PASTOR DON'S CHRISTIAN ED NOTES
Part Nineteen
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Sunday, September 18, 2011 -

1) Mark 10:32-34 - Jesus prepares His disciples - “And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, [33] saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. [34] And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

This is Jesus’ third specific mention of His coming death (see Mark 8:31, 9:31, and now 10:33-34). Each time a little more detail is given. Matthew records the actual way in which Jesus will die, by crucifixion - 20:19 - “....and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

With good reason, Jesus once again explains His coming death, it is not that Jesus is being morbid or expressing some death wish. Each reminder tells the disciples that Jesus’ death wasn’t accidental. Jesus is underscoring that His death was a planned event in the heart of Father God. It was predicted by the prophets. It was foreseen by Jesus Himself. It was orchestrated by God the Father. No one else died in this manner before.

Notice also that each time Jesus talked about His death, He reminded them that His death was not the end of the story. He always underscored His resurrection to fill their hearts with confidence and hope (34).

2) Mark 10:35-44 - The disciples’ strange request - “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” [36] And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” [37] And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” [38] Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” [39] And they said to him, “We are able.” And 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, [40] 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.” [41] And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. [42] And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. [43] But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”

It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on inside the disciples heads at this point. Perhaps they still don’t grasp the concept of Christ as the suffering Messiah who will redeem the world by His death. Perhaps they still think that Jesus is going to Jerusalem to finally take His rightful place of power and authority. Perhaps they misunderstood those last words of Jesus in verse 34 - “....after three days He will rise.” If that’s the case, they probably thought they had better get their pecking order established quickly! In His response, Jesus teaches several truths:

a) He saw His own death as a “cup” and a “baptism” (38) - The cup was frequently used in the Scriptures to picture the outpouring of God’s wrath on sinful people - (Isaiah 51:17 - “Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.”, and Revelation 16:19 - “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.”

Also, Jesus viewed His death as a “baptism” that He had to go through (Luke 12:50 - “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!). This is why Jesus said He had to be baptized by John to “fulfill all righteousness”. He fully identified with man’s sin and God’s punishment of man’s sin.

b) The disciples had to face their own participation in this baptism with Jesus - 38-39 - “Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” [39] And they said to him, “We are able.” And 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....”

These are very forceful words from Jesus. There was more to following Jesus than just enjoying the fruits of forgiveness and redemption. As He had taught earlier (8:34-38) they would have to participate in His suffering and experience their own cross carrying.

This is what I am saying at my own baptism. There is much to die to. There is a high price to pay. Faith in Jesus is not only receiving His grace. It is sacrificing all for His cause. So there is getting baptized, and there is also living baptized.

c) Unlearning the world’s system (35-37, 41-44) - “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” [36] And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” [37] And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Mark 10:41-44 - “And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. [42] And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. [43] But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, [44] and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”

There is biting irony in Jesus’ words to His disciples. They were very familiar with the cruel practices of Roman government as a tyrant who “lorded it over them” (42). They hated that kind of system when they were on the bottom side of things.

But in their desire for greatness (as shown in the request of James and John - 37, and as shown in the jealousy of the other ten - 41) they were showing that same love for position and power that they hated so much in their Roman oppressors.

d) Only by acts of service does one become truly great - 10:44 - “....and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Here we see the lesson of the child all over again. Isn’t Jesus a patient teacher?

e) Jesus Himself is the greatest example - 10:45 - “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We’re meant to see the underscoring of that word “even” - even the Son of Man came to serve....” Later on, Peter picks up on these words of example from Jesus - 1 Peter 2:2-23 - “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. [23] When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

The two important words in Mark 10:45 - “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

i) “Give” - Jesus’ death wasn’t an accident. He was offering Himself - giving Himself. He must never be viewed as a helpless victim of history. He was fulfilling God’s plan.

ii) “Ransom” - Literally as a “payment” or the “purchase price.” He was giving His life to redeem or buy back our lives from both the penalty (the objective guilt that stands before God the Judge) and the bondage (the enslavement that sin always brings to immoral habits and thought patterns). See also Isaiah 53:45.12.

3) Mark 10:46-52 - The healing of blind Bartimaeus - “And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. [47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [48] And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [49] And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” [50] And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” [52] And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.”

Jesus did more than just talk about serving people. So must we. Many people didn’t grasp Jesus’ concern about meeting the needs of ordinary, and even sinful, people (48). This is just like the disciples chasing the kids away from Jesus earlier. Bartimaeus demonstrates both faith (seeing Jesus as the answer to his problem) and persistence (not being put off by the rebuke of the crowd).