Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mark 10 and the Kingdom of God- Part One

…Mark 10 and the Kingdom of God…
“Then who can be saved?”
Part One

Mark 10:13-26 (NASB95)
     13     aAnd they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.
14     But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; afor the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15     “Truly I say to you, awhoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.
16     And He atook them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
17     aAs He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and bknelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to cinherit eternal life?”
18     And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
19     “You know the commandments, ‘aDo not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ”
20     And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept aall these things from my youth up.”
21     Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have atreasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22     But at these words 1he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
23     And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, aHow hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”
24     The disciples awere amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25     aIt is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26     They were even more astonished and said to Him, “1Then who can be saved?” [1]

It has been a while since I’ve sat down at the computer and wrote – life sometimes gets in the way.  When this happens, and it has happened to us all, I tend to falter at doing the tasks that God has set before me and for that I repent.  You, my readers, are the task, the thing of God that I need to be accountable to as well as to Him who reigns, blessed is He forever. One thing I do know – in the natural things happen that have a direct link to the spiritual element that controls our lives.  I’ll be having surgery soon on my knee (actually it’ll be the third surgery on this knee); while this affects my walk in the natural there is a correlation to my spiritual walk also.  Both need correction; but it is my spiritual walk that I give Yahveh praise for correcting; may my walk align with His desires once more.  Life needs to take a backseat to the Kingdom of God.  This is the reason for our study today.

                In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10 stands out as being one of the most remarkable teachings by Yeshua – not only about the Kingdom, but the Torah and the root cause of all the problems that plague us in our walk with God: the hardness of our heart.  Several themes are introduced in this chapter, and none of them seem to have a connection with one another, but we will see as we go along how they all intertwine with one another to give us an answer to the question “Then who can be saved?”

I opened this epistle with Mark 10:13-26, but I do not want to neglect any part of this chapter, so let us take a look at Mark 10:1-12 )[2]

Mark 10:1-12 (NET)
10:1 Then1 Jesus2 left that place and went to the region of Judea and3 beyond the Jordan River.4 Again crowds gathered to him, and again, as was his custom, he taught them. 10:2 Then some Pharisees5 came, and to test him6 they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his7 wife?”8 10:3 He answered them,9 “What did Moses command you?” 10:4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.”10 10:5 But Jesus said to them, “He wrote this commandment for you because of your hard hearts.11 10:6 But from the beginning of creation he12 made them male and female.13 10:7 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother,14 10:8 and the two will become one flesh.15 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10:10 In the house once again, the disciples asked him about this. 10:11 So16 he told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 10:12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”17 ([3]) ([4])

The discussion is between Yeshua and the Prushim[5] (Pharisees) concerning the putting away (divorce) of a man’s wife. Several things to be noticed here: without much commentary, Yeshua explains that this mitzvah (commandment) was written by Moshe (Moses) and not God. And why did Moshe write such a thing? Because of the hardness of the men’s hearts toward their wives.  This theme will come back to us later, but think about what this sin – this hardness of the heart – has wrought upon civilization to this day.  What devastation it has caused.  The hardness of man’s heart has turned what God considered a holy union of men and women into the spectacle it is today. Not only is divorce rampant in our societies, it has also upset the entire definition of this holy union by introducing the charade of same-sex marriage and of “civil unions”; a total disregard of the bond of marriage is seen throughout society and the result has been the breakdown of the family.  This hardness of the heart plays into our study today but we must all bow our heads in shame – men AND women – we who have done evils to one another that has caused this perfect plan of God to come to naught. Men who abuse, women who abuse; men who cheat, women who cheat; the list is endless of the sins against one another but it all stems from the hardness of the heart.
God’s original plan was that who He set together, stayed together. But the hardness of our hearts caused the plan to be altered; temporary for the time being, for when rebellion against the Most High is finally put to an end, then what God had crafted in the beginning will once more be the reality.

So in the interim, who suffers the most? In the breakup of the marriage, it usually is the woman – but they are not the only casualty, though it really depends upon the level of the hardness, of the cruelty done to one another, be the fault man or woman. One thing is sure: if children are involved, they are always hurt.

                This takes us to our opening Scriptures. In verse 13, we see that there are those that while Yeshua is teaching the crowd, they are bringing their children (maybe they are jostling the crowd to get up next to Him…) before Yeshua so that He might lay His hands on them and give them a blessing (compare Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17). This has always been a custom of the Jews – to bring the children before a great teacher or a holy person to have a blessing put upon the children – so why the rebuke by the disciples?

                It can only be speculation on our part – for we aren’t given the reason - maybe the parents or guardians of the children interrupted the teaching; maybe the disciples thought Yeshua was too important to devote His precious time to tending to the children, who can really say?  Nevertheless – the disciples reaction angered Yeshua.  He rebuked the rebuke, chastising His disciples and encouraged the children to come to Him.

                Now, let us look at this in another way.  There have always been “great” men, powerful men.  There have always been those who yesterday and today are sought by many.  The many come to them for a variety of reasons; those who gain access to these powerful figures usually have something in common: those who come have something they hope to gain or exchange for the encounter with the powerful.

                Today it is the lobbyist,  the politician, the banker, the business tycoon that seek the audience – people of position get the access.  The ordinary folk are lucky if they get a nod in their direction – and if they gain access it is only because they can be used and exploited for the powerfuls’ gain.  In Yeshua’s day it was the Prushim, the rulers, the money changers, the politicians, the rich and powerful that you wanted to allow access to your master; people who could enhance your own position.  Maybe this was the disciples motivation to rebuke the masses – for what did they, the common, the “great unwashed” have to offer?

                Think about a child.  Commentary after commentary tells us the reason Yeshua said we had to come to the Kingdom as a child.  Some examples:

24 sn The point of the comparison receive the kingdom of God like a child has more to do with a child's trusting spirit and willingness to be dependent and receive from others than any inherent humility the child might possess.[6]

Mr 10:15. As a little child; with docility and an humble mind.[7]

“…What he said. His language includes a special reference to the occasion, and a general statement of a Divine principle. "Suffer the children to come!" "Forbid them not!" How gracious a revelation of the Savior's mind and disposition, and how instructive a lesson for his people! The general principle he enunciates is even more valuable: "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." The reference is doubtless to the dependence and teachableness of little children. God's kingdom is composed of childlike natures. The proud, self-sufficient, and self-confident are out of harmony with a spiritual society which recognizes a Divine Head and is governed by Divine laws…”[8]

The ideas expressed in these and other commentaries is this: to enter the Kingdom of God, one must come as a child – having a “trusting spirit and willingness to be dependent”; have “inherent humility”; be “with docility and a humble mind”; characteristics of “dependence and teachableness”… Over and over again we are told that we must have the attributes of a child to enter the Kingdom.  But what if this isn’t correct?

                That a child is born dependent is true: their needs must be taken care of by someone outside their sphere.  Truthfully though, a child is inherently selfish; he or she wants to be fed, to be changed, to be entertained. Then one day they learn the word “No”; “Independence” begins to arise, even though dependent they still are.  Humble?  Most children do not even know what a humble spirit is, let alone exhibit such a spirit.  Innocent?  Yes, to a point.  Children lose their innocence the first time we adults lie to them (“Oh Santa is coming!” “The Easter Bunny brings the eggs!” and countless other lies we tell our children..) and they discover the truth (“there is no Santa” “rabbits don’t lay eggs”).  We destroy their innocence when we disappoint them, when we begin to introduce the harshness of the real world – hunger, anger, pain, loneliness, indifference, intolerance, unforgiveness…  Teachable?  Oh yes, the children are little sponges, absorbing all they see and hear – love as well as hate; kindness as well as harshness; anger and malice or tolerance and gentle spirit; despair and joy; acceptance and prejudice.  No, little children soon learn their place in the pecking order of the world – they learn to be either cruel or kind to those not like them, they learn that they are either bullied or become bullies.  They learn how much power and influence they really have at an early age, how much of a voice they really have.  Some fair better than others, yet reality comes crashing into every child’s life sooner or later – you all know that this is true, for we were all children once.

                So what does Messiah mean, that “…the kingdom of God belongs to such as these...”?  It is the hardness of heart that keeps us from the Kingdom, so it is the opposite that allows us in – the broken and contrite heart.  A child is truly powerless in the world; a child is truly helpless; a child is truly without a voice.  A child has no position, no authority, no sphere of influence.  A child has nothing to give to attain these things; nothing they do can sway those that have power to grant them any.  This I believe is truly Yeshua’s message, just my opinion, but if you bear with me, I believe Mark 10 will surly prove out my theory that to enter the Kingdom we must be as a child – without power, without the ability to help ourselves; without a voice that can sway.

                We now come to our next encounter on this extraordinary day:

17     aAs He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and bknelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to cinherit eternal life?”
18     And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
19     “You know the commandments, ‘aDo not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ”[9]
Matthew 19 records this same exchange:

Matthew 19:16-19 (NKJV)
Mark 10:17–27; Luke 18:18–27)
16 oNow behold, one came and said to Him, p“Good 4Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, 5“Why do you call Me good? 6No one is qgood but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, rkeep the commandments.
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, s‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 t‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, u‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[10]

Notice the first response of Messiah is not to the question but to the person’s addressing Yeshua As “good”.  Seemingly to us, it appears to be of little consequence, kind of like how we address a Judge as “Your Honor”; but can we agree on this point, that God puts nothing in His word that doesn’t have a purpose and a meaning behind it?

                Think about how many times a day you hear someone, maybe even yourself blurt out “Jesus Christ!” as a reaction to a situation? How often do we hear someone, maybe ourselves, blurt out “O Christ almighty!” if a situation is getting the better of us? What about “Holy Cow!” or the infamous “God dxxx it!”? We live in a dark world where the sacred is used as “the inconsiderate, conventional language of the thoughtless”.[11] When we take “unwarrantable freedom”[12] with the sacred, it shows to not only to ourselves but to those around us and those in the heavenly realms that we are addressing the providence and patience of God Himself with no regard, no sincerity. Hence the rebuke of the Master toward this young ruler about his casual question.  Who but God (or the Son of God) could answer such a question, how one may have eternal life? Who but God (or His Son) may be addressed as “good” only?
It was Jewish traditions and teachings that agreed with the Messianic Scriptures that God alone is “good” (1Sa_2:2, Psa_52:1, Psa_145:7-9, Jam_1:17, 1Jo_4:8-10, 1Jo_4:16), thus only He is deserving of the title. Could it have been that Yeshua saw into the young man’s heart, and the hardness it contained? It is as McGarvey says:
“…As the ruler had not used this language sincerely Jesus challenged his words. The challenge showed the ruler that he had unwittingly confessed the divinity of Jesus, and thus startled him into a consideration of the marvelous fact which his own mouth had stated. This is done because the young man would need to believe in the divinity of Jesus to endure the test to which he was about to be subjected…”[13]
Our own professions, those that come from our lips, have need of contemplation, of consideration of the subject in which we employ our words so that we do not fall into the habit of the language of the thoughtless.
                The next point that Yeshua makes has to render as unsettled the hearts of those who teach and profess that the Law is done away with: “…But if you want to enter into life, rkeep the commandments…”
                It is here that Yeshua affirms the Torah – that it can save through faith.
Paul confirmed this himself:
2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NKJV)
14 But you must scontinue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known tthe Holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 uAll Scripture is given by inspiration of God, vand is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 3instruction in righteousness, 17 wthat the man of God may be complete, xthoroughly equipped for every good work. [14]

And we’ve seen this same description before:
Psalm 19:8-12 (Complete Jewish Bible)[15]
The Torah of Adonai is perfect,
restoring the inner person.
The instruction of Adonai is sure,
making wise the thoughtless.
9(8)           The precepts of Adonai are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The mitzvah of Adonai is pure,
enlightening the eyes.
10(9)         The fear of Adonai is clean,
enduring forever.
The rulings of Adonai are true,
they are righteous altogether,
11(10)        more desirable than gold,
than much fine gold,
also sweeter than honey
or drippings from the honeycomb.
12(11)        Through them your servant is warned;
in obeying them there is great reward. [16]
And again, the theme is similar when speaking of life and light:
John 1:4-5 (NET)
1:4 In him was life,8 and the life was the light of mankind.9
1:5 And the light shines on10 in the darkness,11 but12 the darkness has not mastered it.13 ([17])

(Isa 8:19-22)
“…And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their Elohim? for the living to the dead?
To the Torah[18] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their Elohim, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness…”[19]

John 5:39-40 (NASB95)
     39     1aYou search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is bthese that testify about Me;
40     and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. [20]

Deuteronomy 4:1-8 (HSCB)
4 “Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances r I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live, s enter, and take possession of the land Yahweh, the God of your fathers, t is giving you. You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, u so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed every one of you who followed Baal of Peor. v But you who have remained faithful w to the Lord your God are all alive today. Look, I have taught you statutes and ordinances as the Lord my God has commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to possess. Carefully follow them, for this will show your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples. When they hear about all these statutes, they will say, ‘This great nation is indeed a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god near to it as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to Him? x And what great nation has righteous statutes and ordinances like this entire law I set before you today? y[21]

Psalm 119:1-16 (HSCB)
How f happy are those whose way is blameless, g
who live according to the Lord’s instruction! h
Happy are those who keep His decrees i
and seek Him with all their heart. j
They do nothing wrong; k
they follow His ways.
You have commanded that Your precepts l
be diligently kept.
If only my ways were committed
to keeping Your statutes! m
Then I would not be ashamed n
when I think about all Your commands.
I will praise You with a sincere heart o
when I learn Your righteous judgments.
I will keep Your statutes;
never abandon me. p
ב Bet
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping Your q word. r
10 I have sought You with all my heart; s
don’t let me wander from Your commands. t
11 I have treasured Your word in my heart u
so that I may not sin against You.
12 Lord, may You be praised;
teach me Your statutes. v
13 With my lips I proclaim
all the judgments from Your mouth. w
14 I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees x
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts y
and think about Your ways. z
16 I will delight in Your statutes; a
I will not forget Your word. [22]

John 1:6-18 (CJB)
There was a man sent from God whose name was Yochanan (author’s note: John). He came to be a testimony, to bear witness concerning the light; so that through him, everyone might put his trust in God and be faithful to him.
He himself was not that light; no, he came to bear witness concerning the light.

              This was the true light, which gives light to everyone entering the world.

10             He was in the world—the world came to be through him—
yet the world did not know him.

11             He came to his own homeland, yet his own people did not receive him.
12 But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God.

14             The Word became a human being and lived with us,
and we saw his Sh’khinah, the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

15 Yochanan witnessed concerning him when he cried out, “This is the man I was talking about when I said, ‘The one coming after me has come to rank ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ ”
16             We have all received from his fullness, yes, grace upon grace.

17             For the Torah was given through Moshe; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.
18 No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, who is identical with God and is at the Father’s side—he has made him known. [23]

So if the Torah could save, then why the need of Messiah? Why do the Jews wait for a Messiah (or more appropriately for the Jewish people, Mashiach[24], because they hold that the term “Messiah” has been “hi-jacked” by the Christians) if they have no need of a redeemer?  The answer for this goes beyond the scope of this epistle; volumes could be written in answer to this question, but here is a generalization of the most common explanations:
• The idea of mashiach (messiah) is an ancient one in Judaism
• The Jewish idea of mashiach is a great human leader like King David, not a savior
• There is much speculation about when the mashiach will come
• The Bible identifies several tasks that the mashiach will accomplish
• Jews do not believe in Jesus because he did not accomplish these tasks [25]
As I said previously, each of these themes can be developed more extensively, yet this is not the forum for that today, except to comment on the last point.  The main overwhelming reason that the Jews do not believe in Jesus as their Mashiach today is because of Christianity and its bloody history against the Jewish people.  The Jewish people gave us, the Gentiles, the faith that was given once for all[26], the Holy Scriptures[27], and our Mashiach[28].[29] What did the Christian give in return? Almost 1,900 years of bloodshed, betrayal, torture and indifference.  A pastor once asked a rabbi why Judaism had no problems with Jews who converted to Buddhism but basically disowns any Jew who believes in Yeshua as Mashiach… The rabbi’s reply? “Buddha never tried to kill us.”[30]  Christian anti-Semitism is the one of the causes of the Jew failing to recognize his Mashiach, though the main reason being their blinding in part from Yahveh for the hardness of their hearts till He is ready to reveal their Savior, their Mashiach to them.  It is not our doing, it cannot be done in our time; it is an act of the Almighty King of Heaven that will play out it its proper time.  Some say it is an act of anti-Semitism if we don’t try to “convince” or “convert” the Jew to believe in Yeshua; I say that isn’t our job.  It is up to us to show love and mercy, with compassion and tolerance till the day God removes the veil…
Here is the point I’m trying to make. Yeshua did not say “ keep the commandments and believe in me”, at least not yet. He said keep the commandments.  Obedience to God and His word, His statues, ordinances, and mitzvoth; these can lead to eternal life.  But there is more…

20     And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept aall these things from my youth up.”
21     Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have atreasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [31]

Not only was the law to be upheld, but a change of heart was necessary. Could the young ruler give up his status, his earthly possessions?  Could eternal life in the world to come mean more than what was acquired down below?  His response was his answer…

22 But he was stunned j at this demand, and he went away grieving, k because he had many possessions. l
23 Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth m to enter the kingdom of God!” n 24 But the disciples were astonished at His words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, o how hard it is p to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich q person to enter the kingdom of God.[32]

One commentary breaks it down as this:

“…10:22 The words “great wealth” probably refer to estates. This is the only example in Mark of someone being called to discipleship but refusing. Not only did the man go away sad, but many of those who have read the account over the years have also been saddened. In fact, this verse has been described as the saddest in the Bible.
10:23 The event became the occasion for a brief discourse. Jesus’ statement must be contrasted with the Jewish attitude toward riches. The dominant Jewish view was that riches were an indication of divine favor and a reward for piety (Job 1:10; 42:10; Ps 128:1–2; Isa 3:10). Although provision was made for the protection and assistance of the poor (Deut 15:7–11; Prov 22:22–23), rarely was poverty associated with piety. The Psalms sometimes picture the poor as the righteous who rely on God for aid (Pss 37:14, 16; 69:32–33; 86:1–2). The Psalms frequently portray God as the special help of the poor. Especially during the Maccabean period (142–63 b.c.), the rich became associated with the priestly aristocracy ready to compromise with foreign oppressors; the poor, with those who remained faithful to God (cf. T. Jud. 25:4; Pss. Sol. 10:6). The Qumran community apparently used “the poor” as a self-designation (1 QM 11:9, 13; 13:14; 1QH 5:13–22, in which “the poor” parallels those eager for righteousness; 1QpHab 12:3, 6, 10; 4QpPs 2:9–10; 3:10).
The teaching of Jesus was nonetheless revolutionary in its time and remains scandalous even today. However, Jesus did not condemn riches as evil in themselves. They are a temptation, a hindrance, a diversion. They provide false security that makes radical trust in God difficult…” [33]

                Even the disciples were taken aback, as they ask they question:
“…Then who can be saved?” r

Indeed.  Think about this for a moment.  Do not all men secretly or publically long to be rich?  This world is cruel.  If you have money, you can get by – if not, then it is a day-to-day grind. The poor have not, the rich have it all – all except the comfort of peace because even the rich want more and are afraid of losing what they have.  The poor have not – but do not think that this makes them content.  Even they want more and are in fear of losing what little they have.  Another commentator puts it this way:

“…Even Matthew records the shocked condition of the disciples as does Mark. The imperfect ἐξεπλήσσοντο pictures their condition, and the verb, which is often strengthened by the adverb, is very strong: “they continued utterly dumbfounded.” Note that πρὸς αὐτόν is unusual in Mark after λέγω, but thus is the more likely to be the correct reading, and note πρὸς ἑαυτούς, “to themselves.” Καί at the head of a statement connects with a previously expressed idea. Here it is the impossibility of a rich man entering the kingdom and adds: “And who can be saved?” R. 1182. The sense is: “And then nobody can be saved!” i.e., what Jesus says cannot be true…”[34]

Even the emotions of the disciples reveal a truth: even they long for more.  Thus, a sin, a secret sin is revealed in the heart of the disciples, as well as in all of us.  The hardness of our hearts show:  we covet.  Coveting in and itself is not a sin, if the desire is aimed at the things of God, for the word directs us to ask for more of the spiritual things:

James 1:2-8 (NET)
1:2 My brothers and sisters,4 consider it nothing but joy5 when you fall into all sorts of trials, 1:3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 1:5 But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 1:6 But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 1:7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 1:8 since he is a double-minded individual,6 unstable in all his ways. [35]

It is when we covet the “more”, even if we think our reasons are unselfish, that we get into trouble.  Here, the disciples have another thought, another process in their growth toward becoming the men He (Yeshua) needs them to be, revealed in their hearts.  Upon the revelation comes the sobering fact that only God can save.  It is here my Jewish brethren are said to stumble.  They have all heard from countless “well-meaning” Christians that they must come to Yeshua to be saved; it is here they differ.  Now I’m not going to go into their reasons, or the countless arguments on the Christian side concerning this matter.  If you want to do the research yourselves on this matter, the web is full of sites that articulate each side’s positions.  The gulf between Jew and Gentile is enormous; this puts truth in the answer of Yeshua to His disciples:

“…Looking at them, Jesus *said,
aWith people it is impossible, but not with God; …for all things are possible with God…”[36]

If we can agree on nothing else, may we agree on this one point: only the Elohim of Heaven can save.

Depending upon your point of view of whether He saves through the Torah, or His Son Yeshua, only He saves.  How El accomplishes this one thing is clear: in both the Tanach and the B’rit Hadashah it is clear that Mashiach will restore Israel to its land, and the covenant people of God to their God once more.  I know I have my view on this – you may have another.  What is important that we all are reaching for the prize, the return of the Sovereign of heaven to redeem a sick and dying world, a world where all have sinned and fall short of His glory, a world that needs its Redeemer.  Jew and Gentile alike have sinned, and neither can claim superiority over the other.  Leviticus (Vayikra) 17:8-11 tells us what brings atonement:

“Also tell them, ‘When someone from the community of Isra’el or one of the foreigners living with you offers a burnt offering or sacrifice without bringing it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to Adonai, that person is to be cut off from his people. 10 When someone from the community of Isra’el or one of the foreigners living with you eats any kind of blood, I will set myself against that person who eats blood and cut him off from his people.
11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for yourselves; for it is the blood that makes atonement because of the life.’[37]

The B’rit Hadashah in Hebrews 9 tells us:

“…9 Now the first covenant had both regulations for worship and a Holy Place here on earth. A tent was set up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place; in it were the menorah, the table and the Bread of the Presence. Behind the second parokhet[38] was a tent called the Holiest Place, which had the golden altar for burning incense and the Ark of the Covenant, entirely covered with gold. In the Ark were the gold jar containing the man, Aharon’s[39] rod that sprouted and the stone Tablets of the Covenant; and above it were the k’ruvim[40] representing the Sh’khinah[41], casting their shadow on the lid of the Ark—but now is not the time to discuss these things in detail.
With things so arranged, the cohanim[42] go into the outer tent all the time to discharge their duties; but only the cohen hagadol[43] enters the inner one; and he goes in only once a year, and he must always bring blood, which he offers both for himself and for the sins committed in ignorance by the people. By this arrangement, the Ruach HaKodesh[44] showed that so long as the first Tent had standing, the way into the Holiest Place was still closed. This symbolizes the present age and indicates that the conscience of the person performing the service cannot be brought to the goal by the gifts and sacrifices he offers. 10 For they involve only food and drink and various ceremonial washings—regulations concerning the outward life, imposed until the time for God to reshape the whole structure.
11 But when the Messiah appeared as cohen gadol of the good things that are happening already, then, through the greater and more perfect Tent which is not man-made (that is, it is not of this created world),
12 he entered the Holiest Place once and for all.
And he entered not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus setting people free forever.
13 For if sprinkling ceremonially unclean persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer restores their outward purity;
14 then how much more the blood of the Messiah, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself to God as a sacrifice without blemish, will purify our conscience from works that lead to death, so that we can serve the living God!
15 It is because of this death that he is mediator of a new covenant [or will].g Because a death has occurred which sets people free from the transgressions committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a will, there must necessarily be produced evidence of its maker’s death, 17 since a will goes into effect only upon death; it never has force while its maker is still alive.
18 This is why the first covenant too was inaugurated with blood. 19 After Moshe had proclaimed every command of the Torah to all the people, he took the blood of the calves with some water and used scarlet wool and hyssop to sprinkle both the scroll itself and all the people; 20 and he said,
“This is the blood of the covenant which God has ordained for you.”h
21 Likewise, he sprinkled with the blood both the Tent and all the things used in its ceremonies.
22 In fact, according to the Torah, almost everything is purified with blood; indeed, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23 Now this is how the copies of the heavenly things had to be purified, but the heavenly things themselves require better sacrifices than these. 24 For the Messiah has entered a Holiest Place which is not man-made and merely a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, in order to appear now on our behalf in the very presence of God.
25 Further, he did not enter heaven to offer himself over and over again, like the cohen hagadol who enters the Holiest Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer death many times—from the founding of the universe on. But as it is, he has appeared once at the end of the ages in order to do away with sin through the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as human beings have to die once, but after this comes judgment, 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,i will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to deliver those who are eagerly waiting for him…” [45]

My Jewish brethren: only blood atones.  Your own Tanach says so.  Remission of sin is only by blood, that is how ALL are saved.  Good deeds, no matter how you do them or the motivation behind them count not for us, only blood.  Please consider, just once, consider the blood.  Maybe to you the blood of countless Jews split over the course of 1,900 years fulfills the word of God; or ponder perhaps it was just one lone Jew upon a Roman execution stake that satisfied the Law’s decree; either way let us, Gentile and Jew, understand that it was and is Jewish blood that has made atonement for us all.  That is all I ask, for you to just consider and for Gentiles to humbly bow their heads and weep and offer up to HaShem a prayer of repentance and to seek forgiveness…

…Forgive us, O brethren of Israel, forgive us…

                Our next lesson comes from verses 28-31 of Mark 10:

28  aPeter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”
29  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, athere is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,
30  1but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in 2the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in athe age to come, eternal life.
31  “But amany who are first will be last, and the last, first.”[46]

In Mattai (Matthew)19:27 Peter’s statement is a bit different:

Matthew 19:27 (KJV)
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee;
what shall we have therefore? [47]

Was it hardness of the heart that asked the question “what shall we have therefore?”  No, this I don’t believe.  Think of the apostles; these ordinary men thrust into the first stage of the greatest cosmic play ever.  Is it hard to see them as just ordinary men?  We have no idea of their ages; were they young?  John yes, he was the youngest, by some only a boy in his teens [48].  What of the rest? Some points to consider:

·         The temple tax
In Exodus 30:14-15, Jewish law states that every male over the age of 20 is to pay a half-shekel as census offering when they visit the temple of God. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus instructs Peter to “fish up” this tax. Peter finds a shekel in the mouth of the fish he catches; enough to pay the tax for two men, himself and Jesus. You could conclude that the others were underage and did not need to pay.
·         The use of the term “little ones”
In Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, and John 13:33, Jesus calls his disciples little children; a bit insulting if they were adults.
·         They were unmarried
We learn that Peter had a wife when Jesus healed his mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15). In those ancient times, a Jewish man receives a wife after the age of 18. Again, no other disciples’ wives are mentioned. You could deduce then, that they were unmarried, hence under the age of 18.
·         The education system of Israel at the time of Jesus
In Avot 5 (from the Mishnah: rabbinical commentary that was added to the Old Testament), we learn of the ancient Jewish education traditions: scripture study begins at age 5; Mishnah study at 10;  Torah obligations at 13; continued rabbinical study at 15 if chosen to be tutored by a formal teacher or apprenticed to a trade; marriage at 18; formal teaching at 30.
Jewish children began intensive study at young ages, but education for most concluded by age 15. For those bright (or wealthy) enough, higher education consisted of studying under a local rabbi, and if they were distinguished, they could begin teaching at the age of 30. If they didn’t find a rabbi that accepted them as a student (much like a college entrance application), then they entered the workforce by their mid-teens. The disciples, already working at their trades, must have been rejected for formal education by other rabbis when Jesus hand-picked them for further education as his disciples. In light of this, a younger age is more probable than older. A youth would be in the mindset of continuing his education. A man over 30 leaving his trade to follow a rabbi would be counter-cultural; not impossible (Jesus was definitely counter-cultural), but more likely they were younger than older. [49]

The only possible exception to this of course is Matthew, who worked as a tax collector for the Romans. It remains to be seen at what age the Romans would have considered appropriate for their collectors, but an educated guess would be around 20-25 (maybe over 30 but there is no real indication of the actual age).

So the question of Peter is not out of line.  If Yeshua called these men/boys away from their families, from their learning of a trade that would support their extended family situation,  is it any wonder he would ask “…what shall we have therefore?” 

…And at this question, let us break…

This has become a long study brethren: we have to break it up into (hopefully) two parts…

…Till next time, may Yahveh richly bless you all my beloved, Amein…

a  Mark 10:13–16: Matt 19:13–15; Luke 18:15–17
a  Matt 5:3
a  Matt 18:3; 19:14; Luke 18:17; 1 Cor 14:20; 1 Pet 2:2
a  Mark 9:36
a  Mark 10:17–31: Matt 19:16–30; Luke 18:18–30
b  Mark 1:40
c  Matt 25:34; Luke 10:25; 18:18; Acts 20:32; Eph 1:18; 1 Pet 1:4
a  Ex 20:12–16; Deut 5:16–20
a  Matt 19:20
a  Matt 6:20
1  Or he became gloomy
*  A star (*) is used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents to English past tenses.
a  Matt 19:23
a  Mark 1:27
*  A star (*) is used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents to English past tenses.
*  A star (*) is used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents to English past tenses.
a  Matt 19:24
1  Lit And
[2] [Author’s Note:] Throughout these studies I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of God. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief ) I insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of God’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones..” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
2 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tc Alexandrian and other witnesses (א B C* L Ψ 0274 892 2427 pc co) read καὶ πέραν (kai peran, “and beyond”), while Western and Caesarean witnesses (C2 D W Δ Θ f1, 13 28 565 579 1241 al) read πέραν (simply “beyond”). It is difficult to decide between the Alexandrian and Western readings here, but since the parallel in Matt 19:1 omits καί the weight is slightly in favor of including it here; scribes may have omitted the word here to harmonize this passage to the Matthean passage. Because of the perceived geographical difficulties found in the earlier readings (omission of the word “and” would make it seem as though Judea is beyond the Jordan), the majority of the witnesses (A M) read διὰ τοῦ πέραν (dia tou peran, “through the other side”), perhaps trying to indicate the direction of Jesus’ travel.
4 tn “River” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity. The region referred to here is sometimes known as Transjordan (i.e., “across the Jordan”).
5 tc The Western text (D it) and a few others have only καί (kai) here, rather than καὶ προσελθόντες Φαρισαῖοι (kai proselthontes Pharisaioi, here translated as “then some Pharisees came”). The longer reading, a specific identification of the subject, may have been prompted by the parallel in Matt 19:3. The fact that the mss vary in how they express this subject lends credence to this judgment: οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι προσελθόντες (hoi de Pharisaioi proselthontes, “now the Pharisees came”) in W Θ 565 2542 pc; καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι (kai proselthontes hoi Pharisaioi, “then the Pharisees came”) in א C N (f1: καὶ προσελθόντες ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) 579 1241 1424 pm; and καὶ προσελθόντες Φαρισαῖοι in A B K L Γ Δ Ψ f13 28 700 892 2427 pm. Further, the use of an indefinite plural (a general “they”) is a Markan feature, occurring over twenty times. Thus, internally the evidence looks rather strong for the shorter reading, in spite of the minimal external support for it. However, if scribes assimilated this text to Matt 19:3, a more exact parallel might have been expected: Matthew has καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ Φαρισαῖοι (kai prosēlthon aujtō Pharisaioi, “then Pharisees came to him”). Although the verb form needs to be different according to syntactical requirements of the respective sentences, the word order variety, as well as the presence or absence of the article and the alternation between δέ and καί as the introductory conjunction, all suggest that the variety of readings might not be due to scribal adjustments toward Matthew. At the same time, the article with Φαρισαῖοι is found in both Gospels in many of the same witnesses (א M in Matt; א pm in Mark), and the anarthrous Φαρισαῖοι is likewise parallel in many mss (B L f13 700 892). Another consideration is the possibility that very early in the transmissional history, scribes naturally inserted the most obvious subject (the Pharisees would be the obvious candidates as the ones to test Jesus). This may account for the reading with δέ, since Mark nowhere else uses this conjunction to introduce the Pharisees into the narrative. As solid as the internal arguments against the longer reading seem to be, the greatest weakness is the witnesses that support it. The Western mss are prone to alter the text by adding, deleting, substituting, or rearranging large amounts of material. There are times when the rationale for this seems inexplicable. In light of the much stronger evidence for “the Pharisees came,” even though it occurs in various permutations, it is probably wisest to retain the words. This judgment, however, is hardly certain.
sn See the note on Pharisees in 2:16.
6 tn In Greek this phrase occurs at the end of the sentence. It has been brought forward to conform to English style.
7 tn The personal pronoun “his” is not in the Greek text, but is certainly implied and has been supplied in the English translation to clarify the sense of the statement (cf. “his wife” in 10:7).
8 tn The particle εἰ (ei) is often used to introduce both indirect and direct questions. Thus, another possible translation is to take this as an indirect question: “They asked him if it were lawful for a man to divorce his wife.” See BDF §440.3.
sn The question of the Pharisees was anything but sincere; they were asking it to test him. Jesus was now in the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas (i.e., Judea and beyond the Jordan) and it is likely that the Pharisees were hoping he might answer the question of divorce in a way similar to John the Baptist and so suffer the same fate as John, i.e., death at the hands of Herod (cf. 6:17–19). Jesus answered the question not on the basis of rabbinic custom and the debate over Deut 24:1, but rather from the account of creation and God’s original design.
9 tn Grk “But answering, he said to them.”
10 tn Grk “to divorce.” The pronoun has been supplied in the translation for An allusion to Deut 24:1. The Pharisees were all in agreement that the OT permitted a man to write a certificate of dismissal and divorce his wife (not vice-versa) and that remarriage was therefore sanctioned. But the two rabbinic schools of Shammai and Hillel differed on the grounds for divorce. Shammai was much stricter than Hillel and permitted divorce only in the case of sexual immorality. Hillel permitted divorce for almost any reason (cf. the Mishnah, m. Gittin 9.10).
11 tn Grk “heart” (a collective singular).
12 tc Most mss have ὁ θεός (ho theos, “God”) as the explicit subject of ἐποίησεν (epoiēsen, “he made”; A D W Θ Ψ f1, 13 M lat sy), while the most important witnesses, along with a few others, lack ὁ θεός (א B C L Δ 579 2427 co). On the one hand, it is possible that the shorter reading is an assimilation to the wording of the LXX of Gen 1:27b where ὁ θεός is lacking. However, since it is mentioned at the beginning of the verse (Gen 1:27a) with ἐποίησεν scribes may have been motivated to add it in Mark to make the subject clear. Further, confusion could easily arise in this dominical saying, because Moses was the previously mentioned subject (v. 5) and inattentive readers might regard him as the subject of ἐποίησεν in v. 6. Thus, both on internal and external grounds, the most probable wording of the original text here lacked ὁ θεός.
13 sn A quotation from Gen 1:27; 5:2.
14 tc ‡ The earliest witnesses, as well as a few other important mss (א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys), lack the rest of the quotation from Gen 2:24, “and will be united with his wife.” Most mss ([A C] D [L N] W [Δ] Θ f[1],13 [579] M lat co) have the clause. It could be argued that the shorter reading was an accidental omission, due to this clause and v. 8 both beginning with καί (kai, “and”). But if that were the case, one might expect to see corrections in א or B. This can be overstated, of course; both mss combine in their errors on several other occasions. However, the nature of the omission here (both its length and the fact that it is from the OT) argues that א and B reflect the original wording. Further, the form of the longer reading is identical with the LXX of Gen 2:24, but different from the quotation in Matt 19:5 (προσκολληθήσεται vs. κολληθήσεται [proskollēthēsetai vs. kollēthēsetai], πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα vs. τῇ γυναικί [pros tēn gunaika vs. tē gunaiki]). The significance of this is that Matthew’s quotations of the OT are often, if not usually, directly from the Hebrew - except when he is following Mark’s quotation of the OT. Matthew in fact only departs from Mark’s verbatim quotation of the LXX in 15:4 and 19:19, both texts quoting from Exod 20:12/Deut 5:6 (and in both places the only difference from Mark/LXX is the dropping of σου [sou, “your“]). This might suggest that the longer reading here was not part of what the first evangelist had in his copy of Mark. Further, the reading without this line is harder, for the wife is not explicitly mentioned in v. 7; the casual reader could read “the two” of v. 8 as referring to father and mother rather than husband and wife. (And Mark is known for having harder, shorter readings that scribes tried to soften by explanatory expansion: In this chapter alone, cf. the textual problems in v. 6 [the insertion of ὁ θεός]; in v. 13 [the replacement of αὐτοῖς with τοῖς προσφέρουσιν or τοῖς φέρουσιν]; in v. 24 [insertion of ἐστιν τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐπὶ χρήμασιν, πλούσιον, or τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες; and perhaps in v. 2 [possible insertion of προσελθόντες Φαρισαῖοι or similar permutations].) Although a decision is difficult, the preferred reading lacks “and will be united with his wife.” NA27 has the longer reading in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
15 sn A quotation from Gen 2:24. The “two” refers to husband and wife, not father and mother mentioned in the previous verse. See the tc note on “mother” in v. 7 for discussion.
16 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate that Jesus’ statement is in response to the disciples’ question (v. 10).
17 sn It was not uncommon in Jesus’ day for a Jewish man to divorce his wife, but it was extremely rare for a wife to initiate such an action against her husband, since among many things it would have probably left her destitute and without financial support. Mark’s inclusion of the statement And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery (v. 12) reflects more the problem of the predominantly Gentile church in Rome to which he was writing. As such it may be an interpretive and parenthetical comment by the author rather than part of the saying by Jesus, which would stop at the end of v. 11. As such it should then be placed in parentheses. Further NT passages that deal with the issue of divorce and remarriage are Matt 5:31–32; 19:1–12; Luke 16:18; 1 Cor 7.
·         End “NET®” notes
[3]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
[4] Author’s note:  In the Net® Notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that is used in translating the New Testament. Please go to and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[5] Parush (פְּרִישׁ singular) Prushim (פְּרִישַׁיָּא plural): The Hebrew word means “Separatist” or more commonly “Pharisee”. Prushim tended to be nationalistic and resisted trends toward assimilation into the surrounding Hellenistic culture.”[From the glossary of  Delitzch, Franz. The Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels. First Edition. ©Vine of David, 2011]. “…A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognized in oral tradition a standard of belief and life. They sought for distinction and praise by outward observance of external rites and by outward forms of piety, and such as ceremonial washings, fasting, prayers, and alms giving; and, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels, and to the expectation of a messiah; and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him, and be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herodians and the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy and their country's cause, and possessed great influence with the common people. According to Josephus they numbered more than 6000. They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, and affection of piety in order to gain popularity…” [from F. Brown, S. Driver, C. Briggs; J. Strong; J.H. Thayer. Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Thayer’s Greek Definitions, and the Strong’s King James Concordance. Vol. Electronic Edition, copyright 2000–2013 e-Sword by Rick Meyers, n.d.]
[6] NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C; electronic edition, e-Sword v. 10.2.1. Copyright ©2000-2013 by Rick Meyers
[7] Rev. John S. & Jacob Abbott. Abbott New Testament Commentary, Explanitory Notes on the New Testament 1878. Electronic Edition, ©1995-2014 StudyLamp Software LLC. SwordSearcher, ver
[8] Edited by H.D.M. Spence, D.D., Joseph S. Exell, M.A. The Pulpit Commentary. Electronic edition. AGES Software Rio, WI USA, ©2001.
a  Mark 10:17–31: Matt 19:16–30; Luke 18:18–30
b  Mark 1:40
c  Matt 25:34; Luke 10:25; 18:18; Acts 20:32; Eph 1:18; 1 Pet 1:4
a  Ex 20:12–16; Deut 5:16–20
[9] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
o  Matt. 19:16–29; Mark 10:17–30; Luke 18:18–30
p  Luke 10:25
4  NU omits Good
5  NU Why do you ask Me about what is good?
6  NU There is One who is good. But
q  Ps. 25:8; 34:8; Nah. 1:7; [Rom. 2:4]
r  Lev. 18:5; Deut. 4:40; 6:17; 7:11; 11:22; 28:9; Neh. 9:29; Ezek. 20:21; [Gal. 3:10]
s  Ex. 20:13–16; Deut. 5:17–20
t  Ex. 20:12–16; Deut. 5:16–20; Matt. 15:4
u  Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39; [Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8]
[10]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[11] J. W. McGARVEY and PHILIP Y. PENDLETON. The Fourfold Gospel and Commentary on Acts. Vol (s). The Four-Fold Gospel, 1914  J. W. McGARVEY and PHILIP Y. PENDLETON.  A Commentary on Acts of Apostles, 1872  J. W. McGARVEY. Electronic Edition, ©1995-2014 StudyLamp Software LLC. DeWard Publishing (March 11, 2010); Gospel Advocate Company (December 1, 2001); SwordSearcher®, ver, n.d.
[12] …Ibid…
[13] …Ibid…
r  Lev. 18:5; Deut. 4:40; 6:17; 7:11; 11:22; 28:9; Neh. 9:29; Ezek. 20:21; [Gal. 3:10]
s  2 Tim. 1:13; Titus 1:9
t  Ps. 119:97–104; John 5:39
u  [2 Pet. 1:20]
v  Rom. 4:23; 15:4
3  training, discipline
w  1 Tim. 6:11
x  2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 13:21
[14]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[15] In the CJB, the verse numbering is the same as in the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament); the numbers in parenthesis give the verse number of the King James Version.
[16] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Ps 19:8–12). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
·          [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..]
8 tn John uses ζωή (zōē) 37 times: 17 times it occurs with αἰώνιος (aiōnios), and in the remaining occurrences outside the prologue it is clear from context that “eternal” life is meant. The two uses in 1:4, if they do not refer to “eternal” life, would be the only exceptions. (Also 1 John uses ζωή 13 times, always of “eternal” life.)
sn An allusion to Ps 36:9, which gives significant OT background: “For with you is the fountain of life; In your light we see light.” In later Judaism, Bar 4:2 expresses a similar idea. Life, especially eternal life, will become one of the major themes of John’s Gospel.
9 tn Or “humanity”; Grk “of men” (but ἄνθρωπος [anthrōpos] is used in a generic sense here, not restricted to males only, thus “mankind,” “humanity”).
10 tn To this point the author has used past tenses (imperfects, aorists); now he switches to a present. The light continually shines (thus the translation, “shines on”). Even as the author writes, it is shining. The present here most likely has gnomic force (though it is possible to take it as a historical present); it expresses the timeless truth that the light of the world (cf. 8:12, 9:5, 12:46) never ceases to shine.
sn The light shines on. The question of whether John has in mind here the preincarnate Christ or the incarnate Christ is probably too specific. The incarnation is not really introduced until v. 9, but here the point is more general: It is of the very nature of light, that it shines.
11 sn The author now introduces what will become a major theme of John’s Gospel: the opposition of light and darkness. The antithesis is a natural one, widespread in antiquity. Gen 1 gives considerable emphasis to it in the account of the creation, and so do the writings of Qumran. It is the major theme of one of the most important extra-biblical documents found at Qumran, the so-called War Scroll, properly titled The War of the Sons of Light with the Sons of Darkness. Connections between John and Qumran are still an area of scholarly debate and a consensus has not yet emerged. See T. A. Hoffman, “1 John and the Qumran Scrolls,” BTB 8 (1978): 117-25.
12 tn Grk “and,” but the context clearly indicates a contrast, so this has been translated as an adversative use of καί (kai).
13 tn Or “comprehended it,” or “overcome it.” The verb κατέλαβεν (katelaben) is not easy to translate. “To seize” or “to grasp” is possible, but this also permits “to grasp with the mind” in the sense of “to comprehend” (esp. in the middle voice). This is probably another Johannine double meaning - one does not usually think of darkness as trying to “understand” light. For it to mean this, “darkness” must be understood as meaning “certain people,” or perhaps “humanity” at large, darkened in understanding. But in John’s usage, darkness is not normally used of people or a group of people. Rather it usually signifies the evil environment or ‘sphere’ in which people find themselves: “They loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19). Those who follow Jesus do not walk in darkness (8:12). They are to walk while they have light, lest the darkness “overtake/overcome” them (12:35, same verb as here). For John, with his set of symbols and imagery, darkness is not something which seeks to “understand (comprehend)” the light, but represents the forces of evil which seek to “overcome (conquer)” it. The English verb “to master” may be used in both sorts of contexts, as “he mastered his lesson” and “he mastered his opponent.”
·         End “NET®” notes
[17]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
[18] In the WoY (The Word of Yahweh) translation, they used the word “law”; it has been retranslated by author according to the original Hebrew language תּרה תּורה
[19] Yahweh. The Word of Yahweh. 2nd edition (2003). Assembly of Yahweh;, n.d.
1  Or (a command) Search the Scriptures!
a  John 7:52; Rom 2:17ff
b  Luke 24:25, 27; Acts 13:27
[20]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
r 4:1 Ex 15:25; Lv 26:46; Dt 5:1; 11:32; 12:1; 26:16–17; Jos 24:25; 1Sm 30:25; 1Kg 9:4; Ezr 7:10; Ps 81:4; 147:19; Ezk 11:12; 20:18, 25; 36:27; Mal 4:4
s 4:1 Lv 25:18; Dt 4:40; 5:16, 33; 8:1; 11:9; 25:15; 30:16; 2Kg 18:32; Ezk 18:9; Am 5:14
Or The Lord; it is the personal name of God in Hebrew; “Yah” is the shortened form. Yahweh is used in places where the personal name of God is discussed (Ps 68:4) or in places of His self-identification (Is 42:8).
t 4:1 Ex 3:13, 15–16; Dt 1:11, 21; 6:3; 12:1; 27:3; Jos 18:3; 2Ch 13:12; 28:9; 29:5; Ezr 8:28; 10:11
u 4:2 Dt 12:32; Pr 30:6; Mk 7:9–13; Rv 22:18–19
A fertility god who was the main god of the Canaanite religion and the god of rain and thunderstorms; it is also the Hebrew word meaning “lord,” “master,” “owner,” or “husband.”
v 4:3 Ps 106:28; Hs 9:10; 1Co 10:8
w 4:4 Lit have held on
x 4:7 1Kg 8:52; Ps 4:3; Is 55:6; Jr 11:14; Hs 11:7; Rm 10:12, 14
y 4:8 Dt 11:26, 32
[21] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Dt 4:1–8). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
f 119:1 The stanzas of this poem form an acrostic.
g 119:1 Ps 101:6; Pr 11:20
h 119:1 Ps 128:1; Mc 4:2
i 119:2 Ps 25:10; 119:10, 22, 168
j 119:2 Dt 4:29; 10:12; 11:13; 13:3; 30:2
k 119:3 1Jn 3:9; 5:18
l 119:4 Dt 4:13; Neh 9:13; Ps 19:8
m 119:5 Dt 12:1; 2Ch 7:17; Pr 4:26
n 119:6 Jb 22:26; Ps 119:80
o 119:7 Ps 119:62, 106
p 119:8 Ps 38:21; 71:9, 18
q 119:9 Or keeping it according to Your
r 119:9 2Sm 22:31; Ps 12:6; 19:9–10; 119:140; Pr 20:11; 30:5; Php 4:8
s 119:10 Ps 119:2
t 119:10 Ps 119:21, 118
u 119:11 Ps 37:31; 40:8; Lk 2:19, 51
v 119:12 Ps 119:26, 64, 108, 124, 135, 171
w 119:13 Ps 40:9; 119:72
x 119:14 Ps 119:111, 162; Pr 3:13–15; 8:10, 11, 18, 19
y 119:15 Ps 1:2; 119:23, 48, 78, 97, 148
z 119:15 Ps 25:4; 27:11; Is 58:2
a 119:16 Ps 1:2; 119:24, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 174
[22] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Ps 119:1–16). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[23] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Jn 1:6–18). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[24] In Judaism today, here are the Scriptural references that they believe are “Messianic”:
  • Isaiah 2, 11, 42; 59:20
  • Jeremiah 23, 30, 33; 48:47; 49:39
  • Ezekiel 38:16
  • Hosea 3:4-3:5
  • Micah 4
  • Zephaniah 3:9
  • Zechariah 14:9
  • Daniel 10:14
[25] From the website “Judaism 101”, article .
[26] Jude 1:3
[27] Acts 7:38; Romans 2:24-3:2
[28]Isaiah 9:6
[29]From the forward of Clarence H. Wagner’s (with JoAnn Magnuson) book Where Was Love and Mercy? Christian Ant-Semitism: Overcoming the Curse. Jerusalem, Israel: Bridges of Peace, 2004.
[30] Condensed from various sermons given by Pastor Mark Biltz, El Shaddai Ministries, Bonney Lake, WA,
a  Matt 19:20
a  Matt 6:20
[31] Mark 10:20-21
j 10:22 Or he became gloomy
k 10:22 2Co 2:2
l 10:22 Ac 2:45; 5:1
m 10:23 Ac 4:37; 8:18, 20; 24:26
n 10:23 Mk 1:15
o 10:24 Lk 1:7
p 10:24 Other mss add for those trusting in wealth
q 10:25 Gn 24:35; Rv 2:9
[32] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Mk 10:22–25). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[33] Brooks, J. A. (1991). New American Commentary: Mark (Vol. 23, pp. 163–164). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
r 10:26 Ac 16:30; Eph 2:8
R. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, by A. T. Robertson, fourth edition.
[34] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel (p. 442). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.
·          [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..]
4 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited). Where the plural term is used in direct address, as here, “brothers and sisters” is used; where the term is singular and not direct address (as in v. 9), “believer” is preferred.
5 tn Grk “all joy,” “full joy,” or “greatest joy.”

6 tn Grk “a man of two minds,” continuing the description of the person in v. 7, giving the reason that he cannot expect to receive anything. The word for “man” or “individual” is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” But it sometimes is used generically to mean “anyone,” “a person,” as here (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 2).
sn A double-minded man is one whose devotion to God is less than total. His attention is divided between God and other things, and as a consequence he is unstable and therefore unable to receive from God.
·         End “NET®” notes
[35]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
* A star (*) is used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents to English past tenses.
a Matt 19:26
[36] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mk 10:27). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[37] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Le 17:8–11). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
·         Definitions (38-44) taken from the Complete Jewish Bible Pronunciation Guide.
[38] pa•ro•khet—curtain, specifically the one dividing the Especially Holy Place from the rest of the temple or tabernacle. There were actually two such p'rokhot (see Heb_9:3). The first separated the Holy Place from the outer court (Exo_26:36-37; Exo_36:37-38), whereas the second separated the Especially Holy Place from the Holy Place (Exo_26:31-33; Exo_36:35-36). The curtain covering the ark of the Torah in a modern synagogue is also called a parokhet. Mat_27:51+.
[39] Aaron
[40] k'ru•vim (cherubim, cherubims)—Heavenly creatures (angels) who guarded the way to the Tree of Life in Gan-`Eden (Gen_3:24), were described by Ezekiel as having four faces and four wings (Eze_10:20-21), and were ridden by God (Psalm 18:11(10)); compare the "living beings" of Rev_4:6 ff. The term also refers to the gold-overlaid wooden images of same, constructed in obedience to God's command, which overshadowed the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle and in the temple. Heb_9:5.
[41] Sh'khi•nah—Divine Presence, the manifest glory of God present with men. Luk_2:9+.
[42] co•hen, pl. co•ha•nim—priest (in the temple or tabernacle). Mat_2:4+.
[43] co•hen ga•dol, pl. co•ha•nim g'do•lim—high priest. Co•hen ha•ga•dol means "the high priest." Mat_26:3+.
[44] Ru•ach Ha•Ko•desh—the Holy Spirit, referred to four times in the Tanakh as such, and many times as the Spirit of God. Mat_1:18+.
g Jeremiah 31:30(31)
h Exodus 24:8
i Isaiah 53:12
[45] Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Heb 9). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
a Matt 4:20–22
a Matt 6:33; 19:29; Luke 18:29f
1 Lit if not
2 Lit this time
a Matt 12:32
a Matt 19:30; 20:16; Luke 13:30
[46] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mk 10:28–31). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[47]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[48] While there is no definitive answer to this question, here are some resources to explore:
       Horn, Cornelia B. and Martens, John W.  “Let the Little Children Come To Me:  Childhood and Children in Early Christianity.  Washington, DC:  Catholic University Press, 2009.  This was an excellent and informative text and Dr. Horn was personally very helpful in sharing many ideas key to developing this project.
       “Being a First Century Disciple”  Bonikowsky, K.  “Jesus’ Disciples:  A Teenage Posse?”  Internet resource:
         Bonikowsky, K.  “The Age of the Disciples Ditto
       Evans, Craig.  “Archaeology and the Historical Jesus: Recent Developments”
       “The Jesus Youth: the revolutionary significance of young people in the gospels”
       Korb, Scott.  Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine.  New York, NY:  Riverhead Books, a Division of Penguin Group USA, 2010.
       McGrath, James F.  “How Old Were Jesus’ Disciples?”
       Pope, Kyle.  “Tax Collectors and Sinners”
       Shulam, Joseph.  “A Messianic Yeshiva” 
       What was the average age of the twelve disciples when they joined Jesus”
       “Estimated Life Expectancy in the Ancient World”  Adapted from "Frier's Life Table for the Roman Empire," p.144 of T.G. Parkin, Demography and Roman Society (1992)
       Above adapted from

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