was better than all those wicked sinners. He was sure he was doing just fine. But his heart was all wrong.

I hope that doesn’t describe you. I know it doesn’t describe me, because I no longer live for myself, but for Christ. I do not boast in what I have done, but in what He has done, is doing, and will yet do in me.

He showed my heart to me when He woke me up by allowing a great shaking of everything in me that could be shaken.

It was mercy and grace from God. What? Being sick with progressive MS was mercy and grace from God? It was what woke me up and turned me back to Him. It was grace, indeed!

I went back to church after nearly a lifetime away from God. I knew something was missing in my life, and I knew it was Him.

This is important — I didn’t want anything FROM God. I just wanted God!

My pastor led this old black sheep to look at Jesus Christ. I began to read the Bible, the Word of God. And I began to see myself as I truly was. It wasn’t pretty.

But oh, my! I didn’t just see how bad I was. I saw how good HE is! Grace and mercy!

And so I cried out to Him, for mercy, like the tax collector! “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Now that’s what God would have liked to hear from the Pharisee. Save me, bring me near, O God! Change my heart! I want to know You! My sin, my pride, my high estimation of myself stands in the way!

Who went away justified? The tax collector. God forgave him of his past sins. That’s God’s mercy and grace, He forgave me for all my past sins, when I received Him as my Lord and Savior. But He wasn’t finished yet. I still struggled with sin.

Then I said, “Lord make me right!” Lord, make me right on the inside, make my HEART right! He’ll do the same for you. That’s why His Father sent Him. Then you’ll live for Him!

Christianity is not about do’s and don’ts, though you will do things that are right in God’s eyes when you are truly His.

It won’t be to impress people with your goodness. That’s pride, and in comparing yourself with others, you show that you have contempt in your heart. You are yet like the Pharisee.

But when you have Him in you, you will do things that are right in God’s eyes. It will be because you know that it is HIS blood that washed you clean, HIS righteousness that is now in you. And there’s more.

When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, pride flees, beloved! You will say, “THE LORD answered my prayer, and HE made my HEART right, HE is continuing to make me more and more like Him every day!”

He gets all the praise, all the honor, for it is HIS work in you (Philippians 2:12)!

HIS holiness in you, HIS love in you, HIS Holy Spirit large and in charge. HE makes you right, and then what you do is for the right reason — out of a complete and absolute compulsion to use every means to bring everyone else to that shaking place, where they see themselves as they truly are, and cry out, “Lord, make me right!”

You  tell them the very, very, very Good News of Jesus Christ! You tell them your story, so they might see Jesus Christ in you and through you!

Rushing, flood-stage rivers of water flow from your belly — the Holy Spirit (John 7:38)!

Glory to God! The Lord makes you right!

Ask Him now, and He will do it!