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???
- 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