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The Hardness of Divorce

Mark 10:1-5

Jesus' teaching programme for the disciples was getting more intense. They were months away from their Master's arrest and crucifixion, and there was so much to learn in order to be able to lead the Early Church (John 16:12-14).

What God has Joined Together

Mark 10:5-9

Religion, paradoxically, can become a tool of the selfish: a way of justifying self-will.  The Pharisees came to trap Jesus with a question about divorce from Deuteronomy 24:1-14 (Mark 10:2).  But Moses' law was after the Fall; it was for sinful, selfish people.  Jesus took the religious leaders back to basics, first by reminding them that divorce was allowed by God's permission to provide some comfort and dignity through the pain of a dysfunctional relationship.  But it was only for hard-hearted people who could not be soft enough to reconcile their lives with God's design.  Then He explai


Mark 10:10-12

The crowd heard Jesus' teaching about divorce: it clearly stirred the disciples too.  They asked Him about the implications of marriage breakdown (presumably including remarriage).  His answer did not depend on situational ethics but creation design.  Jesus said that remarriage after divorce is adultery.  He adds to this in Matthew 19:9: "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."  And to make the point equal for both parties, Jesus said this applied to a woman who divorces her husband too.  Although that

Receiving the Lord and His Blessing

Mark 10:13-16

Again, the disciples showed that they had not learned their lessons.  Mark 9:33-37 should have taught them that child-like trust, and not arrogant adult talk, impressed Jesus.  Now they even tried to turn away families with small children (the word used could mean babies, children or pre-teens).  In that society, children were an uncertain asset: they were vulnerable to disease and death - thereby reducing the parent's prospects of help to provide for the family and themselves in old age.  They were not considered as people in their own right; having no economic advantage to the family.  Ho

Willing to Give Everything

Mark 10:17-21

This is a classic.  But don't let familiarity make your eye skip down the page.  This young man was not as inept as some suggest.  Jesus was on the road again with His disciples who were being trained to be apostles and they would learn another lesson as they observed this young man's conversation with Jesus (Mark 10:23-31).  As Jesus moved away from a crowd of adults and children, a man came running; eager not to lose his opportunity to get the answer to a burning question.  He fell on his knees, respecting the authority of Jesus' teaching.  It was a fine start to the interview, but would

Walking Away from Love

Mark 10:21-23

It would be heart-breaking to know of all the people who Jesus loves ...

Who Can Be Saved?

Mark 10:24-27

You might have thought that Jesus would make it easy for people to become His disciples.

A Servant's Reward

Mark 10:28-31

Some people always have an answer! Peter was, as usual, eager to protest his loyalty to the cause: and at face value he was speaking the truth.  He was a fisherman, and when Jesus called him away from his nets - he obeyed and followed.  However, he still had a home, wife and extended family (Matthew 8:14); and easy access to boats (Mark 3:9) and his old trade (John 21:3).  But his protest had a distinctly grasping edge, as the narrative includes more detail in Matthew 19:27: 'Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"'

Intentional about the Cross

Mark 10:32-34

Jesus had already twice announced His forthcoming crucifixion (Mark 8:31, 9:30-31). So why was Jesus now going to Jerusalem - marching into the jaws of death?  This was no reluctant passive acceptance of a plan forced upon Him; He was active in taking the lead (Isaiah 50:7).  As He led the way, the disciples were astonished at this apparently fool-hardy journey, and the group who travelled with them were afraid.  For a third time, He spelled out what was going to happen ... but this time gives the precise details of His suffering to come, and also the triumph of His rising again.

Using God For Our Own Glory

Mark 10:35-37

If we look at the apostles in awe, assuming their spiritual superiority, these verses will give us a shock.  Coming immediately after Jesus' third announcement of His imminent death, including details of how He would be whipped, ridiculed, spat upon and then crucified (Mark 10:32-34), we might have expected the disciples to respond in loving sympathy for Jesus, as one woman did (Mark 14:3-9).  But, no.  The fishermen brothers were callously self-seeking.  James, who was the first to be martyred, and John, who described himself as 'the disciple Jesus loved' (John 21:20) … did not care about