BRIEF INTRO: This section of Mark ten is very important to the writing as a whole (context), and I want to take some time and “zoom” into it. I know we have heard these words repeatedly, that Jesus was going to Jerusalem where He would be delivered into the hands of men and be killed and rise again, but where repetition is in play, we need to look closer.
Jerusalem is mentioned several times in this gospel. The first couple is references regarding various people coming from Jerusalem (Mark 1:5; 3:8; 3:22; 7:1). The other three, the ones mentioned after the shift in Christ’s focus and travels, are found in the latter part of his writing (Mark 10:32-34; 11:1-27; 15:41).
But Jerusalem is only one part of the picture that Christ highlighted for His disciples, as we will see in our first focus point.
33 saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be [a]handed over to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will [b]hand Him over to the Gentiles.
FOCUS ONE: The backstory
Jerusalem is vital to the storyline because, geographically, that is the place the passion events will take place. But, other scriptures explain to His disciples what would transpire when they got there!
Mark 9:9-12 is the first mention of Jesus’ suffering and death. At the Transfiguration, Jesus does not lay it out in great detail, as He does later, but He does tell Peter, James, and John that He “will suffer many things” and “the Son of man should rise from the dead.” Later, in Mark 9:31, Jesus instructs all of the disciples and tells them that He would be delivered into the hands of men, and they would kill Him, and He would rise again.
Mark 10:33-34 is the most complete statement of Jesus regarding what will happen to Him in Jerusalem. He tells them that “we are going to Jerusalem, and 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.” “They will mock Him and spit upon Him and scourge Him and kill Him and three days later He will rise again.”
In Mark 12:1-11, we find Jesus using a parable to teach. This parable is about the nation of Israel rejecting Him and killing Him. Yes, the ones Jesus said He would be “delivered over to.” Don’t forget that the gentiles also played a part in this (10:33b).
As this narrative keeps moving forward, we read about the Lord instituting “the Lord’s supper.” Mark 14:21-25 is where that is located and is a direct result of what is coming. It is a memorial for those who trust in Christ to “remember” what He bore on our behalf this day (suffering, death, bloodshed, and resurrection)!
And then, Just as Jesus told these men repeatedly, He is handed over to chief priests, Mark 14:45-53.
FOCUS TWO: Time is running out
Jesus graciously and patiently sought to prepare these twelve men for this event and its aftermath. But sadly, they missed the mark when it came to comprehending what Jesus was telling them. They didn’t get it, but I don’t believe we would have either. Most people cannot stay focused long enough to grasp hold of what matters in a sermon, lecture, or seminar. We are not disciplined enough to be focused. This holds true even today in churches all around the globe.
Here are a few of the disciples “didn’t get it verses:”
In Mark 4:10-13, Jesus is relaying His first parable. A parable is a rhetorical device used to explain the truth. Christ utilized this parable to teach these men that the way into the kingdom was by the gospel. Or, as stated elsewhere, “the foolishness of preaching.” This parable teaches that there is only one good ground that the gospel penetrates and produces fruit. All others will not provide gospel fruit. Many people may “hear” the gospel, but few will “accept” it and bear fruit (v. 20). Various reasons are given for this in the parable. They didn’t understand, and Jesus rebuked them.
Another place is in Mark 6: 34-37. The twelve had just come back from the mission Jesus sent them on (6:12). They did wonderful things by His power, and here we read that they do not comprehend who He is or His power and authority.
In Mark 6:52, Jesus walked on water. Sadly, we read, “they gained no insight from the incident because their heart was hardened.” Time and time again, we witness this sad truth. Here are a few others you can look up in your own study.
Mark 7:17-Regarding clean and unclean (The heart)
Mark 8 17-18 Leaven of Pharisees not understood (bread)
Mark 9:32 -Regarding His death and resurrection
Mark 10:35-Another evidence of a lack of understanding (James and John sit on the right and left)
After these, the events unfold much faster, and the time for preparation has ended!
34 And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him; and three days later He will rise from the dead.
FOCUS THREE: The school of experience
As mentioned earlier, these words give a more detailed account of what is about to happen to Jesus in Jerusalem. Those words should have struck a chord with those men. “Condemn,” “mock,” “spit upon,” “scourge,” and “kill” are words that should have awakened their minds and hearts to what is coming. But, as the following verses reveal, that didn’t appear to happen.
We will delve into that account in our next post, but for now, let’s try to grasp the seriousness of the hour. Their travels will shortly find them in Jerusalem (11:1). There, they will be overtaken by the speed at which things begin to transpire. No more prep time. Jesus will enter that city, marking the “official” presentation of Himself to the nation of Israel as the rightful Son of David! He arrived precisely at the time Daniel prophesied (Daniel 9:25-26)!
It won’t be much longer until “the Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him” (14:21). Many such writings come from the Psalms, but from Genesis 3:15 onward throughout Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah, and others we read about all the things Jesus had spoken of! And better still, Jesus fulfilled every one of them; He is the only person that could!
It is then, amid all the turmoil, that these men will “get it.” Oh, there will be some setbacks, such as when they all flee the garden of Gethsemane after Judas betrays Jesus. Peter will deny Christ just as Christ told Him he would (14:30). But resurrection day comes, and these men are forever changed! The world will forevermore be changed because of their zeal for their messiah! They finally “get it!”
I hope and pray that the same can be said of us. I hope that the area of influence each of us has will be changed and will continue to be because of the life-transforming work of grace in our hearts. We, like the disciples of Jesus, should be forever changed! And that change should produce a zeal in our hearts that leads us to be faithful ministers of the gospel to those around us.