Review 10:23-31 Riches do not have the power to help one work or worm his way into heaven. Jesus after saying v25 “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” He adds v27 “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” In other words, Grace or Salvation is totally outside the sphere of human capacity. No personal achievement can bring anyone into the Kingdom of God. Salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned. Due to the disciples confusion Jesus concludes with v29-31 “Truly I tell you no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Clearly Jesus was letting them know – letting us know – Kingdom benefits and rewards are not based upon human merit or efforts. Jesus was preparing their hearts – our hearts – for what He would share with them very soon where He speaks of being a servant.
10:32-34 Third Prediction. First predictions were 8:31-33 and 9:30-32. They were amazed at His determination to return to Jerusalem where He would meet His death. And they were afraid. They recalled His first two predictions of His death and He was walking directly to it. There He would face those who wanted Him dead directly when He entered as a King – next chapter – and there also read on how He drove the money changers from the temple. Also, He did not say I am going to Jerusalem, but we are going up to Jerusalem. They were going with Him. Why would He be handed over to the Gentiles? Because the Jewish high court did not have the authority to execute a death sentence. Also it shows the contempt they had for Jesus and the desire to humiliate Him by handing Him over to the heathens to be put to death.
10:35-45 Jesus as Servant vs the Request of James and John. What an odd place for this – right after Jesus has predicted His death and resurrection a third time. Or at least I thought so at the first reading. Look again at His question to them and their reply (v38-39). They had no idea, but Jesus knew. Look ahead to 14:36 “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” He knew. They did not. Instead, they were preoccupied with where they would be seated. This illustrates how easy it is to let your personal self-interest show up even in spiritual matters … and how easy it is to mistake as zeal something that is really nothing more than ambition to be prominent.
Jesus gives two examples – one negative, one positive – to the disciples and to us. The negative is the how the Gentiles lording it over and dominating those who are their subjects. Then there is the positive example of Jesus which also served as a rebuke to them – and us – in v45 where He sets forth His servant-hood as an example for us to follow For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
10:46-52 Faith of the blind man. Last miracle recorded in Gospel of Mark. First time Jesus is called by the messianic title Son of David not Jesus of Nazareth. Bartimaeus would not be quiet. He had faith, he had no doubt heard of Jesus and made the connection somehow that Jesus was the Son of David.
Why did Jesus ask him what he wanted? Jesus wanted the man to communicate his need and express his faith. Mark gives us the blind man’s generic reply Rabbi, I want to see. The more literal gives us Rabboni, I want to see again. Rabboni meaning My Lord, My Teacher. And he followed Jesus.
So do we so fear the condemnation of the world so that we are merely listening to the Word, but not putting it into practice as those in Ezekiel 33:30-32 As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.