Introduction: This week, our text in Mark teaches us several lessons.
We are going to try to unravel three of those. These are lessons on
prayer, divorce and money. You might want to hold your hands over
your eyes! For the brave, let’s dive in!
- Last week we skipped over the account of Jesus taking
three of His disciples up to the top of a mountain and
being visited there by His Father, Elijah and Moses. (Mark
9:1-8) In their presence, Jesus was transfigured into a
dazzling being. Let’s read Mark 9:14-16. When Jesus comes
down from His glorious mountain top experience, He finds
the rest of His disciples in a dispute. How would this
make you feel if you were Jesus?
- Read Mark 9:17-18. What do you think was the subject of
the argument between the disciples and the teachers of the
law? (Remember in Mark 7 we read that the teachers of the
law were harassing Jesus on account of His disciples not
washing their hands? It is obvious that the disciples
tried to heal this boy. Since they could not, the teachers
of the law were no doubt casting aspersions on Jesus
because of the disciples’ failure.)
- How do you think the disciples felt? (Did you notice
that they did not answer Jesus? The father answered
Jesus. They were too embarrassed to tell Jesus what
was going on.)
- Had they let Jesus down? (Yes.)
- Read Mark 9:19. Who is getting yelled at by Jesus? His
disciples? The teachers of the law? The parents? The
crowd? The demon? (In discussing this, recall Mark 6:4-6
and Mark 6:13. If it were simply a lack of faith of
everyone but the disciples, how could Jesus cure that
- Read Mark 9:20-22. Jesus sounds like a doctor here. What
does this question have to do with healing the boy? (Jesus
could be asking the question to inspire faith in the
father or He could be measuring the severity of the demon-possession.)
- Is the father sure that Jesus can help?
- What role did the disciples play in his attitude?
- Read Mark 9:23-24. What level of faith is necessary for
- Tell me about the attitude of the father? (He turns
to Jesus not only to heal his son, but to strengthen
- Read Mark 9:25-27. Compare the attitude of Jesus with the
attitude of the demon towards the boy? Was the demon
trying to kill the boy if it could not live in him any
- Some commentaries say that this boy had epilepsy
instead of being demon possessed. What do you think?
(I think we should stop trying to be more
sophisticated than Jesus or the Biblical account. The
Bible writers would not have known the modern names,
but they knew how to distinguish between seizures and
demon-possession. See Matthew 4:24.)
- Read Mark 9:28-29. Remember that we discussed who was at
fault for the disciples’ inability to cast out this demon?
The disciples want to know the answer. Who is at fault?
- What does Jesus mean when He says “this kind can come
out only by prayer?” (Recall the disciples had done
this before. They were getting self-confident. Jesus
reminds them that they are not performing these
miracles, but rather God is performing these
miracles. A solid heavenly connection is required.)
- Do you ever ask yourself if a spiritual failure is
due to your lack of prayer?
- Read Mark 10:1-2. Why do you think they asked Jesus this
particular question? (Recall what got John the Baptist
killed? It was this subject.( Mark 6:18-19) The Pharisees
may have been fishing – hoping that Jesus would offend
Herod Antipas or contradict Moses.)
- Read Mark 10:3-5. Did Moses write ( Deuteronomy 24:1) on
his own? Was this his own idea? (No.)
- If Moses wrote the words of God, and God varied His
command based on the fact that their hearts were
hard, what does this teach us about God’s views on
divorce? (Obviously, God allows some “flex” on this
- Is God flexible on all of His commands? (I think we
are safer to say God has flexibility only where He
indicates He is flexible.)
- Why didn’t Moses write about adultery being a grounds
for divorce? (Since the penalty for adultery was
death ( Deuteronomy 22:22) there was no need to
- Read Mark 10:6-9. Who wrote the Creation account? (Moses.)
- What is Jesus arguing with regard to Moses? (Moses’
writings contain God’s perfect plan for marriage.
However, because of the sinfulness of humans, Moses
also created an exception.)
- Is Jesus revoking the Moses’ exception?
- Look again at Mark 10:6-8. For what reason did God
make males and females? (God made male and female
humans because He had marriage in mind. The “one
flesh” refers to sex and children. Those who advocate
marriage between members of the same sex are blind to
- Read Mark 10:10-12. The disciples have some questions.
What topic does Jesus cover that He did not discuss
publically? (Remarriage. Jesus was only talking about
- Why would Moses not discuss remarriage? (Because
having more than one wife was permitted. See
Deuteronomy 21:15; Leviticus 18:18; 2 Samuel 12:7-8.
If you could marry more than one wife, then the only
issue was the level of commitment to your current
- What does Jesus’ teaching tell us about His view of
polygamy? ( Mark 10:8 “two [not three or four] become
one.” Jesus teaches that the ideal is one man, one
woman, who do not separate.)
- Jesus says that if you divorce and remarry, you
commit adultery. How serious a sin is that? (See
- Read Matthew 5:32. Matthew contains an exception that Mark
does not mention. What is it? Why would Mark leave this
- The difference between Jesus and Moses is striking. Moses
allows divorce and allows a man to marry a new wife or
wives. Moses also allowed the divorced wife to remarry.
( Deuteronomy 24:2) Jesus says to break the marriage bond
is a sin that formerly got you stoned. Since Jesus
attributes Moses’ rule to human hardness of heart (Mark
10:5) is God that flexible? (This is hard for me to
understand. Moses was no renegade. He was speaking for
- To further complicate matters, Paul adds another
exception to the rule. Read 1 Corinthians 7:12-13,
15. What is the purpose of this exception? (Religious
- From all of this what rule would you conclude
applies? (In everything we need to strive for God’s
ideal. His ideal is one man and one woman married for
life. That is the gold standard.)
- Read Mark 10:17-19. What strikes you as odd about this
list of commandments? (It includes only those that deal
with our obligations to others. It omits those that deal
with our obligations to God.)
- Is Jesus pulling this guy’s leg? Read Galatians 2:16.
If Paul had been standing here he would have gasped!
(Yes, I think Jesus is “pulling his leg.”)
- Read Mark 10:20-21. Is Jesus changing the rules? Jesus
says keep the second half of the Ten Commandments, the man
replies, “I always have.” Is Jesus giving him more rules –
or is this part of the second half of the Ten? (Some might
argue that Jesus is referring to the Tenth Commandment –
the one prohibiting coveting. That does not seem right to
me because you cannot covet what you already own.)
- What is Jesus asking this man to give up? (Mark tells
us this man is rich. Luke tells us that he is a
ruler. Jesus asks him to give up his money and
follow. Thus, Jesus is asking him to give up all that
sets him apart in the world.)
- Read Mark 10:22. Why did this man decide not to enter
heaven? (He had great wealth.)
- How was it appropriate for Jesus to require this of
him? (Let’s go back to Paul. Read Galatians 2:16
again. Faith is the key to salvation. This fellow had
faith in his money and his position. He trusted his
stuff instead of trusting in God. Jesus brings in the
first half of the Ten Commandments and, in accord
with Paul, teaches this fellow the true path to
salvation – trusting God.)
- Is grace “cheap” here? How about in your life?
- Friend, Jesus upholds a very high standard for your life.
Will you go for the gold standard?
- Next week: The Final Journey.