Note that Jesus is passing through Jericho and is on His way to Jerusalem. Great multitudes are following Him. We are introduced to a blind man, who when he learns Jesus is coming by, cries out over and over “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me”. Jesus heals him of his blindness.
One thing important about this miracle is the understanding Bartimaeus had of who Jesus was. How does he identify Jesus and why is this designation important?
What else do you see important in this miracle?
James and John approach Jesus with the request that they might sit, one on his right hand and the other on his left hand, when he comes in his kingdom.
Jesus addresses their misunderstanding of the nature of kingdom (they don’t even get that the King is about to die) and He teaches a lesson about humility.
Jesus says rivalries concerning who is the greatest are a part of worldly kingdoms but his kingdom is different. Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom? How does Jesus set The example of true greatness?
On the road to Jerusalem Jesus tells the twelve (in what seem like unmistakable terms) about his upcoming arrest, death, and resurrection. Luke’s account adds that Jesus said “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished” (18:31)
The text says Jesus was “going before them” and that they were amazed and afraid. Why were they amazed? Why were they afraid?
Concerning His death, Luke also adds that “they understood none of these things” and that it was “hidden from them” (18:34). Why did they not understand His plain language? Was it miraculously hidden from them or do you think it was their own lack of perception?
This is a parable about a landowner who hired workers throughout the day and at the end of the day paid everyone the same.
Not surprisingly, the ones who worked all day complained. The landowner tells them it is his right to pay whatever he wants to pay. He also tells them that they were paid exactly what they agreed upon.
The landowner said to those who complained, “is your eye evil because I am good?”
How might we have an “evil eye” spiritually speaking and resent how good God is to some people?
In today’s reading Jesus speaks of how difficult it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. He uses the familiar “easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle” comparison which really expresses an impossibility, but then follows it up with “with God all things are possible”.
The disciples express to him that they have left everything and Jesus makes a wonderful promise to those who give up much to follow him. Note that He says there will be blessings in this life (along with persecutions) as well as eternal life to come.
Yesterday’s reading closed with how hard it is for those who HAVE riches (10:23) to enter the Kingdom of God. In today’s reading Jesus says “how hard it is for those who TRUST IN riches to enter the kingdom of God (24). Whats the difference? Is having riches wrong? Is it dangerous?
Mark identifies this man as simply one who came running and knelt before Jesus. At the end of the account we are told he had great possessions (v22). Luke’s account tells us he was a ruler (Luke 18:18). Matthew 19:20 tells us he was young, thus he is called “the Rich Young Ruler!”
He expresses a great desire to be right with God, but he was clearly unwilling to part with his possessions.
Perhaps the most interesting statement is when it says in verse 21 that Jesus, looking at him loved Him. We know Jesus loves us all! How do you understand that statement about Jesus and the rich young ruler?
Little children are brought to Jesus but the disciples rebuke those who bringing them. Jesus is “greatly displeased”. Jesus recognized something beautiful in little children. There is something like the kingdom and kingdom citizens in them. He was not too busy to be friendly to them.
What were the disciples thinking when they “rebuked those who brought (the little children)”?
The reading says the Pharisees tested Jesus by asking Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce His wife for just any reason?”
Jesus refers to the original creation to show that divorce was not a part of God’s plan. ‘What God has joined together let not man separate”. Moses allowed it “because of the hardness of their hearts” but Jesus says except for cases of “sexual immorality” it is wrong.
Modern attitudes toward marriage are quite different from the teaching Jesus gives here. For example, a popular alternative to the traditional vow “as long as we both shall live” is “as long as we both shall love”! In light of how Jesus responds to the Pharisee’s questions, how do you think God feels about an attitude like this?
This is the familiar parable of the Pharisee and Publican. The Pharisee’s prayer was basically him praising himself: he thanks God that he does not sin like others and then lists all the good things he does. The Publican’s prayer was simply “God be merciful to me, a sinner”.
According to the parable the man living the most outwardly obedient life (The Pharisee) was rejected and the one who admitted sin (The Publican) went home justified.
Does this encourage sin or suggest that sin is not serious? Why was the Publican justified? What could the Pharisee have prayed to be more acceptable to God?
Think about your prayers today. Did they most resemble the Pharisee or the Publican?
The lesson here is that we “always ought to pray and not lose heart” (verse 1). The reason we keep praying is because we are confident that God hears our prayers and that they have an effect on Him.
Jesus tells a story about an unjust judge who finally grants the request of a poor widow. She begged and begged and He finally answered to get her off his back.
Likewise, if we pray God will hear us, but its not like unjust judge wanting to get poor widow to leave him alone!
How are the details in our case far different (and to our advantage) from that of the judge and widow?