Darby's Bible Synopsis
And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
It is a striking principle which meets us here the relationships of nature (as God has Himself created them at the beginning) re-established in their original authority, while the heart is judged, and the cross the sole means of drawing nigh to the God who was their creative source. On earth Christ could offer nothing but the cross to those who followed Him. The glory to which the cross would lead has been shewn to some of them; but as to Himself He took the place of servant. It was the knowledge of God by Him that should form them for this glory and lead them to it; for in fact that was life eternal. All other intermediate ways had, in the hands of men, become hostile to the God who had granted them, and therefore to His manifestation in the Person of Christ.
We find then (Mark 10:1-12), the original relationship of man and wife as formed by the creative hand of God; in Verses 13-16 (Mark 10:13-16) the interest which Jesus took in young children, their place in the compassionate eye of God, the moral value of that which they represented before men. In Verse 17 (Mark 10:17) we come to the law, to the world, and to the heart of man in presence of the two. But at the same time we see that Jesus takes pleasure in that which is amiable in the creature as a creature a principle of deep interest unfolded in this chapter while still applying the touchstone morally to his heart. With respect to the law, as the natural heart can see it (that is, the outward action it requires), the young man had kept it; and with a natural sincerity, and uprightness, that Jesus could appreciate as a creature quality, and which we ought always to recognise where it exists. It is important to remember, that He who as man was perfectly separated unto God and that, because He had the thoughts of God could recognise the unchangeable obligations of the relationships established by God Himself; and also, whatever there was amiable and attractive in the creature of God as such. Having the thoughts of God being God manifest in the flesh, how could He but recognise that which was of God in His creature? And while doing this, He must establish the obligations of the relationships in which He has placed him, and exhibit the tenderness He felt for the infant representatives of the spirit which He prized. He must love the natural uprightness that may be developed in the creature. But He must judge the true condition of man fully brought out, and the affections that rested on objects raised up by Satan, and the will that rejected and turned away from the manifestation of God that called him to forsake these vanities and follow Him, thus putting his heart morally to the proof.
Jesus exhibits the absolute perfection of God in yet another manner. The young man saw the exterior of Christ's perfection, and, trusting to the power of man to perform that which is good, and seeing its practical fulfilment in Jesus, applies to Him and, humanly speaking, with sincerity to learn, from One in whom he saw so much perfection, though viewing Him merely as a Rabbi, the rule of eternal life. This thought is expressed in his sincere and cordial salutation. He runs, he kneels, to the Teacher who, morally, stood so high in his estimation, saying, "Good Master." The human limit of his ideas of this goodness, and his confidence in the powers of man, are manifested by the words, "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" The Lord, taking up the whole import of his word, replies, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God." What God has created he who knows God will respect, when it presents itself as such in its true place. But God alone is good. Man, if intelligent, will not make himself out good before God, nor dream of human goodness. This young man had at least the hope of becoming good by the law, [See Note #11] and he believed that Jesus was so as a man. But the greatest advantages which the flesh could recognise, and which answered to its nature, did but the more effectually shut the door of life and heaven to man. The flesh used the law for self-righteousness, man being not good but a sinner. And, in fact, if we have to seek for righteousness, it is because we have it not (that is to say, because we are sinners and cannot attain this righteousness in ourselves). Moreover worldly advantages, which appeared to render man more capable of doing good, bound his heart to perishing things, and strengthened selfishness, and made him attach little value to the image of God.
But the instructions of this chapter carry on still farther the subject of man's condition before God. The ideas of the flesh accompany and give their form to the heart's affections, in one who is already quickened by the Spirit of grace acting through the attraction of Christ, until the Holy Ghost Himself communicates to those affections the strength of His presence, by giving them the glory of Christ in heaven for their object; and at the same time causing the light of that glory to shine (for the believer's heart) upon the cross, investing it with all the value of the redemption it accomplished, and of the divine grace that was its source, and producing conformity to Christ in every one that bears it with Him. Peter did not understand how any one could be saved, if such advantages as the Jews possessed in their relationship to God (and which were specially present in the case of this young man) only barred up the way to the kingdom of God. The Lord meets him upon this very ground; for man in the presence of God was now the question As far as man was concerned, it was impossible a second profound truth with respect to his condition. Not only was there none good excepting God, but no one could be saved, according to what man was. Whatever advantages he might have as means, they would avail him nothing in his state of sin. But the Lord introduces another source of hope "with God all things are possible." The whole of this, indeed all this part of the Gospel, while it sets aside the Jewish system, does so, because, while that was founded on testing the possibility by the possession of divinely given ordinances of acquiring righteousness, and a standing before God as yet unrevealed, this revealed God and brought man and man's heart face to face, as a present thing, with Him; in grace, but still face to face as he was. The disciples, not having yet received the Holy Ghost, are still under the influence of the old system, and only see men as trees walking; and this is fully developed in this chapter. The kingdom indeed they could think of, but still with fleshly thoughts.
But the flesh, the carnal mind, enters yet farther into the career of the life of grace. Peter reminds the Lord that the disciples had forsaken all to follow Him. The Lord replies, that every one [See Note #12] who had done so should have everything that would make him happy in his social affections, as God had formed him, and all this world could give as to the real enjoyment of it and a hundredfold, together with the opposition that He Himself met with in this world; but in the world to come (Peter was not thinking of that) not some private individual advantage, but everlasting life. He went beyond the sphere of promise connected with the Messiah on earth, to enter, and to make others enter, into that which was eternal. As to individual reward, that could not be judged of according to appearances.
We have seen what the flesh was in an upright young man whom Jesus loved, and in His disciples who knew not how to take the true position of Christ. The contrast of this with the full triumph of the Holy Ghost is remarkable, as we find it in the comparison of this chapter with Philippians 3.
We have in Saul a man outwardly blameless, according to the law, like the young man in the gospel; but he has seen Christ in glory, and, by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, the righteousness according to which Christ entered into the glory in which He revealed Himself to Saul. All that had been gain to him was loss for Christ. Would he have a carnal righteousness, a human righteousness, even if he could have accomplished it, when he had seen a righteousness bright with the glory of Christ? He possessed the righteousness which was of God by faith. What was that righteousness worth for which he had laboured, now that he possessed the all-perfect righteousness which God gave by faith? Not sins alone were put away: human righteousness was made worthless by it. But his eyes had been opened to this by the Holy Ghost, and by seeing Christ. The things that engaged the heart of the young man and retained him in the world which Christ forsook, and which in Him had rejected God could these things retain one who had seen Christ in the other world? They were but as dung to him. He had forsaken everything in order to possess this Christ. He considered them as utterly worthless. The Holy Ghost, in revealing Christ, had completely delivered him.
But this manifestation to the heart of Christ glorified goes yet farther. He who thus breaks with the world must follow the One whose glory he would reach; and this is to put himself under the cross. The disciples had forsaken all to follow Him. Grace had attached them to Christ that they might follow Him. The Holy Ghost had not yet linked them with His glory. He goes up to Jerusalem. They are amazed at it; and, in following Him (although He goes before them, and they have His guidance and His presence), they are afraid. Paul seeks to know the power of His resurrection: he desires to have fellowship with His sufferings, and to be conformed unto His death. Instead of amazement and fear, there is full spiritual intelligence and the desire of conformity to that death which the disciples feared; because he found Christ morally in it, and it was the pathway to the glory he had seen.
Moreover this sight of Christ purifies the desires of the heart with respect even to the glory. John and James desire for themselves the best place in the kingdom a desire that availed itself (with a carnal and selfish object) of the intelligence of faith a half-sighted intelligence that sought the kingdom at once, and not the glory and the world to come. Paul had seen Christ: his only desire in the glory was to possess Him "that I may win Christ," and a new state conformed to it; not a good place near Him in the kingdom, but Himself. This is deliverance the effect of the presence of the Holy Ghost revealing a glorified Christ.
We may remark, that in every case the Lord brings in the cross. It was the only passage from this world of nature, to the world of glory and of eternal life. [See Note #13] To the young man He exhibits the cross; to the disciples that follow Him He exhibits the cross; to John and James, who sought a good place in the kingdom, He exhibits the cup they would have to drink in following Him. Eternal life, although received now, was, in possession and enjoyment according to God's purpose, on the other side of the cross.
Observe also, that the Lord was so perfectly, divinely, above the sin in which nature lay, that He could recognise all that was of God in nature, and shew at the same time the impossibility of any relation between God and man on the ground of what man is. Advantages were but hindrances. That which is death to the flesh must be gone through: we must have divine righteousness, and enter in spirit (hereafter in fact) into another world, in order to follow Him and to be with Him to "win Christ." Solemn lesson!
In result, God alone is good, and sin having come in it is impossible, if He be manifested, that man can be in relationship with God; but with Him all is possible. The cross is the only path to God. Christ leads to it, and we must follow Him in this path, which is that of eternal life. A child-like spirit enters into it by grace; the spirit of service and of self-renunciation walks in it. Christ walked in it, giving His life a ransom for many. This part of the Lord's instruction ends here. Lowliness of service is the place into which Christ brings us; in such He had walked. This chapter is worthy of all the attention which the Christian through grace can devote to it. It speaks of the ground man can stand upon, how far God owns what is natural, and the disciples' path down here.
At Verse 46 (Mark 10:46) another subject begins. The Lord enters on the path of His final relationship with Israel, presenting Himself as King, Emmanuel, rather than as the prophet who was to be sent. As the Prophet, His ministry had been accomplished. He had been sent (He told His disciples) to preach. This had led Him to the cross, as we have seen. He must needs announce it as the result to those that followed Him. He now resumes His connection with Israel, but as the Son of David. He draws near to Jerusalem, from which He had departed and where He was to be rejected, and the power of God manifests itself in Him. By the way of Jericho, the city of the curse, enters the One who brings blessing at the price of the gift of Himself. The poor blind man [See Note #14] (and such indeed was the nation of itself) acknowledges Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of David. The grace of Jesus replies in power to the need of His people, that expressed itself by faith, and that persevered in, in spite of the obstacles put in its way by the multitude who did not feel this need, and who followed Jesus, attracted by the manifestation of His power, without being attached to Him by the faith of the heart. That faith has the sense of need. Jesus stands still and calls him, and before all the people manifests the divine power which responded in the midst of Israel to the faith that recognised in Jesus of Nazareth the true Son of David, the Messiah. The poor man's faith had healed him, and he followed Jesus in the way without dissimulation or fear. For the faith which then confessed Jesus to be the Christ was divine faith, although it might perhaps know nothing of the cross which He had just announced to His disciples as the result of His faithfulness and service, and in which faith must follow when genuine.
He does not ask, What must I do to be saved? He assumed that by the law he was to get life.
This went beyond even the disciples' connection with the Jews, and in principle admitted the Gentiles.
From the transfiguration until His rights as Son of David are in question, it is the cross that is presented. Prophet and preacher until then, that ministry ended with the transfiguration, in which His future glory shone in this world upon the cross that was to close His service here below. But before He reached the cross, He presented Himself as King. Matthew begins with the King, but Mark is essentially the Prophet.
I have already noticed that the blind man of Jericho is, in all the first three Gospels, the point where the history of the last dealings of Christ with the Jews and His final sufferings begin, His general ministry and service being closed.
And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
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.
And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he 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 he shall rise again.
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest 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 unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:
But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.
And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
But Jesus called them to 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.
And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.