Jesus is asked about divorce. He welcomes little children, and is asked about eternal life. James and John make a request. Are we baptized into suffering?
VERSE 1. He arose from there and came into the borders of Judea and beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came together to him again. As he usually did, he was again teaching them.
from there. That is, Capernaum in Galilee.
Multitudes came together to him. At this point, Jesus is quite popular.
VERSE 2. Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
testing him. The Pharisees hoped that Jesus would give them an answer that they could use against him.
VERSE 3. He answered, “What did Moses command you?”
VERSE 4. They said, “Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her.”
VERSE 5. But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment.
VERSE 6. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.
VERSE 7. For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife,
VERSE 8. and the two will become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.
VERSE 10. In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter.
VERSE 11. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her.
VERSE 12. If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery.”
VERSE 13. They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them.
VERSE 14. But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, “Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these.
Allow the little children to come to me! This is a very famous saying of Jesus.
VERSE 15. Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive God’s Kingdom like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.”
VERSE 17. As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
ran … knelt … Good Teacher. This young man is sincere. He has respect for Jesus as his spiritual guide.
VERSE 18. Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one—God.
VERSE 19. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not give false testimony,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and mother.’ ”
VERSE 20. He said to him, “Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth.”
VERSE 21. Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.”
Luke 18:22. When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
VERSE 22. But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions.
he went away sorrowful. Many Christians assume that he was sad because he was not willing to give up his many possessions.
However, there is a much simpler explanation. He could have been sad over all the garage sales and hard work required to simplify his life.
VERSE 23. Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into God’s Kingdom!”
VERSE 24. The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into God’s Kingdom!
amazed. The Greek word is hethambounto. It means surprised. They were surprised because in Judaism, earthly riches were a mark of God’s favor. Thus an abundance of possessions were seen as an advantage, not a barrier, in one’s relationship with God.
those who trust in riches. How do you view possessions and riches? If Jesus Christ told you to get rid of them, would you?
VERSE 25. It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”
VERSE 26. They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, “Then who can be saved?”
exceedingly astonished. The Greek word is hexeplêssonto. It means astounded, struck out of their senses, overwhelmed.
VERSE 27. Jesus, looking at them, said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God.”
VERSE 28. Peter began to tell him, “Behold, we have left all, and have followed you.”
VERSE 29. Jesus said, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News,
VERSE 30. but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time: houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.
VERSE 31. But many who are first will be last; and the last first.”
VERSE 32. They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus was going in front of them, and they were amazed; and those who followed were afraid. He again took the twelve, and began to tell them the things that were going to happen to him.
VERSE 33. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death, and will deliver him to the Gentiles.
VERSE 34. They will mock him, spit on him, scourge him, and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
VERSE 35. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came near to him, saying, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we will ask.”
VERSE 36. He said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”
VERSE 37. They said to him, “Grant to us that we may sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left hand, in your glory.”
one at your right … one at your left. After all this time with the Lord Jesus Christ, James and John are still driven by ego. They are egocentric. They have enthroned themselves as the center of their own lives, and not Jesus Christ.
SUMMARY: James and John had just asked the Lord Jesus to grant that in his kingdom, they would get the most important seats. He asked them if they could undergo the baptism that he would be baptized with.
What is this baptism he speaks of?
Many Christians assume it refers to suffering. Jesus Christ suffered for our salvation, they reason, and we must too, if we are to earn our salvation.
However, the Christian movement has never believed in works-righteousness. We believe that we are saved by the work of Jesus Christ, and not by our own good works or our own suffering.
VERSE 38. But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
drink. The Greek word is πιεῖν (“piein”). It means to drink, to imbibe.
cup. The Greek word is ποτήριον (“potērion”). It means a drinking cup, the contents of the cup.
All translations we surveyed render the Greek word potērion as “cup.” That is, all but one.
The NLT uniquely renders it as “bitter cup of suffering.” This longer expression in the NLT is not derived from the Greek text. Perhaps it is an expression of the personal piety of the translators.
VERSE 39. They said to him, “We are able.” Jesus said to them, “You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;
drink. The Greek word is πίνω (“pinō”). It means to drink, to imbibe.
baptized. The Greek word is βάπτισμα (“baptisma”). It means the result of dipping or sinking. In the biblical context, it means the ceremony of baptism.
All the translations we surveyed render the Greek word baptisma as “baptism.” That is, all but one.
The NLT uniquely renders it as “baptism of suffering.” This longer expression is not derived from the Greek text. Perhaps it is an expression of the personal piety of the translators.
am baptized. The Greek word is βαπτίζομαι (“baptizomai”). It means dip, submerge, specifically ceremonial dipping.
VERSE 40. but to sit at my right hand and at my left hand is not mine to give, but for whom it has been prepared.”
right hand. The Bible often mentions “the right hand” of God. That is a position of power and honor. We believe it refers to Jesus Christ. More verses about the right hand.
VERSE 41. When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant toward James and John.
VERSE 42. Jesus summoned them, and said to them, “You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
rulers over the nations lord it over them. Their rulers were arrogant and self-centered. They used their high office for personal benefit. They treated people in cruel Machiavellian ways.
In our day, many people in positions of secular leadership, as well as many in positions of church leadership, are the same. They are arrogant and self-centered. They use their high office for personal benefit.
VERSE 43. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant.
VERSE 44. Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all.
VERSE 45. For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
the Son of Man also came … to serve, and to give his life as a ransom. What was the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ? How did he himself define it? Here are the verses we find in the four gospels.
not to be served. In the kingdom of Jesus Christ, greatness means being a servant. It means serving the needs of other people. It means being beneath them, not above them.
In our day, many Christians have a mistaken notion that the great ones are the leaders who lead their church. After all, the leaders are up in front, officially speaking in public for the faith. They are in charge. They must have an extra-special level of holiness, people seem to reason.
However, Jesus makes it clear that the actual great ones are the servants. How can you grow as an authentic Christian leader. That is, how can you grow as a servant of others?
VERSE 46. They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.
VERSE 47. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!”
VERSE 48. Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, “You son of David, have mercy on me!”
VERSE 49. Jesus stood still, and said, “Call him.” They called the blind man, saying to him, “Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!”
VERSE 50. He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
VERSE 51. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “Rabboni, that I may see again.”
VERSE 52. Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus on the way.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.