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!

  1. Prayer

    1. 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?

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

        1. Had they let Jesus down? (Yes.)

    3. 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

    4. 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.)

      1. Is the father sure that Jesus can help?

      2. What role did the disciples play in his attitude?

    5. Read Mark 9:23-24. What level of faith is necessary for

      1. Tell me about the attitude of the father? (He turns
        to Jesus not only to heal his son, but to strengthen
        his faith.)

    6. 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

      1. 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.)

    7. 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?

      1. 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.)

      2. Do you ever ask yourself if a spiritual failure is
        due to your lack of prayer?

  2. Divorce

    1. 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.)

    2. Read Mark 10:3-5. Did Moses write ( Deuteronomy 24:1) on
      his own? Was this his own idea? (No.)

      1. 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

      2. 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.)

      3. 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
        discuss divorce.)

    3. Read Mark 10:6-9. Who wrote the Creation account? (Moses.)

      1. 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.)

      2. Is Jesus revoking the Moses’ exception?

      3. 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
        God’s plan.)

    4. 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
      divorce before.)

      1. 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

      2. 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.)

      3. Jesus says that if you divorce and remarry, you
        commit adultery. How serious a sin is that? (See
        Leviticus 20:10.)

    5. Read Matthew 5:32. Matthew contains an exception that Mark
      does not mention. What is it? Why would Mark leave this

    6. 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

      1. 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

      2. 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.)

  3. Money

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.”)

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    2. Read Mark 10:22. Why did this man decide not to enter
      heaven? (He had great wealth.)

      1. 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.)

        1. Is grace “cheap” here? How about in your life?

    3. Friend, Jesus upholds a very high standard for your life.
      Will you go for the gold standard?

  1. Next week: The Final Journey.