Christ’s Disciples = Teachable Servants

This text is totally focused on what those who are Disciples of Christ are to do. How they should think, feel & act. Twice in this passage Jesus The Christ asks believers, What do you want Me to do for you? 1st He asks that question to 2 of His 12 chosen Disciples, 2 of the Big 3. Then He asks that question to one of the least of believers, the last guy you would think understands who Jesus is, a blind beggar.

That Jesus asks those in top leadership & someone at the bottom of the food chain the same question means HE is asking it of all HE would choose to follow Him. All those who believe HE is The Son of David, The Christ, The Son of God, The Messiah.

He has asked the same sort of question throughout the Gospel of Mark as well as the other Gospels. It stands to reason that He will ask His Disciples this question all the time. What do you want Jesus to do for you? Entertain you? Give you self-esteem? Provide ethics & morality? Give you status? Heal you physically or emotionally? Enhance your career? Enhance a relationship?


Or are you looking for something that doesn’t involve your wants and desires? As bible based disciples of our Lord & Master Jesus Christ we have agreed to ‘Die to Ourselves’ to ‘Be the servant of all’ to ‘Give up our lives for Him’. For those who have done these things, in this passage Jesus is going to once again stress a couple of very significant aspects of being His Disciple. He has taught about these things before and will again: Servanthood & Teachability. That these two stories are together in the text means these two need to be combined in the life of Christ’s Disciples. We are all called to be taught by Christ how to be a servant and how to be a continuing student.

TODAY: Jesus of Nazareth is preparing His Twelve Disciples, soon to be Apostles. He knows His time short, in this narrative we are mere weeks from the Cross. He is going to take the time to intimately teach the twelve as well as give a public lesson.

10:32-52 [NASB 1995]

32 They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful.

  • The Disciples were in awe that Jesus was going to Jerusalem
  • At this point the twelve pretty much understanding who HE really is: GOD
  • Those who followed is the ‘hangers-on’ surrounding Jesus [text separates]
  • That word translated as ‘fearful’ contains dread, apprehension and alarm
  • Mark uses this word only 3 times. They all describe ‘fear of the unknown’
  • They don’t get who He is so they are afraid of His going to Jerusalem
  • His Disciples, who are ‘walking’ with The Christ are not fearful but are in awe!

And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33 saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34 They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”

  • He is doing more and more intense teaching just for the Disciples
  • He has spoken in generalities about His fate but here He gets more specific
  • He has been preparing them to comprehend what He is doing
  • These are the exact chain of events as they will unfold

So put yourself in the Disciples shoes, how do you react to this?

35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “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 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”

  • As a reaction to what Jesus tells them, some start thinking of their ‘Position’
  • Last time Jesus told them He was going to be killed they reacted the same way
  • Jesus asks: What do you want Me to do for you?
  • The ‘Sons of Thunder’ want the ‘Position’ of most honor [next to the King]
  • They are recognizing His coming glory but don’t understand how He gets there

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him. They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. ~ Mark 9:31-34

38 But 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 They said to Him, “We are able.”

  • Jesus says; ‘Do you realize how I am going to get to Glory?’
  • To ‘drink the cup’ is to receive consequences or be put in a situation
  • To ‘Be Baptized’ is literally ‘to be immersed in’ / totally involved in something
  • He had just described the situation and consequences He would be a part of
  • Christ asks if they are able to take on what He is going to live through
  • They tell Him; ‘Yep! We are all in! [Commitment to Christ’s Discipleship]

And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

  • They say they are all in…Jesus says they will share in what He will go through
  • James is beheaded about 11years after Christ’s resurrection
  • Tradition holds that they tried to kill John twice and eventually exiled him
  • James & John did suffered for God and others, just like their Master
  • But the top two spots, Jesus said, were not His to assign (who might they be?)

41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.”

  • The other Disciples are like: ‘Who do you two think you are?’
  • So Jesus gets their attention and teaches them a lesson He has taught before
  • He starts with how this world works: power & authority are oppressive
  • Sin corrupts all power structures in our world…even the Church

43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 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.”

  • ‘Among You’ Among Christ’s true Disciples; Spirit Indwelt Followers
  • Within this group power will work differently based on Christ’s example
  • The positions of power among Christ’s Disciples will be occupied by ‘Servants’
  • Leaders in Christ’s Body don’t exercise authority, they give their lives away
  • They are not driven by status and power but by humility and servitude

46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

  • Jericho is about 25 miles from Jerusalem
  • Jesus is traveling with a large group
  • This blind beggar calls Jesus ‘The Messiah’ [Son of David]
  • He asks for mercy… [Good Request]
  • He is told to be quiet…same sort of attitude Jesus’ followers had about kids!
  • The implication was that He was too important to spend time with this guy

49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

  • Jesus is totally assessable, approachable and willing to connect with anyone
  • Truth is He is too important for ANYBODY!
  • We are all equally undeserving of Christ’s attention yet all have equal access!
  • People who know exactly who Jesus, they know He is willing and able to help
  • Constant theme of the Gospel of Mark: ‘Faith of Others’ / Communal Faith
  • Bartimaeus jumps at his chance for an audience with Jesus & the question

And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

  • Son of David was an impersonal title, Rabboni means My Mentor / My Example
  • He not only recognizes Jesus as the Christ, but also as his Personal Discipler
  • Not only recognizing Jesus as God; but as his instructor on all things
  • Bartimaeus is an example of faith being expressed in discipleship for us
  • He believes Jesus as the Messiah, is to be his example, mentor and teacher
  • With Christ: Faith that is lived out in humble teachability… brings healing
  • He is healed, but this is just the beginning: Bartimaeus BEGAN to follow HIM

Takeaways 4 Disciples:

Don’t pursue status or position but rather embrace suffering and rejection.

  • Jesus Foretells His sacrificial death a 3rd time, and again His Disciples start thinking of power positions, status and authority
  • Jesus asks them: “What do you want ME to do for you?” and they answer from sinful self absorption
  • They don’t have the Holy Spirit indwelling them yet so they can do nothing other than react in their ‘flesh’

Become a servant for the reasons Jesus did: God and others.

  • Jesus’ Disciples share in the rejection and suffering that comes from living for God by HIS power
  • It is not going top be a desirable life based on this world’s standards
  • Christ’s standard for His followers regarding leadership, stature and power will be Servanthood not Oppression
  • When faced with the reality of Christ’s sacrifice we are not to focus on fulfilling our selfish desires and lusts.
  • Instead we are to put God and everyone else first: SERVANTHOOD

Place yourself under Christ’s ‘Lordship Mentoring’ and remain teachable.

  • Bartimaeus places himself under Jesus’ ‘Lordship Mentoring’ = Biblical Discipleship
  • He wants healing in his life so He can Follow Jesus, not fulfill his own desires

Be willing to be taught a repeat lesson by Jesus without getting complacent.

  • These are similar teachings to what we have seen previously in the Gospel of Mark. Why the repetition?
  • Repetition is important…Deuteronomy means: ‘The Second Telling of The Law’
  • WE NEED REPETITION! Repeated teaching and repeated practice! Following Jesus is the most important stuff we will do in this life!


Do you want Christ to teach you how to walk with Him and be like Him?

  • For this to happen must embrace being taught the same things over and over again
  • It is a long way to get from you to Jesus.
  • In this scripture, Christ is showing us how we are to be taught by HIM.
  • [Principle, Application, Repetition]

Do you want Christ to teach you how to be a servant and not a boss?

  • What we need to learn most from Christ is humility
  • Jesus teaches us humility by humbling us.
  • The world will teach us how to be full of ourselves.
  • Not just different than the world, opposite the world [last is first, first is last]

Do you want Christ to teach you how to give away your life for others?

  • You and I need to change ALOT to do this. Sanctification takes time
  • A life of Christ’s Discipleship is a life of being a servant and being teachable
  • Recognize you need more lessons & more practice living for God and others.
  • The bar is high: transformation into the image of Christ!

If we don’t get caught up in ourselves, or in status or in what popular culture thinks of us… we will grow in Christlikeness: Thinking, Feeling and Acting like Jesus The Christ / OUR LORD!


The Call To Follow Christ

A Biblical Truth about God is consistently He calls us to sacrifice our lives and then in return He provides exponentially more than we give up. It is found throughout the Old and New Testament writings. That is the deal with Heaven: What you give up to get there is not even comparable to what you receive there. This revelation about God is is as old as when Abraham sacrifices Issac! [Only Son] Because Abraham was willing to give up whatever God asked Him to give up, Abraham experienced God’s provision, far exceeding what he was willing to give up.

It may seem impossible but Christ’s Disciples do it, have done it, will do it! When they understand the value of eternal life with God, Disciples trade their stuff for it! [treasure hidden in a field]

Over and over again Jesus says: “Give up your life for Me and the Truth about Me!” ‘Your Life’ being everything that matters to you, He calls all humanity to do this. Some will answer that call and some will not. For many it appears to be an impossible thing to do. But Jesus says to His ‘Dear Children’ that those who give up things for ‘My Sake’, will get in return multiplied amounts of what they gave up… Along with persecution … Our passage today finds Jesus and His followers on the road to Jerusalem. Christ’s Disciples walking with their Lord.

MARK 10:17-31[NASB 1995]

17 As Jesus was starting out on His way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to Him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good.”

  • What he calls Jesus says a lot about who he thinks He is… He does kneel…
  • He seeks a ‘teacher’ to get a philosophical idea about eternity [head learning]
  • He inherited ‘this life’… now he wants to figure out how to inherit the next life
  • Referred to as a young man twice in Matt. 19, called ‘A Ruler’ in Luke 18
  • Jesus points out the sinful nature of EVERY person…[Except Him!]

19 “But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

  • Jesus uses the term ‘The Commandments’
  • He mentions some of the relational commandments that are codified in law
  • I believe there was an understanding that what Jesus meant was ‘The Law’
  • This guys says he has kept them all! What a lie! [a teacher wouldn’t know]

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” He told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

  • Jesus really loved him AND called him to surrender His ‘stuff / life’… for Him!
  • This demonstrates God’s love for all AND His call to follow goes out to all
  • Christ loved Him, but at the same time knew what his response was going to be

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”

  • Obviously disappointed he resigned to live for his stuff rather than God
  • Then Jesus makes a statement, He is not asking a question
  • He says it is going to be hard to surrender earthly riches for heavenly riches
  • The earthly riches are right here right now… heavenly riches require faith!

24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

  • They are amazed because the ultra religious were also the ultra rich in Israel
  • Jesus then says to His ‘Dear Children’ that those with a lot of stuff will struggle
  • Jesus uses an example that appears to says that it is impossible to enter
  • Discipleship to Christ is hard in general, seemingly impossible for the rich

26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

  • The twelve are blown away! They thought they were in…
  • A camel can’t get through the eye of a needle!
  • If that is how hard it is NOBODY can be saved!
  • Jesus says, no human can make it happen… but God can do anything!
  • God can even fit a camel through the ‘Eye of The Needle’
  • The unburdening of our possessions gets us where God wants us to go

28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution.”

  • Peter, the instant processor says: We have totally unburdened ourselves!
  • Christ affirms that statement: “Yea, you guys have given up everything”!
  • He says that if you give up everything for ME & THE GOSPEL
  • Now [in this life] you will get a hundred times what ever you give up
  • Relationships / Property / Estates
  • What happens if you don’t give anything up to follow Christ? 0 X 100 = ZERO
  • What else do you get? PERSECUTION!! [Discipleship Special Offer]

But wait…there’s more!

And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

  • After telling His Disciples they will have a ‘rich’ life on earth as His followers
  • If you give up everything for ME & THE GOSPEL you get eternal life
  • And then Jesus adds this Kicker: Status in eternity is not based on status here
  • What makes people important in this world will carry no importance in heaven
  • People who almost nobody has heard about will be the greatest in heaven
  • The first will be last and the last will be first


This guy is the product of ‘Spiritual Posturing’ in establishment religion

Wealth & Status = Spiritual Maturity. His claim that he has kept all the commandments is a ‘Relativistic’ look at Obedience.

God’s response to fleshly attempts to appear good enough: LOVE & INVITATION.Christ exposes religious posturing & fronting as a hinderance to salvation.

We want to exempt what is most valuable to us from the list of what we will give up for God. God says: get rid of the stuff I tell you to give up & swap it for heaven! Follow ME!

This guy couldn’t part with his wealth / possessions / status / power. Jesus wants to teach us how money & status will distract people from eternal things.

As Christ Disciples we become ‘Unencumbered’ in whatever way Christ calls us to. We give up: Status, careers, relationships, possessions, where you live…

Christ’s Disciples will give up what they are called to give up, and will receive back multiplied amounts of what they give up. Jesus said it, do you believe it enough to act based on what He says?

Give up nothing: you receive what you can provide, not the multiplied riches of GOD. Giving up wealth & status will make Christ’s Disciples look unimportant in this world. Giving up wealth and status will make Christ’s Disciples great and rich in Eternity.

If you find yourself at the point of surrender…Ask God to give you eternal life, only He can make it happen! If He is making it happen He will ask you to give up something…That is what Christ’s followers do, they imitate their Lord and lay down their life. If you don’t think you can, believe what Christ says, ‘Everything is possible with God!’

Application Questions:

What are you willing to give up to follow Christ? What have you not been able to give up?

Do you compare your obedience to Christ with that of others? Do you think this is a Biblical practice?

What are some examples in your life where you gave up things for Christ’s sake and then received so much more than you gave up?

Lay It Down, See It Multiplied / Sacrifice and Provision

Mark 10:1-16

The text this morning is a complex one. Two main stories today; First, Jesus teaches about divorce. It can be an uncomfortable topic. Jesus teaches it, so we’re going to address it.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We believe that. The bible is given to us so that we can be equipped to live a life in service of Him.

Before we get in to what Jesus says, the text itself, lets dish a little about what the world says about divorce. The societal view on divorce, particularly in America, has shifted RADICALLY in the last 60 years. There was a time not long ago that even the law was quite averse to divorce. New Yorkers had to wait until 2010 before their state would grant a “no fault” divorce without a justification like adultery or battery. The idea that marriage is something we can just change our minds about is a very new concept in America.

As much as we try to avoid it, the world can really influence us and the way we feel about important topics. So take a minute, and ask yourself, what do you think about divorce? Do you believe marriage is a man-made device? And so if so we can treat it like other man-made things? Maybe that isn’t the case for you. Perhaps marriage is something you give respect to. It’s something we honor, take seriously.Either way, this morning we will level set whatever we believe about marriage with the only thing that matters, with the word of God.

The second story we’ll read is Jesus instructing what kind of person can receive his kingdom. He tells the disciples to “let the little children come to me”. Possibly a familiar story, but we’ll read another installment of the disciples failing to understand who Jesus is, and why he came.

Our title this morning is “God meets us where we’re at”. One of the greatest tenants of Christianity is that we don’t need to show up with anything. “nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling”. We don’t need to arrive before we are welcomed in.

These stories can orient our hearts, if we let them. It can define how we see our relationship with our spouse, and also define our relationship with him.

Mark 10:1-16 (ESV)

10 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them. 2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?”

  • So what is going on? Why are they asking him this question?
  • If it feels like a loaded question, it probably is. Mark states it was to test him.
  • Huge point here. Jesus uses the scripture to refute his attackers. We can try to live like Jesus and model our lives after him in many ways but perhaps none more important than this one. Scripture is the default; it is the first thing he checks.
  • Jesus flips the question back on them, knowing they are ready with the answer. They say…

4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”

  • The response from the pharisees. Moses said we could do it!!
  • You get the sense that they wanted a chance to justify their own actions. The pharisees probably thought they were following the law of Moses.
  • I don’t know for sure if any of these religious leaders had been divorced, but let’s paint a picture of what marriage looked like in those days. Roman rule has been around for a while, and they were pretty lenient with divorce as a legal proceeding. In their society marriage was a contract set up between families, and sometimes those contracts didn’t work out. Simple.
  • Divorce was part of Jewish culture even before the Romans entered the picture. In Jewish law, a man could send his wife away with some provisions, for specific reasons. But the pharisees are misusing Deuteronomy 24.

Jesus goes on teaching:

5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

  • Jesus again quoting scripture here, he recaps the God breathed account of the first marriage. The pharisees should know this.
  • “No longer two”. This is how God describes a couple who is married. What does that mean to you?
  • Distinct personality? Different jobs? But what about different friends? Living in different places? Finances?
  • You can tell there is a very different vibe here, not just a contractual agreement
  • “let not man separate”. This can be uncomfortable, but this is what the bible teaches
  • There are other accounts of his teaching, where Jesus gives some very limited exceptions, but here in this gospel Jesus sticks to Gods heart surrounding marriage.
  • There are three points that Jesus makes very succinctly:
  • He confirms the law Moses gave them / Moses allowed for divorce
  • He then reminds them of God’s intentions surrounding marriage / That marriage is from God, that it is unique and permanent
  • And lastly he explains the reason there is a difference / God permitted divorce as a merciful concession to people’s sinfulness. Because of their hardness of heart he allowed for it.
  • What Jesus says here is so counter cultural that we’ll see his disciples need clarification

10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

  • Sounds like the disciples want Jesus to level with them. Give them the real scoop, he didn’t really mean that right? You are saying we should not divorce our spouse?
  • Not only should a man not divorce his wife, but if he marries another, he is then committing another sin against God!
  • These are not rules for just men or just women. If God has joined something, what ways are there for us to separate?
  • Through today’s lens we might think this is really unfair. Jesus is saying if you remarry you are committing adultery.
  • Do you feel like being married is a right? In America there is an expectation, we can marry someone that we love? But the hard truth is that we cannot separate what God has joined.
  • As serious as this is, remember it is a sin like all the others we commit every day. It is forgiven through Christ. It is something to repent from.
  • If you are left or abandoned, know you are not forgotten and abandoned by our God. He is there for us.
  • As humans we have a tendency to look for the exceptions, what about this? Practical application is important. Especially when its directly applicable right now. If you have questions about this, I encourage you to dive in, to the text, in prayer, ask your discipler
  • But it shouldn’t be about what we can get away with. Jesus is telling us we need a high view of marriage; we should not look to justify our actions like the pharisees. We cannot attempt to water down Gods command and intention/design of marriage like they did.

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

  • The disciples saw it as a waste of time.
  • Interesting to note that His harshest words are reserved for the disciples, not the pharisees. He was indignant, showing anger and annoyance.
  • The disciples thought that the children were not worth Jesus’ time. They needed to grow up first, be ready to understand what he was teaching.
  • Jesus says no, in fact they are the ones ready to hear what he has to say.

15 “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

  • When I first read this, I asked myself “how do children receive things”?
  • the key verb here is receive. Its passive. Not achieve or bring about the kingdom. It is a gift to us
  • Jesus puts his hands on them
  • But to answer the question, what is it about children that Jesus is drawing our attention to?
  • Characteristics of a child, the most obvious is dependence
  • A child does not make any meaningful contributions to the household
  • Yet Christ says we need to be like them.
  • That is how we are to participate in the kingdom. We rely on him. We ask to draw near him. We ask him to accept us in our sin and helplessness. We go to him for everything. Study his every word, like a kid watching his parents.

There is still grace for us. He still wants us where we are. He certainly doesn’t want to leave us there, but he is ready to accept us, faults and all. Spurgeon makes the point that the little child finds no difficulty, in fact needs to do nothing to grow in to a man. Yet the difficulty lies in us growing down to become like a child.


What’s the point?


What areas in life do I not want to listen to Jesus?

o Things that make us uncomfortable. Do you think the bible is wrong, or not worth listening?

Am I studying Gods word enough to grasp the nuance?

o Godly living isn’t merely difficult, but can be complicated. We have his words, but are you studying it enough?

o Christians need to study this book, understand what God is saying. Give him the time to talk to us

Am I acting with one flesh in my marriage?

o Opportunity to examine marriage. Are we doing things as one flesh? Are there areas of your marriage that you’ve resisted fully joining together in?

o What does being one flesh mean to you?

Do I depend on God like a child, or do I attempt to bring something to the table?

o It seems pretty important to “receive the kingdom…like a child”. How?

Jesus isn’t here to beat people over the head. God’s grace is directly related to what God knows you can handle. He knew that the Israelites were operating in a messy world. Sin, betrayal, broken promises, all played a part in corrupting God’s design for marriage.

Jesus taught so that the pharisees would understand that a man who divorces his wife in order to marry another woman is doing the same thing an adulterer does, but under the cover of the law of Moses.

He wants us to value the relationships he has made for us. That’s what this passage is about, both are God centered relationships that he has for us. The way we can approach him as a child, and the way we are to treat and interact with our spouse.

Statistics obfuscate the truth, they tell you divorce is inevitable. But that already is a lie. It is Satan at work, deceiving us. The truth is that we have the spirit in us. We have a God who saves, who gives grace.

As Christians, we are to commit to marriage in the context of a community of believers. We move forward, knowing we are not going to be perfect in anything let alone marriage, and we strive for God’s vision of marriage instead of living in fear of what the world says is normal or unavoidable.

I don’t have a secret trick to a happy marriage that avoids divorce, but I want to leave us with an encouragement, to adopt God’s outlook on marriage. And an encouragement especially to heed his command to receive the kingdom like a child. Depend on him like a little kid.

Jesus Tells His Disciples How to Live

Super interesting passage! Straightforward teaching from Jesus to His Disciples! He lays down standards for His Chosen. What is a Standard? [Biblical Culture] Lot’s of specific examples of how Jesus says His Disciples are to live. We LIVE culture into existence AND affirm existing culture by how we LIVE. The bulk of this passage is a private session with The TWELVE / The Disciples. This discourse [lot’s of red letters = Jesus speaking]. The sermon on the mount was aimed at heart condition, now it is translated into actions.

Be the servant / Receive Them / Don’t stop them / Don’t cause them / Cut it off!

The Sermon on the Mount had BE-Attitudes, here we have BE-Actions. These commands are for His Disciples… [Context…anyone could BE these things…only His Disciples Will.

We start with Jesus making another statement predicting what will happen to Him here on earth. The Disciples are confused, fearful and lose focus. They are thrown by this hard teaching and become self-focused. Jesus recognizes their fleshly thinking, and uses this to begin some key standards.

Standards that He then places into the context of things that matter eternally.

Mark 9:30-50 [ESV]

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And He did not want anyone to know, 31 for He was teaching His disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And when He is killed, after three days He will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask Him.

  • The ‘there’ He left was Bethesda [Northeast shore of the Sea Of Galilee, headed southeast]
  • He was keeping a low profile because HE wanted to focus on teaching the 12
  • Hard stuff to understand for the disciples [they don’t know what we do]
  • The Scripture states they let fear keep them from asking! Not a positive
  • Discipleship growth requires questioning, like a child questions, without fear

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

  • At home base, in private, Jesus gives them the chance to be honest with Him
  • We saw this last week too: Jesus doesn’t want to correct His Disciples in public
  • Christ flips the world’s expectations of greatness upside-down!
  • Amongst HIS followers greatness is not measured by this worlds standards
  • Jesus Christ has different standards for His Disciples

36 And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking Him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

  • Next: an upside-down standard of relational success: treatment of regular joes
  • Relationships that are not based on what the other person brings to the table
  • Disciples of Christ do as their Lord does: give grace to everyone
  • That same attitude is how you come to redemption in Christ
  • A relationship with Christ is to be without calculation of what you get out of it
  • It is a surrender, and what you get is: ‘The Father’… The one who sent Jesus

38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your Name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in My Name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.” 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.”

  • This guy would call himself, ‘The Disciple Jesus Loved’… not being so lovable!
  • He was basically saying: ‘We didn’t give him permission to use your name’
  • Jesus said, if Demons were cast out [mighty work] that guy is on our side
  • Only two sides: Kingdom of Light / Kingdom of Darkness [No 3rd KINGDOM]
  • Christ command us to do what we are called to do in His Name

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

  • Using the Child again as a metaphor for the innocent, immature and dependent
  • Christ’s Disciples defend and care for such people, not in ‘theory’ but in ‘ACTS’
  • This is about Biblical standards for living amongst Christ’s Disciples
  • Biblical Standards of sin that have always existed amongst God’s people
  • If you do not take the proper responsibility for youth entrusted to you…OUCH!
  • This is a command for Christ’s Disciples

43 “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm [gnawing anguish] does not die and the fire is not quenched.’”

  • In this translation, notation of verses 44 & 46 is missing.
  • Have they been deleted???

While it is true that both of those verses are not present in many modern translations (at least in the main body of the text), that kind of language assumes upfront that these verses must be a genuine part of Mark’s original work. Most scholars today, however, point out that these verses are not present in the earliest manuscripts we possess. Far from deleting the verses, these scholars claim the verses were added by later scribes. They were not a part of what Mark originally wrote. ~ Luke Wayne CARM [Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry]

  • Now we have the most intense command in this discourse
  • Three times Jesus basically says the same thing!
  • How do we get the right level of how important this is to God?
  • Hand, foot and eye… pretty important parts!
  • Some longstanding, very connected things in our life can be avenues to sin
  • Verse 48 echoes Isaiah 66:24
  • God describing Hell

These are high standards His Disciples are to observe, complete with consequences for disobedience. They are completely counter to our nature and the cultures we have been raised in. How will we live up to these standards? Like I said only His Disciples will.

What enables Christ’s Disciples to live in such selfless / counter culture ways???

49 “For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

  • Lev 2:13 Adding salt to your offerings:
  • The offering that is your life will be accompanied by a preserving or purification
  • Salt is the purifying agent ‘Everyone WILL BE salted…’ with fire?
  • This is describing the regeneration of Christ’s Disciples by the indwelling Spirit
  • God’s Spirit is the purifying agent in Christ’s Disciples [Fire / Pentecost]
  • Christ is looking ahead to the Indwelling of His Disciples with The Holy Spirit
  • Teaching just His Disciples, so He uses everyone referring to other Disciples
  • Purity is Good!
  • If it loses it’s distinctiveness [flavor] How do you get the flavor back? Can’t
  • Only God can make us and can keep us salty!
  • We can only be purified by Christ’s death, resurrection and call to discipleship
  • Jesus’ disciples seek to have and preserve purity from God
  • Be united with the Disciples Christ has placed you into A Body with!
  • Have salt in yourselves…

How is one ‘Purified By God’? This is known as Biblical Salvation!

THIS happens when someone is called by God and they surrender their life to Jesus Christ and the Biblical Gospel.

When Jesus speaks, His Disciples apply His Words to their lives

Jesus says hard things, His Disciples need to overcome fear and ask for help with unbelief so they can avoid becoming self-absorbed.

Jesus says His Disciples are to be last of all and the servant of all, He means it. Christ’s Disciples make humble servanthood a life priority.

When approached by those this world deems ‘worthless’, Jesus says His Disciples are to be as gracious with them as HE is.

When unknown people do Godly things in His Name, Jesus says His Disciples trust they are ‘In Christ’ and consider them ‘Teammates’.

Jesus says being responsible for how innocents learn to live is a massive responsibility and His disciples act accordingly.

Jesus says His Disciples will cut off the attachments that lead to sin, no matter what! [career, family, relational, financial, cultural or ethnic ties]

Jesus’ Disciples offer up their lives as a living sacrifice to Jesus Messiah, in this they are purified by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. This purity is to be cultivated, valued and shared.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1&2