Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Mark. …………………. Mark 10:13-15. And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he became indignant and said to them: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child, will not enter it.” Jesus means, as in Matthew (18:3-4) that one must have total dependence on God and obedience to the gospel. The kingdom of God has been the whole subject of Jesus’ preaching and ministry. It sums up everything to which the disciples aspire–and now he says it belongs to those little people they were just shooing away! Once again Jesus is overturning their whole scale of values–up is down and down is up. And all are called to be children in relation to the kingdom. There is nothing about children that makes them better morally than adults, except for one thing: their ability to receive the kingdom as a pure, unmerited gift (Healy)…………………………………. Mark 10: 21-22. A rich man, having lived his life according to the Law, asked Jesus what he should do to attain eternal life. Jesus, looking at him, loved him, replied: “You are lacking in one thing. Go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. This is the only place in the gospel that Jesus is said to have looked with love on an individual. The earthly treasure was hindering the man from freely receiving the heavenly treasure. Jesus wishes to set the man free to follow the true longing of his heart. Relinquishment of his possessions would put the man in solidarity with the poor by giving the proceeds to them (Healy)…….. Mark 10: 23-27. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples: ” How hard is it for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God….It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were astonished and wondered if anyone could enter heaven. So Jesus walked it back, saying: “For human beings it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Since wealth, power and merit generate false security, Jesus rejects them utterly as a claim to enter the kingdom. Achievement of salvation is beyond human capability and depends solely on the goodness of God who offers it as a gift (CSB). Jesus is not denouncing wealth as an evil in itself. Many of his sayings and parables indirectly affirm the values of ownership, business, trade and investment. It is the attachment to wealth that is spiritually dangerous (Healy)………. Mark 10: 32-45. Jesus and the 12 were going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed and those who followed were afraid. Taking the 12 aside again, he told them what was going to happen to him: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.” Then, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said: “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask of you.” Jesus replied: “And what is that?” They replied: “Grant that in your glory, we may sit one at your right side and one at your left.” (This comes directly after Jesus’ 3rd prediction of his death like they hadn’t even been listening.) Jesus said to them: “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink? And the seats to my right and left are not mine to give.” Note: Verse 45 is very important because Mark is giving the reader the reason for the crucifixion of Jesus: “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The idea of a ransom expresses a price that is paid on someone’s behalf, for example, paying to free a slave. Jesus ransomed himself to save humanity from sin and death. He paid for our souls to enter the kingdom of God……………………….. Mark 12:18. Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him: “Teacher, Moses wrote, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ Now there were 7 brothers. The first levirate marriage produced no children and the brother died. This happened in all of the other 6 marriages. The seven brothers died without leaving descendants. Finally, the wife died. At the resurrection whose wife will she be? Jesus said to them: “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven.” This episode provides a good insight into the kingdom of heaven, how we will live. The question of the Sadducees is designed to prove that belief in the resurrection is an absurdity. They hope to stump Jesus with the question: Whose wife will she be?” The Sadducees think this is an insoluble dilemma, but Jesus exposes their faulty premise that life in heaven is just a continuation of life on earth……….. Mark…continually stresses the ease with which Jesus’ central message can be misconstrued. Neither Jesus’ family, nor his disciples nor the world at large comprehend what it means to be God’s Messiah, any more than they can grasp the essential nature of God’s kingdom. Only in two climactic moments does awareness break through: at Caesarea Philippi, when Peter confesses, “Thou are the Christ” (Mk 8:29); and when a Roman centurion declares, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mk 15:39). Between these events Jesus’ ministry is a constant struggle to make himself understood (William Stob, The Four Gospels).

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