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Mark 10:24

ESV And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!
NIV The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
NASB And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus responded again and *said to them, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
CSB The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
NLT This amazed them. But Jesus said again, 'Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.
KJV 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!

What does Mark 10:24 mean?

Jesus and the disciples have just met a rich young man who desires eternal life, but ultimately loves his possessions more than God. The disciples assume anyone with that much money is so blessed by God that they ought to be guaranteed of heaven.

The disciples' amazement reflects their cultural understanding. The Old Testament standard is that God rewards the spiritually faithful with earthly blessings (Job 1:10; 42:10; Psalm 128:1–2; Isaiah 3:10). Part of the Mosaic law is that if Israel—overall, as a nation—obeys God's commandments, He will bless the nation, cities, fields, agriculture, and even the fertility of the people (Deuteronomy 28:1–6).

Over time, however, the people grew to judge whether an individual person was good or evil by comparing their riches. They assume that God universally grants prosperity and health to those who obey Him. This led to two conclusions. First, that everyone rich and healthy must be righteous. Second, that everyone poor or ill must be sinful. God soundly disproves this latter assumption in the account of Job: a righteous man who suffers greatly and loses everything.

Here, Jesus refutes the first assumption: that wealth and health are a sign of God's personal favor. Or, at least, He puts that claim in a proper perspective. Obeying God's law in a society that values God's law will help you be successful in that society. But, ironically, you can obey God for selfish reasons. The rich young man loves God enough to obey, but not enough to value God above whatever material wealth God could give.

This selfish perspective, and the disciples' reaction, are the opposite of the unknown man they met in Capernaum (Mark 9:38–41). That man was expelling demons in Jesus' name, but because the disciples don't know him, they tried to make him stop. They have yet to learn that faithfulness is a greater indicator of someone following Jesus than worldly honor.

This is the only time Mark records Jesus calling the disciples "children." Sometime before, when the disciples try to keep the children away from Jesus, Jesus tells them, "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Mark 10:15). Here, Jesus may be identifying the disciples as those who follow and submit to their teacher, emphasizing that they need to heed His words. He may also be reminding them that when it comes to inheriting eternal life, they are powerless and completely without merit.
What is the Gospel?
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