What does Mark 10:38 mean?
ESV: Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
NIV: You don't know what you are asking,' Jesus said. 'Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?'
NASB: But Jesus said to them, 'You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?'
CSB: Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you're asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with? "
NLT: But Jesus said to them, 'You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?'
KJV: But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
Verse Commentary:
Jesus' rebuke to James and John appears surprisingly gentle. Perhaps this is because He knows they will suffer for Him and the gospel before they receive any glory.

To "drink someone's cup" means to share in their fate. The tense used for the verb "drink" here may mean that Jesus is in the process of drinking, not that the "cup" is yet to come. But it also may refer to an action in the future that is so assured it can be considered already present. The Old Testament frequently uses "the cup of God's wrath" as a metaphor for His judgment for humanity's rebellion against Him (Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Ezekiel 23:31–34). It is this "cup" that Jesus drinks when He hangs on the cross, the Father's face turned away (Mark 15:34).

The reason Jesus came is so that we will not have to drink the cup of God's wrath, and Jesus does not ask us to drink the cup of God's wrath with Him. He asks us to drink the cup of His blood, so we are covered by His sacrifice and protected from God's wrath (Mark 14:22–25), as the Israelites were during the Passover (Exodus 12).

In our churches today, we drink the cup, symbolic of that blood, at the Lord's Supper. This shows our oneness with the church and our acceptance of a joined fate, including the persecution needed to further the gospel (Colossians 1:24) and the glorious marriage of the Lamb and the church (Revelation 19:6–10). Those who reject Jesus in the tribulation will feel the full cup of God's wrath, however, as God's judgment rains down on the world (Revelation 6—18).

In Greek culture, baptism is a metaphor for being overwhelmed or immersed in something. This is similar to the modern cliché "baptized by fire" used when we mean overwhelmed by challenges from the beginning. Jesus is, in a sense, baptized or immersed in our sins and God's wrath on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But this meaning is not familiar to the Jews of Jesus' time although Isaiah did use it (Isaiah 30:27–28). At the time, baptism was a sign that one followed the teachings of a specific rabbi or school. In Jesus' ministry, people are baptized as a sign of their repentance from sin, and we apply this meaning, as well. After the crucifixion and resurrection, the symbolism of baptism becomes richer. Now, baptism is a metaphor for dying to sin and rising again in new life in Christ (Romans 6:3–4; Colossians 2:12).
Verse Context:
Mark 10:35–45 describes the arrogant request of James and John to have positions of power and authority in Jesus' coming kingdom. This comes after learning that Jesus values the powerless like women and children (Mark 10:1–16), that those with earthly power and wealth can have a hard time following God because they can tend to value their possessions more (Mark 10:17–22), and that part of Jesus' plan for His kingdom is to die a horrible death (Mark 10:32–34). Neither Luke nor John record this account, but Matthew adds that James and John's mother is involved in the request (Matthew 20:20–28).
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 4/16/2024 12:39:04 PM
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