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Mark  ◦   Chapter 10

1Jesus left Capernaum and went to Judea, and then crossed the Jordan. Quickly, crowds began to follow him, and — as was his practice — he taught them the truth of God’s kingdom of love.

2Some of the theology professors from the School of the Pharisees came to Jesus, trying to trick him, and asked, "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife?"

3Jesus asked them in return, "What did Moses instruct you?"

4They said, "Moses allowed a man to provide his wife with a divorce certificate and then send her away."

5Jesus answered, "It was because your hearts were gangrenous with selfishness, hardened, and did not love, that Moses gave you this rule on how to sever a destructive marriage most mercifully.6But in the beginning, God constructed life to operate in other-centered love — 'he made them male and female.'7 'Because of this design, a man will leave his parents and be united in love with his wife,8and the two will become one flesh.' They are no longer merely two individuals but one, united by bonds of love.9Therefore what God has joined together in the unity of love, no person is to allow selfishness to tear it apart."

10Later, when the disciples were back indoors and alone with Jesus, they asked him about this.11He answered, "Any man who divorces his faithful wife and marries another betrays his first wife.12And any woman who divorces her loyal husband and marries another betrays her first husband."

13Parents were bringing their children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples tried to stop them.14When Jesus saw this, he was not happy with what they were doing. He instructed them, "Let the children come to me without any barriers or hindrances, for God's kingdom of love belongs to people just like these.15Truly, people who will not receive God's kingdom of love, as openly and freely as a child, will never enter it."16Then he picked up the children, hugged them, sat them on his lap, and blessed them.

17As Jesus was leaving, a man ran up to him and fell down on his knees in front of him: "Good teacher, tell me what I must do to receive everlasting life?"

18"Why do you address me as 'good?'" Jesus asked. "No human is good; only God is good.19You know God’s prescription — his instruction on life being constructed to operate upon love — so if you love, you ‘do not murder, do not commit marital betrayal, do not steal, do not speak falsely about others, do not cheat, and you honor your mother and father.' "

20"Teacher, I have done all of these since childhood," he proclaimed.

21Jesus looked kindly on him, and with compassion said: "Only one thing remains for you to do. Go and sell all your possessions which you cling to as evidence of your good standing before God. In love, give it all to the poor and you will have the treasure of heaven. Then come, join me, and live as I do."

22When the young man heard this, his face saddened, and he left with a heavy heart because he had great wealth and derived security from his possessions.

23Jesus turned around and said to his disciples, "I tell you the simple truth, it is hard for those who are rich — who derive a sense of security from their possessions — to surrender all and enter into heaven's kingdom of love and trust."

24This stunned the disciples because they were biased by culture to think that wealth was evidence of God's blessing. But Jesus continued his instruction, "My children, understand it clearly: It is hard for the rich — who derive security from their possessions — to surrender their wealth and enter heaven's kingdom of love and trust.25It is easier for a camel to kneel down, remove its load, and crawl through the small gate known as 'the eye of a needle' than for a rich person to humble themself, surrender their wealth, and enter God's kingdom of love and trust."

26The disciples were shocked, because they always thought wealth meant blessings of God. They asked each other, "Who can be saved if the rich have such a hard time?"

27Jesus looked them in the eye and said, "It is impossible for human beings to cure their own terminal condition, but not for God: healing is possible only by uniting with God, trusting him, and partaking of the Remedy."

28Peter reminded Jesus, "But we have already left everything we have to follow you."

29Jesus replied, "I tell you truly, no person who has left behind property, brothers, sisters, parents, children, stocks or any valuable in order to be united with me and help distribute the Remedy30will fail to receive here, in this time, a hundred times the reward they could ever experience from homes, brothers, sisters, parents, children, stocks or any valuable — even if persecuted; and in the age to come, they will receive eternal life.31But those who think they deserve to be first will actually find themselves last, while those who are humble and consider themselves last will find themselves first in God’s kingdom."

32Jesus was leading as they walked on their way to Jerusalem, and the disciples were still stunned by what he had taught them. The others, who followed further behind, were afraid. He took the Twelve aside to prepare them for what was to happen to him.33"We are on the way to Jerusalem," he told them, "and when we arrive, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the church leaders and the theologians who teach a legal theology. They will sentence him to death and hand him over to the Romans,34who will mock him, spit on him, whip him, and execute him. Three days later he will rise from the dead."

35Then Zebedee's sons, James and John, came to him and said, "Master, we want you to promise to do what we ask of you."

36"What is it you want me to do for you?" he asked.

37They answered, "Permit one of us to have the seat of honor on your right, and the other — the seat of honor on your left when your glory is revealed."

38Jesus answered them somberly, "You have no idea what you are asking. Do you think you can drink from the cup of suffering I will have to endure, or — like me — surrender yourself totally, being immersed in selfless love so completely that you won't shrink from death?"

39"We can," they answered. Then Jesus told them, "You will drink from the cup of suffering from which I drink and be immersed in selfless love as I am,40but who sits on my right and left is not my decision to make. It will be as God has prepared."

41When the other ten disciples heard what James and John had requested, they became angry.42So Jesus called them all together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles — those who have not partaken of the Remedy — abuse power and lord over others, using their high office to dictate and control those beneath them.43It is not like this with you. Instead, those who want to be great among you must use their energies to serve, uplift, and bless the others.44Whoever wants the first position in God's kingdom must be a slave to your welfare,45just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve the needs of humanity and to give his life as the healing Remedy to set many free from their terminal state."

46Soon they arrived at Jericho. When Jesus was leaving the city, accompanied by his disciples and a very large crowd, a blind man named Bartimaeus (which means son of Timaeus) was begging beside the road.47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was approaching, he began shouting loudly, "Jesus, Son of David, please have mercy on me!"

48Many people in the crowd told Bartimaeus to be quiet, but he only shouted louder: "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

49Jesus stopped and said, "Bring him here." They said to Bartimaeus, "Okay, quiet down now and cheer up. Get up! It's your day, He's calling for you to come to him."50Tossing his coat aside he jumped up and came to Jesus.

51Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said, "Teacher, I want to see."

52Jesus smiled and said, "Go! Your trust has enabled your healing." Immediately he could see and followed Jesus down the road.