NTI Mark, Chapter 10
(v 1 - 12) It was on another day, when crowds had again gathered and Jesus went about his purpose in teaching them, when the Pharisees came once again to challenge him. A man and a woman had come to the Pharisees with a disagreement, and this disagreement the Pharisees shared with Jesus as a trick.
The man wanted a divorce from his wife, because she did not please him. But the woman was afraid and argued that her husband did not have cause for divorce. She listed her virtues as a wife, none of which the husband denied. Yet, he was not pleased and wanted only to be free of her.
"Is it lawful for this man to divorce his wife?" the Pharisees asked Jesus.
Knowing the law, Jesus asked the Pharisees. "What did Moses command you?"
They answered, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."
"Yes," Jesus agreed, "because the hearts of the people were hard then. They did not have faith in our Lord, so Moses gave them rest from worldly concerns, that their minds may be quieted and time may be given to prayer and to worship.
"Moses gave the people many laws and ways of understanding, that they may have one way of looking at the world, and therefore see themselves as one. But our people have matured in the worship of our Lord. And we are ready for more advanced laws and customs, that we may grow even closer to Him now.
"Is it not true that Moses also wrote that in the beginning, God created man and woman for one another?"
There was general agreement within the crowd.
"This is why a man leaves his father and mother and takes a wife. The two are one in the eyes of our Lord. What God has joined together, no man can separate.
"Tell this man that he is one with his wife in the eyes of our Lord. Ask him to love her, as God loves him. Speak to him daily, if you must, and help him to see his wife through the eyes of our Lord. When his sight has changed from self-desire to that of love, he will be grateful in all things. And in giving this man the gift of love, you give it to yourself and our Lord."
The Pharisees were speechless. Some went away with the intent to do as Jesus had asked.
Later that evening, Jesus talked to the apostles about change.
The world seems to be a place of change, but one thing has remained constant until now. Each one sees himself as separate from the others, and he puts his desire for his self above that of all other desires. Love will not compete with this.
This is what I have come to change. For as a man sees the world, so the world shall be. Through the Holy Spirit, man will come to see the world anew. No longer will he see himself as separate from the world, and no longer will he protect himself above all else. This is the way of love."
(v 13 - 16) People who loved their children brought their children to Jesus to receive a blessing from the Lord. This blessing pleased them, because they recognized love.
The apostles felt that time spent this way was foolish. They asked people not to waste the master's time in this way. But Jesus understood that the apostles were not looking with the eyes of the Lord, and so he offered them another way to see.
"You must become as these little children to receive the kingdom of God. Look at them. Notice their willingness to accept love and not doubt it. In this way, they see themselves as innocent and worthy of love, so they have no cause to question if the love is real.
"Be like these little children. Do not throw love away from you with judgments, grievances and doubt. These things are but an attack on love.
"Accept love as these children and their parents do. They are a symbol of your salvation. When you are always, as they are now, you will know love and you will know what salvation is."
(v 17 - 31) A prominent man came to Jesus. "Good teacher," he asked, "how do I obtain eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked.
"I know the commandments. I live by them myself, and so I know good when I see good," the man answered in sincerity. To this man, Jesus seemed to be above all other men.
"You make a mistake," Jesus replied. "A man cannot be good or bad. A man either listens to our Father or he doesn't, and there is no judgment in that."
"Teacher," the man responded, "I listen to all of our Father's commandments, and I have obeyed them since I was a boy. My heart is filled with love, and I desire only goodness for everyone. What shall I do to gain eternal life?"
Jesus looked on this man in love. "There is one thing you must do. Go home, sell everything that you have, and give it all to the poor. Then, come and follow me. Together, we will live in service to our brothers."
"My dear master, I have a family to care for. They depend on me. I cannot take the food from their mouth."
"To inherit the kingdom of God, you must let go of the kingdom of the world. You cannot be the ruler of your own kingdom and be one with the Father in His. For either you will see yourself as one with the Father or you will see yourself alone."
The man did not understand. He went away sad and disillusioned, thinking that Jesus was not the good man he seemed to be.
The apostles were also surprised at Jesus' answer, for they knew this man was a good man and very responsible to his family and his servants.
"Entering the kingdom of God requires great vigilance against the temptations of this world," Jesus explained. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a man to enter the kingdom of God."
The apostles were shocked and wondered what they had done by leaving their families to follow Jesus. "Who, then, can be saved?" they asked.
Jesus looked at them in love. "No man can save himself. He must turn all things over to God. For man, salvation is impossible; but with God, all things are possible even unto salvation."
Peter was frightened. "Master, we have left everything to follow you. Is that not enough?"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus responded. " Whoever leaves what he values in the world in order to seek the value of Heaven will be rewarded beyond measure. There shall be no loss in Him.
"But Peter, what you value must be left completely. For this reason, many who are first to seek the kingdom will be last to receive it. You must leave the world to enter the kingdom, for the kingdom is not of this world."