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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Mark 10

 

 

Verses 13-52

Mark 10:13. And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

They thought them too little, too insignificant, and that the Master had greater things to do; but he thinketh not so. None are too little for him. He receiveth even childish honours to himself.

Mark 10:14. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Many of them come into that kingdom, and all who some think must be like them. The child is not the hardest subject of conversion; nay, rather:

Mark 10:15. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Instead of growing wiser, in order to be fit for Christ, we must be more conscious of ignorance, more trustful towards him, more dependent upon him, mere childlike.

Mark 10:16-18. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

He did not here unveil his Deity to that young man, but if he had thought a while, he might have seen it. However, he answered his question. “If you are to be saved by your doings, this is what you have to do — not attend to sacraments and go through performances, but this.”

Mark 10:19-20. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

And he probably had very cautiously and anxiously done so, yet, for all that, he had not really kept all those commands without a flaw. We are right well sure of that, but as yet his eyes were not open to see his own shortcomings.

Mark 10:21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him,

There was so much that was amiable about him.

Mark 10:21. And said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

He knew that there was a weak point in the young man’s character — that he did not yet supremely love God, but loved his wealth — that he was living for this world, after all. And are there not many such — most correct in character? No one could point to a single flaw in their morals, but they are living purely for self — altogether that they may buy and sell, and get gain. No thought of God, except a fear lest they should come under his rod, but no thought of serving him, and laying themselves out for his glory, nor much thought, either, for their fellow-men. Christ had hit the blot —marked it out for him.

Mark 10:23-24. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words.

For the Rabbis had pretty well taught that money would answer every-thing — that if you could give so much, and pay so much, it was all well with you. Christ went against all such teaching, and showed that, in this respect, money was of no service — in fact, that it often was a hindrance.

Mark 10:24. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trustest in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

It is an impossibility. Only God can do it.

Mark 10:25-27. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10:32-34. And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed: and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took the twelve again, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

From the number of these sentences it is clear that our Saviour entered into a very detailed account of his sufferings, dwelling upon each particular which he plainly foresaw, wherein we see his prophetic character. But it is more to our point to see that he knew beforehand what it would cost him to redeem our souls. “When the Saviour knew the price of pardon was his blood, his pity ne’er withdrew.” He knew not only that he must die, but he knew all the circumstances of pain and shame with which that death should be attended. They should condemn him: should deliver him to the Gentiles; mock him; scourge him; spit upon him; kill him. Thus we learn that we also should dwell in holy, grateful meditation upon every point of our Lord’s passion. There is something in it. He would not himself thus have divided it out, and laid it, as it were, piece by piece, if he had not intended us to do with it as they did with the burnt-offering of old, when they divided it — a picture of what every intelligent, instructed believer should do with the passion of his Master. He should try to look into the details of the great sacrifice, and have communion with God therein. Now, albeit that this revelation of his coming shame, and sorrow, and death afflicted the hearts of his disciples, yet, for all that, observe what they did.

Mark 10:35. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

Strange request! First of all, read those words, “We would that thou shouldest do for us.” Now the genuine spirit of a Christian is not to ask that something should be done to him, but to ask his Master, especially in such a time as that, what they could do for him. Christ was all unselfishness, but his disciples had not yet learned the lesson. “We would that thou shouldest do for us.” And then see how much they indulged their ambition. “We wouldest that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we desire.” And yet I question whether we are, any of us, free from this spirit; for when the Lord reproves us a little, and we have not everything our own way, how apt we are to rebel! The fact is, we have got this tincture — this gall — in us — we would that he should do for us whatsoever we shall desire. Should it be according to thy mind? Should the disciple dictate to his Master? Should the child Be lord of the family?

Mark 10:36-39. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can.

Again, he might have said, “Ye know not what ye say.”

Mark 10:39-40. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

They are not content, you see, with being ambitious themselves: they would fire him with ambition — that humble, lowly servant of God, who had laid aside for a while the power to distribute crowns and thrones. But he does not forget himself, nor the position which he had taken up in reference to the Father, but said, “It is not mine to give.”

Mark 10:41-43. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you:

However, how sad the contrast is — the Master’s thoughts all taken up with his death for others, and their thoughts occupied with little petty jealousies as to who should be the greatest! It is a sad thing when this creeps into Christian churches (and it still does), when souls are perishing, and this poor world wants our weeping eyes and our labourious hands, and we get quarreling about points of precedence. This brother thinks the other too forward. This one has not enough respect paid to him. This one has spoken sharply, and the other cannot bear it. Oh! what poor disciples we are! What a blessing it is we have a patient. Master, who still bears with us, and will not leave us until he has infused his own spirit into us, which spirit is the spirit of self-denial, self-abnegation — the spirit which desireth not its own, but looketh on the things of others. God grant us all to be full of it.

Mark 10:43. But whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

Your servant.

Mark 10:44. And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

And that is the way to be truly great in the Church of God. It is to be less and less in your own esteem, and willing to be nothing. The way up is downward That is not a contradiction, but it is a paradox. Sink, and you shall rise. Be willing to serve the very least, and you shall have honour amongst your brethren. Remember that the King of kings was the servant of servants. “Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

Mark 10:45-49. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort,

“Cheer up.” That would be a very exact translation.

Mark 10:49-51. Rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?

Do you notice here a sort of gentle rebuke that the Saviour gives to James and John? Read the 36th verse, and then read this again. “He said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?” And now here is a blind beggar, and he sweetly puts the same question to him, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?”

Mark 10:51. The blind man said unto him,

And here he might well have shamed John and James. He asked for no thrones or kingdoms.

Mark 10:51. Lord, that I might receive my sight.

“Lord, that I might look up.” That was the word he used exactly; for no doubt he had been conscious that the light came from the sun as he felt its warmth upon him as he sat by the wayside; and, therefore, he thought that seeing must be looking up towards the place whence the sunlight came. “Lord, that I might look up.”

Mark 10:52. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

It is a very remarkable thing that you will not often find the Lord Jesus Christ granting a favor without ascribing it to some excellency in that person to whom he grants it. It is generally “Great is thy faith,” or something of that sort — “I have not seen such faith.” Now this is a very remarkable thing, because we know there really was nothing whatever in the persons that they should deserve his great favor.


Verses 17-45

Mark 10:17-18. And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

This was a hint that Christ was more than man. If he was really worthy of the title that the enquirer gave him, he was God as well as man, for “there is none good but one, that is God.”

Mark 10:19-20. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

Possibly, in the ordinary sense of the words, he had observed these commandments, but Christ tested the reality of his declaration.

Mark 10:21-22. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Thus he proved that he had not kept either table of the law perfectly, for he did not love the Lord with all his heart, nor did he love his neighbor as himself.

Mark 10:23-27. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

It is impossible for man, unaided by the Spirit of God, to enter the kingdom of heaven, but that which is impossible to man by himself is made possible by the grace and power of God.

Mark 10:28. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

He spoke as if they had done what the rich man had failed to do, and evidently he thought they should be rewarded, for, according to Matthew, he added, “What shall we have therefore?”

Mark 10:29-31. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospels, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

In the final account, it shall be found that no man has been a loser through giving up anything for the Lord Jesus Christ though he has his own method of deciding who are to be first and who are to be last.

Mark 10:32. And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem;

It was well known to them all that the crisis of our Saviour’s history was close at hand and a sort of indefinable dread was upon them all. The bravest spirit in the whole company was their blessed Lord and Master. He knew that he was going up to Jerusalem to die, so you may view him as the Sacrifice going to the altar, or as the Hero going to the conflict in which he would die and yet conquer. They were in the way going up to Jerusalem; —

Mark 10:32. And Jesus went before them:

The disciples might well have been filled with holy courage as their Leader was in the van. This is true concerning the whole life of all the saints: Jesus went before them.” What if trials lie beyond, and the dark river itself is in front of them, yet Jesus goes before them, so they need not fear to follow.

Mark 10:32. And they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.

They did not know much about what was to happen, but a great depression was upon their spirits. They must have wondered at the cheerful bravery of their Master when all of them were ready to turn back from this mournful march.

Mark 10:32-34. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: and they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

He thought it right that the twelve, who led the way, should be better acquainted than the rest with the sad history that was so soon to be enacted. So he tells them about it in private, and I want you to notice how he dwells in detail upon his sufferings. He does not describe them in general terms, but he brings out into strong relief each separate set of infamy: “they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him and shall kill him;” — from which we learn that our Saviour knew all that he had to endure, yet he went bravely forward to bear it for our sakes. For this reason, we should admire his divine courage and complete self-sacrifice. Mere men may promise to do a certain thing without knowing what it will involve, but —

“This was compassion like a God,

That when the Saviour knew The price of pardon was his blood,

His pity ne’er withdrew.”

I think, too, that as our Lord thus dwells upon each point, he means us also to dwell upon the details of his redeeming griefs. We should not be strangers at the cross-foot, nor in Gethsemane; but should hear each one of these notes ring out its sorrowful yet joyful music: “They shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him.” But what a glad note that concluding one is: “and the third day he shall rise again.” Death cannot hold him in her bands, the sepulcher cannot continue to enclose him in her gloomy prison This is the glory and boast of our Christianity, our hope and our joy, for —

“As the Lord our Saviour rose,

So all his followers must.”

Mark 10:35-36. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

Our Saviour’s question suggests to us the prudent lesson, never to promise in the dark. If anyone shall say to you, “Promise that you will do whatever I ask,” follow the example of Christ and first ask, “What would you that I should do for you?” Otherwise, you may entangle yourself with your own words. These young men evidently needed to have this question put to them, for they had not themselves thoroughly considered what they were asking their Lord to do for them.

Mark 10:37. They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

There was, undoubtedly, much that was wrong about this request, and you have often heard that view of the matter dwelt upon, so I will call your attention to that which was right about it. These disciples showed their faith that this same Jesus, who was to be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon, and killed, would yet reign; and I think it was wonderful faith that, after they had heard from his own lips, in sorrowful detail, the description of how he should die, yet nevertheless they so fully believed in his kingdom that they asked to have a share in its honours. It is true that they were ambitious, but their ambition was to be near the Saviour. It would be well if all those, who ask for right hand and left hand places, wanted them at the right hand and the left hand of the Saviour.

Mark 10:38. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask:

Has the Lord ever said to us, when we have been praying, “Ye know not what ye ask”? I suppose that is usually true in a certain sense; we do not fully understand the compass of the most of our prayers, and sometimes we ask so unadvisedly that we prove that we know not what we are asking.

Mark 10:38. Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

“Can ye share my drinking in Gethsemane and my sinking on Golgotha?”

Mark 10:39. And they said unto him, We can.

They knew not what they said, but they felt that such was the strength of their love, that they could share anything that had to do with Christ! His throne! Yes, they would like to sit at the right hand of it. His cup! Yes, they can drink of it. Immersion into his suffering! Yes, they can endure that baptism.

Mark 10:39. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

And so they were, for James was soon put to death, and John lived, the last and longest of the apostles, a life-long martyrdom for the Master’s sake.

Mark 10:40-41. But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

Why were they displeased? Because they were of the same spirit as James and John. As they were displeased with James and John, it is evident that they wanted those places themselves, and many a man is thus displeased with his own faults. Did you ever see a dog bark at himself in a glass? You and I have often done that; we have even grown very angry with what was, after all, only our own image.

Mark 10:42-45. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Christ instituted bishops, that is, overseers; but never prelates. He never had any idea of setting some men in his Church over the heads of others, but he put all his servants upon an equality. They are to exercise no lordship the one over the other, nor to seek it, for the truest honour in the Church of God is found in service. He that serves most is the greatest He that will occupy the lowest office, he that will bear patiently to be the most put upon, he that is readiest to be despised, and to be the servant of all, shall be the chiefest of all. The way to rise in the kingdom of heaven is to descend, for even so was it with our Lord himself. God give to all of us the humble and lowly spirit that will make us willing to be the least of all!


Verses 46-52

We have several records of blind men being cured by the Lord Jesus Christ. One of them is in Mark 10:46-52.

10:46. And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, —

For, now, his march to the battle was like a triumphal march, which was by-and-by to be attended with the waving of palms and the shout of Hosannas: “as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people,”-

Mark 10:46-47. Blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, —

That is all that the crowd called him “Jesus of Nazareth —

Mark 10:47. He began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

He had advanced much further than the mass of the people. To him it was not “Jesus of Nazareth,” but it was “Jesus, thou Son of David.”

Mark 10:49-50. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

Blind as he was, he found his way to the Saviour: I suppose the ear directed by the voice helped him to do so.

Mark 10:51. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

His request was plainly put, but it was most respectfully and even adoringly addressed to Christ.

Mark 10:52. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.

You will find that it is often the Saviour’s way thus to give the credit of his own work, to the patient’s faith. “Thy faith,” saith he, “hath made thee whole.” Whereas, you and I, if we do a good thing, are very anxious that nobody else should take the credit of it. We are very willing to have all the honour put upon ourselves, but Jesus does not say, “I have made thee whole,” though that was true enough; but, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” And why is it, think you, that Christ takes the crown of his own head to put it on the head of faith? Why? Because he loves faith, and because faith is quite certain not to wear that crown, but to lay it at his feet; for, of all the graces, faith is the surest to deny herself, and ascribe all to him in whom she trusts.

Mark 10:52. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Another of these records is in John 9:1-7.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mark 10:46-52; and John 9:1-7.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Mark 10:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/mark-10.html. 2011.

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