Remarks on Mark 10:32-45

Mark 10:32‑45  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
That were now on the road to Jerusalem, where the disciples well knew enmity to their Master was most deadly. Hence when Jesus went before them, “they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.” They were not more astonished at His calm facing the danger than they shrank from their own exposure to it. They were still attached to earthly life, though they would have liked to have spent it under Messiah's reign, sitting every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, with none to make them afraid. But to follow the path which led through persecution to death was far as yet from being a privilege and honor in their eyes. Even Christ they knew after the flesh: the glory of His death and resurrection was wholly unfelt as yet. Hence the Lord Jesus “took again the twelve and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: and they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day be shall rise again.” (Ver. 33, 34.) Thus the fullest testimony was given, not indiscriminately, but to chosen witnesses, though complete for the purposes of God among men. Matthew alone singles out, as was suitable, that form of death, the cross, which stumbled the natural mind of the Jew, while Luke (chap. 18:31, 34), as his manner is, draws attention to the accomplishment of the Scriptures, not in specific detail like Matthew, but as a whole, adding to it the non-intelligence of the disciples.
Then come the sons of Zebedee, “James and John (with their mother, as we know from Matthew), saying, Master, we would that thou shouldst do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant us that we may sit, one on thy right hand and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” (Ver. 35-37.) How often the carnal mind betrays itself in the faithful even in the domain of faith! How weak as yet were those destined to be pillars! How the Master shines in presence even of the most blessed among His servants! They knew not what they asked. This was no question for the suffering Son of man on His way to the cross; but rather could they drink of what it was His to drink? could they be baptized with the baptism that was before Him? Alas! ambition even in the things of the kingdom is soon followed by confidence in self: “We are able.” What an answer! Need we wonder that these two also forsook Jesus and fled in the hour of the cross? Nevertheless, the Lord seals their answer with His promise of His own bitter portion, inward and outward; but lets them know that those high places around Himself in glory were not His to give, but for those for whom it is prepared. He refuses to depart from that morally highest place in such a world as this—God's servant among men. But if the two sons of Zebedee thus betrayed their ignorance of Christ's moral glory, how did the rest carry themselves? Not with sorrow of heart for their brethren. “When the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.” How often our fleshly resentment at the pride of another makes manifest the pride which dwells in our own hearts and breaks out in an indignation as unseemly as the evil which provokes it! “But Jesus called them unto him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Ver. 42-45.)
This is love which serves, not flesh which seeks to be served. It is the animating motive and spirit, and not a question of position, ecclesiastic or ministerial; for I doubt not be who was not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles was the one who was most of all imbued with the mind which was in Christ Jesus, and this not only in his own soul but also in his service. Paul was bondsman of all. “His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (2 Cor. 11:23-2923Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? (2 Corinthians 11:23‑29).) It was for the Son of man alone not only to minister but to give His life a ransom for many.