Mark 10:32-52

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 26, 2005

A Contrast in “Wills”

:32-34 Coming death and resurrection

:32 Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid

went beforeproago – to lead forward, lead forth; to go before

Jesus knows what is up ahead of Him and He’s not dragging His feet. If I were Jesus I might say to the disciples, “You guys go on up ahead and I’ll catch up with you”. But Jesus doesn’t. He’s leading the way.

The disciples and the crowd following Jesus can sense that something frightening is up ahead.

:33 the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests…

Jesus was first turned over to the Jewish leaders. They held their trial about Jesus and then they turned Him over to the Romans because only the Romans had the authority to put Jesus to death.

:34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him …

As they are making their way towards Jerusalem, these are the things that Jesus is discussing with the disciples.

The last time Jesus discussed this with His disciples, they were still up north in Galilee, and they weren’t really getting it. In fact, they were thinking about something else:

(Mark 9:32-34 KJV) But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. {33} And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? {34} But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

:35-45 James and John promotional

:35 …Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

we wouldthelo – to will, have in mind, to desire, to wish

“We are desiring that whatever we should ask, you should do”

Matthew records that their mother, Salome, was involved in this (Mat. 20:20-21). She probably initially made the request, but she made it at the request of their sons.

The way that James and John approach Jesus is a little bit like spoiled children. They want Jesus to promise to do something for them before they even tell Him what it is.

:37 Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

grant – one translation has, “Grant to us at once …”

glorydoxa – splendour, brightness

right … left

They are asking for Jesus to guarantee them the number one and two spots in Jesus’ government.

It sounds as if they are expecting that any day the curtain will go up, the spotlight will be on Jesus, and they want to share the spotlight with Him.
When you study John 13, and learn the customs of dining in Jesus’ day, you can discover the positions of some of the disciples at the Last Supper. It’s not quite exactly what you would think. The disciple on Jesus’ left hand was the apostle John (“leaning on his breast”, John 13:23). Peter seems to have been at the end of the table, far from Jesus (John 13:24, he waved at John to explain what Jesus was talking about). Who was on Jesus’ right hand? Judas (Jesus gave him the “sop”, John 13:26).

Here’s Jesus purposely and painfully making His way to Jerusalem to die on a cross. And all James and John can think about is whether or not they get reserved parking spot with their names on it. They only have eyes for a key to the executive washroom.

What a huge contrast between what we think about and what Jesus thinks about.

What do you “want”? If a “genie” granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?


A man is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie. The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.” The man says “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand. He continues, “Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him. He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.

:38 …can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized …

baptismbaptisma – immersion, submersion; Jesus isn’t talking about being “sprinkled” with trouble. He’s talking about full immersion.

Jesus is talking about the scourging and horrible death by crucifixion that He is going to be immersed in. He’s talking about being cut off from God as our sins were heaped upon Him.


Glory and suffering

James and John seem to be drawn to the glory, but I’m not sure they realize that there’s a connection in God’s eyes between glory and suffering.
God puts His glory in us when we receive Christ.

(2 Cor 4:6-7 KJV) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. {7} But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

He puts His glory in clay pots. It’s not our glory that has any value. It’s God’s glory that is valuable.

God wants His glory to be seen. Yet the only way to see light in a clay pot is to break it.

(2 Cor 4:8-11 KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; {9} Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; {10} Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. {11} For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

For some of you, you’ve come to the point in your life where the greatest desire of your heart is for people to know Jesus. You want people to see Jesus in you.
One of the ways God has of making fulfilling that desire is through breaking.
Jesus wrote to the church at Smyrna,
(Rev 2:8-10 KJV) And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; {9} I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. {10} Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

The church at Smyrna was a persecuted church. But it was also a church used by God and a church loved by Jesus. The name “Smyrna” comes from the word “myrrh”. Myrrh is a perfume that comes from taking a special tree, slashing a branch, collecting the gummy sap, letting it dry, then pounding it, crushing it, and mixing it with oil to form the perfume.

This is an interesting picture of persecution. Though a person be cut and slashed into bits by the world, God is able to pour in the oil of the Holy Spirit and the result is a beautiful fragrance to God.

As Jesus gets closer to Jerusalem, a woman will come to him with an alabaster jar of expensive perfume (Mark 14:3). She has come to put this perfume on Jesus. She will pour this perfume on Jesus’ head and everyone in the house will smell this wonderful fragrance. Everyone in the house will be touched by this woman’s extravagant worship of Jesus. But before she can put the perfume on Jesus, the alabaster jar must be broken. The jar must be broken for the fragrance to come out.
We don’t like the times of breaking in our lives. But beloved, sometimes Jesus is simply trying to let His fragrance come out of our lives. Sometimes He’s simply trying to let others see the light He’s put in our lives.

:39 And they said unto him, We can.

(Mk 10:39 The Message) “Sure,” they said. “Why not?”

I wonder if they really know what they’re saying. Or do they think Jesus is talking about drinking Dr. Pepper and going for a swim in the Dead Sea?

:39 Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of

James will be the first apostle to die a martyr’s death (Acts 12:1-2) when Herod had him killed by the sword.

Though John was the only apostle not to die a horrible death, he did endure great suffering and persecution.

:40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give

They’ve asked Jesus for something that He can’t give them. It’s the Father that will make that decision (Mat. 20:23).

:41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased

much displeasedaganakteo (“much” + “grief”) – to be moved with indignation. Ticked off.

Why were they “much displeased” with James and John?

Most likely it was because they wanted to have those same places of prominence in the kingdom.

Remember how they had been arguing over who was the greatest? (Mark 9:33-34)

My sins look far worse on you than they do on me.

:42 they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship

The world’s idea of “great” leadership is to push people around. A leader gets to be a leader by stepping all over other people, by flexing their muscles.

:43 but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

willthelo – to will, have in mind, to desire, to wish. This is the same word that James and John used back in verse 35 that started the whole thing. They had a “will” to be great.

your ministerdiakonos – a servant, attendant; a waiter, one who serves food and drink

We have this notion of the “minister” being a high and exalted position. In some churches the “minister” stands high above the people wearing a long flowing robe. But the word “minister” means “servant”.


A man went out to this restaurant not long ago and met the waitress of his dreams. About halfway through dinner he noticed his baked potato had big brown spots going all the way through. So he called the waitress over and said, “Ma’am, this potato is bad.” She nodded, picked up the potato, and smacked it. Then she put it back on my plate and said, “Sir, if that potato causes any more trouble, you just let me know.”

Because a person is a “minister” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t treat them with respect.

(1 Cor 16:15-16 NLT) You know that Stephanas and his household were the first to become Christians in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to other Christians. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, {16} to respect them fully and others like them who serve with such real devotion.
Treat your waitress well.  But you don’t become a leader to get respect. You become a leader to be a servant.

:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

servantdoulos – a slave, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests; it seems to carry more the idea of permanence in servitude than the diakonos.


Servant Leadership

Here are a couple of qualities that define what the Bible calls servant leadership.
1. Leading

(Heb 13:17 NLT) Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

Though spiritual leaders are to be servants, they also must still lead. Jesus was the servant of all, but He led the way to Jerusalem, to the cross.

Don’t confuse being a servant with allowing others to make wrong choices for you. Being a servant leader doesn’t mean you let everyone else decide. You choose to serve them.

2. Set an example.

About thirty years later, Peter would write to leaders,

(1 Pet 5:2-3 NKJV) Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; {3} nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

The writer to the Hebrews says,

(Heb 13:7 ICB)  Remember your leaders. They taught God's message to you. Remember how they lived and died, and copy their faith.

Set an example with your faith that others can copy.

3. Humility

One of God’s best ways for us to keep ourselves walking in humility is to be a servant of others.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gave an example to the disciples by washing their feet, doing the job of a servant, doing the lowliest of jobs (John 13).


F. B. Meyer once said: “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other; and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”

4. Remember who pays you.

Paul wrote,

(Col 3:23-24 NLT) Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. {24} Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.

If you are expecting people to pat you on the back, you’ll be disappointed. Jesus didn’t get a standing ovation as He hung on the cross. All His friends deserted Him.  Jesus is the one who rewards you, not the flock.

:45 …and to give his life a ransom for many.

ransomlutron – the price for redeeming; the price to purchase a slave and set him free.

We were slaves to sin. Jesus came to die on a cross and pay the price to purchase us and set us free.

Peter uses this word to tell us what we were redeemed with:

(1 Pet 1:18-19 NLT)  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. {19} He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

:46-52 Blind Bartimaeus

:46 …as he went out of Jericho …blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus

Jesus and the disciples had been going south on the eastern side of the Jordan. Now they turn west, cross the Jordan and come into the city of Jericho.

Bartimaeus – his name means “son of Timaeus”. The fact that Mark gives us his name might indicate that Bart was known by the folks in the early church.

Timaeus – the name comes from an Aramaic word tame’ which means “unclean, impure”

:47 Jesus, thou son of David …

This is the first time in the gospel of Mark that anyone has called Jesus the “son of David”.

He’s saying that Jesus has the right to the throne of Israel. He recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. The coming of the Messiah means that blind people will see (Is. 35:5).

:48  charged him that he should hold his peace …he cried the more

chargedepitimao – rebuke, reprove. They’re pretty rough with the fellow.

But after all, he’s a nuisance. He’s not cool. He’s an “unclean” guy. They want him to shut up and go away.

Yet the more they try to silence him, the louder he cries.

Jesus is walking by him and he doesn’t want to miss his chance.

He knows that the only hope for him to see is for Jesus to heal him.

:51 What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

willthelo – to will, have in mind, to desire, to wish. Present tense.

Jesus had been challenging the disciples about their “wills”. They wanted to be great. Bart just wants to see.

Lordrhabboni – a form of “Rabbi”, it literally means “My Rabbi” or “My Master”.

:52 thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

made thee wholesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; perfect tense, he has been “saved” and continued to be saved.

He was saved because he trusted in Jesus.

This man was not only healed, but he made a choice to follow Jesus.

Last week we looked at the “rich young ruler” who came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Rather than tell him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him what he needed to do to follow Him.

(Mark 10:21 KJV) Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
The man went away sad because Jesus had put His finger on the very thing that was keeping him from God. And he wasn’t about to give up trusting in his wealth in order to trust in God.

Yet here we have a poor, blind, unclean man. He’s ready to follow Jesus. He’s not even going to let the crowd or the disciples keep him from calling out to Jesus.

Are you ready to follow Jesus? What is it you want? Are you going to let something keep you from Jesus?