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Mark 10:13-22 | Session 38 | Mark Rightly Divided

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by Randy White Ministries Thursday, May 30, 2024

**The Gospel of Mark, rightly Divided
Mark 10:13-22 | Session 38 | Mark Rightly Divided**

Download a PDF outline here: https://humble-sidecar-837.notion.site/Mark-10-13-22-Session-38-Mark-Rightly-Divided-cb3dfe0a64ca44e5ad731790ca41c723?pvs=4

Jesus Blesses Children | Mark 10:13-16



At first glance, this passage might seem to simply depict Jesus blessing children. However, it's important to delve deeper into the text. Jesus uses this moment as an opportunity to teach about entry into the Kingdom of God. This teaching likely represents the ultimate purpose of the passage.

Verse 13 -



Verse 13 introduces a scene where people are bringing children to Jesus. The text doesn't specify the amount of time that has passed since the previous event, nor does it clearly state who these people are - perhaps parents, grandparents, or friends. Regardless, their intention is for Jesus to "touch them," a gesture we've seen throughout Mark's gospel as possessing a physical power that is often overlooked in the incarnation. Even though these children don't appear to be sick, it's understandable that these adults would seek Jesus' protection over them. However, the disciples rebuke them, possibly considering the children an unnecessary distraction in their busy ministry. It's worth wondering if any of the disciples were parents themselves - if not, this could partially explain their reaction.

Assuming a physical power that transferred from Jesus into the children, it's important not to overemphasize this, in a quest for application, as "the power of touch." Yes, touch can bring emotional and spiritual encouragement, but this is distinct from the physical power that was manifested through Jesus's touch. Such physical power was unique to Jesus and his divine nature. It is crucial to distinguish between the two, to avoid misunderstanding or misapplying the context of these events.

Verse 14 -



Jesus was displeased with the disciples' rebuke. He took the situation as an opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson. Jesus declared that the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. This statement underscores the qualities that children typically embody - perhaps trust, innocence, humility, and a sense of wonder - as the qualities that the citizens of the kingdom will possess. This is consistent with Jesus's teachings about kingdom citizenship, as evidenced in the Beatitudes. Matthew 18:3 even more explicitly ties these childlike qualities to entrance into the kingdom, stating, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Verse 15 will also make this explicit testimony.

It's worth noting at this point that in what appears to be the same event, Matthew refers to the 'Kingdom of Heaven', while Mark refers to the 'Kingdom of God'. I believe these terms are used interchangeably and refer to the same reality - the future, physical, fraternal (Israel-centric) Davidic kingdom.

Verse 15 -



Verse 15 clearly states that a childlike nature is required for entry into the kingdom. It's crucial to avoid interpreting the Kingdom of God as salvation (achieved by grace through faith, not by individual effort). Such an interpretation would be a serious mistake, similar to trying to blend water and oil. It would be like saying, "Certain individuals cannot receive salvation because their demeanor is not appropriate," implying that a change in demeanor is necessary, which is equivalent to saying, "You're not good enough to be saved. Return when you behave more appropriately." Regrettably, it seems that much of evangelical Christianity wants it both ways. They believe salvation is by grace, accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime, but they add the condition that individuals must work for it and meet certain requirements.

The solution to this conundrum lies in rightly dividing the word of truth. We must differentiate between the kingdom teachings and the teachings meant for the body of Christ, which relate to salvation by grace through faith. Jesus, during his earthly ministry, was a minister of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8), teaching to a specific audience in a specific time. At that point, the gospel of grace was still hidden within God (Eph. 3:1-6). Therefore, the teachings about kingdom citizenship, such as the need for child-like trust and humility, should not be conflated with the doctrines of salvation for those in the body of Christ, which are based on grace through faith alone.

Verse 16 -



In conclusion, the account tells us that Jesus did touch the children, as was the original desire of those who brought them. He also blessed them, which was likely a spiritual blessing added to the physical one. However, it is important that we do not use this passage as a basis to create a "blessing of the children" event. We must remember that we are not Jesus, and we do not possess the same physical or spiritual empowerment that He had.

The Rich Young Ruler | Mark 10:17-22



If any story in the gospels exemplifies the division between the gospel of the kingdom in Jesus' day and the gospel of grace in ours, it is the story of the rich young ruler.

Verse 17 -



Fortunately for us, the question asked by the man who has come to be known as the "Rich, Young Ruler" is perfectly clear: "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" There is no ambiguity in this question. We must interpret Jesus' response based on this question, and we can safely assume that Jesus will provide an answer to such a vital enquiry.

We must also recognize that "eternal life" was a characteristic of the Kingdom of God. Because it is also a characteristic of salvation by grace, we can use this to test our assumptions. We have assumed (all but concluded) that the Kingdom is not the body of Christ, that the Kingdom Gospel is not the Grace Gospel, and that the method of entry into the body of Christ is by grace. On the other hand, entrance into the Kingdom is by repentance of sins, a childlike demeanor, and that which is about to be explained.

Verse 18 -



Jesus begins his conversation with the young man by confronting him with a crucial philosophical issue. In His rhetorical question, "Why do you call me good? No one is good - except God alone," Jesus embeds a profound assumption. The implication is clear: if the man is calling Jesus 'good', he must acknowledge that Jesus is God, as only God is ultimately good. This assertion sets the stage for the rest of their discussion. With this understanding in place, Jesus is ready to proceed and address the young man's pressing question about inheriting eternal life.

Verses 19-20 -



Jesus proceeds by assuming that the man is aware of the commandments, and He summarizes some of the key relational commandments, not in any specific order. Remarkably, the man interrupts, stating, "Master, all these I have observed from my youth." It is noteworthy that Jesus does not refute this claim. Contrary to popular belief, it is not impossible to obey the commandments, or the Torah as a whole, for that matter. The commandments were given to be obeyed, not to serve as an unreachable fantasy of righteous living, as is often taught.

It's important to note that the passages often used as proof-texts to argue that the righteousness of the law is unattainable, such as Romans 3:10-12 and Galatians 3:10, are invariably invoked without their full context. This approach leads to misunderstanding. Furthermore, these “proofs” do not address instances in scripture where individuals are described as having a righteous standing within the law. For example, in Luke 1:6, Zechariah and Elizabeth are described as "both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."

Furthermore, this "obey the commandments for eternal life" answer should not surprise us. The law itself makes such a claim. For example, Leviticus 18:5 states, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD." Similarly, Ezekiel 20:11 reads, "And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them." These passages directly support the idea that obedience to the commandments was seen as a path to life.

Just to clarify, the Rich Young Ruler was a man living under the law, seeking eternal life through following the law. He approached Jesus, a teacher of the Law (as per Romans 15:8, Matthew 5:17-19), to inquire about obtaining eternal life under the law. It's important to remember that this man had no knowledge of the future event of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and he certainly wasn't putting his faith in these yet-to-happen events. He was also unaware of the Gospel of Grace that was yet to be revealed. Why would we expect any answer other than the one given?

It is surprising and somewhat disconcerting how often preachers portray the Rich Young Ruler as a villainous character, concealing his true, selfish nature behind a façade of righteousness akin to that of the Pharisees. Such an interpretation paints him as one of the "whitewashed tombs" Jesus condemns in the Gospels. However, there is no evidence in the text to support this negative portrayal. This young man is genuinely seeking to understand the path to eternal life and approaches Jesus with a sincere question.

Moreover, it is a glaring oversight that many preachers fail to highlight the fact that Jesus' response to the question of "how can I have eternal life?" was, by any definition, works. His answer was consistent with the teachings of Judaism, which revolved around adherence to the commandments and the Law. This is a crucial point to underscore, as it emphasizes the contrast between the Gospel of the Kingdom taught in Jesus' day and the Gospel of Grace that characterizes our current dispensation.

Verse 21 -



In addition to obedience to the commandments, Jesus told the man to sell his possessions and give them to the poor. This instruction highlights the trust and reliance on God that is required for entry into the Kingdom of God. The Psalmist declares, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" (Ps. 23:1). If this is true, why would one need to cling to earthly possessions? When the King is in your presence, trust Him!

It is important to counter a common interpretation that this command was specific to this individual due to some hidden selfishness in his heart. Both Jesus' demeanor - "beholding him loved him" - and His comments that followed (vv. 23-31) indicate that Jesus was speaking literally. It was not a test to reveal the man's inner character, but a genuine instruction for those seeking entry into the kingdom.

This action of selling possessions and giving to the poor was not just theoretical, but was indeed put into practice when the early believers recognized Jesus as the Messiah. They immediately "sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need" (Acts 2:45). This action was not just an act of charity but was a tangible expression of their trust in their Shepherd, who they believed would provide for their needs.

Furthermore, Jesus instructed the man to "take up the cross, and follow me." The cross, in that context, was a symbol of death. It is important to understand that during that time, the cross didn't carry the same spiritual connotations that it does in our day. When Jesus spoke these words, He was essentially challenging the man to be willing to die, if necessary, to follow Him, a call to ultimate surrender and commitment. This goes back to the original introduction, “there is none good but one, that is, God” in verse 18. If that is what the man believes, surely he would be willing to follow God all the way to death, would he not?

Verse 22 -



Unfortunately, the young man, who had many possessions, was not willing to meet the demands of Jesus. He walked away grieved, for he had great wealth. We can only wonder what became of the man... and what could have been, had he chosen to heed Jesus' call.

When we are sincere in our introspection, it's clear that none of us have been obedient to such a command either. If this is indeed the answer to the question of how to attain eternal life, then none of us can hope to achieve it. However, we need to remember that we now live in a different dispensation. We're not striving to enter the Kingdom, with its incredibly demanding entry tests. Instead, we are receiving a gift of eternal life that is unmerited, a grace gift. This story serves as a stark reminder of the magnificence of God's blessings showered upon us in this age of grace.

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