What does Mark 10:23 mean?
ESV: And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
NIV: Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!'
NASB: And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, 'How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!'
CSB: Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! "
NLT: Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!'
KJV: And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Verse Commentary:
The rich young man's issue with money is equivalent to the Pharisees' spiritual snobbery. Jesus condemns the Pharisees three times for doing something in public in order to receive public praise (Matthew 6:2; 6:5; 6:16). He explains that the praise they get by men is their only reward, and they will not receive a reward in heaven. Similarly, the rich are provided for on earth. As much as the rich young man wants eternal life, he finds it hard to "set [his] mind[] on things that are above" when the things on earth are so pleasant (Colossians 3:2). It's difficult to choose to suffer for the gospel when suffering in general is foreign to you.

Comfort in worldly things is a hard thing to give up. Even one of Jesus' disciples, Judas, falls into its trap. When Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus' feet with expensive perfume, Judas scoffs at the waste, but he is really upset because if she had donated the money, he could have stolen it (John 12:1–6). Shortly after, of course, Judas delivers Jesus to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14–16). Judas finds the lure of money stronger than his devotion to Jesus, and it kills him (Matthew 27:3–10). Many rich throughout history have also struggled with their love of the world.

But the struggle is not hopeless. Zacchaeus is a chief tax collector and very rich. After an encounter with Jesus, he volunteers to give away half his possessions and restore what he had defrauded people four-fold. He does so in willing submission to Jesus' authority, and Jesus responds by saying, "Today salvation has come to this house" (Luke 19:1–10). The point isn't that rich people have to give all their worldly possessions to be saved. Zacchaeus, for example, didn't give away his every penny. Rather, we should all love and follow Jesus so much that possessions are no longer foremost in our affections.
Verse Context:
Mark 10:17–31 begins as Jesus is trying to teach the disciples that God's kingdom values the powerless (Mark 9:36–37), the faithful (Mark 9:38–41), women (Mark 10:1–12), and children (Mark 10:13–16). The disciples, perhaps, are distracted by the many people who want to arrest or kill Jesus (John 7:32–52; 8:58–59; 10:22–39; 11:45–54; Luke 13:31). A wealthy young man asks Jesus about eternal life—and gets an unexpected answer in return. His response to Jesus' answer shows that his interest in God is limited by one thing: his money. Through all of history, wealth has been assumed to suggest the favor of God. But Jesus reveals that those whom God blesses often value the gifts more than the Giver. This story is also in Matthew 19:16–30 and Luke 18:18–30.
Chapter Summary:
In this passage, Jesus again confronts the Pharisees by clarifying God's views on marriage and divorce. He reminds the disciples not to dismiss the spiritual perspective of children. This chapter also records Jesus' encounter with the rich young ruler, who becomes an object lesson in why wealth makes it hard for people to rely on God. After this, Jesus deftly sets aside an arrogant request from James and John, and again predicts His impending death. Just prior to the triumphal entry of chapter 11, Jesus is sought out by Bartimaeus, whom He heals of blindness.
Chapter Context:
In between chapters 9 and 10, Jesus resumes His public teaching as He travels to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Luke 9:57—18:14; John 7—10). We meet Him here across the Jordan in Perea and follow as He makes His way west again to Jericho. This chapter surrounds a third prophecy of Jesus' death (Mark 10:32–34) with lessons on His value for those others often dismiss: women (Mark 10:1–12), the powerless (Mark 10:13–16), those who value God more than the world (Mark 10:17–31), servant-hearted leaders (Mark 10:35–45), and those with bold faith (Mark 10:46–52). Next is the triumphal entry and the beginning of Passion Week.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 4/17/2024 10:22:47 PM
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